Human-Centered Product Design
Northwestern University DSGN 308

This is a project-based design course focusing upon ensuring that products meet the needs of their users. The course introduces observational methods, brainstorming, rapid prototyping, user testing, business models, and the social, marketing, and engineering concerns that impinge upon products. Students work in teams to plan, design, and develop a product to the prototype stage. I currently teach this course and helped to create it in 2003 with Prof. Don Norman and Prof. Bruce Ankenman.

User Needs and Business Models
The course is unique in the undergraduate engineering design curriculum because of the heavy emphasis on both user needs as well as on a plausible business model. Students are taught that products designed to solve a problem that no one would buy and can not be made profitable, does not in fact solve the problem.

Observation
Students learn to observe users, recognize the evidence of user problems, and formulate the opportunity for a designed solution. As students learn to observe, they record and share their observations.

Past Projects
Student projects can be seen in the following galleries: