A Beginner's Guide to User Experience

Course started: Oct 19th, 2013
Enrollment closes: Feb 7th, 2014
Self-paced online course: Each week throughout the course you get access to a new lesson but you can move through the lessons at your own pace.
       
When enrolled, you will always have access to the course material, your answers and the discussions - also after the official end of the course.

Current course participants are from: Google, SAP, Carnegie Mellon, Microsoft, Stockholm University, Yahoo, and more

Practical information
Place: Online (optional physical meetings may take place in your city depending on its size)

Target group: See course description

Testimonials: What are other people saying about us?

Workload per week: Depends on your level of ambition: Between 1 and 7 hours.

 
 

Course content and goals

Though many factors impact on user experience, the greatest threat is the disconnection between system designers and the intended users.

'A Beginner's Guide to User Experience' aims to narrow this gap and put the user at the forefront of your mind. Equipped with an understanding of the user and their limitations, capabilities and quirks you will be able to avoid the common mistakes committed by your competitors and get one step ahead.

Within this course you will cover

  • Areas of study categorised under the umbrella of 'user experience'
  • The separately conceived, yet converging design principles established over the last four decades
  • Some of the psychology underlying these principles
  • Key concepts within the subject
  • A number of the cognitive processes underlying human-computer interaction
  • The role of visual perception in the viewing experience
  • Examples of good and bad design to help you avoid common mistakes
  • The importance of usability over aesthetics

By the end of the course you will

  • Have a clear understanding of how to design for your intended users
  • Be able to save yourself the effort of endless edits
  • Avoid the design bloopers afflicting your competitors' designs, and...
  • Ultimately be armed with the knowledge to design products that provide the best possible user experience

You will also take away some of the best resources currently available and a consolidated list of recommended reading materials, videos and useful links to relieve you of the task of trawling the internet searching for that vital piece of information.

Recommended background: What should you know?

Regardless of whether you are new to user experience or a seasoned professional, you will gain a great deal from taking this course. The lessons have been carefully prepared to ensure the learning curve is never too steep, whilst always providing you with the means to gain a deeper understanding of the terms, theories and issues being discussed. With our expert instructors providing support throughout the duration of the courses, and beyond, all participants will have the opportunity to share ideas, seek help with tests and enjoy the social aspects afforded by our open and friendly forum.

Please note: You can start this course at any time and there is no fixed time span for you to complete the course. All of the course materials are available to you for the whole duration of your membership and we will be marking questions for as long as there are active members. Therefore, even if you are the only course taker at one time we will still mark all of your questions. There is no specific date for the release of course certificates, instead you will receive a course certificate when you have answered every question from all lessons within the course.

Lesson 0

Welcome and Introduction

Lesson available from: Oct 19th, 2013
0.1.
...
User-Centred Design Module ONE Welcome! Welcome to "User-Centred Design - Module One". We feel extre...
 
 
0.2.
...
Check your information before meeting your peers...
 
 
0.3.
...
Meet Your Peers (Online)...
 
 
0.4.
...
Meet Your Peers (Offline)...
 
 
0.5.
...
The Didactics and Pedagogy of the Course Is Old News Bad News? Technology changes over time; neverth...
 
 
0.6.
...
The Didactics and Pedagogy of the Course Research-based Versus Example-based Learning Both research...
 
 
0.7.
...
Didactics and Pedagogy of the Course Course Structure, Point System and Course Certificate The Week...
 
 
0.8.
...
The Didactic and Pedagogy of the Course Design and Learning Approaches We appreciate that people lea...
 
 
0.9.
...
Put the User at the Forefront of your Mind Think About Your Users' Needs Before Your Own Practical ...
 
 
0.10.
...
Put the User at the Forefront of your Mind Social Proof: Let Your Users Endorse You, Instead of Endo...
 
 
0.11.
...
Put the User at the Forefront of your Mind Understand Who Your Users are Instead of Targeting Everyo...
 
 
0.12.
Discussion...
 
 
 
 

Lesson 1

User Experience: An Introduction and Key Concepts

Lesson available from: Oct 26th, 2013
1.1.
...
User Experience The Subject of User Experience User experience is one of, if not the determining fac...
 
