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Unit information: In the Wild in 2016/17

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Unit name In the Wild
Unit code INOVM0001
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Cater
Open unit status Not open

Transdisciplinary Group Project 1: Being Human

Design and Systems Thinking for Innovation


Transdisciplinary Group Project 4: Building a Demonstrator

School/department Centre for Innovation
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Whether it is new software, mobile phone, wearable device for monitoring your health, solar battery for developing countries, refrigerator or service to improve neighbourhood recycling, the customer will expect your product or service to be easy to use. This unit will equip students with a toolkit to test their digital and creative innovation for usability in the wild. It aims to give students an understanding of important market place advantage: to create products and services that perform the way users expect. Students will learn to recognise factors that limit usability, decide where and how testing should occur, set up a test plan to assess goals for their product or service usability, and more. We will explore how to study user behaviour through usability testing methodologies, and look at how others have produced theories to fit behavioural observations we will also cover tools and techniques for studying people as well as for analysis of the user testing data captured.

This unit will require the students to deploy their prototypes, proof of concepts and demonstrator in the wild with real world users to truly test the market of their products and services. The students will be expected to understand their target audiences clearly and through the user testing refine their products and services accordingly.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

1) Plan user trials using a variety and appropriate usability testing methodologies to gain user feedback – this could include surveys, focus groups, interviews, ethnographies and observations as well as quantitative metric use data.

2) Carry out ethical user trials with minimal bias.

3) Capture and analyse the quantitative and qualitative results.

4) Use the findings to inform future designs, prototypes etc.

5) Reflect critically on their group work and on the process of user trials.

Teaching details

Lectures, workshops and studio based learning.

Assessment Details

100% coursework:

Students will be required to deploy their prototypes, proof of concepts and final demonstrator created in the UNIVM000X Transdisciplinary Group Project 4: Building a Demonstrator through an iterative and agile process with real world user trials.

  • 60% User Trial Presentations: Throughout the two teaching blocks students will be required to present at key milestones in their project the group’s strategy for user testing and/or report on their findings from the last user testing. Groups will be assessed on their ability to design, carry out and analyse appropriate user testing for the current implementation stage of the project so as to gain clear feedback on how to develop for the next iteration. ILO 1, 2, 3 & 4
  • 40% - A single overall individual reflective 3000 word critique on the process of user trials ILO 1, 3, 4 & 5

Reading and References

  • Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests, Jared Spool, Jeffrey Rubin and Dana Chisnell, 978047018548, 2008
  • The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences, Matt Watkinson, 978-0273775089, 2012
  • The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback, Dan Olsen, 978-1118960875, 2015