This course addresses concepts and methods of user experience research. The emphasis will be on methods of collecting and interpreting many kinds of data about real-world user activities and practices and translating them into design decisions. The course includes hands-on practice with a number of major user experience research methods, including heuristic evaluation; observation; interviews, surveys and focus groups. The emphasis will be on naturalistic / ethnographic (qualitative) methods, but we will also address major quantitative methods. Finally, we will discuss methods of bringing user experience research into the design process.

This course is appropriate for both 1st and 2nd-year MIMS students, and for students from other departments with a strong interest in user experience research, with the instructor’s permission. Students will complete at least one major group project related to needs assessment and evaluation. Second-year MIMS students may use this project to meet their capping project requirement.

3 units.

Required Textbook:


Goodman, Elizabeth, et al. Observing the User Experience, Second Edition: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc., 2012. ISBN-10: 0123848695.

Other Excellent References:

  • Goodwin, K., Designing for the Digital Age. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2009. ISBN-10: 0470229101
  • Rubin, J. & Chisnell, D., Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests (2nd Edition). Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2008. ISBN-10: 0521865719
  • Hall, E., Just Enough Research. New York, NY: A Book Apart, 2013. ISBN-10: 1937557103
  • Courage, C. & Baxter, K., Understanding Your Users: A Practical Guide to User Requirements Methods, Tools, and Techniques. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2005. ISBN-10: 1558609350
  • Hackos, J. T. & Redish, J. C., User and Task Analysis for Interface Design. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 1998. ISBN-10: 0471178314

Class Meetings:

Tu & Th 4:00-5:30, South Hall, Room 210


Maggie Law, Instructor

Office Hours:

Office Hours: After class in 210 South Hall, and by appointment

Teaching Assistant:

Meena Natarajan (office hours by appointment)