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Designed products surround us all and range from bus tickets to buildings. This free course, People-centred designing, focuses firmly on usability and the increasingly important phenomenon of people-centred design. It aims to inform consumers of design (i.e., all of us) about this crucial characteristic of design. In addition to stimulating interest in areas of concern for producers of design, the course might also provide an introduction to engineering, manufacturing and business studies.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the principles of user-centred designing
- criticise some everyday products from a user's point of view
- suggest and apply some appropriate methods for researching how users interact with products
- apply comparison and evaluation skills, including constructive criticism of everyday products
- apply observational skills in the context of both personal and others' use of products.
- Current section: 1 Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 People-centred designing
- 2 New products – old failings
- 3 Designing for users
- 4 Who are the users?
- 5 Why not design for the ‘average’ user
- 6 Inclusive design
- 7 Ergonomics and human factors
- 8 Interaction design
- 9 User research techniques
- 10 User research techniques: observing users
- 11 Designing for pleasure
- 12 The voice of the customer
- 13 Products for markets
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Designed products surround us all and range from bus tickets to buildings. One of the primary considerations in all fields of design is ‘usability’ and, increasingly, the phenomenon of ‘user-centred design’. This can focus on physical attributes of products but increasingly it depends on an understanding of our cognitive abilities required to operate even simple products. All people studying this course will have some experience of designs that are not usable (perhaps mobile phones or car controls). This course provides you with an introduction to the principles and procedures of design usability through the critical evaluation of selected products. Taking everyday examples, it develops students’ confidence and skills in critically evaluating products around them – particularly consumer products. This course aims to inform ‘consumers’ of design (i.e. all of us) about one important characteristic of design.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 1 study in
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Design courses or view the range of currently available OU Design courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 17th March 2016
Last updated on: Thursday, 17th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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