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User Research for Interaction Design, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Användarforskning för interaktionsdesign

This syllabus is valid: 2018-01-01 and until further notice

Course code: 2IN112

Credit points: 15

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Informatics: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Department of Informatics

Established by: Head of Department of Informatics, 2015-02-20

Revised by: Head of Department of Informatics, 2017-09-08


The course introduces the students to user research concepts, methods and techniques, applied in interaction design throughout the whole interaction design lifecycle, from data collection to evaluation. The course addresses theoretical and methodological issues related to design and evaluation, with a special focus on concepts and frameworks employed in the analysis of the relationship between needs and experience of users. Methods and techniques supporting the understanding of specific user and usage contexts, as well as the development of design concepts for future user needs, are analyzed, and concrete examples of such methods and techniques are discussed within the course.

Expected learning outcomes

Regarding knowledge and understanding, students will be able to:
1. Describe and explain user research concepts and techniques currently employed in the field of interaction design.

Regaring proficiency and aptitude, students will be able to:
2. Constructively and independently plan the development of interaction design concepts based on analysis and understanding of users and their practices.
3. Demonstrate the ability to independently carry out evaluation of interactive system prototypes using appropriate methods.
4. Present and discuss the results of their work in writing, as well as orally.

Regaring ability to assess and approach, students will be able to:
5. Select appropriate methods for evaluating concrete interactive artifacts, and motivate the choice of methods both empirically and theoretically.
6. Make an assessment, based on relevant interaction design concepts as well as ethical and societal considerations, of possible effects of new technologies on people, their practices and experiences.

Required Knowledge

Prerequisites for the course are 90 ECTS in one of the following subjects; Informatics, Information Science, Computer Science, Cognitive Science or Informatics with focus on digital media production, or equivalent studies.

Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English A/5 (IELTS (Academic) with a minimum overall score of 5.5 and no individual score below 5.0. TOEFL PBT (Paper-based Test) with a minimum total score of 530 and a minimum TWE score of 4. TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test) with a minimum total score of 72 and a minimum score of 17 on the Writing Section).

Where the language of instruction is Swedish, applicants must prove proficiency in Swedish to the level required for basic eligibility for higher studies.

Form of instruction

Teaching is given mainly in the form of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials in connection with self-instruction and when performing obligatory computer laboratory assignments or other assignments. Some parts of the course can require obligatory attendance. Teaching can be done in English. All necessary computer applications to be used by the students on their own are introduced and maintained during the course. Some assistance is provided when using these applications. Good knowledge in performing written presentations and the English language are important in order to be able to complete the course. During the course the student will have round the clock access to several of the departments computer laboratories, except when these have been booked for other courses.

Examination modes

Examination is given in the form of both individual assignments, group assignments and seminars. Final grades are pass with distinction, pass or fail. For students who fail the first exam a second exam is normally given soon afterwards. Students who do not pass the exam after these two attempts have the possibility to take the exam three more times when the exam is given. To be able to do so requires that the student be registered for the course during the term the exam is given. Additional attempts to take the exam require permission of the director of studies or the student counselor.

A student who has failed twice on a course, or part of a course, is entitled to have another examiner, unless there are special reasons against it. Requests for new examiners are made to the director of studies.

If special reasons exist, the examiner has the right to decide on another examination form.

Transfer of credits
An application for credit transfer of previous studies can be sent to Student Services/Degree Evaluation Office, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå.


Valid from: 2018 week 1

Gaver, B., Danne, T., & Pacenti, E.
Design: Cultural probes.
Interactions 6 (1), Jan./Feb., 21-29. : 1999 :

Iacucci, G., Kuutti, K., & Ranta, M.
On the move with a magic thing: Role playing in concept design of mobile services and devices.
Proceedings of the 3rd conference on Designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques, 193-202, ACM. : 2000 :

Greenberg, S. & Buxton, B.
Usability evaluation considered harmful (some of the time).
Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 111-120, ACM. : 2008 :

Lee, M. K. & Takayama, L.
"Now, I have a body": uses and social norms for mobile remote presence in the workplace.
Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 33-42, ACM. : 2011 :

Odom, W. et al
A fieldwork of the future with user enactments.
Proceedings of the Designing Interactive Systems Conference, 338-347, ACM. : 2012 :

Additional reading assignments may include journal articles and conference papers, which will be provided to the students during the course.