 
1.2.
...
User Experience What Is Usability? Usability is at the heart of the user experience. Poor usability...
 
 
1.3.
What the #$%@ is UX Design?
 
 
1.4.
Discussion...
 
 
1.5.
...
User Experience The Principle of 'Visibility' Visibility is an important design principle; if a user...
 
 
1.6.
...
User Experience The Principle of 'Findability' 'Findability' most often refers to the ease with whic...
 
 
1.7.
...
User Experience The Principle of 'Learnability' As a general rule, users should be able to acquire t...
 
 
1.8.
...
User Experience Following the Information Scent Humans are said to be "informavores", constantly see...
 
 
1.9.
...
User Experience Affordances Affordances are the potential uses we might have for an object. In the ...
 
 
1.10.
...
User Experience Mapping Mapping refers to the relationship between an object, either in the physic...
 
 
1.11.
...
User Experience Constraints It may seem counterintuitive to use constraints to help users but impos...
 
 
1.12.
...
User Experience Feedback "For every operator action, there should be some system feedback. For freq...
 
 
1.13.
...
User Experience Hick's Law Hick's law is valuable when deciding upon user interface design patterns ...
 
 
1.14.
...
User Experience Fitts's Law Where to place interactive elements within a graphical user interface i...
 
 
1.15.
...
User Experience A Summary of UX Concepts User Experience A field of interest concerned with the de...
 
 
1.16.
Discussion...
 
 
1.17.
Optional course materialUser Experience and Experience Design
 
 
1.18.
Optional course materialGube 2010: What is User Experience?...
 
 
1.19.
Optional course materialusability.gov 2013: User Experience Basics...
 
 
1.20.
Optional course materialNielsen 2012: Usability 101: Introduction to Usability...
 
 
1.21.
Optional course materialSauro 2013: Measuring Usability...
 
 
1.22.
Optional course materialQuesenbery 2013: The Five 'Es' of Usability...
 
 
1.23.
Optional course materialNielsen 2012: Intranet Users Stuck at Low Productivity...
 
 
1.24.
Optional course materialNielsen 2008: Usability ROI Declining, But Still Strong...
 
 
1.25.
Optional course materialJohnson 2010: Designing with the Mind in Mind: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Rules...
 
 
1.26.
Optional course materialAffordances
 
 
1.27.
Optional course materialNorman 1998: The Design of Everyday Things...
 
 
1.28.
Optional course materialInformation Foraging Theory
 
 
1.29.
Optional course materialPirolli and Card 1999: Information Foraging...
 
 
1.30.
Optional course materialNielsen 2003: Information Foraging: Why Google Makes People Leave Your Site Faster...
 
 
1.31.
Optional course materialWikipedia 2013: Negative Transfer...
 
 
1.32.
Optional course materialPerfetti and Brittan 2013: Jared M. Spool...
 
 
1.33.
Optional course materialWikipedia 2013: Hick's Law...
 
 
1.34.
Optional course materialFitts's Law
 
 
1.35.
User Experience Video 1 - Marc's introduction to User Experience and Experience Design
 
 
1.36.
Discussion...
 
 
 
 

Lesson 2

User Interface Design Guidelines

Lesson available from: Nov 2nd, 2013
2.1.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines The 'Eight Golden Rules' Ben Shneiderman's 'Eight Golden Rules of...
 
 
2.2.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines - 10 Rules of Thumb Nielsen and Molich Jakob Nielsen, a renowned ...
 
 
2.3.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines Consistency and Standards 'Consistency and Standards' is part of ...
 
 
2.4.
...
User Interface Guidelines Visibility of System Status 'Visibility of system status' is one of ten us...
 
 
2.5.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines Match System to Real-World One of Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich's ...
 
 
2.6.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines User Control and Freedom 'User control and freedom' is part of Ja...
 
 
2.7.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines Error Prevention One of Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich's (1990) te...
 
 
2.8.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines Recognition Vs. Recall Icons can increase productivity and decrease...
 
 
2.9.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines Flexibility and Efficiency of Use Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich (19...
 
