The Human-Centered Interfaces Research Group logo in a collage showing a learning group, a handheld device, a remote control for Interactive Digital Television and a Braille reader

Computer Graphics

(Master's Degree Program Multimedia Management - 2nd quarter)

This course is obligatory for all students having their focus on Media Informatics or Communication Design.


  1. Principles of software ergonomics, methods to measure usability
  2. 3D Computer Graphics: VRML
  3. Interactive Systems
  4. Architecture of Window Systems (Java AWT, Swing)
  5. Design for all and its application for the web
  6. XForms

Course Overview

Graphical User Interfaces

The user interface easily makes up 50% of all software development. Analysing the user's task is mandatory before design and implementation may start. However, a functionally correct application may even be evaluated unfortunate by humans. The objective of this lecture is to show the characteristics of good user interfaces, and emphasize ergonomic principles. As a practical example, web sites will be studied.

3D Computer Graphics

Virtual Reality Systems use 3D as well as internet-based multimedia systems. This part of the lecture introduces Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML) as one high-level language to develop 3D graphics. Several examples will be worked out in detail, in order to make use of VRML's modelling and interactive capabilities.

Interactive Systems

Interactive Systems may follow many different styles. A characterisation of direct manipulation, command languages, menu-based systems, and other styles is given.

Windows Systems

Implementing interactive elements in graphical user interfaces is requiring good design and good knowledge of existing and available interactive elements. Through practical examples, the Java classes are demonstrated. This allows to develop one's own interactive elements. More multimedia interaction is presented in the lectures Authoring Systems and Multimedia User Interfaces.

Design for All

Design for all asks to evaluate interactive systems with heterogeneous user groups. Disabled and elderly people are users with special needs. Some require for example sign-language, or synthetic speech in order to make an interactive system accessible. This part of the course reviews some of the user-requirements and introduces some assistive aids supported by the web.


XForms are a novel XML-based approach to write user interfaces for browsers. Unlike HTML forms, XForms can check user input at the client side, change their appearance dynamically, and thus avoid the incompatibility issues involved with Javascript.


Credits: 4+2 ECTS.

Exercises include evaluation of web sites, construction of a 3D world-manual, and by 3dsMax, animation of a 3D world-scene, development of a GUI in Java, and making a web site more accessible.

Software packages used: JBuilder, Internet Explorer with Cortona VRML plugin, VRML editor, Textpad, A-Prompt, Firefox, Opera, XForms plugin, 3dsMax, Accessible Web Publishing Wizard for Microsoft Office (Version 2.0, Microsoft .Net Framework), JAWS.

Examination: project and presentation.

Recommended Readings


  • Dix, A.; Finlay, J.; Abowd, G.; Beale, R.: Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction , Prentice Hall, 1998. 
  • Foley, van Dam, Feiner, Hughes: Computer Graphics, Principles and Practice , Addison-Wesley, 1990.
  • Nielsen, J: Usability Engineering , Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 1994.
  • Dubinko, M.: XForms Essentials , O'Reilly, 2003.
  • Raman, T.V.: XForms, XML Powered Web Forms , Addison Wesley Professional, 2003.


  • International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
  • Transactions on Multimedia


Conference Proceedings

copyright 2005 Human-Centered Interfaces Research Group. All rights reserved.
Last published: 2005-06-08 14:37:12