Electives in Product Design

Product Design has now fully migrated to the new curriculum and we are welcoming students from all areas at the University of Edinburgh.

We would like to let everyone know about the 3 exciting (Level 7 and 8) electives that we have available this year:

Design From Data (Sem 1 – Tuesdays PM), Electronic Things (Sem 1 – Thursdays PM), and Re-Value (Sem 2 – Tuesdays PM)

Design From Data

This course offers an introduction to qualitative and quantitative methods for gathering data, information and knowledge from participants in design projects. Through a series of lectures and practical exercises students will be introduced to the importance of user-led research and the role of empirical data to inform the design process. The course focuses on the initial phases of a design cycle: discover and define. The first part of the course will explore how data can be derived from users within specific settings, introducing approaches such as cultural probes, user observations, interviews, and questionnaires. The second part of the course will focus on how data is used to define audiences, identify problems and understand challenges before development phases begin. Students will engage in field studies using the various methods, before analysing the data in order to design briefs. The course will also introduce ethical issues involved in working with people.


Electronic Things

The course provides an understanding of how designers are increasingly required to work with electronics and microprocessors in order to create products which are responsive and agentitialal around their human counterparts. Through an introduction to hardware and software platforms, students will be supported in the designing of digital artefacts. Digital artefacts are capable of sensing the world around them, interpreting and re-presenting the data to the people with whom they co-exist. Creation of these artefacts combines the social science goal of collecting information about the use and the users of the technology in a real-world setting, the engineering goal of field-testing the technology, and the design goal of inspiring users and designers to think of new kinds of technology to support their needs. A combination of a series of lectures that reflect upon current creative electronic practice, and workshops that provide technical and creative will support students to develop their own electronic artifacts for deployment in settings informed through their own interests.



Through a series of lectures that explore the concept of value and worth in different contexts and markets, students will gain an understanding of the historical models of value and how the digital economy is changing the way we buy and use products and services. The course will reflect on design’s place with established models of value chains and consider the implications for the discipline in value constellations. Students will be encouraged to consider what they value in the world around them, the artefacts and the way we use them, in order to understand how value is created.

Through a series of social contexts that present an increasing complexity away from convergent to divergent models of value, students will respond through practice to becer understand how value can be produced and sustained.