Get Realistic! - UCD Course Design and Evaluation

  • Marta LarusdottirEmail author
  • Virpi Roto
  • Jan Stage
  • Andres Lucero
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11262)


There is an increasing demand for software, suitable for large segments of users with different needs and competences. User-Centred Design (UCD) methods have been used in the software industry and taught to software developers to meet the various needs of users. The field of UCD covers a broad set of topics that can be covered in a range of courses with various content. In this paper we describe the design of a two-week course focusing on teaching UCD methods to students with various backgrounds that are useful for the students in the future. The course schedule included lectures and workshop activities where the lecturers taught UCD topics and coached the students in developing skills for using the selected UCD methods during the course to design and evaluate an interactive system. Additionally, we describe two types of course evaluations that we conducted: qualitative weekly evaluations and a post-course survey.

The results show that students were in general positive about the course content and the combination of lectures and workshop activities. Hi-fi prototyping was the UCD method that the students rated as being most useful for the course and their future. They particularly liked how realistic these were for the users. The least useful method in the course and in the future was “Walking the Wall”, where students read an affinity diagram and make design suggestions. Finally, we suggest changes for a prospective course, based on the results of the evaluations.


User centred design course User centred design methods Computer science curricula Course design Course evaluation 


  1. 1.
    Bark, I., Følstad, A., Gulliksen, J., McEwan, T., Benyon, D.: Use and usefulness of HCI methods: results from an exploratory study among nordic HCI practitioners. In: McEwan, T., Gulliksen, J., Benyon, D. (eds.) People and Computers XIX - The Bigger Picture, pp. 201–217. Springer, London (2006).
  2. 2.
    Brooke, J.: SUS: a quick and dirty usability scale. In: Jordan, P.W., Thomas, B., Weerdmeester, B.A., McClelland, I.L. (eds.) Usability Evaluation in Industry, pp. 189–194. Taylor & Francis, London (1996)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bruun, A., Stage, J.: Training software development practitioners in usability testing: an assessment acceptance and prioritization. In: Proceedings of the 24th Australian Computer-Human Interaction Conference (OzCHI 2012), pp. 52–60. ACM, New York (2012)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bygstad, B., Ghinea, G., Brevik, E.: Software development methods and usability: Perspectives from a survey in the software industry in Norway. Interact. Comput. 20(3), 375–385 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Churchill, E.F., Bowser, A., Preece, J.: The future of HCI education: a flexible, global, living curriculum. Interactions 23(2), 70–73 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dayton, T.: Skills needed by user-centered design practitioners in real software development environments. In: Report on the CHI92 Workshop, SIGCHI Bulletin, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 16–31 (1993)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ezzy, D.: Qualitative Analysis: Practice and Innovation. Psychology Press, Hore (2002)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gulliksen, J., Boivie, I., Persson, J., Hektor, A., Herulf, L.: Making a difference: a survey of the usability profession in Sweden. In: Proceedings of NordiCHI 2004, Tampere, Finland, pp. 207–215 (2004)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gulliksen, J., Göransson, B., Boivie, I., Blomkvist, S., Persson, J., Cajander, Å.: Key principles for user-centred systems design. Behav. Inf. Technol. 22(6), 397–409 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hill, A.: Problem solving in real-life contexts: an alternative for design in technology education. Int. J. Technol. Des. Educ. 8, 203–220 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Holtzblatt, K., Wendell, J.B., Wood, S.: Rapid contextual design: a how-to guide to key techniques for user-centered design. Elsevier, San Francisco (2004)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Häkli, A.: Introducing user-centred design in a small-size software development organization. Master thesis, Helsinki University of Technology, Department of Computer Science and Engineering (2005)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Jia, Y., Larusdottir, M.K., Cajander, Å.: The usage of usability techniques in scrum projects. In: Winckler, M., Forbrig, P., Bernhaupt, R. (eds.) HCSE 2012. LNCS, vol. 7623, pp. 331–341. Springer, Heidelberg (2012). Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kaasinen, E., et al.: Defining user experience goals to guide the design of industrial systems. Behav. Inf. Technol. 34(10), 976–991 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kawakita, J.: The Original KJ Method. Kawakita Research Institute, Tokyo (1991)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Knapp, J., Zeratsky, J., Kowitz, B.: Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days. Simon and Schuster, New York (2016)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lazar, J.K., Barbosa, S.D.: Introduction to human-computer interaction. In: Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, p. C03. ACM (2018)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lucero, A.: Using affinity diagrams to evaluate interactive prototypes. In: Abascal, J., Barbosa, S., Fetter, M., Gross, T., Palanque, P., Winckler, M. (eds.) INTERACT 2015. LNCS, vol. 9297, pp. 231–248. Springer, Cham (2015). Scholar
  19. 19.
    Monahan, K., Lahteenmaki, M., Mcdonald, S., Cockton, G.: An investigation into the use of field methods in the design and evaluation of interactive systems. In: Proceedings of the 22nd British HCI Group Annual Conference, People and Computers, pp. 99–108 (2008)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Nielsen, J., Molich, R.: Heuristic evaluation of user interfaces. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 249–256. ACM (2016)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Norman, D.A., Draper, S.W. (eds.): User Centered System Design: New Perspectives on Human-Computer Interaction. Erlbaum, Hillsdale (1986)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Prior, S.: HCI methods for including adults with disabilities in the design of CHAMPION. In: CHI 2010 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA 2010), pp. 2891–2894. ACM, New York (2010)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Schwaber, K.: Scrum development process. In: OOPSLA 1995 Workshop on Business Object Design and Implementation (1995)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Venturi, T., Troost, J., Jokela, T.: People, organizations, and processes: an inquiry into the adoption of user-centered design in industry. Int. J. Hum. Comput. Interact. 21(2), 219–238 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Waller, A., Balandin, S.A., O’Mara, D.A., Judson, A.D.: Training AAC users in user-centred design. In Proceedings of the 2005 International Conference on Accessible Design in the Digital World (Accessible Design 2005). BCS Learning & Development (2005)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Nicholl, B., Hosking, I.M., Elton, E.M., Lee, Y., Bell, J., Clarkson, P.J.: Inclusive design in the key stage 3 classroom: an investigation of teachers’ understanding and implementation of user-centred design principles in design and technology. Int. J. Technol. Des. Educ. 23(4), 921–938 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta Larusdottir
    • 1
    Email author
  • Virpi Roto
    • 2
  • Jan Stage
    • 3
  • Andres Lucero
    • 2
  1. 1.Reykjavik UniversityReykjavikIceland
  2. 2.Alto UniversityAaltoFinland
  3. 3.Ålborg UniversityÅlborgDenmark

Personalised recommendations