The primary question in this module is how we live in a world where we are surrounded by technology. In today’s world, almost everyone uses a range of technological products on a daily basis. How do people interact with these technologies? Why are some new technologies immediately taken up by large groups of people while other technologies fall by the wayside? A communication specialist can play an important role in the design process of new technologies, influencing their success by acting as an advocate for users. A new technology may be more successful if the design process focuses on the needs and wishes of users; in other words, when a user-centred design process is applied.
A user-centred design process involves consulting the prospective user group at every stage of the design process. Users are asked to comment on the initial ideas of the designers and to provide feedback on the first prototypes of a new technology, and they are observed while working with these prototypes, etc. This can result in a new technology that is truly valued by users and that provides a good user experience.
This module provides an introduction to several fields that are related to user experience and the user-centred design process. Students are asked to evaluate a new technology and to provide the users of this technology with supportive user documentation that may help them to make optimal use of it. This may be a video that explains the usefulness of the technology, a website that explains how to use a specific function, an instruction manual that instructs new users on how to start using the technology, etc.