Skip to main content

Unit information: In The Wild: Understanding your users in 2017/18

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, mobile phone, wearable device for monitoring your health, solar battery for developing countries, refrigerator or service to improve neighbourhood recycling, the user community will expect your product or service to be easy to use. This unit will equip students with a toolkit of methods in order to test their 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, conduct the tests and evaluate the results. 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 a prototype or proof of concept in the wild with real world users to truly test the market with an idea. Students will define their target audiences clearly, and refine a prototype or proof of concept of a product or service through user testing.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:
1) Identify appropriate usability testing methodologies and plan user trials using appropriate means – this could include surveys, focus groups, interviews, ethnographic and observational study, as well as quantitative use of metric 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 prototypes or proof of concepts through an iterative and agile process with real world user trials.
● 60% User Trial Presentations: Throughout the teaching block 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 their innovation challenge brief so as to gain clear feedback on how to develop for the next iteration.
o ILO 1, 2, 3 & 4
● 40% - A single overall individual reflective 1000 word critique on the process of user testing, trials and evaluation.
o 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