Information Architecture and Web Usability

(706.041 Information Architecture and Web Usability 3VU WS 2019/2020)

Lecturer: Ao.Univ.-Prof. Dr. Keith Andrews
Course Web Site:
My Web Site:
Office Hour: Mon. 11:00-12:00 during normal term.
Room ID01054 (D.2.16), ISDS, Inffeldg. 16c, 1st floor.

Tues. 13:15-15:45.
Seminar Room IDEG134 (D.1.10), Inffeldgasse 16c, ground floor.

Sometimes, I have to reschedule a class, because I am away or there is a conflict of some kind. Always check the schedule on TUGRAZonline to be sure.


The approximate course schedule in more detail.

1. Introduction
2. User Experience (UX)
3. Web Usabiliity
4. Mobile Usability
5. Site Objectives and User Needs
6. Information Architecture (IA)
7. Information and Navigation Design
8. Visual Design
9. Implementation and Optimisation
10. Formal Experiments
11. Evidence-Based Guidelines
12. Web Design Patterns

In TUGRAZonline.

This is an advanced course at postgrad (Master's) level. The number of students is limited to 20. Two places are reserved for incoming exchange students. Places are allocated according to the standard algorithm specified in the curriculum. Places will be finalised at the beginning of the first class.

If you register for the course, but later decide not to participate, please have the courtesy to unregister from the course, to free up your place for someone else.

If you wish to unregister after the unregistration deadline, please contact me by email. Depending on how far the course has already progressed, I will either unregister you without penalty or grade your work up to that point.


This course assumes knowledge of web development (HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript).

It also assumes knowledge of the methods of usability engineering. If you have not completed my course on Human-Computer Interaction (or a similar course elsewhere), then it is your responsibility to read up.

In this case, read my HCI course notes.

Aims and Objectives of Course:

Students will understand the theory behind information architecture and be able to apply it to their own web sites. Students will understand how to design usable web sites.

Teaching Method:

A mixture of lecture, seminar, and practical work.

First, I will present current work and results in the areas of information architecture and web usability (lecture part). Then, students will form groups of 4 and research and present one particular aspect of information architecture or web usability (seminar part). Finally, each group will do a project in information architecture or web usability (project part).

Attendance Policy:

For the lecture part of the course, I expect you to attend class every time, unless you have a very good reason backed up by documentary evidence (such as a doctor's letter).

In that case, it is your responsibility to catch up on the material you missed.

For the seminar and project parts of the course, at least two members of every group must attend class every week.

For the survey and project final presentations, every member of every group must attend.

Assessment Method:

Your grade will be determined by a set of exercises.

Lecture Notes: [167 pages PDF]

The lecture notes are never in their final form, but will be updated periodically during the course.

If you teach and would like a zip file of the corresponding lecture slides (the same material but in HTML, SVG, PNG, and JPEG), please contact me by email.

Course Books:

If you would like to some books for the course, I highly recommend the following:

Note: Amazon credit me a small referal amount, should you purchase a book after following an Amazon link.

Exercises: exercises
Course Newsgroup:

This is where I will post news and announcements and where you should ask any questions you might have. It is also the right place to look to see if your questions have already been answered.

If you are not familiar with newsgroups, you may wish to refer to Chapter 2 of my INM 2014 course notes (or similar material elsewhere).

Language Policy:

This course is taught in English. There may be some participants who do not speak German, so please give your presentations and write your reports in English. This course is a good chance to practice using English with (almost) nothing to lose. I will not be grading your English, but the content of your work.

Breaches of Academic Integrity:

Do not plagiarise. Copying the work of others (from the web or elsewhere) or copying from another group and then submitting the work as (part of) your own work is known as plagiarism and is a serious breach of academic integrity. By taking this course, you agree to have your work submitted to plagiarism detection services. Your work may also be cross-checked against other work submitted in the same and previous years.

If you are not well-practiced in the ways of academic citation (i.e. how not to plagiarise), I strongly recommend that you read Chapter 5 of my INM 2014 course notes and some of the resources on Debora Weber-Wulff's Plagiarism Portal web site.

Do not fake. Faking data (for example, inventing the results of a survey or poll) is a serious breach of academic integrity.

The university has a code of conduct and set of guidelines regarding scientific integrity and ethics. Breaches of academic integrity are very serious and will be punished appropriately where discovered.