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Project 2: General Product, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Projekt 2: Generell produkt

This syllabus is valid: 2020-05-11 and until further notice

Course code: 5ID079

Credit points: 15

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Industrial Design: Second cycle, has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: Two-grade scale

Responsible department: Umeå Institute of Design (UID)

Revised by: Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 2020-05-04


The overall aim is to provide students with practical experience in designing a product or a system that caters to a broad user group. The project provides a platform to explore techniques and methods in the context of design ethnography and participatory design. The project allows students to discover and think critically about design ethnography and participatory design through a combination of practical experience and the experience of others. Each project phase is supported by teachers, structured and unstructured activities and literature and is dependent on students' engagement and discovery. Students work in groups throughout the project and invited to establish a temporary working relationship with students from other relevant disciplines. The final results can include software-hardware products, services, or organisational frameworks depending on the results of the studies in design ethnography and participatory design. The results are presented in the form of visualisation of user observations, sketch models, interface views, reports and screen-based digital presentations. 
1. Design Ethnographic Methods, 5 credits  
2. Participation design and concept study, 5 credits 
3. Design development and presentation, 5 credits 
Module 1: Design Ethnographic Methods, 5 credits. 
Design Ethnography is dependent on the design of researchers participating in user context and the creation of representations that can be analysed together with other and can be made to influence the design process. This approach can be used to identify a group of people and explore the different perspectives of its members. At the same time, it tries to provide insights into the holistic and interconnected nature of social behaviours. Students receive an introduction to an ethnographic approach and its origin and current use in design research and design practice. Some of the detailed course components include field work, participant observation, field notes (writing and analysis ), video techniques, analysis and presentation. The goal of this phase is to develop knowledge about users and user context for future design solutions and to establish relationships with users, so that they can be involved in the next stages of the design project. 
Module 2: Participation design and concept study, 5 credits 
Tradition within Participation design places emphasis on design in direct collaboration with future users. During this phase, each student will arrange periodic participatory design sessions with their respective user groups to explore concepts using dummies, sketches, scenarios and collaboration technologies for prototype development. A video workshop will be held to introduce techniques for using video in the design process both for documentation and analysis. 
Module 3: Design Development and presentation, 5 credits 
Students will further refine and evaluate their designs. External practitioners give lectures and workshops that illustrate how ethnographic user research can be used to create innovative design solutions. Project results are presented in the form of visualization of user observations, sketch models, reports and screen-based digital presentations.

Expected learning outcomes

After completing the course students will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding 

  • Demonstrate experience in and knowledge of working with design ethnography and participatory design. 
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the historical roots and the differing approaches in design ethnography and participatory design. 

Competence and Skills 
Apply methods to design ethnography and participatory design in a practical design projects. 

  • Apply a full design process within a project that begins with the design ethnography and problem identification and ends with the final design proposal. 
  • Use video as a documentation and analysis tools. 
  • Use oral / visual project presentation techniques. 
  • Work in groups. 
  • Make documentation and written academic presentations. 

Judgement and Approach 

  • Reflect on the use of methods of design ethnography and participatory design in the design process. 

Required Knowledge

A Bachelor's degree or equivalent first-cycle qualification comprising of at least 180 ECTS or a corresponding qualification from an internationally recognized university. Specific entry requirements are: 60 ECTS in the field of Design. Student must have passed all previous master courses in the Interaction Design (IxD) program at Umeå Institute of Design or the equivalent. Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English B/6.

Form of instruction

The course consists of active student research, knowledge acquisition, lectures, group and individual project work. All course modules are compulsory.

Examination modes

Module 1: examined through oral, written and visual presentations of the methods and procedures applied in the project. Module 2 and module 3: examined through oral, written and visual presentations of project results. 
In order to receive a passing grade for the 15 credit course, students must have completed all course modules and tasks successfully. The grades given are either Pass (G) or fail (U) for each task and course module, as well as for the course as a whole.

For students in need of special pedagogical support due to disabilities, individual adaptation of examination forms should always be considered based on the student's needs. The examination form is adjusted within the framework of the course syllabus intended learning outcomes. The course coordinating teacher shall, upon request from the student, consult with the examiner to quickly decide on an adjusted form of examination. The decision shall then be conveyed to the student.

For students who have not obtained the grade Pass, other examination sessions will be arranged. A student who for two consecutive examinations for the same course or sub-course has not been passed, has the right to have another examiner appointed, if there are no special reasons against this (Higher Education Ordinance chapter 6, 22 §). The request for a new examiner shall be made in writing to the Head of Department at Umeå Institute of Design.

Students have the right to request that previous studies, or equivalent knowledge and skills acquired in a professional, work-related capacity, be validated and transferred into credits on an equivalent course or programme at Umeå University. Applications for credit transfer should be addressed to Student Services/Degree Evaluation Office. More information can be found at the Umeå University student web site (www.student.umu.se/english) and in Chapter 6 of the Higher Education Ordinance.  Appeals may be made to the Higher Education Appeals Board (ÖNH) against a decision by the university not to approve an application for credit transfer (Higher Education Ordinance, Chapter 12), even in cases where only a part of the application has been rejected.


Valid from: 2021 week 35

Course literature

Convivial toolbox : generative research for the front end of design / Elizabeth B.-N. Sanders and Pieter Jan Stappers
Sanders Elizabeth B.-N., Stappers Pieter Jan
5th printing : Amsterdam : BIS Publishers : 2012 : 310 s. :
ISBN: 9789063692841
Search the University Library catalogue