Cooper Interaction Design Course

Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 in User Experience
Cooper Interaction  Design Course

Four-day workshop in San Francisco led by Cooper designers.

Recently my company sent me and my co-worker down to Cooper U for their Interaction Design course in San Francisco. As someone who believes learning is a lifelong activity, I was wanting to add more tools to my skill set as a user experience designer.

As with most things in life there isn’t necessarily one absolute best way to do things. And as a user experience designer I’m always finding more ways to help create better experiences for users.

Cooper’s interaction design course brought in people who were not necessarily in user experience work. There were developers, business owners, and designers attending the course which shows more and more people understand they all have a stake in creating a great user experience for their products.

Students at Cooper U come from various backgrounds but all have a stake in creating user experience.

Why this particular course? I was looking for practical tools in my work and thought Cooper would be a good place to start.

The course is not only about learning interaction design but about learning to build what should be built with user goals.

Why focus on goals? Goals are a stable target to build for instead of user tasks. Tasks can change over time. The example of travelers in the past vs ones in present day was brought up during the course. They both have the same goals of traveling quickly and comfortably but they can have very different tasks they must do in order to achieve their goals.

Their design process follows these steps: Research -> Modeling -> Requirements Definition -> Framework Definition -> Detailed Design -> Implementation Support.

Coooper’s goal directed design process

The area that I found the most useful was how they used scenarios in the modeling stage to connect all the pieces together.

Part of their method is to take personas created and give them something to do in a scenario. The scenario creation process helped to tie the research with defining the requirements.

Modeling the scenarios helps a UX designer to make sense out of all the research and pull them into the requirements definition stage.

Sketching user scenarios

Sketching user scenarios

We use personas at my work but I found it challenging to bring that information into the design process in a more precise manner than just thinking it will happen on its own. Putting them into scenarios and giving them something to do using the future system you’re designing is brilliant.

There’s a lot more to their process of defining requirements, but their way of linking all the pieces together in user experience design stands out.

If you’re interested in taking Cooper’s interaction design course there are several opportunities throughout the year. And you can’t beat having to take a trip down to San Francisco.

For more information about their Goal Directed Design process download: Cooper-IXD-Process.pdf.

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