CSCU9N5 - Multimedia & HCI


20 credits at SCQF level 10



Learning Outcomes

The module aims to cover Multimedia and Human-Computer Interaction, or how computers and people communicate. It also aims to provide substantial practical experience of using specialised interface development tools, processing audio and image files, and developing multimedia applications. Thus, after taking this course, students should have developed the following skills:

  • An understanding of concepts in human-computer interaction
  • An understanding of cognitive psychology issues as far as they concern HCI
  • Analysis of real user interface needs for concrete software systems
  • Design of user interfaces with a strong focus on the visual aspects of information presentation
  • Appreciation of interface implementation and evaluation issues
  • Appreciation of the standards for representing audio files
  • Appreciation of the standards and issues concerned in representing static/dynamic visual input/output
  • An understanding and practical experience of aspects of multimedia design
  • An understanding of the tools available to produce multimedia

In order to complete the module, you should be able to demonstrate the ability to apply related theory and techniques to unseen problems without reference to notes, to work independently and under a time constraint.


Designing the User Interface

  • Motivations for human factors in design: safety-critical systems, industrial and commercial uses, office, home, and entertainment applications.
  • The place of human factors, usability and interface design in the software life cycle.
  • Adjusting the computing environment to the user (accommodation of human diversity): cognition, perception and physiology.
  • Mechanisms of interaction with machines (I/O devices [mouse, keyboard, displays, ...], interaction styles [command line, menus, GUIs, VR]).
  • Usability, completeness, consistency: the design of the user interface
  • Evaluating the user interface.
  • Usability testing
  • Use of interface design tools


  • Colour and the production of colour on graphical output devices
  • Graphical representation and techniques
  • File formats of static and dynamic images: standards, uses, data compression, quality
  • Principles of animation: model design, animation design, production
  • Project design: setting up, requirements, navigation, storage, delivery
  • Authoring tools: history, comparison of different approaches, functionality and principles
  • Case study: Adobe Flash
  • Applications (eg. kiosks, distance learning, web-based)


  • Auditory input and output: standards and techniques
  • Quality of service and usability in sound

The course also includes tutorials and a substantial practical component, which will complement the lectures. Practical sessions will cover the use of specialised user interface development tools, audio editing software, image processing software, animation software, and multimedia authoring software.


Assessment is comprised of one assignment (50%) and an exam (50%). The assignment will be the design and creation of a small multimedia application.


In order to be considered for a pass grade for the module you must:

  • Submit the assessed coursework
  • Attend the examination

Non-submission of the assessed coursework will result in the award of No Grade for the module as a whole. Assessed coursework submitted late will be accepted up to five days after the submission date (or expiry of any agreed extension) but the grade will be lowered by one grade point per day or part thereof. After five days the piece of work will be deemed a non-submission, and will result in the award of No Grade for the module as a whole. This rule (regarding coursework) may be relaxed for students who can show good cause for failure to submit. ‘Good cause’ may include illness (for which a medical certificate or other evidence will be required). If a student is unable to attend the Main examination, he/she must apply to the Student Programmes Office for a Deferred examination. If a Deferred examination is not granted, then the Examiners may allow a Repeat examination. The grade awarded following a Repeat examination is capped at 3C.


We strongly recommend reading:

  • Y Rogers, H Sharp and J Preece, Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, Wiley, 2011, ISBN 978-0470665763
  • D Cunliffe and G Elliott, Multimedia Computing, Lexden, 2005, ISBN 1904995055
  • DA Norman. The Design of Everyday Things, Basic Books, 2002, ISBN 0465067107

While undertaking this module, please considere the interactions that you have with equipment, both using computers and using other everyday objects (like cars, doors, etc.). Try to reflect on what makes an object easier to use and in cases where it is difficult to use, is this because of poor design? If so, can you think of a better way to design it?

Further recommended reading includes:

  • B Shneiderman et al. Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction, Addison-Wesley, 2009, ISBN 0321537351
  • N Chapman & J Chapman. Digital Multimedia, 3rd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2009, ISBN 0470512164
  • N Chapman & J Chapman. Digital Media Tools, 3rd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2007, ISBN 0470012277

Further information and teaching materials for this module.

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
Portal Logon