Interaction Design: Methods II


Admission requirements

At least 15 credits in the main field of Interaction Design.


Syllabus for students spring 2019, spring 2018

Course Code:
KD406B revision 2.1
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
Interaction Design
Date of ratification:
15 November 2017
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
15 January 2018
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
15 November 2017

Entry requirements

At least 15 credits in the main field of Interaction Design.

Specialisation and progression relative to the degree regulations

The course can normally be included as part of a general degree at undergraduate level.


‘Setting the problem’ is an essential aspect of design practice. Without a good problem drawn from insights into life experience and practices of the people being designed for there is a risk of irrelevant and superficial design work. Setting the problem thus helps create real opportunities for design. In professional interaction design practice, this activity is often referred to as ‘user research’.


The course features practical research work and analysis, workshops and methodological and theoretical lectures building on earlier encounters from the first semester. We introduce and engage with several different methods commonly encountered in professional practice. Our approach is a broadly ethnographic one, but is tailored to the particular demands that arise when ethnographic work is used to inform and inspire design work. Students will research a specific use practice and through analysis identify relevant problems and opportunities for design. We purposefully hold back from ideating and creating new concepts.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course students will be able to:
1. Scope and plan a design research project
2. Select and apply appropriate methods for a situation being designed for
3. Analyse user research findings and identifying problems and opportunities
4. Present and argue research findings that are conducive for design work
5. Reflect and critique methods in relation to insights, problems and opportunities for the design process.

Learning activities

Instruction consists of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical research work.


The student will be examined through:
1. Group presentations of research finding and joint analysis activities (2.5HP; LOs 1, 2 & 3).
2. Written submission: Students write up their research as a group. The report should describe the local meanings and practices they have been investigating, and conclude with problems and opportunities for design (5HP; ILO 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5).
When the above criteria are met in a satisfactory manner a pass (‘G’) is granted.

Grading system

Fail (U) or Pass (G).

Course literature and other teaching materials

The following texts are the primary literature of the course, and will be made available to students.

• Blomberg, Jeanette, Mark Burrell, and Greg Guest. “An Ethnographic Approach to Design.” In The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook, edited by Julie A. Jacko and Andrew Sears, 964–986. Hillsdale, NJ, USA: L. Erlbaum Associates Inc., 2003.

• Gaver, Bill, Tony Dunne, and Elena Pacenti. “Design: cultural probes.” interactions 6, no. 1 (1999): 21-29.

• Randall, David, Richard Harper, and Mark Rouncefield. Fieldwork for Design. 1st ed. Springer London, 2007. Selected chapters will be provided.

• Rittel, Horst WJ, and Melvin M. Webber. “Dilemmas in a general theory of planning.” Policy sciences 4, no. 2 (1973): 155-169.

• Schön, Donald A. “Generative Metaphor - a Perspective on Problem-Setting in Social Policy.” In Metaphor and Thought, edited by Andrew Ortony, 2nd ed., 137–63. Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Course evaluation

The University provides students who participate in or who have completed a course with the opportunity to make known their experiences and viewpoints with regards to the course by completing a course evaluation administered by the University. The University will compile and summarize the results of course evaluations as well as informing participants of the results and any decisions relating to measures initiated in response to the course evaluations. The results will be made available to the students (HF 1:14).


The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the School of Arts and Communication.

Further information

Studentservice, K3 - Malmö universitet,