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CSC8608 : Interaction / UX Design Methods

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Abi Durrant
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


In this module, students will be provided with a foundational knowledge and practical expertise in undertaking collaborative design activities with users and stakeholders alongside developing their own user interface design skills. This module will support students in developing a critically reflective and collaborative design practice, working together in groups to explore and apply specific design methods. As well as developing these practical skills, this module will support students in documenting applied research and design processes as they develop over time, and develop skills in design criticism through tutor-mediated critique.

The aims of this module are:

1. To provide students with a working knowledge of interaction design and user experience principles including an end-to-end interaction design process.
2. To introduce students to various interaction design approaches including human-centred, participatory and co-design techniques.
3. To enable students to differentiate between approaches for involving users in design from ideation, prioritisation, and methods of testing to evaluating designs with users.
4. To provide students with practical and conceptual design skills in applying different design methods to progress, communicate, and document an IXD project from start to completion.
5. To enable students to apply design methods individually and in teams in a design-led project.
6. To introduce students to prototyping techniques for developing and evaluating interactive technologies using appropriate tools and software.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction to interaction design methods e.g. human-centred co-creation, speculative, adversarial design approaches.
Responding to user research using design-led methods.
Designing, facilitating and making sense of design activities.
Using card-based activities fro team work and designing with users
Using video in IxD for documenting design decisions.
Understanding interaction and experience through performative and embodied methods.
Working with interface guidelines and evaluation.
Sketching interfaces and graphical interface design.
Documenting design processes and developing design portfolios.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00Lectures delivered face-to-face and online. Recordings available asynchronously.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion146:0046:00Development of portfolios and creative project.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading51:005:00Reading preparation with papers available on CANVAS with structured questions.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical100:305:00Practical application of design methods & skills with feedback.
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity41:004:00Written & video resources to facilitate structured reflection.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery62:0012:00PiP or via Zoom, asynchronous alternative via email or Teams.
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity91:009:00Facilitated creative collaboration & visual thinking, asynchronous (synchronous where possible)
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion91:009:00Asynchronous online discussions on group project planning
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module is delivered through a series of small group teaching sessions using synchronous structured sessions also available as asynchronous video and scaffolded guided online content. The teaching sessions flexibly combine elements of lecture, reading group/discussion and practical class – for instruction in applied design methods. During the course of the module students are introduced to key areas of interaction design and techniques within it to develop key skills in an end-to-end interaction design processes. The module covers key industry standard interaction design methods based on human-centred principles to support professional skills, while further developing working knowledge of alternative critical methods for design. This is supported with critical readings from research literature, which will help to deepen understanding of how design approaches and techniques work, and their various strengths and weaknesses in various contexts. An emphasis is placed, on approaches that foreground future-oriented principles, particularly around participatory and co-design techniques. Students are given structured exposure to different design approaches throughout the module and are given practical experience in applying the techniques. Technical skills are developed in workshops within the small group teaching sessions, as needed, through the module, to scaffold the students’ experience.

Students will work on a design project. The problems that they will address in this project will give them real-world exposure to design challenges and interdisciplinary, collaborative working, and will give them the opportunity to explore the practical application of methods they are learning about to real-world design problems. Sessions will be delivered using a combination of blended learning tools to enable synchronous and asynchronous, structured and guided learning.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj1M100Design portfolio responding to a brief – including team and individual components
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Examination1MGroup presentation of group project progress .
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment will involve working to address a design brief. Students will develop their own design response to the brief, engaging in regular design crits as the module progresses and as their developing work is evaluated in class. Coursework consists of a portfolio submission in the form of an annotated design workbook, which illustrates their developing ideas – this allows students to demonstrate their communication skills alongside their technical skills in design production and documentation. As part of the portfolio submission an individual (1000 word max) reflective commentary on the design work also allows students to critically reflect on their own skills development and their rationalisation of design choices made in co-design settings. Students will also deliver an oral presentation of their work including their user research, rationalisation for methods and final ideas. Portfolio is worth 100% of the module mark. A piece of formative assessment involves an oral presentation of group progress towards the portfolio development.

Reading Lists