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Unit information: In The Wild: Understanding your users in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name In The Wild: Understanding your users
Unit code INOVM0006
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Cater
Open unit status Not open




School/department Centre for Innovation
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Whether it is new software, wearable device for monitoring your health, solar battery for developing countries, refrigerator or service to improve neighbourhood recycling, your users will expect your product or service to meet their needs and be easy to use. This unit will equip students with a toolkit of user research methods, and give them practical experience in conducting them, in order for them to understand their target users better and test their creative ideas “in the wild”. It aims to give students an understanding of important market place advantage and prevent them from wasting time, money and effort in designing the wrong product or solution. We will explore how and where to conduct user research through a variety of different methodologies, look at how others have produced theories to fit behavioural observations, recognise factors that limit the use of user research methods, and how to carry out analysis of data captured from user research.

This unit will require the students to explore a new product or service concept in the wild with real world users to test the market with an idea. Students will define target audiences clearly, carry out a range of appropriate user research methodologies and understand how to refine their ideas based on the results from user research.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:
1) Identify, plan, and conduct a variety of appropriate user research methods– this could include surveys, focus groups, interviews, ethnographic and observational studies.
2) Carry out ethical user research with minimal bias.
3) Capture, analyse the quantitative and qualitative results achieved through user research.
4) Draw appropriate conclusions from the findings to inform ideas, future designs, prototypes etc.
5) Reflect critically on their group work and on the process of user research.

Teaching details

Lectures, workshops and studio based learning.

Assessment Details

100% coursework

Primary User Research Portfolio: Through the teaching block students will be required to present at key milestones in their project their strategy for ethical approval, user engagement, conducting a variety of user research methods and report on their analysis. Students will be assessed on their ability to design, carry out and analyse data ethically from appropriate user research so as to gain clear feedback on how to refine and develop ideas further. For each primary user research method undertaken students will be expected to reflect on their process. ILO 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Reading and References

  • Research Design, Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches, J.W Creswell & J.D. Creswell, Sage Publishing, 978-1506386768
  • How to Design and Report Experiments, A. Field & G. Hole, Sage Publishing, 978-0761973836
  • The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback, Dan Olsen, 978-1118960875, 2015