 
2.10.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines Aesthetic and Minimalist Design Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich (1990...
 
 
2.11.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines Aesthetic and Minimalist Design - More Needed Than Ever When design...
 
 
2.12.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines Offer Informative Feedback Help Users Recognise, Diagnose and Recov...
 
 
2.13.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines Help and Documentation Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich (1990) establi...
 
 
2.14.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines 'Permit Easy Reversal of Actions' A common design guideline is that...
 
 
2.15.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines Provide Informative Feedback Ben Shneiderman has established a grea...
 
 
2.16.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines Reduce Short-Term Memory Load Ben Shneiderman identified the need f...
 
 
2.17.
...
User Interface Design Guidelines Support Internal Locus of Control As a designer you should give use...
 
 
2.18.
Discussion...
 
 
2.19.
Optional course materialNielsen and Norman 2013: List of 'Heuristic Evaluation' articles from the Nielsen/Norman Group...
 
 
2.20.
Optional course materialJohnson 2010: Designing with the Mind in Mind: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Rules...
 
 
2.21.
Optional course materialThe Psychological Basis for UI Design Rules
 
 
 
 

Lesson 3

The Gestalt Principles of Perceptual Organisation

Lesson available from: Nov 9th, 2013
3.1.
...
Gestalt Principles A Valuable List of Gestalt Principles As a designer you impose structure on the e...
 
 
3.2.
...
Gestalt Principles 'Law of Pragnanz' This law applies to the tendency to see stimulus patterns in a...
 
 
3.3.
...
We are capable of following quite complex figures, even when they are occluded by other elements. Th...
 
 
3.4.
...
Gestalt Principles 'Law of Similarity' When viewing similar items we often perceive them as belongi...
 
 
3.5.
...
Gestalt Principles 'Law of Proximity' Gestalt Psychology posits that human perception is biased t...
 
 
3.6.
...
Gestalt Principles Law of Familiarity/Meaningfulness Humans must tease meaning from the flow of sens...
 
 
3.7.
...
Gestalt Principles 'Law of Common Fate' Example of Law of Common Fate Gapminder, first established ...
 
 
3.8.
...
Gestalt Principles 'New' Grouping Laws Findings from repetition discrimination tasks, such as Palme...
 
 
3.9.
...
Gestalt Principles 'New' Grouping Laws The way in which items are grouped affects the speed with wh...
 
 
3.10.
...
Gestalt Principles The Law Of Element Connectedness Harnessing the Gestalt grouping laws that unde...
 
 
3.11.
...
Gestalt Principles 'Law of Synchrony' This Gestalt principle of perceptual organisation allows us ...
 
 
3.12.
...
Gestalt Principles 'Law of Common Region' and The Origin of The Gestalt Laws Gestalt laws may be s...
 
 
3.13.
...
Gestalt Psychology Figure/Ground Organisation When you arrived on this page and looked at the image ...
 
 
3.14.
...
Gestalt Principles 'Figure/Ground' Gestalt Psychology has provided a number of descriptive, rather ...
 
 
3.15.
...
Gestalt Psychology Figure/Ground Organisation An example of Figure/Ground An example of the figure/g...
 
 
3.16.
...
Design Considerations Perceptual Segregation User interface design should reflect the way things ap...
 
 
3.17.
Discussion...
 
 
3.18.
Optional course materialGestalt Psychology is a stimulating inspiration to interaction design
 
 
3.19.
Discussion...
 
 
 
 

Lesson 4

Visual Perception and Colour Vision

Lesson available from: Nov 23rd, 2013
4.1.
...
Visual Perception Understanding Human Vision Human vision is not simply a photographic image of what...
 
 
4.3.
...
Visual Perception The Fovea and Design As a designer you should place important information at the ...
 
 
4.3.
Anatomy and Function of the Eye
 
 
4.4.
...
Visual Perception Colour Vision Colour and object perception are two factors which are affecting ou...
 
 
4.5.
...
Visual Perception Vision and Design Using Colour Consideration must be given to the hue, size and di...
 
 
4.6.
...
Theories of Human Colour Perception During the design phase, user experience must be considered and...
 
