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Principles & Methods of User Research

Principles & Methods of User Research

Introduces the principles and methods of user research for design.

Objective & Outcomes

This course will introduce the principles and methods of user research by drawing on the fields of anthropology and design as well as the intersection between these fields. This course will also engage with emerging social theories about the nature of human experience and notions of the “user” that are transforming the field of design including: the nonhuman (machine and animal users), users as participants, non-users and multiple subjectivities.

Upon completion of the course, students will be broadly conversant in techniques of user research, able to describe the role of user research in different phases of the design process, and identify appropriate user research techniques suited to their design goals. Students will understand best practices and demonstrate how to integrate user research techniques to inform an effective, goal-driven user research study design.  

Typical Schedule

  • Session 1: Introduction
  • Session 2: Ethnographic Techniques
  • Session 3: Interviews & Focus Groups
  • Session 4: Contextual Inquiry
  • Session 5: Projectives & Card Sorting
  • Session 6: Experience Sampling & Remote Research
  • Session 7: Surveys
  • Session 8: Usability Testing
  • Session 9: Research Design
  • Session 10: Data Analysis & Translation
  • Session 11: Synthesis
  • Session 12: Co-Design
  • Session 13: Nonhuman Users & Non-Users
  • Session 14: Final Presentations