Information Architecture and Web Usability

(706.041 Information Architecture and Web Usability 3VU WS 2017/2018)

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

Tues. 14:15-16:45.
Seminar Room IICM, D.1.10, IDEG134, Inffeldg. 16c, ground floor.

Sometimes, I have to reschedule a class, because there is a conflict of some kind or I am away. 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. Places usually fill up very fast. Two places are reserved for incoming exchange students.

Priority will be given to PhD and Master's students in one of the computer science degree programmes (sign up for the Main Group). Students in other degree programmes will be allocated places in the first class in chronological order of registration, as far as places are still available (sign up for the Reserve Group).

After the unregistration deadline, if you wish to unregister from the course, 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 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.

The course also assumes knowledge of the basic web technologies (HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript). Experience in experimental design and statistics (psychology) would be a bonus, but is not necessary.

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 be able to apply theoretical results from HCI research to web sites and understand how to conduct their own research about aspects of web usability.

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 class, I expect you to attend every week. If you do not, it is your responsibility to catch up.

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

For the final group presentations, it is OK if one member of a group is missing, as long as the remaining members attend and are willing to carry the missing person.

Assessment Method:

Your grade will be determined by three exercises:

  • Ex1 (individual): Interface Inventory.

    This exercise is the first subtask and is equivalent to the beginning of the examination (Satzungsteil Studienrecht § 26(7)). This exercise is also designated as the partial course requirement which may be repeated (Satzungsteil Studienrecht § 22(4)).

  • Ex2 (group): Survey. A state-of-the-art survey of a current topic in information architecture or web usability.

  • Ex3 (group): Project. Typically, groups either build something (HTML5, Javascript) or run a study of some kind.

See exercises for more details.

Lecture Notes: [161 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 buy one or two books for the course, I highly recommend the following:

Rosenfeld et al, Information Architecture: For the Web and Beyond, 4th Edition Spencer, Information Architecture Spencer, Card Sorting Resmini and Rosati, Pervasive Information Architecture Garrett, The Elements of User Experience, 2nd Edition
Marcotte, Responsive Web Design, 2nd Edition Hay, Responsive Design Workflow Jehl, Responsible Responsive Design Field, Discovering Statistics Using R

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.

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.