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Designing Healthier Communities

This VIP course is paused and will not be accepting students for Spring 2023 semester. 

Formally named: UX Research Lab

What is the ambitious goal of this project?

Participate in faculty research and engage in projects with community partners in a variety of roles providing direct experience with diverse user research (UX) practices, from field observations to interview transcription. You will analyze and interpret data and develop insights relevant to design decisions.

This project aims to be:

  • interdisciplinary: working at the confluence of design, anthropology, and community health
  • community integration: building an ecosystem of scholars, advocates, and stakeholders
  • continuity in application: providing students with applied research/design experience spanning multiple years
Kendall House and Caile Spear stand in front of white board with question "what are your ideas for affordable off-campus housing?"
Dr. House and Dr. Spear at VIP Showcase, collecting insights on affordable off-campus housing

The learning outcomes include:

  • Discuss, explain, and apply core user experience research methods.
  • Evaluate user research methods with respect to particular problems and select appropriate methods.
  • Analyze and interpret qualitative data and develop insights with implications for design decisions.
  • Explain the conceptual foundations of the practice of user research.
  • Discuss the relationship between design and user research.

Experience Gained

Students will have an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the following areas:

  • case studies
  • design thinking
  • fieldwork
  • participant/study observations
  • quantitative research methods
  • structured interviewing

Majors and Interests Needed

We are looking for students interested in working on teams, learning new tools and from all majors. Recommended for: students in health sciences / community health; social and behavioral sciences; social work; and art and design.

VIP Coach Information

Dr. Kendall House is a lecturer in the Anthropology department interested in design anthropology, applied ethnography, user research, anthropology of work, and design for equality and inclusion.

Brian Wiley is an assistant professor in the art department at Boise State University where he teaches courses in Graphic Design, User-Experience, and User-Interface Design. His current work focuses on both design entrepreneurship and community-based partnerships.

Affiliate faculty:  Marc Hebert, Director of the Innovation Office of the City of San Francisco and Norman Stolzoff, President and Founder, Ethnographic Insight

Course Information

VIP  200, VIP 400, or VIP 500 (find section with the class title: Designing Healthier Communities)
Full semester course. Choose to enroll in 1 or 2 credits.
Weekly meetings: Fridays 9:00 AM (remote)

Interested in joining this team?

For more information and to request a permission number to register contact Kendall House at  OR complete this interest form and someone will contact you.  Check out this document for tips on contacting a professor about joining a team.

To register:  search by Subject: Vertically Integrated Projects, select section 023 of VIP 200, 400, or 500. Use permission number, here are instructions