Basics of Design Research (Edition Q1/2017)

Before you start designing, get to know your user and what they need – join this free online course to learn how! To build a user interface that users enjoy using, you need to carry out field research to develop points of view. This course will provide you with a foundation for conducting design research in a people-centric way.

This course was retired in October 2023.

Self-paced since March 2, 2017
Language: English

Course information


This course was retired in October 2023.

Course Summary

In this course, you’ll get an overview from SAP’s design research experts that will help you get the most out of your field research experience. From identifying users through conducting a field visit to developing points of view, this course will provide you with a foundation for conducting design research in a people-centric way.

In This Course You Will:

  • Understand the relevance of design research in the development of quality software products
  • Understand the roles of design researchers, moderators, and note-takers
  • Become familiar with how to gain empathy, which is key to understanding user needs
  • Learn the basics of design research: How to get ready for a field visit, how to run an interview, and how to capture and analyze your findings

Course Structure:

Each class is designed to support your learning

  • Video Lectures – Design practitioners present topics with real-world examples
  • Check Points – Short quizzes help you assess your understanding of the lectures
  • Hands-On Exercises – Small, manageable exercises related to and expanding on the class topics, to be completed individually or in collaboration with your fellow participants
  • Further Reading and Resources – Links to additional materials as well as domain experts

Throughout the course, you’ll receive points for weekly challenges. Upon completion of the course, you’ll receive a document confirming your participation in the course.

Course Characteristics

Course Content

Week 1 – Introduction to the course
Introducing the teaching team and an overview of design research, key terms, and roles.

Week 2 – Planning and preparing how to gain empathy
How to get ready for a field visit by agreeing on outcomes, defining and finding participants, creating a field visit guide, and also planning logistics.

Week 3 – Conducting a field visit
How to conduct a field visit, from building a connection with the participant to having an insightful conversation and capturing the field visit.

Week 4 – Analyzing your data
How to analyze your data by sharing your findings with your team and making sense of your data through clustering.

Week 5 – Synthesizing your findings
How to create a persona based on your clusters and extract insights from your data to create points of view.

Target Audience

Anyone who wants to learn more about Design Research.

Previous Version of This Course

Previous version of this course is available here:
Basics of Design Research (September 7 through October 14, 2016)

Course contents

  • Course content no longer available

  • Week 1:

    Introduction to the course
  • Week 2:

    Planning and preparing how to gain empathy
  • Research Challenge

  • Week 3:

    Conducting a field visit
  • Week 4:

    Analyzing your data
  • Week 5:

    Synthesizing your findings
  • I Like, I Wish:

    We Love Your Feedback … And Want More

Enroll me for this course

The course is free. Just register for an account on openSAP and take the course!
Enroll me now


Course End
Mar 02, 2017
Course Start
Jan 25, 2017


This course was rated with 4.27 stars in average from 687 votes.

Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 50% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.
  • Gain a Confirmation of Participation by completing at least 50% of the course material.
  • Gain an Open Badge by completing the course.

Find out more in the certificate guidelines.

This course is offered by

Andrea Anderson

Former VP Design Thinking, SAP User Experience Strategy

Andrea is a veteran of Design Thinking in software. With more than 10 years of practicing and teaching design thinking, she has applied the approach to software solutions, product strategy and services.

Andrea has been instrumental in leading the organizational transformation of SAP into an organization that practices Design Thinking throughout the world.

Lukas Schubsda

UX Researcher, SAP

Lukas Schubsda is the user research lead at Wrap Media, a mobile technology startup based in San Francisco. Previously he conducted user research at SAP, Google, and Intuit - Demandforce. He defines user research as the art and science of discovering and communicating valuable insights that emerge from studying, and empathizing with users of products, minimizing risk by validating or invalidating assumptions, and ultimately answering important questions that helps products and businesses succeed.

Sam Yen

Former Chief Design Officer, SAP

Sam had multiple roles at SAP: Chief Design Officer, Global Head of Design and User Experience, and prior to that he led the SAP AppHaus, an innovation team tasked with building new solutions, establishing new markets, and reaching new users for SAP. Sam initially joined SAP as a senior member of the Design Services Team, a group in the Office of the CEO tasked with accelerating the adoption of Design Thinking as a process for innovation and development of internal and external SAP products.

Cornelia Kinateder

Design Research Expert, SAP

Cornelia is a Design Researcher and Lead at the SAP office in Walldorf, Germany. With 10 years of experience, she is now a coach and expert in design research for SAP project teams and stakeholders worldwide. In addition to conducting, teaching, and adapting design research methods, she is considered a design research pioneer and veteran.

Carolin Flesch

Senior Design Researcher, SAP

Carolin is a Design Researcher and Trainer at the SAP office in Walldorf, Germany. In the last seven years, she has worked closely with many product teams, choosing and running different design research methods, analyzing qualitative data, and generating user-based product requirements. She also regularly teaches classes about design research at SAP.

George Kembel

Managing Director & Co-Founder, Stanford

George is an entrepreneur and investor turned educator. He co-founded the and now leads its global effort. Passionate about nurturing the creative potential of others, George spends his time working with students, teachers, leaders, and investors to unlock the latent innovative capacity of their teams and organizations.