INFO 251-01
Web Usability
Fall 2020 Syllabus

Jeremy W. Kemp, Ed.D.
(408) 393-5270
Office Hours:
By phone or appointment virtually

Syllabus Links
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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 19 at 6 am PT unless you are taking an intensive or a one-unit or two-unit class that starts on a different day. In that case, the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

Through an examination of theory, methodologies, and real-life cases, Info 251 offers a user experience (UX) framework for developing information systems. Students will learn the principles of user-centric design and style for particular circumstances and populations.

Course Requirements


  • Reading quizzes (20 points) – You will complete three semi-automated quizzes based upon content in the reading assignments. CLO #1, CLO #4, CLO #5
  • Homework Projects (30 points) – You will submit three sets of forum posts including text and images to convey an understanding of the core topics in the class. Each assignment document builds on skills developed in the previous activities. These follow the quizzes and allow you to demonstrate your mastery of the learning objectives listed above. Your work will be assessed on how well it integrates concepts from the readings, supplementary materials (lectures) and class discussions. Your last homework is also presented in a Zoom session. CLO #1, CLO #2, CLO #3, CLO #4, CLO #5, CLO #8, CLO #9
  • Final project (20 Points) – This capstone project leverages all the skills from the homework projects in one design activity. You are expected to create designs, implement your ideas and evaluate the effectiveness of your item(s). This project will also help you synthesize what you have learned and package it as evidence for the degree's culminating e-portfolio. CLO #1, CLO #2, CLO #3, CLO #4, CLO #5, CLO #8, CLO #9
  • Participation (30 points) - Each week, you will interact with our learning community using the message board and optional synchronous meetings in Zoom. The instructor will post questions occasionally and students should comment on posts from colleagues. CLO #5, CLO #6, CLO #7

Course Grading
Assignments will contribute to your final grade as follows:

  • 20% Reading quizzes (three)
  • 30% Homeworks (three plus presentation)
  • 30% Participation
  • 20% Final Project

Course Calendar

  • August 19 - (6am) First day of instruction and the course opens for access
  • August 25 - (6:00pm - 7:30) Optional Zoom class orientation. Will be recorded.*
  • September 8 - Quiz 1 (closes at noon)
  • September 22 - Homework 1 (due noon)
  • October 6 - Quiz 2 (closes at noon)
  • October 20 - Homework 2 (due noon)
  • November 10 - Quiz 3 (closes at noon)
  • November 17 through Nov 24 - Thanksgiving Recess
  • December 1 - Homework 3 (due noon)
  • Dec 1 - 8 - Presentations in Zoom (times vary to meet student schedules) *
  • December 15 - Final project (due noon)

* Recordings of these optional sessions are generally available within 48 hours.

A detailed course outline is posted on the course site including a list of readings and project due dates for each week. Dates are subject to change with fair notice.

Technology Requirements
We will use several technologies. Do not take the class if your computer and Internet access do not meet the home computing environment requirements: Home Computing Environment

San Jose State University uses Zoom for web conferencing. A USB headset with a microphone is recommended for using Zoom. Learn more at our Guide to Zoom.

In addition, you will need to be flexible and innovative in your use of various tools for designing and producing your information products including screen capture, image editor, image scanner, MS Powerpoint or some other drawing tool, etc.

Policy on Lateness
Late assignments will not be accepted. Get your work in on time! All assignments are due at noon.

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

INFO 202

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Critique and improve Web sites, software, and other library-related systems.
  2. Master rough sketching, rapid ideation, and prototyping.
  3. Refine interaction designs by studying the user's experience in a structured setting.
  4. Apply the principles of heuristic evaluation to iterative design.
  5. Explore and implement affective computing, aesthetics, and narrative in computer interfaces.
  6. Apply theoretical and practical principles of design, usability, and accessibility.
  7. Reapply the fundamentals of good design to other interactive media besides the Web.
  8. Create designs that use familiar information architecture and navigation elements to meet specific needs.
  9. Create strategies for maximizing usage by recognizing when designs deny access to people with certain disabilities.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 251 supports the following core competencies:

  1. E Design, query, and evaluate information retrieval systems.
  2. G Demonstrate understanding of basic principles and standards involved in organizing information such as classification and controlled vocabulary systems, cataloging systems, metadata schemas or other systems for making information accessible to a particular clientele.
  3. H Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, using, and evaluating current and emerging information and communication technologies.


Required Textbooks:

  • Greenberg, S. (2012). Sketching user experiences: The workbook. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann. Available through Amazon: 0123819598arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Saffer, D. (2009). Designing for Interaction (2nd ed.). New Riders. Available through Amazon: 0321643399 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Tidwell, J., Brewer, C., & Valencia-Brooks, A. (2019). Designing interfaces: Patterns for effective interaction design (3rd ed.). O'Reilly Media. Available through Amazon: B082WQ28FMarrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Abrahams, M. (2016). Speaking up without freaking out (3rd ed.). Kendall Hunt Publishing. Available through Amazon: 1465290478arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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