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Fundamentals of interaction design

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From websites and phones to video games, ATM machines and drinks dispensers, interactive products are very much part of everyday life. But how many are easy, satisfying and enjoyable to use? Fundamentals of interaction design studies the factors, techniques, tools and theories that affect the design of such products. It will teach you a variety of topics, from computing, psychology and graphic design to entertainment, informatics and usability. You’ll learn about the theory underlying interaction design, and acquire practical skills that will equip you to analyse, design, and evaluate the interactive products you use every day.

Modules at Level 3 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

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04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£505.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1050.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£930.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£505.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

This module will help you to answer the following kinds of question:

  • Why are some websites easier to use than others?
  • Why do people have difficulty using some software packages and not others?
  • How can paper prototypes help improve the design of mobile phones?
  • How can I assess the usability of a video game?
  • As a user, how can I get involved in the re-design of a new information system at work?
  • How and why should I find out more about the users of a software system I’m building?
  • What problems might people with disabilities face when using a software application and how can designs be improved to avoid these problems?
  • What issues should you consider if you wish to design a website to appeal to people from a different country?

The module is based on the book Interaction Design. To help you explore, understand and deepen your understanding of the topics in this set book, the module includes additional materials such as further activities and extra teaching text, for example on accessibility and internationalisation. It is structured into four blocks.

The first block provides a broad overview of interaction design, introducing the key issues and activities of the subject, for example, the terminology and fundamental concepts of the area; the main activities involved in interaction design; and the importance of user involvement in the design process. The issues and activities introduced in Block 1 are developed in the remainder of the module. In particular, the three main activities of interaction design are covered in Blocks 2, 3 and 4.

Block 2 addresses a key activity in interaction design: that of establishing requirements for an interactive product, i.e. what it should do, who will use it, how it will be used, where it will be used and so on. Some of this material may be familiar to you if you have studied any software development modules in the past, but we approach the subject with a different perspective: focusing on making the product usable for the intended population.

The next block covers the techniques and knowledge necessary to design an interactive product that is accessible and useful to the people who are expected to use it. This includes an understanding of interaction types and interface types, metaphors, conceptual models, cognitive processes (involving memory, attention, learning, etc.), and the use of design approaches for a variety of interactive products such as mobile phones and websites.

Block 4 presents the techniques and knowledge necessary to evaluate an interactive product. This includes an ethical framework for evaluating with users, techniques and tips for observing users, asking experts and users, and testing with users.

Entry

This is a Level 3 module. Level 3 modules build on study skills acquired from previous modules at Levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject. 

However, these modules do not need to be drawn from other Maths and Computing modules. To study this module you will ideally be a competent user of computer technology with an interest in people and good design. This module will extend the coverage of HCI and GUI development offered by these modules. If you are not following programmes that include My digital life (TU100) or Designing applications with Visual Basic (MT264), you will not be disadvantaged, as the module does not assume any previous knowledge specific to these modules.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Preparatory work

You may find it useful to visit the website that supports Interaction Design, as preparation for the module, and to give you a good idea of the kind of topics covered in M364 (but remember that we provide additional materials too). You will find a variety of resources such as articles, links to other websites and interactive games that you might find interesting. Please note, however, that no preparation is required to study M364.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

This module requires students to undertake a range of practical activities including observation, interviewing, critique of design elements and sketching. If you are unable to perform any of these activities without assistance, it may still be possible for you to complete and pass the module. We will provide descriptions of visual module elements where possible which might assist you, but nevertheless you may find it difficult to complete some activities. Although we are able to provide a PDF of the bought-in book, Interaction Design, for students who need it, we do not have accessible files to offer to students. The book is heavily diagrammatic and uses boxes of text which create problems when using the PDF with a screen reader. You are strongly advised to discuss this with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service before applying for the module.  Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

The text book Interaction Design (2nd Edition) by Preece, Rogers and Sharp; module books containing the extension materials; other assessment and support materials; DVD; online forums and a website.

You will need

DVD player, colour TV.

You require internet access at least once a week during the module to download module resources and assignments, submit assignments and keep up to date with module news. In addition, the module assessment will require you to develop paper-based prototypes. You will be required to submit these in an electronic form, so you will need access to a local facility for digitising documents, e.g. a digital camera, a scanner, or a local outlet that will transfer ordinary photographs to a disk.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day-schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module. Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code M364
Credits 30
OU Level 3
SCQF level 10
FHEQ level 6
Course work includes:
4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

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