Professional Use

Project 1

10-week project, Fall semester, Year 1

The aim of this project is for the students to gain experience of the process of designing a complex product or system where both cognitive and physiological aspects are involved. Emphasis is this project is give to user observation, interviews, activity studies and task analysis as methods for understanding and representing user behavior on a human-computer interaction level.

The first major project in the Master Programme in Interaction Design at Umeå Institute of Design focuses on professional users who are defined as those having expert knowledge and experience in using a product or system.

Understanding and designing for professional users is often characterized by demanding
circumstances. Firstly, the designer often lacks first-hand user knowledge and experience. Secondly, professional products are typically used in situations where issues of safety, efficiency and productivity are dominant and can strongly influence the user behavior. Finally, the user and the owner my be different persons with dissimilar demands and sometimes conflicting product requirements.

Specific methods need to be employed if the designer is to obtain information rapidly and ensure a good understanding of user needs. Actively involving end-users in design work is regarded as an important feature of all projects and emphasis is placed on user involvement in early prototype evaluation.

This project is carried out in collaboration with industrial partners, and emphasizes integration of hardware and software solutions in the final design of the product. Tutoring by professional designers and experts are given at frequent intervals throughout the project.

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