User experience fundamentals

Full-day workshop. Tuesday 23 August, Wednesday 24 August 2011.


User experience is rightly seen as a critical way to stand out on today’s competitive web. But how does one go about shaping something as vague and personal as someone’s enjoyment of a website? What does it mean in practical terms?

This workshop gives an outstanding introduction to the world of web user experience design. By learning both the basic theory and practical applications of usability, information architecture and interaction design, you’ll learn how to make websites your users love and your company will profit from.

The workshop covers the entire design process. We begin with the fundamentals of both user and business research, including how to draw out unspoken requirements from both groups. We move on to discuss ways to turn your research into design concepts, and tools that will help you structure the site and pin down its major elements. Finally, we look at how to make effective wireframes and prototypes, test them with users and improve your designs through iteration.


Participants will learn:

  • How to learn about your users and what they really need
  • The importance of understanding business context
  • “Red flags” to watch out for in research
  • How to bridge the gap between discovery to creating concepts through collaboration and design games
  • Techniques to organise your content into meaningful groups
  • The fundamentals of sketching and interface design
  • How detailed your prototypes should be
  • About various prototyping tools and their corresponding strengths and weaknesses
  • How to create other deliverables such as site maps and personas
  • How to lead a productive critique session
  • The techniques and benefits of usability testing
  • How to integrate quantitative testing into your design process

Workshop structure

Part 1 – Theory : Definitions, Gestalt theory, affordances, cognitive bias, patterns and memory, information seeking behaviour. Exercise 1 – “Emotional tiddlywinks”
Part 2 – Discovery : Quick wins, researching the business, requirements, stakeholder interviews, culture, researching the users, planning research, recruiting, research methods, research outputs. Exercise 2 – “Travel planning”
Part 3 – Making it : Sketching fundamentals (with practice), collaborative design, sharing the spark, design principles, deliverables, fidelity, tools. Exercise 3 – “Design consequences”
Part 4 – Iteration : Testing with users, the dos and don’ts, remote testing, presenting findings, critique, winning a debate, after launch, metrics, making changes. Exercise 4 – “Critique roleplay”

Target audience

Anyone who wants to learn more about the user-centred design process and how to make it work within business. Previous attendees include product owners, developers, visual designers and junior-to-intermediate user experience designers.

Materials provided

Handouts for all parts.