 
4.7.
...
Visual Perception Colour Blindness It is estimated that approximately 8% of men and 0.5% of women h...
 
 
4.8.
Optional course materiallecture 23 part 2 (Photoreceptors fovea)
 
 
4.9.
...
Visual Perception Object Perception A number of factors affect our ability to differentiate between ...
 
 
4.10.
...
Visual Perception Vision and Design Good icon design can not only brighten up a display and reduce t...
 
 
4.11.
...
Visual Perception Vision and Design Using Images You should use information-rich images and avoid fi...
 
 
4.12.
...
Visual Perception Context and other influences Although some theorists suggest perception is an imme...
 
 
4.13.
...
Visual Perception Vision and Attention Attention allows us to focus on important information whilst ...
 
 
4.14.
Vanishing Head Illusion
 
 
4.15.
...
Visual Perception Vision and Design There are many important considerations when designing visual di...
 
 
4.16.
...
Visual Perception Vision and Design Take a look at the icons above. Now, how many of these icons ca...
 
 
4.17.
...
25 Excellent Websites Using Bold Vibrant Colours As a designer you can make a strikingly memorable s...
 
 
4.18.
Discussion...
 
 
4.19.
Optional course materialColor Vision 1: Color Basics
 
 
4.20.
Optional course materialGoldstein 2001: Sensation and Perception...
 
 
4.21.
Optional course materialFrancis 2013: '40 Stunning Website Designs with Great Color Schemes'...
 
 
4.22.
Optional course materialWare 2000: Information Visualization: Perception for Design...
 
 
4.23.
Optional course materialBach 2013: 106 Visual Phenomena and Optical Illusions...
 
 
4.24.
Optional course materialRyall 2013: Pontypridd 'optical illusion' pavement blamed for falls...
 
 
4.25.
Discussion...
 
 
 
 

Lesson 5

Usability Considerations

Lesson available from: Nov 30th, 2013
5.1.
...
Usability Considerations Simply Simplify We will try to stick to this advice and only let Albert Ein...
 
 
5.2.
...
Usability Considerations Simplicity in Design As ill-conceived as it may seem to mention Leonardo D...
 
 
5.3.
...
Usability Considerations Simplify Task Structure Simplifying the structure of a complex task can aid...
 
 
5.4.
...
Usability Considerations Simplify Navigation You should strive to help your users navigate through ...
 
 
5.5.
...
Usability Considerations Consistency As a designer you should establish norms and stick to them, ot...
 
 
5.6.
...
Usability Considerations Avoid 'Tech-Speak' and Negative Affect Designers should never take it for ...
 
 
5.7.
Don Norman: The three ways that good design makes you happy
 
 
5.8.
User Experience Video 2 - Marc's advice on designing with experience in mind
 
 
5.9.
User Experience Video 3 - Marc's main guidelines and ethical considerations
 
 
5.10.
...
Usability Considerations External Cognition Annotations External cognition is the representation of ...
 
 
5.11.
...
Usability Considerations 'Chunking' Attention is limited and users tend to expect tasks such as en...
 
 
5.12.
...
Usability Considerations Drawing Users' Attention Chi, Gumbrecht and Hong (2007) acknowledged the c...
 
 
5.13.
...
Banner Blindness Selective Attention Online advertising is essential to ensure content is offered fr...
 
 
5.14.
...
Usability Considerations Serial Position Effect The 'Serial Position Effect' has implications for th...
 
 
5.15.
...
Customization Tools The Self-Generation Effect Allow for individual customization especially when so...
 
 
5.16.
...
Usability Considerations Shortcuts and Memory As users become familiar with a system they will eithe...
 
 
5.17.
...
Retain Goal-Relevant Information When performing system goals, relevant task-based information shoul...
 
 
5.18.
...
Security Password Strength Password strength is a measure of the effectiveness of a password in res...
 
 
5.19.
...
Usability Considerations Preventing Errors Signs of Poor Error Handling from the Designer Signs of ...
 
 
5.20.
...
Usability Considerations Protect the Areas at Most Risk This noodle liquor defender may protect your...
 
