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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Postgraduate Course: Fundamentals of User Experience Design (DESI11198)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAs a process, User Experience Design (UX design) combines elements of research, design, and psychology, and allows users to navigate through digital interfaces with ease. This course engages you in fundamental UX design principles and skills. It addresses the importance of usability and user experience within the design of digital user interfaces and their UX requirements. Combining theory with practice, you gain experience and support through the stages of the design process, including user research, wireframing, prototyping, UI design, and final product delivery.
Course description This course guides you through UX-specific competencies such as design thinking, UX research, information architecture, sketching and wireframing, prototyping and testing, and user interface design. You learn to identify user needs and behaviours and integrate this knowledge into your design ideas. Your work focuses on designing wireframes, building, and testing prototypes and workable digital interfaces, whilst incorporating usability and UX design principles. UX design documentation and its contents are also considered.

The learning activities are focused on the application of the skills and knowledge required for the course project. Through live and recorded lectures, you actively engage with their content via group conversation and reflection. Other interactive sessions include facilitated synchronous discussions and collaborative information sharing. Critical thinking activities may include responses to assigned short text or digital story development. Production activities may include items related to components of usability, UX and UI design, which will prepare you for the course assignment.

You are supported with lectures, tutorials, practical workshops, as well as talks by guests from the design industry. More specifically, the course is taught via weekly 2-hour lectures, and four 3-hour tutorial sessions spread evenly throughout the semester. In addition, two workshop sessions are provided focusing on specific submission requirements: one at the start of the semester and one prior to the second submission.

In the first part of the semester, the lecture content and tutorials are aimed at the initial stages of the UX process, such as UX research, information architecture, sketching, wireframing, and prototyping. In the second part of the semester, the lecture content and activities are focused on integrating this knowledge further in designing and deploying digital user interfaces.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 18/09/2023
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 10, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 150 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course has two assessment components:

1. Assessment one: project prototype, project documentation and reflective report of 800 - 900 words (40% of the total mark)
2. Assessment two: completed project, project documentation and reflective report of 800 - 900 words (60% of the total mark)

The first stage of the project will consist of designing a high-fidelity prototype of a digital user interface, accompanied by UX documentation, capturing the key steps in the UX and UI design process, and a reflective report. The second stage of the project will consist of the completed digital user interface, accompanied by UX and UI documentation, and a reflective report.

Indicative weeks of assessment are as follows: assessment one is due in Week 6, and assessment two is due in Week 11.
Feedback Formative Feedback

Ahead of the summative submission, your course tutors will offer you verbal formative feedback during the tutorial sessions. The formative feedback will help you recognise what areas to improve and any knowledge gaps you need to cover in order to meet the requirements of the summative assessment. Formative feedback is delivered during the four 3-hour tutorial sessions in a verbal format. The feedback provided during the first two tutorial sessions relates to work made in preparation for component 1 of the submission. The formative feedback provided in the third and fourth tutorial sessions relates to the progress made towards component 2 of the submission.

Summative Feedback

As per University regulations, the summative feedback will be provided in written form via Learn, the University of Edinburgh's Virtual Learning Environment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge and in-depth understanding of the fundamental principles of usability and UX design.
  2. Employ a range of tools to research, prototype and develop a digital interface project using key UX and UI approaches.
  3. Articulate and evaluate in writing the phases of the project research, development, and testing, using appropriate academic protocols.
Reading List
Gothelf, J. (2021). Lean UX: creating great products with agile teams. O'Reilly Media.

Hartson, H. R., & Pyla, P. S. (2019). The UX book: agile UX design for a quality user experience (Second). Morgan Kaufmann.

Krug, S. (2014). Don't make me think, revisited: a common sense approach to Web usability. New Riders.

Norman, D. (2013). The design of everyday things. MIT Press.

Stopher, B., Fass, J., et al. (2021). Design and Digital Interfaces: Designing with Aesthetic and Ethical Awareness. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Tidwell, J., Brewer, C., & Valencia-Brooks, A. (2020). Designing Interfaces, 3e: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design. O'Reilly Media.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills As a result of completing this course, you would have developed critical knowledge base in the field of usability and UX design, as well as practical skills in designing and developing digital interfaces. You would have explored a range of research techniques and tools and developed an understanding of current and emerging trends in the field.

In terms of practice and applied knowledge, you will become skilled in planning and executing the different stages of the design process, such as design thinking, UX research, information architecture, sketching and wireframing, prototyping and testing, and user interface design. In terms of cognitive skills, you will develop communication and organisational skills through the course activities and be encouraged to be a creative problem solver.

KeywordsUX design,UX research,UI design
Course organiserDr Denitsa Petrova
Course secretaryMiss Linsey McEwan
Tel: (01316) 515448
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