SWEN303 (2021) - User Experience Engineering


This course addresses the engineering of user experiences (UX). It presents principles and guidelines for design and covers a range of design and engineering processes. It presents techniques for user testing of applications, digital systems, and physical devices.

Course learning objectives

Students who pass this course should be able to:

  1. Understand principles of usability engineering;
  2. Design a user interface following accepted principles and guidelines;
  3. Evaluate the user experience of a prototype interface, and interpret the results to improve the design;
  4. Integrate user interface design techniques into the general software engineering life cycle;
  5. Reflect on the quality of their work.

Course content

This course will cover the design and evaluation of user experience (UX), with a focus on interfaces for desktop, mobile, and web applications.
The course is primarily offered in-person, but there will also be a remote option and there will be online alternatives for all the components of the course for students who cannot attend in-person.
Students taking this course remotely must have access to a computer with camera and microphone and a reliable high speed internet connection that will support real-time video plus audio connections and screen sharing.  Students must be able to use Zoom; other communication applications may also be used. A mobile phone connection only is not considered sufficient.   The comuputer must be adequate to support the programming required by the course: almost any modern windows, macintosh, or unix laptop or desktop computer will be sufficient, but an Android or IOS tablet will not.
If the assessment of the course includes tests, the tests will generally be run in-person on the Kelburn campus. There will be a remote option for students who cannot attend in-person and who have a strong justification (for example, being enrolled from overseas). The remote test option may use the ProctorU system for online supervision of the tests. ProctorU requires installation of monitoring software on your computer which also uses your camera and microphone, and monitors your test-taking in real-time. Students who will need to use the remote test option must contact the course coordinator in the first two weeks to get permission and make arrangements.

Withdrawal from Course

Withdrawal dates and process:


Dr Simon McCallum (Coordinator)

Teaching Format

This course will be offered in-person and online.  For students in Wellington, there will be a combination of in-person components and web/internet based resources. It will also be possible to take the course entirely online for those who cannot attend on campus, with all the components provided in-person also made available online.
During the trimester there will be two lectures per week. There are no regular helpdesk or tutorial for this course, however tutorials will be scheduled based on student need.

Student feedback

Student feedback on University courses may be found at:  www.cad.vuw.ac.nz/feedback/feedback_display.php

Dates (trimester, teaching & break dates)

  • Teaching: 22 February 2021 - 28 May 2021
  • Break: 05 April 2021 - 18 April 2021
  • Study period: 31 May 2021 - 03 June 2021
  • Exam period: 04 June 2021 - 19 June 2021

Class Times and Room Numbers

22 February 2021 - 04 April 2021

  • Tuesday 14:10 - 15:00 – LT323, Hunter, Kelburn
  • Thursday 14:10 - 15:00 – LT323, Hunter, Kelburn
19 April 2021 - 30 May 2021

  • Tuesday 14:10 - 15:00 – LT323, Hunter, Kelburn
  • Thursday 14:10 - 15:00 – LT323, Hunter, Kelburn


There is no set text for SWEN303.

Recommended Reading are available via the Talis system https://rl.talis.com/3/victoria/lists/AAE46404-E60A-58A9-FFD2-820C6B876BB2.html

Mandatory Course Requirements

In addition to achieving an overall pass mark of at least 50%, students must:

  • Contribute in good faith to the final group project, as evidenced by regular interaction with the whole project group (documented in project logs), and keeping the commitments agreed by the team.

If you believe that exceptional circumstances may prevent you from meeting the mandatory course requirements, contact the Course Coordinator for advice as soon as possible.


This course will be assessed via two Assignments and one Project.

Assessment ItemDue Date or Test DateCLO(s)Percentage
Assignment 1 (25 hours)Week 3CLO: 1,3,425%
Assignment 2 (25 hours)Week 6CLO: 1,2,425%
Project (25 hours) (group project, 10% out of the 25% is a group mark)Week 11CLO: 1,2,3,425%
Project (25 hours) (group project with individual component, 5% out of the 25% is a group mark)Assessment periodCLO: 1,2,3,4,525%


Work submitted late (after slip days, without an extension) will have a grade cap reduced by 10% per day.


Students have three slip days across the course that will be granted automatically. These cannot be used for group submissions.
Work submitted after slip days without an extension will be penalised 10% per day by a sinking cap on the maximum grade. e.g after 2 days the maximum is a A- but a C assignment will still get a C grade.
Extensions may be granted by the course coordinator.

Submission & Return

All work is submitted through the ECS submission system, accessible through the course web pages. Marks and comments will be returned through the ECS marking system, also available through the course web pages.

Marking Criteria

Marking criteria will vary for each assignment and the project and will form part of the assignment and project descriptions.

Group Work

Assignments may optionally be undertaken in pairs. The Project will be undertaken in groups of 5-6 students.
30 out of 100 marks for the final project is based on a group grade, this will contribute up to 15% of the final mark in the course as the final project is 50% of the course.

Peer Assessment

There is no peer assessment in this course.


In order to maintain satisfactory progress in SWEN 303, you should plan to spend an average of 10 hours per week on this paper, and 150 hours over the entire course. A plausible and approximate breakdown for these hours would be:

  • Lectures and Readings: 50 hours
  • Assignments 1 & 2: 25 hours each
  • Project: 50 hours

Teaching Plan

See: https://ecs.wgtn.ac.nz/Courses/SWEN303_2021T1/LectureSchedule

Communication of Additional Information

Addtional information will be communicated via the course's website on the ECS system: https://ecs.wgtn.ac.nz/Courses/SWEN303_2021T1/

Offering CRN: 17185

Points: 15
Prerequisites: COMP 261 or SWEN 221
Duration: 22 February 2021 - 20 June 2021
Starts: Trimester 1
Campus: Kelburn