Crowd-based design activities: Helping students connect with users online

Julie S. Hui, Elizabeth M. Gerber, Steven P. Dow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

28 Scopus citations


By definition, human-centered design relies on interaction with users. While interacting with users within industry can be challenging, fostering these interactions in a classroom setting can be even more difficult. This qualitative study explores the use of crowd-based design activities as a way to support student-user interactions online. We motivate these online methods through a survey of 27 design instructors, who identified common challenges of conducting student-user interactions in physical settings, including coordination constraints and geographical barriers to meeting in person. We then describe our research through design approach to create and test 10 activities in a classroom setting, including using Twitter for needfinding and using Reddit to brainstorm ideas with experts. Finally, we present an emergent framework outlining the design space for crowd-based design activities where students learn to use input from online crowds to inform their design work. We discuss plans to refine and expand the current set of activities for open access to instructors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDIS 2014 - Proceedings of the 2014 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Designing Interactive Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781450329026
StatePublished - 2014
Event2014 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, DIS 2014 - Vancouver, BC, Canada
Duration: Jun 21 2014Jun 25 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Conference on Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, and Techniques, DIS


Other2014 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, DIS 2014
CityVancouver, BC


  • Classroom activities
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Design methods
  • Innovation
  • Online crowds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


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