User interface design for content-based image retrieval systems is proving to be a fruitful area of research. However, a number of design issues need to be addressed. The major problem lies in the need to provide users with high-quality interfaces for query formulation and display of results. This paper describes the background and intentions of a new Department of Education and Employment (DfEE) Information Science Research project. The project aims to investigate the design and development issues of a user interface for a content-based image retrieval system. The following areas are discussed: the background, the research problem, the aims and objectives, and the methodology.