Human-Centered Design

Fall 2022 (2 units)

Human-centered design is a discipline incorporating the human needs perspective to solve problems in public health and medicine. As an introduction to the practice, learners will follow a service design process applying methods focused on building empathy, translating needs into solution requirements, creative ideation, prototype development and testing, and planning for implementation. Broad implementation science principles and approaches will be overlaid to show correlations.


The objectives for this course are for participants to:

  • Recognize the intent and focus of human-centered design as a problem-solving practice;
  • Describe the phases of the design process, the core activities that occur in each phase, and the phase objectives;
  • Describe the implementation science principles that complement human-centered methods across the design process; and
  • Demonstrate basic skill in using design methods to solve a problem.


Training or experience in public health, quality improvement, or health care organization leadership. Exceptions for these prerequisites may be made with the consent of the course director.


Course Director:

Courtney Lyles, PhD

Associate Professor, Medicine
Email: [email protected]

Course Co-Director:

 Jan Yeager MDes

Email: [email protected]


This course is delivered virtually. You are expected to view the video lectures, complete assigned readings, and use tools to demonstrate your progress on the weekly design activities. In addition, you will be expected to be an active participant in weekly virtual design labs to advance solutions and/or online discussion forum; deliver a final presentation and report on your final solution; and complete course evaluations. Completing this course will take an estimated 5-7 hours of work per module. In order to receive a course completion certificate, students are expected to:

  • Turn in weekly assignments by their due dates.
  • Attend and actively participate in design activities and weekly design labs
  • Produce and give an oral presentation and accompanying final written report that explains the problem to be solved, the path taken to solve the problem (design methods used), the design of the solution, and the proposal for implementation

Students who do not actively participate in design activities (including using the provided tools to demonstrate progress on their design) or miss more than 1 weekly design lab session or weekly assignment will have the option of auditing or dropping the course. In either case, course fees will not be refunded. Due to the structure and sequencing of design activities there will be no opportunity to make up a missed design lab session or an assignment.

The weekly learning cycle begins on Friday by viewing online lectures and other learning material and ends with a Design Lab on Thursdays.

Lectures and accompanying materials:
These are available online to view on one's own. They cover design concepts, methods, and tools.

In-person Design Lab:
Friday, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM from September 24 to December 3.
Design teams will work on generating deliverables including visual models, frameworks, design principles, design concepts, prototypes and plans.

Clinical setting activities: Design teams will interface with their respective clinical setting for stakeholder interviews, observation, prototype testing, etc. throughout the course of the quarter. These activities will take place in the field at the clinical setting at times and for durations mutually agreed upon between the design teams and the clinical stakeholders.


Supplemental readings, tools and templates will be posted on the course online syllabus.



Final Project:

  • Submits a fully completed 7-10 page final report and delivers a powerpoint presentation that describes the design processes/methods and the final prototype completed over the course.


  • Submits completed assignments by the weekly deadline.


  • Attends and actively engages in weekly synchronous design lab sessions (TEAM TRACK)
  • Provides rationale/reflection in applying design methods within regular assignments (SELF-DIRECTED TRACK)


  • Does not submit a final project or submits an incomplete project that is missing sections.
  • Does not submit weekly homework or submits homework after the deadline without obtaining approval of small group leader.
  • Does not actively participate in weekly work (e.g., misses more than 1 design lab session without advanced approval of instructor)

UCSF Graduate Division Policy on Disabilities

To Enroll

ATCR and MAS students use the Student Portal

All other students can find registration information on the Implementation Science website.