CSC8608 : Interaction / UX Design Methods

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 participatory and 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 in short team-based projects. 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 collaborative 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 (human-centred; participatory; co-creation; speculative; adversarial).
Working with interface guidelines and evaluating
Sketching interfaces and graphical interface design.
User research and design-led methods
Designing, facilitating and making sense of design workshops and activities (Making a plan; Gathering data; What to do with what you’ve got)
Using card-based activities in interviews and workshops (topic cards; questionable concepts; design games)
Using film in IxD (design documentaries; invisible design)
Performance for understanding interaction and experience (Roleplay; forum theatre; experience design theatre)
Documenting design processes (Developing and annotating a portfolio; Design workbooks; reflection on practice).

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion146:0046:00Development of online portfolios using Adobe (or GIMP). Tutors to provide asynchronous feedback.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading82:0016:00Reading preparation with papers available on CANVAS with structured questions.
Guided Independent StudySkills practice100:305:00Practical making methods & skills using Adobe Creative Suite.
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity80:304:00Written & video resources to facilitate structured reflection. Asynchronous commentary via blog.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:306:00PiP or via Zoom, asynchronous alternative via email or Teams.
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity91:009:00Using Miro to facilitate creative collaboration and visual thinking. To be asynchronous
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time100:305:00Video lectures on CANVAS & synchronous seminar discussion available asynchronously.
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion91:009:00Blogs and Teams to facilitate asynchronous discussions on workshop materials.
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 a key skills in 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 digital skills are developed in workshops within the small group teaching sessions, as needed, through the module, to scaffold the students’ experience.

Students will work collaboratively on a coursework design project – during the module – in small groups. 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

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj1M50Design portfolio responding to a brief – including team and individual components
Prof skill assessmnt1M50Group presentation of creative project.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment will involve working to address a live design brief as part of a small design collective. In interdisciplinary groups students will develop a 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 group portfolio submission in the form of an annotated design workbook, which illustrates their developing group ideas – this allows students to demonstrate collaborative working, alongside their technical skills in design production and documentation. This is supplemented by an individual (1000 word max) reflective commentary on the design work within the portfolio, which 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 group work including their user research, rationalisation for methods and final ideas. Group work including presentation and individual portfolios are each weighted at 50% of the total module mark respectively.

Reading Lists