BDes (Hons) Interaction Design

Designing User Experiences

Rationale

This module looks beyond the technical ‘how’ of interaction design and explores questions relating to ‘why’. Starting with users and their needs, the module investigates the experiential aspects and emotional perception of the things we create as designers, drawing from the work of Don Norman, Jakob Nielsen, Bruce Tognazzini and other human computer interaction (HCI) experts.

User Experience (UX) is defined as, “A person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service.” (ISO 9241-210). This module is focused on working with real people and seeking their input in the design process. In short, rather than designing in isolation, it aims to get to students to the heart of what the problem really is (rather than their perception of what it is).

Students are introduced to: user personas, based upon user research and structured interviews; wireflows, routes through a site or product; storyboards, helping to illustrate user journeys and troubleshoot potential problems; wireframes, low level representations of interfaces; and usability testing, ensuring that their designs and their intended outcomes are tested against set criteria.

Using a carefully considered approach, we put people at the heart of the design process, ensuring that students understand the importance of designing for real people with real needs.

Aims

The essential aims of this module are:

  • To introduce core concepts of user experience as a discipline.
  • To introduce students to the importance of user research and gathering information through structured interviews and other means.
  • To introduce students to the concept of user personas, and explore how these shape and alter the design process.
  • To create a body of work investigating the emotional responses of the viewer to differing prototypes.
  • To explore the viewpoints of different works from the perspective of varying users.
  • To emphasise the importance of an iterative design process based on usability testing and user feedback.

Content

This module introduces students to the importance of placing users at the heart of the design process. Through a series of practical, hands-on workshops, students are introduced to the importance of developing a user-centred approach to design.

Students are introduced to the importance of conducting user research through structured interviews and encouraged to consider usability testing at every stage of an iterative design process. The module covers paper-based exercises (wireflows, storyboards, wireframes) in addition to screen-based exercises (functional prototypes, usability tests, A/B tests) to ensure students appreciate the complexity of designing great user experiences.

Indicative lecture content includes:

  • An Introduction to User Experience
  • The Emotional Design of Everyday Things
  • Sketching User Experiences
  • Designing With the User in Mind
  • Considering User’s Motivations and Feelings
  • Usability Testing
  • How Context Alters Use
  • Delighters, Momentary Emotions
  • Experiences That Linger in the Memory

Reading List

Required

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Module details

  • Code: IXD303
  • Year: 2
  • Semester: 2
  • Credits: 40
  • Delivery: Lectures, Seminars, Workshops and Self-Directed Study
  • Co-requisites: Narrative and Storytelling
  • GitHub Repo