 
5.21.
...
Designing Interfaces Slow Loading Text When deciding whether to sacrifice the quality of resolutio...
 
 
5.22.
...
Designing Interfaces Slow Loading Images Loading times can impede productivity; choose low resolutio...
 
 
5.23.
...
Usability Considerations Important Superficial Decisions Which type(s) of image should you choose fo...
 
 
5.24.
...
Context of Use Bad Design The Timex Ironman watch is fitted with an Indigo backlight, this may seem ...
 
 
5.25.
...
Focus On Users In 'Graphical User Interface Bloopers 2.0' Jeff Johnson established nine key, design ...
 
 
5.26.
...
Usability Considerations Web Trends 2013 Ten of the biggest web design trends in 2013. How will thes...
 
 
5.27.
...
Usability Considerations Using Sound Events in the physical world generally produce sound, whether i...
 
 
5.28.
Optional course materialNielsen and Norman 2013: Nielsen/Norman Group Eyetracking Studies...
 
 
5.29.
Optional course material 2013: Video Captions Improve Comprehension...
 
 
5.30.
Optional course materialNielsen 2012: Usability 101: Introduction to Usability...
 
 
5.31.
Optional course materialThe Evolution of Computing
 
 
5.32.
Discussion...
 
 
5.33.
Discussion...
 
 
 
 

Lesson 6

User Error: Who is to blame?

Lesson available from: Dec 7th, 2013
6.1.
...
User Error Who is to blame? British Midlands Flight 92 On the 8th of January 1989, British Midlands...
 
 
6.2.
...
User Error Who is to blame? The Leitz Prado 500 slide projector used one button for two operations...
 
 
6.3.
...
User Error Who is to Blame? ...
 
 
6.4.
...
User Error Who is to Blame? The Air Inter Flight 148 Crash In 1992 Air Inter Flight 148 crashed into...
 
 
6.5.
...
User Error Who is to blame? The Space Shuttle Columbia Visual hierarchies can be an effective method...
 
 
6.6.
...
User Error Who is to blame? The Herald of Free Enterprise On March 6th 1987, the Motor Ship (MS) He...
 
 
6.7.
...
User Error Who is to blame? The Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in 1979 is of particular interes...
 
 
6.8.
...
User Error Who is to blame? Air France Flight 447 On 1 June 2009, Airbus A330-203 - servicing Air F...
 
 
6.9.
Discussion...
 
 
6.10.
Optional course materialSauro and Lewis 2012: Quantifying the User Experience: Practical Statistics for User Research...
 
 
6.11.
Optional course materialSauro 2010: A Practical Guide to Measuring Usability: 72 Answers to the Most Common Questions about Quantifying ...
 
 
6.12.
Optional course materialSauro 2011: Measuring User Interface Disasters...
 
 
6.13.
Optional course materialFadayev 2009: 12 Useful Techniques For Good User Interface Design...
 
 
6.14.
Optional course materialShankar 2011: The Good, Bad & Ugly of UI Design...
 
 
6.15.
Optional course materialGalbraith 2013: 12 Awful GUIs...
 
 
6.16.
Optional course materialRoss and Tweedie 2012: Air France Flight 447: 'Damn it we're going to crash'...
 
 
6.17.
Discussion...
 
 
 
 

Lesson 7

Usability Testing and Evaluation

Lesson available from: Dec 14th, 2013
7.1.
Usability Evaluation
 
 
7.2.
Optional course material 2013: Usability Testing Definition and Overview...
 
 
7.3.
Optional course materialNielsen 2013: Usability 101: Introduction to Usability...
 
 
7.4.
Optional course materialusability.gov 2013: Usability Testing...
 
 
7.5.
Optional course materialSpool 2005: Seven Common Usability Testing Mistakes...
 
 
7.6.
Optional course materialShah 2013: Cross-cultural Considerations for User Interface Design...
 
 
7.7.
Optional course materialDunn 2012: Five Considerations in User Interface for Online Design...
 
 
7.8.
Optional course materialKather 2013: Remote Site Visits: How to do Field Research Without Ever Leaving the Office...
 
