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User Experience Research: UX Professional Certificate Courses

The User Experience Research Certificate consists of ten courses. Nine one-credit, seven-week courses, followed by the culminating three-credit capstone course. A total of twelve university credits are earned upon completion of the Certificate.

Students completing the UX-Pro Certificate program are encouraged to work through the courses in sequence: early courses provide learning scaffolds for later courses: start at UX-PRO 360 and work forward. Allow a minimum of five hours per week for each course.

Course NumberTitleCredits
UX-PRO 360Working in the UX Space1
UX-PRO 361Ethical User Research1
UX-PRO 362Asking and Listening1
UX-PRO 363Contextual Inquiry1
UX-PRO 364Design Thinking for Better UX1
UX-PRO 365Go Deeper With Theory1
UX-PRO 366Communicating User Research1
UX-PRO 367Just Enough Research1
UX-PRO 368Planning A Productive Capstone1
UX-PRO 469User Research Capstone 3
Total10 courses12 credits

The Courses

UX-PRO 360 Working in the UX Space

Diverse applications of qualitative user research in public and private sectors. Relationship between usability testing, design thinking, and ethnographic inquiry.

What You’ll Learn

What kinds of work do UX researchers do? Would you enjoy doing this work? UXR is a highly varied, interdisciplinary community of practice and field of employment. You will be introduced to UXR by (1) studying current employment descriptions and professional profiles, and (2) practicing usability testing, design thinking, and ethnographic research in experiential learning exercises. Both activities will convey the range and diversity of UXR.

UX-PRO 361 Ethical User Research

Best user research practices to protect researchers, participants, and clients. Complete training in human subjects research.

What You’ll Learn

In this course, you will learn what kinds of ethical issues arise in UXR, and what core principles define ethical UXR. UX research is often described as human-centered. It involves highly interactive methods. 361 introduces the complex ethical issues that surround the professional practice of UXR. Participants reflect on codes of ethics from relevant professional societies, examine case studies, and earn certification through online ethics training approved by the IRB at Boise State.

UX-PRO 362 Asking and Listening

Planning, conducting, and reporting the results of in-depth conversations and semi-structured interviews, enriching transcripts, and storytelling.

What You’ll Learn

What are ethnographic interviews, and why are they a core method of UXR? Ethnographic interviews are often described as informal, unstructured, conversational, extended, in-depth. Approached properly, they provide rich contextual insights into user beliefs and worldviews. Please treat UX-PRO 361 as a pre or corequisite. You will learn to practice ethnographic interviews through experiential exercises while adhering to the ethical principles of voluntary informed consent and prioritizing privacy and confidentiality.

UX-PRO 363 Contextual Inquiry

Practice ethical observation using direct, remote, and participatory observational techniques. Discover the importance of context and the difference between what people say and what people do.

What You’ll Learn

What are field visits? What is participant observation? What can we learn through observational research conducted where our participants live, play, shop, and work? Like ethnographic interviews, ethnographic observations are frequently informal, unstructured, in-depth, and extended. Approached properly, they enable the discovery of non-obvious insights into behavioral patterns and elicit tacit local knowledge. Please treat UX-PRO 361 as a pre-or corequisite. You will learn to practice ethnographic observations through experiential exercises while adhering to the ethical principle of voluntary informed consent and prioritizing privacy and confidentiality.

UX-PRO 364 Design Thinking for Better UX

Introduction to and applications of core design concepts, including empathy and journey map concepts. Collaborate to create visualizations that translate user research into impactful implications for design.

What You’ll Learn

How do user researchers inform the work of designers? Why is it necessary to understand how designers think and work to practice effective design research? Designers are visual, tactile thinkers oriented to “doing” over talking. They work collaboratively through creative exploratory prototyping that is unstructured, recursive, and iterative. You will practice design research through collaborative, experiential learning exercises that enable you to inform the construction of empathy concepts and journey map exercises that enable you to inform the concepts of journey map visualizations.

UX-PRO 365 Go Deeper with Theory

Qualitative user research has deep roots in the social sciences, especially anthropology. Increase your knowledge of the conceptual foundations of user research to reach beyond superficial findings and deliver transformative insights.

What You’ll Learn

Why is the study of theory so important to doing original, insightful user research? Ethnographers work by the light of theory to make non-obvious connections and develop insights that have social and cultural resonance. Theory imparts structure and significance to otherwise scattered evidence and will make it possible to critically evaluate unarticulated assumptions that limit the possibilities of innovation. Examine examples of how theory enables researchers to go deeper in their work and foundational ethnographic methodological principles.

UX-PRO 366 Communicating User Research

Utilizing the tools of user design, from field notes to storytelling and visualization techniques to communicate insights of research. Universal accessibility, inclusive design, and how to avoid excluding portions of your audience.

What You’ll Learn

Every job description related to professional user research highlights communication skills as a fundamental qualification. This course focuses on three communicative tasks that are distinctive to user research: (1) developing field notes to document your research; (2) narrating authentic stories that capture user experience; and (3) developing visualizations that communicate your findings to designers. In addition, you will learn the basic principles of inclusive design/design for universal access, and develop work that all audiences can access.

UX-PRO 367 Just Enough Research

Identifying appropriate methods for diverse problems, applying multiple methods to develop more robust triangulated data, and synthesizing complex data to arrive at compelling insights.

What You’ll Learn

This course prepares you to meet three core challenges in user research: (1) identify problems that are appropriately studied using qualitative methods; (2) reduce complex design problems to focused questions that can be informed by research with a limited time budget, and (3) match appropriate methods to particular design challenges. You will also add three new UXR methods to your toolkit. You will learn to (1) integrate elicitation techniques into interviews; (2) collect longitudinal, geographically distributed data using experience sampling and diaries; and (3) construct a qualitative survey using industry-standard software.

UX-PRO 368 Planning a Productive Capstone

Pre-capstone project. Identify potential stakeholders, negotiate a design brief, and prepare a scope of work proposal. Identify possible sampling and recruitment strategies, explore appropriate methods, and plan a schedule to gather and analyze data and report your results in a timely manner.

What You’ll Learn

You will identify a community partner to serve as the host, stakeholder, or client for your capstone project. With your stakeholder, you will develop a design brief that responds to their needs. You will draw upon all your prior learning in the Certificate to select methods that are appropriate to your project, set a schedule, identify recruiting strategies and build the foundations for ethical research. By the conclusion of the course, you will be prepared to undertake your capstone project. It is recommended that you enroll in 368 as you are completing your final courses, and immediately before beginning your capstone.

UX-PRO 469 User Experience Research Capstone

Propose, negotiate, and conduct an independent UX research project, or assist on a faculty project. Participate across the full research process. Define objectives, select methods, manage the collection and analysis of appropriate data, and deliver impactful insights that your stakeholders value.

What You’ll Learn

Collect and analyze relevant, appropriate data, and deliver findings that call out to be implemented by your community partner or stakeholder. Capstones are individualized projects. Your goal is to deliver value to your partner. It’s a project, not a class. You will learn “real world” lessons in completing your capstone and learn to negotiate, pivot, and rethink your plans to bring in your deliverable on schedule.

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