UX / UI design fundamentals for researchers

Target Group

PhD students of the Doctoral Schools of Natural Sciences and (Bioscience) Engineering.

Researchers with a notion of programming and involved with the development of applications

Organizing & Scientific Committee


Rien Maertens
Faculty: Sciences (WE02)
E-mail: Rien.Maertens@UGent.be

Other members of the organising & scientific committee

  • dr. Bart Mesuere (WE02)
  • prof. dr. Peter Dawyndt (WE02)


Are you frustrated with the impractical digital tools that you use for your research? Are you developing an application, but do you feel you lack an intuition to improve its interface? This course teaches the fundamentals of UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) design, giving you the tools to build clear and intuitive interfaces.

Topics and Objectives


During this course, participants learn methods and tools and the underlying theory to come to improvements for existing user interfaces. We start with an introduction to UX and UI design (what it is and why it is valuable) and a method to evaluate existing interfaces using design guidelines. This is followed by methods to generate ideas and concepts that can be translated into a graphical design and prototype using the design platform Figma. Finally we will learn how to test the redesigned interface with potential end users, and collect insights to improve the interface in a second iteration.


What PhD students will learn during this course:

  • Understanding the difference between UX design and UI design.
  • Understanding that the design phase is an iterative and agile software or web development project is reducing the risk of creating a product or service that
    does not answer the needs of the end users.
  • Assessing an existing interface based on a list of design heuristics.
  • Applying design guidelines to improve an existing design.
  • Using Figma as a tool to create a UI design and prototype.
  • Organising a usability test with potential users of the designed interface.
  • Executing a usability test with potential users.
  • Analysing data collected during a usability test.
  • Presenting a redesign and the insights gained from a usability test.

Dates and Venue

  • Dates: Tuesday 9 August, Thursday 11 August, Wed 17 August 2022
  • Number of contact hours (minimum 15): 3 days of 7 hours: 21 hours
  • Venue: Ghent University, Campus Sterre, Building S2, Faculty meeting room

Program and Time schedule

Catering (coffee breaks and light lunches) will be provided.

Day 1 - Heuristic evaluation


9:00h - 10:30h

Introduction UX & UI design (lecture)

10:45h - 12:30h

UI design guidelines and examples (lecture)

13:00h - 15:00h

Heuristic evaluation of your own project (exercise)

15:15h - 17:00h

Discuss your evaluation in groups (discussion)

Day 2 - UI design


 9:00h - 10:30h

Ideas and concepts (lecture)

10:45h - 12:30h

Basics of Figma and setup of your pages (exercise)

13:00h - 15:00h

Create your redesign and prototype (exercise)

15:15h - 17:00h

Present your redesign in groups (discussion)

Day 3 - Usability testing


9:00h - 10:30h

Usability testing (lecture)

10:45h - 12:30h

Write a usability test script (exercise)

13:00h - 15:00h

Test your redesign (exercise)

15:15h - 17:00h

Present your insights in groups (discussion)


Name: Marjan Geerts
Affiliation: UXCoach
Short biography: Marjan Geerts is a UX designer with 12+ years of experience in the combination of design and research. She believes that empathy for the end user results in better and more attractive products and services. She has been working as a design researcher for Bell Labs between 2008 and 2012, and was co-author of various research articles about Near Field Communication and Internet of Things applications. She has been working as a freelance designer for different companies in the past 3 years and teaches and coaches young and novice designers under the name uxcoach.be


Registration is now closed.
If the course is fully booked, you can ask to be added to the waiting list by sending an e-mail to doctoralschools@ugent.be. In case of cancellations, you can take the open place.

Registration fee

Free of charge for Doctoral School members of (Bioscience) Engineering and Natural Sciences of Ghent University

Teaching materials

The lecturer will provide training materials and channels to keep in touch between lessons:

  • Slide set for each day: a PDF file including design examples, instructions for home work or further reading on the topics that were discussed during that day.
  • Brainstorming materials: Paper, post-its, markers to generate first ideas and brainstorm as a group.
  • Slack channel: between lessons PhD students can get support through e-mail or a Slack channel from the lecturer

Number of participants

Max 20 participants.



Evaluation methods and criteria (doctoral training programme)

Attendance of at least 2 of the 3 days. Participants will be encouraged to apply the concepts seen in this course on a project (their own or one provided by the lecturers) and present their results and findings with the other participants.