Course syllabus

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IMS015 IMS015 Advanced user studies and co-creation lp4 VT22 (7.5 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Industrial and Materials Science

Contact details

Participating lecturers

Pontus Wallgren           examiner                     7721397

Sara Renström    

Siw Eriksson      

Fredrick Ekman 

David Schriber  

Ingrid Pettersson


Course description

Welcome to a course that, hopefully, will deepen your knowledge on user studies and user centred product development and give you new tools to tackle more difficult problems than those you have encountered earlier. The course is divided into three parts where we try to give some theoretical foundation, test the theory in small experiments, and finally discuss our findings. The three themes are “Co-creation”, “into the everyday”, and “into the future”.



As we move from the power paradigm where companies try to keep as much knowledge to themselves as possible to a paradigm of easy information transfer and sharing, more and more interest is given to co-creation where companies work together with users and other stakeholders to create new solutions. In this theme we look into what the pre-requisites are for co-creation and test the theories in a short co-creation project.


Into the everyday

As you know from previous courses, people have difficulties verbalising requirements for products and services they use in their everyday life as they have formed habits and workarounds that aren’t conscious. How can we understand people’s everyday life? (Hint: there will be diaries and probes and stuff)


Into the future

One question you often get when you talk about user studies is “Yes, but what about things and services that don’t yet exists? Not very easy to do observation studies on non-existing products is it?”. That is of course right, but there are ways, and these we will delve into in this theme.


The aim of the course is that the students should further develop their knowledge in user-centred product development, apply new methods for user involvement, as well as develop their ability to handle (the user aspect of) open-ended problems (non-existing products/future solutions, new technologies, servitization, and additional outside demands).



The course is an advanced course and a pre-requsite for participation is that you have taken

Produktutveckling -Behov och krav MMT015, Användarstudier: att förstå användaren och dess krav PPU032, Human-Centred Design TDA486, or similar.


  • Different theories that forms the basis of User centred development, e.g. Activity theory, behavioural theories
  • Ethical considerations in User centred development
  • How to elicit user needs and requirements for more difficult products such as
    • Entirely novel product categories
    • Product-service systems
    • Products with many conflicting requirements
  • Alternative methods for user requirements elicitation (beyond interviews and observations) such as e.g. contextual inquiry, sensitizing, diaries, cultural probes, artefact analysis, living labs, experience sampling, ”data mining”, unobtrusive measures, repertory grids
  • Mediating tools of different types, including immaterial kinds such as design fictions and different forms of enactments (e.g. speed dating, setting the stage, small-scale scenarios)
  • Co-creation, to design and develop together with the user
  • Methods to transfer the knowledge gained in user studies within the design team as well as to a client or other stakeholders



The course is organised with lectures and a series of seminars (3) where different topics are discussed. Between the seminars the students will make small experimental studies investigating the topics discussed in the seminars. In addition, literature on the subject will be read before each seminar. The student is expected to hand in short results reports describing the results of their experimental studies and how those relate to the literature.



The examination is based on active participation in the seminars and passed hand-ins

Grading will be Fail/Passed


Learning outcomes Advanced User Studies

After having passed the course the student will be able to:

  • Explain the different theories upon which user centred development is built, and reflect on the consequences that the choice of theoretical foundation has on subsequent choice of methods and likely outcomes
  • Reflect upon the ethical dimensions of taking the role as the users’ representative in the product development process, as well as inviting users into the product development process
  • Explain how the expected result may differ depending on type of user involvement
  • Plan and carry out user studies to elicit users’ needs and requirements for more “difficult problems”
  • Use alternative and innovative methods for data collection (beyond interviews and observations),
  • Use mediating tools of different types, including immaterial kinds such as design fictions and different forms of enactments
  • Carry out co-creation activities – to design together with users in order to understand their needs and requirements
  • Transfer knowledge gained in user studies to classmates, colleagues and clients

A more general wish is that the student after the course will have gained some useful tools to be able to dare attack the complex and ill-defined challenges of the future.





Course literature

A selection of scientific papers to be read before each seminar, uploaded under their respective modules

Course summary:

Date Details Due