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User Experience Design MSc

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year Mixed, including block and day/evening sessions; estimated 50 days on site per year
  • September 2014
  • January 2015
Part time 2–3 years Mixed, including block and day/evening sessions; estimated 25 days on site per year
  • September 2014
  • January 2015

Choose Kingston's User Experience Design MSc

The aim of this course to equip you with the behavioural theory, design practice and technology know-how that is necessary for a career as interaction designer, usability engineer, user researcher, or head of user experience. It focuses upon the analysis, design, prototyping and evaluation of multimedia, multi-modal, and multi-platform user interfaces that are easy to use and support a great user experience.

Key features

  • This course was developed in consultation with our industry panel, which includes Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, DreamWorks and Samsung Design Europe. We are also an active member of TIGA, the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) and support the User Experience Professionals' Association (UXPA UK).
  • Technical facilities include a Tobii eye tracker, and Morae usability testing software, editing suites, moving-image studios and 3D workshops.
  • This course is accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS), The Chartered Institute for IT.

What will you study?

You will have the opportunity to:

  • stake the role of a user experience (UX) designer/analyst in an interdisciplinary team of students from across the Digital Media Kingston programme, and use industry-standard techniques to deliver on time;
  • learn about fundamental User Experience activities – analysis, design prototyping and evaluation – in the context of a practical project. Projects are selected in consultation with students (and mostly individually), so that you can tailor your degree towards the industry sector, technology or job role that suits your interests and ambitions;
  • consider user experience in relation to cutting-edge technologies (big screens, tablets, smart phones, context-aware embedded devices and multi-modal games console), current industry trends (big data, multi-channel services, digital lifestyles), and contemporary theory (cognition ‘in the wild', usability vs experience);
  • explore at least one kind of specialist practice in depth, to further distinguish and focus your learning, and practice track record;
  • learn how to present yourself to potential employers through your online professional presence and portfolio; and
  • work with industrial hosts, and research-active academics to produce professional and excellent pieces of work that achieve progress and innovation.

Visit the Digital Media Kingston blog or course director's blog for more information about this course.

Assessment

Mock-ups, functional prototypes, demos, videos, presentations, design documents, essays.

Course structure

The course comprises four taught modules and a final project:

Semester 1

  • This module focuses upon the usability testing, bottom-up design and prototyping of single-user interaction with data-intensive, web services and applications via the desk-top, particularly for information seeking and shopping. The emphasis is upon quantitative measurement for efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction.

    • Coursework: usability test report, prototype, presentation
    • Schedule: allow approximately two one-week blocks in the first semester
    • Class size: 15–20
    • Staff: Dr Martin Colbert
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  • You will work with a multidisciplinary group of students as appropriate for your course (User Experience Design MSc, Game Development (Design) MA, Game Development (Programming) MSc and Computer Animation MA); involved with the digital media production process in response to a project brief developed in consultation with the industry panel and/or research staff. Projects concern contemporary platforms, such as iPhone, Android, Windows, Playstation, Xbox and Next Generation controllers and innovative input devices. You also develop a professional profile (online CV/portfolio) fitting for your role and intended destination which you maintain throughout the course.

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Semester 2

  • This core module deals with the preparation for development of rich-media, persuasive and engaging user experiences particularly associated with multi-modal interaction with personal and ubiquitous computing. The module addresses holistic issues raised by interaction with information in context (the context of small groups, communications, and environments), and focuses upon design and prototyping from as a creative, reflexive practice. A requirement to draw upon diverse sources to inform design decision making processes and methodologies for complex outcomes, including but not limited to approaches from the performing arts, ethnography and service design.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Research user needs and the implications of modality and social conduct for interaction and experience.
    • Analyse multi-modal interaction, groups of users, their communications, activities and contexts of use with respect to rich media.
    • Design input modalities, output media and interactive content to appeal to an audience.
    • Prototype innovative interaction in a social and technical context.
    • Evaluate the quality of diffuse, group interactions throughout the user journey.
    • Create and reflect upon critical design practice and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of alternative approaches.

    This module focuses upon the user research, top-down design and prototyping of multi-user interaction with media-rich information sources, as part of multi-channel, multimodal interaction with personal and ubiquitous computing. The emphasis is upon qualitative insight and creativity for user engagement and persuasion.

    • Coursework: design report, prototype, presentation
    • Schedule: allow approximately one day a week in the second semester
    • Class size: 15–20
    • Staff: Martin Colbert
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  • This flexible module gives each you the chance to develop your unique interpretation of professional practice that captures your specific interests or niche within your course field.

    • Possible specialisms for User Experience Design include: information architecture, web prototyping (Javascript, HTML, CSS etc), mobile-user testing, remote user research, visual design, interaction design, content strategy, service design, branded Ux and information design.
    • Possible specialisms for Games Development (Programming) include: tools and plug ins; pathfinding algorithms; graphics programming; physics; game server backends; traffic/flocking/crowd AI.
    • Possible specialisms for Games Development (Design) include: concepts; mechanics; levels, narrative; gameplay; world and system design; interface and navigation; casual, serious and game studies.
    • Possible specialisms for Computer Animation include: storyboarding; character development; visual narrative; match moving; lighting; art; environments; levels and props; motion capture; rigging; particles, dynamics and fluids; tools and plug ins.
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Final project (June to September)

  • This module relates the work of the course to a practical solution and demonstrates skills in defining, analysing and developing a substantial solution to an individually defined user experience design-related problem. You will be guided and supported in your choice of project by course tutors and this will be informed by individual career and personal development planning undertaken during the preparation of the proposal.

    • Assessment: Three kinds of project are possible – Practical Project and a 3–5,000-word report; Thesis 12–15,000-word report; and Management Project Report (10,000 words).
    • Schedule: allow approximately fortnightly supervisions for four months (or equivalent)
    • Staff: course staff
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You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

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The British Computer Society (BCS) accredits this course which means you may be able to gain exemptions from some BCS professional examinations.

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