Study Guide 2015-2016

TIE-41406 Human-Centered Design Project, 5 cr

Additional information

Suitable for postgraduate studies

Person responsible

Thomas Olsson


Implementation 1: TIE-41406 2015-01

Study type P1 P2 P3 P4 Summer

 2 h/week
 1 h/week
 5 h/week
+2 h/week
+1 h/week
+5 h/week



Lecture times and places: Thursday 9 - 12 TC171

Learning Outcomes

After this course the student is able to conduct a human-centered research and design process, especially according to the "Contextual Design" framework. One can apply the methods in different types of product development processes and their phases. One can explain the general benefits, challenges and practical significance of human-centered design. One has enough experience on the human-centered research and design methodology to be able to take a responsibility of a small design project. The student can model and consolidate different types of user research data from various sources, and identify the most relevant user-related aspects that affect the design. One is able to give examples of good principles of group working and explain the benefits and principles of idea creation techniques, as well as to use this knowledge in practical design work.


Content Core content Complementary knowledge Specialist knowledge
1. Contextual Design (CD) as a holistic R&D methodology for interactive technology: both in theory and practice.  Applying CD and Rapid CD to various types of projects.  How to apply the user-centric design process (ISO 13407) and its different phases meaningfully in different types of projects.  
2. Contextual Inquiry: user research in authentic contexts. Techniques for gathering user research data with observation, interviewing and by gathering relevant artifacts that relate to the user activities. Understanding of how to gather relevant user data in different types of cases. Interpreting the data. Modeling the user, context and task according to the notations and principles in CD. Consolidating the models (Interaction model, sequence model, artifact model, physical model and cultural model). Building an affinity diagram.  Selecting the most suitable modeling notations and analysis methods based on the studied context and goals of the project.   
3. Specifying and designing a product/service based on the user research: how to make design decisions based on the understanding of the user. Methods like Affinity diagram walkthrough, visioning and storyboarding, Personas, UED-modeling.  Theory about idea creation techniques and working in groups, and how to apply this knowledge in design processes.   
4. Interaction design, interface design and prototyping: paper prototypes, UI mock-ups, wireframes. Advanced principles of UI design and graphical design.  Knowledge of other relevant design roles and approaches, such as graphical design, experience-driven design, information architecture. Understanding of what is expected of a UX designer in the industry, particularly in software industry.   

Instructions for students on how to achieve the learning outcomes

The grade is based on both the practical assignment and a personal essay. Attending ~50% of the weekly teaching sessions is compulsory. The more sessions one attends, the more it shows in the final grading.

Assessment scale:

Numerical evaluation scale (1-5) will be used on the course

Partial passing:

Completion parts must belong to the same implementation

Study material

Type Name Author ISBN URL Additional information Examination material
Book   Contextual Design. Defining Customer Systems   Beyer, Holtzblatt       Not compulsory but recommended   No   
Book   Rapid Contextual Design: A How-to Guide to Key Techniques for User-Centered Design   Holtzblatt, Wendell, Wood       Not compulsory but recommended   No   


Course Mandatory/Advisable Description
TIE-40106 Psychology of Pervasive Computing Mandatory    
TIE-41206 Human-Centered Product Development Advisable    

Additional information about prerequisites
In addition, a compulsory prerequisite is the course "Methods of Usability Engineering" (provided by University of Tampere) or similar skills about conducting user research. A Master's level or postgraduate student who has taken a Bachelor's degree elsewhere should have theoretical knowledge and preferably also practical skills of the following: user-centered design as a process, user research in general, usability testing, interviewing, user interface design, usability engineering.

Correspondence of content

Course Corresponds course  Description 
TIE-41406 Human-Centered Design Project, 5 cr IHTE-3306 User-Centered Design Project, 4 cr  
TIE-41406 Human-Centered Design Project, 5 cr IHTE-3300 User Centred Design Project, 4 cr  

Last modified 26.02.2015