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​Use the search function to search amongst programmes at Chalmers. The study programme and the study programme syllabus relating to your studies are generally from the academic year you began your studies.

Syllabus for

Academic year
TDA490 - Interaction design - graphical interfaces
Owner: ITMDM
6,0 Credits (ECTS 9)
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Level: C

Teaching language: English
Maximum participants: 45

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 No Sp
0103 Project 6,0c Grading: TH   6,0c    

In programs

TDESA INDUSTRIAL DESIGN ENGINEERING - Interaction design, Year 4 (compulsory)
TITEA SOFTWARE ENGINEERING - Software development and management, Year 4 (elective)
TITEA SOFTWARE ENGINEERING - Data communication, Year 4 (elective)
TITEA SOFTWARE ENGINEERING - Embedded systems, Year 4 (elective)
TITEA SOFTWARE ENGINEERING - Interactive simulations, Year 4 (elective)
TITEA SOFTWARE ENGINEERING - Bioinformatics, Year 4 (elective)
TITEA SOFTWARE ENGINEERING - Interaction design, Year 4 (compulsory)
TDATA COMPUTER SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING - Interaction design, Year 4 (compulsory)
TDATA COMPUTER SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING - Interactive simulations and games, Year 4 (elective)


Univ lektor  Olof Torgersson
Professor  Staffan Björk


For single subject courses within Chalmers programmes the same eligibility requirements apply, as to the programme(s) that the course is part of.

Course specific prerequisites

A basic course in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), 5p, or equivalent.
Knowledge of object-oriented programming (Java) is useful but not required.
Knowledge of the creation of web pages is useful but not required.


The course aims to give a basic understanding of central problems regarding the design of screen-based and pixel-based interfaces, including methods and practical training in designing these.


Interaction design at large is about designing the interplay between humans and any kind of object that is enhanced with computational power. It is common, but not necessary, that an interactive object uses a graphical interface to express its behavior and functionalities, and therefore this interaction design course explains the possibilities, problems and issues that arise when designing such graphical interfaces and the interaction with them. Focus therefore lies on interaction-related issues, i.e. creating possible behaviors and ways of expression for both the user and the system. Thus, design of a graphic interface is a combination of many skills, mainly graphical design, programming and cognitive science. Hence students can come from, or use, any one of these approaches; this is a course for everyone.

Things to be learned, explored and/or practiced include:
- How to make design decision based upon interaction-related issues and analyze the outcome
- How to layout components in a graphical interface and why, i.e. to create a logical flow
- How to solve more or less common interaction design problems
- How to depict or express functionality
- Designing different software postures (looks)
- How to design an interface for beginners, experts and everything in between
- How to design for, and utilize, other input devices than mouse and keyboard
- How to design a graphic interface that is to be displayed elsewhere than on the average computer screen

After the course, students should be able to design a relatively complex graphic user interface, and provide a valid design rationale for it.


The course is highly practical. Lectures and literature give a theoretical foundation, but this theory is immediately put into practice in a series of small exercises and a few larger projects. When practicing, focus is upon motivating, making and analyzing the design decisions made. Most of the work is done in groups of various sizes but there is also a significant amount of individual work.

Knowing one or more of the following tools isn't mandatory but can be helpful: Photoshop, Flash, Java, .NET, C++, Illustrator, CorelDRAW!, HTML and/or PowerPoint.


Alan Cooper & Robert Reimann: About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design, Wiley; 1st edition, 200
A collection of relevant papers on selected topics.


Written and oral presentation of project(s).
Grades: U, 3,4,5.

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.