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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Understanding User Needs by University of Michigan

461 ratings

About the Course

Designing effective interactive systems requires understanding the needs and capabilities of the people who will be using them. In this UX course we will focus on how to interact with users (or potential users) to understand what they need, what they currently do, what they love and hate, and examine human capabilities and behavior as they relate to UX design. Learners will be introduced to numerous techniques to gather data from and about users. This course is part of the User Experience (UX) Research and Design specialization offered on Coursera. What you'll learn: Find out what user needs assessments are, what qualitative research is, and how the two are related. Learn an end-to-end methodology for qualitative research that is suited for understanding user needs. The methodology includes knowledge of semi-structured interviews, in-situ observation, and affinity walls. Be exposed to good practices for conducting semi-structured interviews, in-situ observation, and affinity walls. Gain some experience with semi-structured interviews, in-situ observations, and affinity walls....

Top reviews


Jul 9, 2020

I really enjoyed this class and felt it was a great start to learning how to conduct user research. The professor, Kentaro Toyama, is also a fantastic teacher even with teaching via recorded video.


Oct 11, 2020

This course has really exceeded my expectations, each of the exercises that are raised lead you to a complete understanding of the strategies to follow to understand the needs of the user.

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1 - 25 of 99 Reviews for Understanding User Needs

By Daniel M C

Sep 24, 2019

I had very high expectations about this course. Although the skills and knowledge acquired are very relevant to me and I find them useful, there are several things I didn't like about the course.

First, it seemed like there were unexplained gaps in the information acquisition; at some point I was trained to carry out an observation protocol implicitly assuming that it had already been designed, but the observation protocol design was never introduced. It feels like some content was missing from the course. Then, I tried to report it in the discussion forums about "Issues with materials", but never received a reply. I think that the instructors should be attentive to this forum at least, as it is the only way they can receive real-time feedback from the students with these issues.

Nevertheless, I liked taking the course and doing the activities, and I think they'll be very useful for my professional development.

By Gloria W

Jan 31, 2021

This is a really bad course.

As a graduate psychology student who's already have some knowledge in UX research, I don't think you can establish rapport through his approach of interviewing.

Furthermore, I found his quizzes rather self-grandiosing. He would ask you what the joke he said in the class meant. Like seriously dude, I come here to learn and you are not funny.

By Amber W

Apr 3, 2019

Learned a lot about user research, user needs assessment, interviewing, data extraction. It was more challenging than the first course in the specialization. I’ll definitely need to continue learning about this topic. Great instructor and lectures.

By Tabitha J

Jul 9, 2020

I really enjoyed this class and felt it was a great start to learning how to conduct user research. The professor, Kentaro Toyama, is also a fantastic teacher even with teaching via recorded video.

By Anelia S

Feb 13, 2019

Although it's quite intensive, the course is super important for anybody who wants to get better in this area of knowledge. 100% Recommendable.

By Ari R

Apr 20, 2019

The topic was interesting and I learnt a lot of new things. i wish that it was designed to be a little more exciting and engaging.

By Ahmed S

Apr 26, 2019

the course covers all the aspects around user interviews. but still, many other methods can be used for understanding user needs

By Kevin H

May 28, 2020

A very basic light touch course, it outlines the key principles for understanding user needs but not in a way that would be useful in the real world. The assignment is a good idea and helps students learn by doing however the Peer Review approach is unfit for purpose given the scale of the assignment. I would not recommend this course to others primarily as the content is not of a high enough standard.

By Amirali Y

Jun 6, 2022

Worst Course I've taken in my life. Exauhsting homework.............

By Marian G

Dec 14, 2020

I really liked this class. The assignments were really helpful and meaningful. I learned so much from Writing my interview script, doing actual user interviews and synthesizing the learnings from the interviews. You can only learn so much from a lecture, but putting it into practice, you REALLY learn. I also liked professor Toyama's demonstrations, for example the example user interviews and the affinity wall. He made the class very engaging, compared to if it had been all lectures.

By Amalchi C

Oct 24, 2019

This was a great class. I think the instructor is very thorough, and the assignments give you a great hands-on opportunity to practice one of the most popular methodologies for gathering user needs data. Furthermore, I appreciated the final assignment, where we were asked to condense the data further into a small report and propose design solutions from the information we compiled.

If you put in the work for this course, I do think you will gain a valuable skill from it. I recommend!

By Iris L

Dec 18, 2019

The lectures are very interesting. I learnt a lot from this course. The project is quite like a joke for me. It's so hard for me find two people who are not my friends or relatives but be willing to spend one hour interview with me. These days, I would want $20 gift card to do such thing for a stranger! Anyways, I did gain hands-on experience with the Affinity Wall.

By Rejean B

Sep 5, 2020

The lectures were concise yet meaty. All the essentials of doing a user needs assessment were discussed. I had the chance to come up with my own research project - from problem definition all the way to key findings and recommendations. Both the process and the experience was amazing! I highly recommend this course!

By Lee M

Feb 14, 2020

Challenging, but thoroughly rewarding. Be prepared to put more effort into this course than many others. You'll be expected to actually engage with others to be able to complete most of the assignments so make sure you have time available.

By Juangui J A

Jan 10, 2019

This was an excellent course. The professor is very good and the assignments are well balanced and practical. I think that I learned very useful skills that I already have put in practice in my day to day work as a frontend developer.

By Karim A

Mar 16, 2021

Excellent course for

1) understanding how to conduct a user needs assessment

2) Interviewing and observing users to understand how they think and act

3) Extracting data from those interviews and synthesizing them for analysis.


By S.M. J I

Jul 28, 2020

This is very essential course of the user experience research and design specialization. I learned lot about user need assessment, research, affinity walls, affinity wall report writing, and so on. Great experience achieved. Thanks

By Michelle C

Mar 14, 2021

It's a great course, I was able to learn a lot at each stage. One point that I thought was important it was the comments in the quizzes, when it got it wrong and it got it right, that clarifies the doubts.

By Sarah P

Mar 6, 2023

Greatly enjoyed the videos and project, which allowed me to practice research interviewing skills! This course covers a good amount of material but is focused, so it is not full of extraneous information.

By Daria M

Oct 29, 2019

I would really recommend this course if you are new in this field and wants to try how to be a UX researcher and try to conduct a real interview. The course designed to motivate you and it really works.

By Mauricio V

Oct 12, 2020

This course has really exceeded my expectations, each of the exercises that are raised lead you to a complete understanding of the strategies to follow to understand the needs of the user.

By Prokhorova T

Aug 15, 2020

I appreciate a lot this course as it provided a lot of practical exercises to use the knowledge I gained from the lectures. Lectures were clear and they also matched my expectations

By Mohamed M K

May 3, 2021

Really it is a great course from a practical and technical side, It needs a lot of work to complete but it 100% worth it.

You will get a very good skill, practicing user research.

By Vankadaru V S V

May 3, 2020

The structure of the course was really good. The hands-on activity at every stage let us understand the ideas provided during the course. Overall, it a great learning experience!

By Carlos J B A

Mar 8, 2019

A rewarding experience because I have been able to learn very valuable information. It is an excellent course. It has helped me in the personal and professional field. Thank you.