Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

Cognitive Interaction Design, 7.5 Credits

Swedish name: Kognitiv interaktionsdesign

This syllabus is valid: 2017-07-24 valid to 2023-06-25 (newer version of the syllabus exists)

Course code: 5DV188

Credit points: 7.5

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Computing Science: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
Cognitive Science: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: TH teknisk betygsskala

Responsible department: Department of Computing Science

Established by: Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 2017-08-08


This course looks at interaction design from a cognitive science perspective. Using (digital) artefacts as the main study object, the focus is on theoretical considerations of interaction design and its (cognitive) consequences on human users. We usually attribute character and intentional behavior to the people and artefacts that we interact with. How we perceive these artefacts is partly shaped by their design, and partly by our own cognitive capabilities and previous experiences. Understanding how design affects cognition (and vice versa) becomes increasingly important in the age of ubiquitous computing and the rise of autonomous systems.

The course consists of two parts:
Part 1 theory, 4.5 credits
The theoretical parts covers:

  • questions of how (digital) artefacts are perceived and conceptualized by their users;
  • artefact complexity: different kinds of complexity, the artefacts role in interaction, and how to mediate it;
  • cognitive tools: supporting cognition with (digital) artefacts, and artefacts as (integral) part of cognition;
  • user interfaces: from desktop to mobile to ubiquitous computing;
  • the role of emotions and aesthetics;
  • an outlook on latest developments in the field.

Part 2, practice, 3 credits
In the practical part, some of the theories and techniques discussed in the theoretical part are applied in two mandatory group-work project assignments.

Expected learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
After having completed the course the student will be able to:

  • explain why it has been frequently argued that a cognitive perspective on design is useful and important (FSR 1).
  • explain and compare different types of interaction (interaction metaphors, stances, and paradigms), and different models of cognition (distributed cognition, cognitive tools, extended mind hypothesis) (FSR 2).
  • evaluate the cognitive and complexity consequences that a particular design decision for some aspect of an artefact may have on other aspects of the artefact (FSR 3).
  • describe current trends in the field and their challenges (FSR 4).

Skills and abilities
After having completed the course the student will be able to:

  • evaluate artefacts and interaction processes taking a cognitive perspective (FSR 5).
  • critically discuss concepts and ideas presented in scientific literature in the field, relating them to each other and content taught in the course (FSR 6).
  • utilize and account for results and ideas presented in scientific publications in the field in their own analyses and design ideas (FSR 7).

Values and attitudes
After having completed the course the student should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding (by critically discussing) of how design decisions for an artefact may have consequences for its users in terms of perception, acceptance, ease of use, and emotional attachment (FSR 8).

Required Knowledge

Univ: To be admitted you must have (or equivalent) 90 ECTS-credits including 45 ECTS-credits in Computing Science or Cognitive Science or 2 years of completed studies within a study programme (120 ECTS-credits). In both cases, including at least 7.5 ECTS-credits in  Human-Computer Interaction (e.g. 5DV045, 5DV060 or 5DV132) or equivalent.

Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper Secondary course English A/5. Where the language of instruction is Swedish, applicants must prove proficiency in Swedish to the level required for basic eligibility for higher studies.

Form of instruction

Education consists of lectures, classroom exercises in smaller groups, and mandatory assignments. In addition to scheduled activities, individual work with the material is required.

Examination modes

The examination of Part 1 (FSR 1-4, FSR 8) consists of a written exam in halls. The grades given are Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with Merit (4), or Pass with Distinction (5).

The examination of Part 2 (FSR 5-8) consists of two written reports about the mandatory assignments. At least one of the assignments should also be orally presented. In Part 2 the grades given are Fail (U) or Pass (G).

On the course as a whole, the grades given are Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with Merit (4), or Pass with Distinction (5). In order to pass the course completly, both mandatory parts must be passed. The final grade of the course is a summary assessment of the results and is usually the same as the grade of part 1 and is never lower than that grade.

For all students who do not pass the regular examination there are additional opportunities to do the examination. A student who has passed an examination may not be re-examined. A student who has taken two tests for a course or a segment of a course, without passing, has the right to have another examiner appointed, unless there exist special reasons (Higher Education Ordnance Chapter 6, Section 22). Requests for new examiners are made to the head of the Department of Computing Science.

Examination based on this syllabus is guaranteed for two years after the first registration of the course. This applies even if the course is closed down and this syllabus ceased to be valid.

Students have the right to be tried on prior education or equivalent knowledge and skills acquired in the profession can be credited for the same education at Umeå University. Application for credit is submitted to the Student Services / Degree. For more information on credit transfer available at Umeå University's student web, www.student.umu.se, and the Higher Education Ordinance (Chapter 6). A refusal of crediting can be appealed (Higher Education chapter 12) to the University Appeals Board. This applies to the whole as part of the application for credit transfer is rejected.

Other regulations

This course may not be used towards a degree, in whole or in part, togehter with another course of similar content. If in doubt, consult the student counselors at the Department of Computing Science and / or the program director of your program. In particular, this course can not, in whole or in part, be used in a degree together with 5DV067 Cognitive Interaction Design.


Valid from: 2017 week 30

Material som tillhandahålls av institutionen/Material provided by the department
Inst för datavetenskap/Dept. of Computing Science :