Design Case 2009

USI Programme, Module D      

Panos Markopoulos

About the Design Case

The design case is a team project executed by multi-disciplinary teams of 4-5 USI post-graduate students, in a period of 10 weeks.  This project provides an opportunity for USIs to execute a full user-centred design cycle where they can prototype and test their own design ideas.  All design case projects should have a strong industrial relevance, innovative character and a research component.  A large proportion of past USI design cases have been published at international research conferences.

Key points


This course gives the chance to USI’s to pull together the knowledge they have acquired in the taught modules of the programme.  They get hands-on experience in interaction design following a complete iteration of a design lifecycle, from requirements analysis to implementation and testing.

This design case aims to consolidate knowledge of user centred design by attacking a challenging, complicated and industrially relevant problem which is relevant to current state of the art in interaction technology.  Emphasis is placed upon having a good design and on good design approach.  Critical design decisions must be reflected on a prototype and tested with users.

Compared to the 9-month industrial project of the 2nd year of the USI programme, the design case aims to ensure an appropriate and complete execution of a user centred design lifecycle and to expose USIs to the practical difficulties of teamwork in a multi-cultural environment.  This may or may not happen in the industrial project, which can focus on a small part of the process, e.g., implementation or usability testing and where USIs are often working individually. 

This design case aims to provide students with a reference point as to what is ‘best practice’ for involving users and basing design on empirical user studies. so that they can transfer this knowledge to the industry during their industrial placement.


Project planning for Design Case 2009

The following time is currently allocated to the project

week 26, June 22-26

week 35,36, 37, Aug 24- Sept 3

weeks 40 41, 42, Sept 28  -Oct 16

week 44, 45 Oct 26- Nov 6

weeks  50,  Nov 16 - Dec 11

Roughly, the project should follow the following phasing:


Ending date


Project phase


June 26


Problem Definition

Problem definition

Problem statement

1 A4 describing the detailed problem statement and related work.



User Requirements Study

User Requirements Analysis

(define target users, tasks, needs, etc.)

20’oral presentation

Submit 2 page report describing process and results.  Interesting data should be included as an appendix. 

sept 9


Concept Design

Concept Design and Evaluation Plan

15’ oral presentation (5' discussion)

Submit 2 page report describing concept, design rationale and initial evaluation plan.  Interesting information should be included in an appendix.

NB. Please get in touch with Panos and Mia as soon as possible for equipment you might need to buy

Nov 6



Detailed Design/Implementation

Demonstrate to supervisor on date due.

Submit 1 A4 max. with evaluation plan

Dec 11


Final Presentation

Evaluation and report writing

30’presentation of whole project.

Submit report describing the whole project, with all relevant materials (and intermediate reports) as appendices.  A CD Rom with all relevant material (including the report) should be submitted.


Reports should be handed (both as electronic and paper versions) to the coach and to Panos on the day of the deadline.


Past runs of the course

the course runs since 2001. The description of some previous runs can be found at:  Design Case 2006, Design case 2007, Design Case 2008


A full list of past design cases