User Interfaces, Soren Lauesen Home

Book: User interface design - a software engineering perspective - the Virtual Windows method

(Soren Lauesen, Addison-Wesley, 2005, 604 pages)Download sample (pdf)

Cover of User Interface DesignHow do you make a good user interface - easy to learn and efficient to use? Usability testing is important, but how do you correct the usability defects? Some are easy to deal with, but in practice many usability defects require major redesign. So making a good first design is crucial. This book shows you how:

Mini-course in the Virtual Windows method (Updated 28-02-2009)Download (pps)Download (ppt)
If you want a quick view of how the Virtual Window method works, download the PowerPoint show. Warning: You have to see the slides in presentation mode. Click your way through each slide to see the story. The slides will take you step-by-step through a design example. Depending on your browser and operating system, you should either click the pps (presentation mode) or the ppt (once open, switch to presentation mode). Or you may have to right-click the link and save the target somewhere on your local disk. Then open it from there. (Sorry for the mess.)

PowerPoint slides (Updated 12-12-2017)Download (zip+pptx)
Contains all the figures from the book. Most of them have some animation. There is one file for each chapter, plus several new slides for Chapter 3 (see additions below).

Pearson Education retains the copyright to the slides, but allows restricted copying for teaching purposes. It is a condition that the source and copyright notice is preserved on all the material. This means that you can show the slides, of course, but also modify the slides and make hand-out copies for teaching purposes, as long as you state the source and copyright notice.

Teacher material Download (doc) Download (pdf)
A suggested course plan (curriculum) for a 12-week course in user interface design. The book contains several training projects and exam questions. Additional training projects and solutions for some of the exercises are available for teachers. Since these exercises are mandatory on some courses around the world, we make sure the solutions are not available on-line. If you are a teacher, contact the author at

Additions and misprintsAdditions (pdf) Misprints 2007 (pdf) Misprints 2005 (pdf)
The addition to the book is five new sections for Chapter 3. They explain the typical patterns for showing data from an E/R model, for instance as form-subform, table with detail window, etc.

The gestalt law of parallel movementDownload (pptx)
This file illustrates the gestalt law of parallel movement: Things that move in parallel are perceived as belonging together. You will see a shape (gestalt) moving. As soon as it stops, it disappears. How? (The book illustrates many other gestalt laws, but cannot illustrate this one.)

Microsoft-Access Tutorial

(Soren Lauesen, free download, version 2.4b, July 2011, 154 pages)Download (pdf)

This book teaches you how to construct graphical user interfaces with advanced functionality. It covers database creation; user interfaces with windows, menus, etc.; database queries; and advanced user interfaces with Visual Basic. If you want a printed version, print on both sides of A4 paper so that text and figure oppose correctly. The figures from the tutorial are available as Access PowerPoint slides. The July 2011 version has a few minor changes, explained on page 2 of the document.

There is also a free Visual Basic Reference card (version 2007). Download the file and print it in colors on both sides of an A4 sheet, landscape mode. Fold it along the middle.

Hotel systemUser mode (mdb)Design mode (mdb)
Some readers of the Access tutorial have asked for a demo version of the hotel system. I have made the first functional prototype available (for Access 2000 and 2003). Right-click the links and save the targets somewhere on your local disk. Then open it from there. As a typical prototype, it has many clumsy solutions. After making the prototype, I experimented with Access to find the clean solutions explained in the Access tutorial.

Soren Lauesen retains the copyright, but allows restricted copying for non-profit distribution. It is a condition that the source and copyright notice are preserved on all the material.

User interface papers

2014: Soren Lauesen and Mimi Pave Musgrove: Heuristic Evaluation of User Interfaces versus Usability Testing. Chapter 14 of User Interface Design - A Software Engineering Perspective, Addison-Wesley 2005, reprint 2007.

2003: Soren Lauesen: Task Descriptions as Functional Requirements. IEEE Software 2003, March/April, pp. 58-65. This paper is the first scientific presentation of the task concept, which we invented around 1997.

2001: Soren Lauesen & Morten Borup Harning: Virtual Windows: Linking User Tasks, Datamodels, and Interface Design. IEEE Software 2001, July/August, pp. 67-75. This paper is the first journal presentation of the Virtual Window method, which we invented around 1994.

1998: Soren Lauesen & Houman Younessi: Six styles for usability requirements. In: Eric Dubois, Andreas L. Opdahl, Klaus Pohl (eds.): Proceedings of the Fourth International Workshop on Requirements Engineering: Foundations of Software Quality REFSQ’98, Presses Universitaires de Namur, pp. 155-166.

1998: Soren Lauesen: Usability requirements in a tender process. In: Paul Calder & Bruce Thomas (eds.): OZCHI’98 Conference Proceedings, IEEE Computer Society, pp. 114-121.

1997: Soren Lauesen: Usability engineering in industrial practice. In Howard et al. (eds.): Human-Computer Interaction, Interact'97, Chapman & Hall, pp. 15-22.