 
7.9.
Optional course materialSchade 2013: Making Usability Findings Actionable: 5 Tips For Writing Better Reports...
 
 
7.10.
Optional course materialNielsen 2012: How Many Test Users in a Usability Study...
 
 
7.11.
Optional course material 2013: User Interface Considerations When Designing Software...
 
 
7.12.
Optional course material15 methods for ensuring user acceptance and business succes
 
 
7.13.
Discussion...
 
 
7.14.
Discussion...
 
 
 
 

Lesson 8

Inspection Methods: Practice and Application

Lesson available from: Jan 7th, 2014
8.1.
...
Usability Inspection Methods Testing Designs Heuristic Evaluation Usability inspection methods that ...
 
 
8.2.
...
Usability Inspection Methods Testing Designs Cognitive Walkthrough The cognitive walkthrough method ...
 
 
8.3.
User Experience Video 4 - Future directions of User Experience and Experience Design
 
 
8.3.
Optional course materialNielsen 1995: Heuristic Evaluation...
 
 
8.4.
Optional course materialRieman et al. 2014: Usability Evaluation with the Cognitive Walkthrough...
 
 
8.5.
Optional course materialWikipedia 2014: Pluralistic Wlakthrough...
 
 
8.7.
Optional course materialTravis 2014: The 4 questions to ask in a cognitive walkthrough...
 
 
8.8.
Optional course materialLewis and Rieman 2014: Task-Centred User Interface Design: 4. Evaluating the Design Without Users...
 
 
8.9.
Optional course materialNielsen and Mack 1994: Usability Inspection Methods...
 
 
8.10.
Optional course materialNielsen 1995: Usability Inspection Method Summary...
 
 
8.12.
Discussion...
 
 
 
 

Lesson 9

Usability Testing: Practical Application

Lesson available from: Jan 23rd, 2014
9.1.
...
User-Centred Design Practical Issues In Interaction Design: Beyond Human Computer Interaction , Yvon...
 
 
9.2.
...
User-Centred Design Practical Issues What are the user's needs? When adopting a user-centred design ...
 
 
9.3.
...
User-Centred Design Practical Issues What are the alternative designs? When conducting user testing,...
 
 
9.4.
...
User-Centred Design Practical Issues How do I choose an alternative design? Following the generation...
 
 
9.5.
...
User-Centred Design Practical Issues Integrating UCD and Other Life-Cycle Models As in the case of ...
 
 
9.6.
Discussion...
 
 
9.7.
...
Optional course material...
 
 
9.8.
Optional course materialDebono 2014: How to integrate interaction design into Agile Development...
 
 
9.9.
Optional course materialPatton 2014: Bringing User-Centred Design Practices into Agile Development Projects...
 
 
9.10.
Optional course materialRogers and Sharp 2014: Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction...
 
 
9.11.
Optional course materialAgile Usability Engineering
 
 
9.12.
Optional course materialWikipedia 2014: Software Development Process (Life-cycle Models)...
 
 
9.13.
Optional course materialBeedle et al. 2014: The Agile Manifesto...
 
 
9.14.
Optional course materialSzalvay and by) 2014: Agile Methodology...
 
 
9.15.
Optional course materialCohn 2014: User Stories and User Story Examples...
 
 
9.16.
Optional course materialNielsen 2008: Agile Development Projects and Usability...
 
 
9.17.
Optional course materialPatton 2014: Hitting the Target: Adding Interaction Design to Agile Software Development...
 
 
 
 

Lesson 10

Course Certificate, Final Networking, and Course Wrap-up

Lesson available from: Feb 7th, 2014
10.1.
...
Get a Mentor...
 
 
10.2.
...
Course Leaderboard...
 
 
10.3.
...
Get Course Certificate...
 
 
10.4.
...
Course Evaluation...
 
 
 
 

Get Course Certificate

You will get a course certificate once you have completed the course - even if you finish the course after the official end date (Feb 7th, 2014). In other words, as long as you have enrolled in the course you will always be able to finish it and to get a course certificate. You will also have permanent access to the course material, your answers and the discussions.

To be eligible for a Course Certificate you must have been awarded at least 70% of the total number of points for this course.

 
 

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A Beginner's Guide to User Experience