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Welcome Announcement

Welcome Announcement

Welcome to Understanding User Needs! This course is part of the UX Design and Research Program. This course focuses on a methodology to understand user needs, desires, and preferences in a way that supports the design or re-design of products and services. You will learn the basics of a qualitative research methodology that involves user interviews, observations, and a data analysis technique called an “affinity wall.”

In this course, you will: * Find out what user needs assessments are, what qualitative research is, and how the two are related.

  • Learn an end-to-end methodology for qualitative research that is suited for understanding user needs. The methodology includes knowledge of semi-structured interviews, in-situ observation, and affinity walls.

  • Be exposed to good practices for conducting semi-structured interviews, in-situ observation, and affinity walls.

  • Gain some experience with semi-structured interviews, in-situ observations, and affinity walls.

This course focuses on a set of skills. There will be relatively little knowledge or theory you need to learn, but practice is essential. So each week, in addition to video materials and quizzes, you will have an assignment that requires you to do something substantial away from the computer. The videos, assignments, and peer grading are designed to maximize learning through a sequence: For each skill, you will have a chance to

(1) hear what the skill is about;

(2) see the skill being performed;

(3) take a quiz about the skill;

(4) practice the skill yourself; and

(5) evaluate the result of others who have tried the skill.

If you have any questions or comments throughout the course, I encourage you to view or post in the Discussion. The instructional team and I will do what we can to answer all relevant questions.

Welcome aboard!

Kentaro Toyama

Associate Professor

School of Information

University of Michigan

Would you like to take part in an optional learner background survey to improve the online educational offerings at the University of Michigan?

The University of Michigan is carrying out learner background survey research.

We’d like to invite all Learners on this course to take part in this optional pre-course survey. By taking part in this survey, you’ll support the University’s efforts to provide a quality online learning experience to a diverse population of participants. We may use the findings to evaluate the efficacy and impact of this educational content, as well as to identify opportunities to create new content.

The University of Michigan may share anonymous data collected during the survey with its platform partners, including Coursera, edX, and FutureLearn, with the goal of improving learning experiences and outcomes.

To take part in the learner background survey, please click the link below. If you choose to participate, you will be asked to provide personal information, including information about your gender, race, location country, employment status, and educational attainment. Your responses will be kept confidential, and the results from this survey will only be presented in aggregate form. It should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.

Take part in the pre-course learner background survey.

Your responses will be linked to your course activity, but you will not be identifiable in any data that we publish or share. Summarised findings may be published in online and print publications and in University of Michigan promotional materials and may be included in presentations at professional development events, academic and professional conferences, and in various private settings. All the information collected during this survey, will be stored and handled according to the Center for Academic Innovation at the University of Michigan’s privacy policy.

The survey link will open in this same window for the purposes of making it accessible to screen readers and other assistive devices. You may need to manually navigate back to the course afterwards.

Thank you for helping to make the University of Michigan online courses better!

Please note that this is an independent research survey carried out by the University of Michigan and your participation is subject to the University’s own policies and terms. FutureLearn takes no responsibility for the contents or the consequences of your participation in this study. Your participation in the research has no effect on your course progress, marks or FutureLearn profile.

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