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Introduction to Observing Users

Introduction to Observing Users

Introduces the theory and methods of behavioral observation, description, and analysis.

Objective & Outcomes

This class will introduce students to the theory and methods of behavioral observation, description, and analysis. Students will use a variety of techniques derived from cultural anthropology, sociology, and behavioral psychology to develop useful, powerful approaches to gaining insight into solving modern design and business problems. Readings and theory are integrated with observational fieldwork exercises to provide rich learning experiences both in and outside the classroom.

Students of Observing Users will demonstrate new skills for planning and executing field research activities ranging from behavioral observation to interviewing. They will be able to understand the outcomes of other people’s research and the kinds of implications that can be drawn from different approaches to user and design research.

Typical Schedule

  • Session 1: Introductions & Basic Theoretical Tools
  • Session 2: Field Observation Toolkit
  • Session 3: Observe & Document a Single Environment
  • Session 4: Observe & Document the Social Life of an Object
  • Session 5: Observe & Document the Social Behavior of an Individual
  • Session 6: Observe & Document Body Language & Facial Expressions
  • Session 7: Learning About a Person Three Ways
  • Session 8: Observe & Document a Complete Experience
  • Session 9: Develop Research Project Protocol
  • Session 10: Conduct a Small Design Research Project
  • Session 11: Final Presentation