Design Research Methods 1 Toronto

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OCAD University

Room 544, 5th Floor of the Sharp Centre for Design

100 McCaul Street

Toronto, Ontario M5T 1W1


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Design Research has become a required skill for a working designer however few designers were trained in these skills when they studied design. This course will introduce participants to the emerging field of Design Research and tools that can be used to inform design as well as to ideas about how and when to deploy them effectively so you can be a more successful designer. The course will introduce you to terms used in design research and the value of an evidence-based design approach. These tools can help you to target your design solutions more successfully and discover differentiation to provide greater value to your clients and increase your billable time as an important component of your design process.

Our aim is to provide designers with relevant high quality continuing education directed towards the changing needs of working designers in industry in diverse fields of design and architecture taught by some of the most experienced and recognized designers and architects in the world.


Changes in Design practice over the last decade have meant that there has been a growing divergence between what practising designers were taught at school and the skills that we need to practice design today in an increasingly complex consumer environment. We need to apply new tools that most designers were not taught at design school that go beyond appearance to navigate the increasing complexity of design practice. Designers need new research practices drawn from social sciences and psychology to successfully uncover user-centered insightsin oreder to create better informed design of products, services, environments and experiences. These tools empower designers to rethink and reinvent the practice of design to discover emerging opportunities to create entirely new designs in rapidly evolving consumer behaviours and global markets.

Did your client ever ask you why you are reccommending a particular design concept or direction? Design research supports evidence based design which is the best way to convince a client that your design concept is based on solid foundations and will be a successful investment.

This course provides quick and practical research techniques that you can use to help base the
design on users’ needs, desires. This half day comprehensive course designers and architects tools and techniques to observe how users experience their interfaces. You will be introduced to essential research techniques ranging from affinity diagrams to rapid ethnography techniques and quadrant maps, so that you can successfully base your design directions on user-centered evidence to get client buy-in.

Design Research is one of the fastest growing areas of design as organizations are trying to target designsolutions more accurately and successfully.


Business Executives who want to create business value and strategic impact through design research. Designers and researchers seeking a foundational understanding of Design Research terms and techniques.


Half day.




Students will develop an awareness of Design Research methods aimed to inform the design process for dealing with contemporary design problems.


- Course ebooklet outlining important Design Research methods, when and how to use them.

- You will receive a certificate at the course upon completion and requirements. Full payment must have been made to issue a certificate.


OCAD University

Room 544, 5th Floor of the Sharp Centre for Design
100 McCaul Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5T 1W1


1.00 PM to 5.00 PM Sunday 11th December 2011


There is underground parking, accessed from across the
street from OCADU. There is also a parking lot a little farther down the street
across from 50 McCaul Street. Onstreet parking is available but not preferred because it is 3 hour duration and the workshop covers a lot in 4 hours. You are responsible for costs of parking.


We need a minimum of forteen students to run a class.We may reschedule or cancel the class if the number of students do not reach the required minimum.We reserve the right to cancel a course in the event of an unforeseen circumstance, or if the minimum acceptable registration is not attained. In the event of a cancellation, we will refund the registration fee only.


Rob Curedale was born in Australia and worked as a Design Researcher, Design Director, Design Educator and Designer in London, Sydney, Vevey, Switzerland, Portugal, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Hong Kong, China and Detroit. Curedale has designed furniture, medical, technology and consumer products in global markets including Europe, Australia, Asia and North America.

Rob's past positions include Senior Producer at frog responsible for proposal writing, client liasion and business project management, North American Design Manager at Haworth, the second largest furniture manufacturer in the World and Chair of Product Design at the College for Creative studies in Detroit, then the largest Product Design teaching department in North America.

Rob has lectured and taught widely internationally, including at Yale, Pepperdine MBA Innovation Program, Loyola Business Management Program, Art Center Pasadena, Cranbrook, Pratt, Art Center Europe; a faculty member at SCA and UTS Sydney; as Chair of Product Design and Chair of Furniture Design at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Art Institute California, Hollywood Campus, Cal State San Jose, Escola De Artes e Design in Oporto Portugal, Instituto De Artes Visuals, Design e Marketing, Lisbon, Southern Yangtze University, Jiao Tong University in Shanghai and Nanjing Arts Institute in China.

CLIENTS INCLUDE HP, Philips, GEC, Nokia, Sun, Apple, Canon, Motorola, Nissan, Audi VW, Disney, RTKL, Government of the United Arab Emirates, British and Australian military, Steelcase, Hon, Castelli, Hamilton Medical, Zyliss, Belkin, Gensler, Haworth, Honeywell, NEC, Hoover, Packard Bell, Dell, Black & Decker, Coleman and Harmon Kardon.


- Defining Design Research
- When and why use Design Research?
- What value is Design Research?
- What can Design Research be used for?
- What is Design Thinking and what can it be used for?


- Design Research Overview
- Quantitative vs qualitative methods
- Primary vs secondary research



- Interviewing techniques
- Role playing
- Affinity Diagrams
- Fly-on –the-wall
- Brainstorming
- Storyboards
- Quick and dirty prototypes
- Context maps
- Rapid ethnography
- Shadowing
- Card sort
- Participatory budgeting
- Being your user
- Empathy tools
- Cluster and vote
- Quadrant maps
- Mind Maps
- Focus Groups
- Observation
- User diaries
- Personal inventory

Activities: The participants are broken into groups and given a Design Research task and method to apply.


We reserve the right to make changes at any time without notice including but not confined to price, content, decription, location, starting time, duration, presenters, and location.


Registered participants that do not show and do not cancel will be required to pay the total course fee. A $30.00 fee will be charged to particpants who transfer to another course within 2 weeks of the original course.Cancellations can be made up until 14 days before the scheduled event date and will incur a $50.00 cancellation fee. Refunds or credits will not be issued for cancellations made within 10 days of the scheduled event date. Transfers to a different date/location can be made before the scheduled event date and will incur a $30.00 administration fee excluding tax and any difference in price.

Substitutions will be accepted any time prior to the commencement of the event. Refunds or credits will not be issued for no-shows or for those who begin a course but do not complete it.

If the event is cancelled all attendees will be notified via email and a refund issued.

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OCAD University

Room 544, 5th Floor of the Sharp Centre for Design

100 McCaul Street

Toronto, Ontario M5T 1W1


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