HCI Practical Exercises 2023

The grade for the course is determined by a series of exercises, involving both individual work and group work. For the group work parts, each member of the group is usually given the same number of points. Sometimes changes need to be made to an exercise, to the number of points awarded, or to the meeting appointments, so make sure that you keep up with class and check this web site and the course newsgroup regularly for updates and announcements.

The exercises are not optional. I expect you to make a serious attempt at each exercise and to contribute to the work of your group for each group exercise (unless you have a very good reason backed up by appropriate documentation, such as a doctor's letter). Otherwise, I reserve the right to consider you to be no longer participating in the course.

To pass the course, you must achieve 50% or more of the total points for the course and also get at least two questions out of ten correct in the multiple choice test. If you fail to take the multiple choice test or get only 0 or 1 questions correct, you will fail the entire course, regardless of your points for the other exercises. There is a second opportunity to take the multiple choice test (MC2). The results of the most recent test replace those of an earlier test.

The Scenario

Your group will play the role of user interface consultants who have been contracted to evaluate a web site. The idea is to identify as many potential usability problems as possible and feed this input into the next design phase.

During the practical exercises, your tutor will play the role of your client. Your client has heard about usability, but does not know exactly what heuristic evaluations or thinking aloud tests are.

You will present your work at each of three meetings with your client (tutor): M1, M2, and M3. You will hand in your work in advance of the meetings using our online submission system, Sapphire. Check the times of the meeting slots for your group by following the links in the table below.

Further details:



Ex Title Type Announce Hand-In Present Slots Points %
1* Heuristic Evaluation Plan (HE Plan) group Tue 21 Mar 2023 Wed 29 Mar 2023 18:00 M1 M1 Slots 43 6.5
2a Heuristic Evaluation (Individual Evaluations) individual Tue 21 Mar 2023 Wed 19 Apr 2023 17:00 70 10.6
2b Heuristic Evaluation Report (HE Report) group Tue 21 Mar 2023 Wed 03 May 2023 17:00 M2 M2 Slots 116 17.5
3 Thinking Aloud Test Plan (TA Plan) group Tue 28 Mar 2023 Wed 03 May 2023 17:30 M2 M2 Slots 58 8.7
4a Thinking Aloud Test (TA Report) group Tue 28 Mar 2023 Wed 31 May 2023 17:00 M3 M3 Slots 192 29.0
4b Thinking Aloud Test (TA Full Videos) group Tue 28 Mar 2023 at M3 M3 M3 Slots 84 12.7
5 Multiple Choice Test individual

MC1 on Tue 20 Jun 2023 (MC1 Slots)
MC2 on Tue 27 Jun 2023 (MC2 Slots)

100 15.1
663 100.0

* This exercise is the first subtask and is equivalent to the beginning of the examination, according to Satzungsteil Studienrecht § 26(7).

See details about the Grading Review.

To get a flavour of what you will be doing, you can look at some practical reports from previous semesters. Note that it was not possible to run thinking aloud tests in 2020, 2021, and 2022 due to COVID restrictions, so the practical reports from those years do not include examples of thinking aloud tests (extended versions of the heuristic evaluation were performed instead).

Do not copy the above reports to use as templates. These are not perfect examples of what I want you to do this semester. The practical exercises and the report templates sometimes change from one year to the next. Furthermore, the reports from previous years included here are largely “as is”, i.e. as they were handed in. They contain mistakes and omissions and have not been edited after the event to be perfect examples.

Language Policy

This course is taught in English.

Your reports must be written in English.

Some of the web sites chosen for evaluation will be available in German only. Some will be available in English only. And some will be available in both English and German.

If you are international students and would prefer to be assigned a web site available in English, please let me know in advance.

For the Heuristic Evaluation, evaluate in English (i.e. speak English for the audio commentary, and use English in your log files), even if you are evaluating a German-language site.

For the Thinking Aloud test, for a site available in both English and German, choose one of the two languages to test. If you are testing an English-language web site, choose test users who speak English, and run the test in English. If you are evaluating a German-language web site, choose test users who speak German, and run the test in German. In that case, you will have to translate the interviews and quotations into English for the report.

For German words with umlauts, use the UTF-8 Unicode character (ä, ö, ü) rather than than appending an e (ae, oe, ue).

Your slide decks should be in English and you should present in English.

The questions in the multiple choice test are in English only.

Copyright and Licence Policy

I ask you to place the reports which you produce and hand in as part of this course under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. The footer of the report templates contain the corresponding sentence "This work is placed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence."

If you do not wish to do so, then simply delete that sentence from the footer of the report.

Policy for Late Submissions

You will hand in most your work using our online submission and grading system called Sapphire. The following policy applies to late submissions:

Unless you have a very good reason supported by appropriate documentation (doctor's letter, etc.).

Policy for Late or Missing Groups at Meetings

Do not be late for your client meetings (Abgabegespräche)! Groups who are late make the tutors wait and cause knock-on effects for other groups. I reserve the right to deduct points from groups who are substantially late for appointments.

Should your group not attend the client meeting at all, the entire group will be given 0 points for the corresponding exercise(s).

Unless you have a very good reason supported by appropriate documentation (doctor's letter, etc.).

Policy for Missing Group Members at Meetings

Attendance at the client meetings is compulsory. Point deductions will be applied to missing group members.

Unless the missing group member(s) have a very good reason supported by appropriate documentation (doctor's letter, etc.).

Policy for Inactive Group Members

It sometimes happens that one group member does not actively participate in the group exercises and most (or all) of the work is done by the other group members. If this happens in your group and you feel that you are carrying an inactive group member, let me or your tutor know and only write the names of the active group members on the reports you hand in.

Policy if the Web Site Changes

The web sites being evaluated are public web sites not under our control. Occasionally, it does happen that a web site makes significant changes in the middle of an exercise. This situation will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, if and when it occurs.