Course: Design Case

Sept-Dec 2015

Professional Doctorate in Engineering, in User System Interaction

Instructor: Panos Markopoulos

About the Design Case

The design case is a team project executed by multi-disciplinary teams of 3-5 USI post-graduate trainees, 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 with users and learn in practice how to embed user involvement in an iterative and explorative design process. 

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.

This year, all assignments have been provided by cooperating industries. Their tentative titles are listed below:

·         Marta Kaczmarczyk, Lennart Overkamp, Guilherme Baptista de Moura, Bart Geelen An emotion input device for children with autism. Client: Harold de Groot, Sho-Sho. Tue Coach: xxx

·         Laura van Geel, Theodora Kyrgia, Yuashan Li, Ying Pan Smart Sock. Client: Jos Aarts, University of Maastricht,  TU/e coach: Admar Schoonen, Panos Markopoulos

·         Berkay Taskin, Supporting remote collaboration awareness among designers.  Client: COnCEPT project, TU/e coach: Jesus Munoz Alcantara and Mathias Funk

·         Shyam,  Vincent van Reden Client: Toyota. TU/e coach: Pierre Levy.

·         Katy Downey, Sherin Kamel Storytelling with HUE Client: Eindhoven Library, Philips: Jon Mason, Dima Aliakseyu, Coach: Serge Offermans

Objective of the course

The design case 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.

Key aspects of design case projects

·         Projects must cover a ‘complete’ transition from a user requirements analysis, to design, prototype and evaluation

·         Projects should align to research interest of one of the TU/e coaches, to ensure coaching availability and commitment.

·         Projects should be interesting to industry, who may get involved as an assignor, mentor or ‘uncle’ for the project.

·         A flexible supervision/coaching structure of the project is possible, but must be agreed and clarified in the beginning.

·         Teamwork is necessary – teams are formed by the USIs but are not allowed to split.

·         Publications are valued

·         Projects can provide useful ideas for research or industry and for all people involved, it is a way to test the waters for the industrial projects of the 2nd year. 

Project planning for Design Case 2013

Weeks 42-51 are dedicated to the design case in a continuous block.

There are some fixed moments for presentation that roughly follow the phasing of projects. Of course, depending on the nature of the project, the problem and the team, you may enter the design cycle at different places, e.g., use an evaluation of an existing system as a requireemnts gathering technique, use prototyping as a way of understanding a problem domain. You may even stop the design process at the level of non functional prototypes, like video scenarios. This is up to the design team to decide in terms of how best to meet the design brief. However, there is a strong interest to conclude with prototypes and evaluation of prototypes rather than stop with initial formulations of concept scenarios at an abstract level.


Project phase

Plenary meeting


Design Brief (exploration

Oct 16 15:00-17:00

 Traverse Posthumuszaal

10’oral presentation (5’discussion)

Present design brief and problem statement, show commitment role and expectations from different stakeholders, iniital exploration of the field - sketch out intended final deliverable

Develop a plan for understanding user needs and opportunities that this problem domain offers. This plan will be executed in the 2nd part of the project

Reporting: Submit 1 page describing the detailed problem statement (target users, challenge, level of support, technology area) and related work.

See this chapter by W.Newman for how to specify an interaction design problem

Domain exploration and user needs analysis

Oct 30  13:00-15:00

Zwarte Doos 1.04

15’oral presentation  (5’discussion)

Presentation: report process you carried out to delve deeper into the domain, to identify user needs and opportunities for innovation and sketch in which direction you are aiming to design for. A sketch of a concept and prototype if available may be shown.

Reporting (optional) 2 page report describing process and results.  Supporting data can be included as an appendix. 

Concept Design and Preliminary Evaluation Plan

Nov 20   14:30-16:30

Traverse Zaal 2

10’ oral presentation (5' discussion)

Submit to coach only 4 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 Ivor as soon as possible for equipment you might need to buy

Detailed Design/Implementation

By Dec 4  (make your own appointments)

There is no plenary meeting here - this is a milestone that must be reached in time.

Demonstrate to supervision team on date due

Submit to coach only 1 page evaluation plan. with revised evaluation plan

Evaluation and report writing


Dec 17 Thursday 10:00-13:00

Filmzaal Zwaarte doos

30’presentation of whole project.

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



These are the default reporting requirements: any other agreement is acceptable that the team agrees with coach and client, during project specification phase. Please take into account in making it: needs of client, plans for publication, learning needs and project specific concerns.

Reports should be handed (both as electronic and paper versions) to the coach on the day of the deadline. Only the final report should be delivered to the course organizer (Panos) as well.

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 Design Case 2009 Design Case 2010, Design Case 2011, Design Case 2012, Design Case 2013 Design Case 2014


A full list of past design cases














·         Fraai-Werk customizable lamps. Team: Hella Kriening, Monica Perusquia, Barbara Wajda and Carina Palumbo. Coach: Mathias Funk. Client: Charl Schmith (Fraai Werk).

·         Head Up Games. Tetske Avontuur, Eveline Brink, Rian de Jong, Yves Florack. Coach: Panos Markopoulos. Client: Iris Soute (TU/e)

·         New On-Line Customer Experience for Airline ticketing. Diego Dalia, Den Tserkovnyi, Fereshteh Khodabakhshi, Julia Malyk. Coach: Nikos Batalas. Client: Areti Goulati, Thelxi Mamagaki (SAS).

·         Vibe-ing: Designing a smart textile care tool for the treatment of osteoporosis. Potzakova, D., Indre Kalinauskaite, Derec Wu, Petr Kosnar, Carmen van de Zwaluw. Client Eun jeong Coach: Oscar Tomico (TU/e)


·         Facilitate the Facilitator. Team: Carolina Gomez Naranjo Ruslan Kreymer Kimberley Schelle,  Jenya Gubenko Coach: Iris Soute. (TU/e) Client: Marcel Jansens (BullFrogAvenue)

·         Warehouse Configurator Nicolle Helgers, Michael Maat,Mehmet Yalvac, Zhiyuan Zheng  Coach: Mathias Funk (TU/e). Client:  Paul Haagh (Groenwout Consultants & Engineers)

·         Health Record Visualisation. Gurjot Dhillon, Maria Gustafsson, Dimitra Micha,  Maarten Piso Coach: Panos Markopoulos (TU/e). Client: tbd (Nedap).

·         Privacy in Electronic Health Records. Areti Paziourou, Begum Erten. Coach. Tbd (TU/e) Client tbd (Nedap)