At least 15 credits in the main field of Interaction Design.
The course can normally be included as part of a general degree at undergraduate level.
‘Setting the problem’ is an essential aspect of design practice. Without a good problem drawn from insights into life experience and practices of the people being designed for there is a risk of irrelevant and superficial design work. Setting the problem thus helps create real opportunities for design. In professional interaction design practice, this activity is often referred to as ‘user research’.
The course features practical research work and analysis, workshops and methodological and theoretical lectures building on earlier encounters from the first semester. We introduce and engage with several different methods commonly encountered in professional practice. Our approach is a broadly ethnographic one, but is tailored to the particular demands that arise when ethnographic work is used to inform and inspire design work. Students will research a specific use practice and through analysis identify relevant problems and opportunities for design. We purposefully hold back from ideating and creating new concepts.
After completing the course students will be able to:
- Scope and plan a design research project at a basic level
- Select and apply appropriate methods for a situation being designed for
- Analyse user research findings and identifying problems and opportunities
- Present and argue research findings that are conducive for design work
- Reflect and critique methods in relation to insights, problems and opportunities for the design process.
When the above learning objectives are met in a satisfactory manner, a Pass (G) is given.
Instruction consists of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical research work.
The student will be examined individually in relation to a collaborative group project.
- Portfolio presentation of research findings and analysis activities in a manner designed to engage stakeholders (HP 2.5; LOs 1, 2 & 3)
- Written submission: In a scholarly text, students analyse, reflect and critique their work (HP 5; LOs 4 & 5)
The following texts are the primary literature of the course and will be made available to students.
- Blomberg, Jeanette, Mark Burrell, and Greg Guest. “An Ethnographic Approach to Design.” In The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook, edited by Julie A. Jacko and Andrew Sears, 964–986. Hillsdale, NJ, USA: L. Erlbaum Associates Inc., 2003.
- Gaver, Bill, Tony Dunne, and Elena Pacenti. “Design: cultural probes.” interactions 6, no. 1 (1999): 21-29.
- Randall, David, Richard Harper, and Mark Rouncefield. Fieldwork for Design. 1st ed. Springer London, 2007. Selected chapters will be provided.
- Rittel, Horst WJ, and Melvin M. Webber. “Dilemmas in a general theory of planning.” Policy sciences 4, no. 2 (1973): 155-169.
- Schön, Donald A. “Generative Metaphor - a Perspective on Problem-Setting in Social Policy.” In Metaphor and Thought, edited by Andrew Ortony, 2nd ed., 137–63. Cambridge University Press, 1993.
The University provides students who participate in or who have completed a course with the opportunity to make known their experiences and viewpoints with regards to the course by completing a course evaluation administered by the University. The University will compile and summarize the results of course evaluations as well as informing participants of the results and any decisions relating to measures initiated in response to the course evaluations. The results will be made available to the students (HF 1:14).
If a course is no longer offered or has undergone major changes, students will be offered two re-take sessions based on the syllabus in force at registration during a period of one year from the date of the implementation of the changes.