User Experience Certification

An introduction to the BCS Foundation Certificate in UX
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  • Lectures 16
  • Length 1 hour
  • Skill Level Intermediate Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 11/2015 English

Course Description

Do you want to find out more about the BCS Foundation Certificate in User Experience?

Perhaps you're thinking of taking the exam and you want to know what it covers.

Or maybe you're a training provider and you want to understand the scope of the syllabus.

Or perhaps you'd like to try out some sample questions from the exam.

If so, then this course is for you.

Note: A handful of students have given this course a poor review because they have not read this course description. This course is not an introduction to user experience. This course describes the syllabus of a certification exam. If you want an introduction to UX, try my other courses.

The BCS Foundation Certificate in User Experience aims to provide a recognised development pathway for UX professionals to demonstrate their skills and accelerate their careers. It is an independent certification scheme developed by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.

To pass the exam, you'll need to demonstrate your knowledge of the core concepts, techniques and methods in user experience in a 1-hour multiple choice examination.

This course describes the syllabus of the BCS Foundation Certificate in User Experience.

The syllabus covers user-centered design principles in nine competency areas:

  1. Guiding Principles
  2. User Research
  3. Illustrating the Context of Use
  4. Measuring Usability
  5. Information Architecture
  6. Interaction Design
  7. Visual Design
  8. User Interface Prototyping
  9. Usability Evaluation

This aim of this course is to explain the syllabus and provide some tips for people taking the exam. It will be useful to students who are preparing for the exam and for training organisations that want to understand the syllabus content.

What are the requirements?

  • Some background in user experience is required to understand the terminology.
  • This is not an introductory UX course.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Explain the purpose of the BCS Foundation Certificate in User Experience.
  • Decide if this is the right qualification for you.
  • Appreciate the range of topics that will come up in the examination.
  • Gain experience with the various question types that will come up in the exam.
  • Try out some sample questions.
  • Discover some tips to help you pass the examination.

Who is the target audience?

  • Students who want to know the scope of the BCS Foundation Certificate in UX.
  • Training providers who want to understand the scope of the syllabus.
  • User researchers and designers who want to test themselves by trying out the kind of questions asked in the exam.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Getting started

What are the objectives for the course? In this lecture, I answer these questions and we also get introduced.


The Foundation certificate aims to create more foot soldiers who speak the language of user experience. Because the syllabus is based around the an international standard in usability (ISO 9241-210), we can be sure the certificate encapsulates best practice. To pass, you’ll need to take a 1-hour multiple choice examination.

Section 2: The Syllabus Areas

This section of the syllabus covers the following areas:

  • Articulate the importance of taking the users’ perspective.
  • Paraphrase the key principles of user centred design.
  • Recall ISO9241 as an important standard in the field of usability.
  • Have an understanding of different user perspectives and goals for using a system
  • Recall the difference between usability and user experience.
  • Recall the difference between usability and user acceptance testing.
  • Summarise the benefits or inclusive design.
Guiding Principles
1 question

This section of the syllabus covers the following areas:

  • State the components of the context of use.
  • Identify the potential users of the system.
  • Plan site visits to end users to understand the context of use.
  • Recognise good and poor questions to ask in user interviews.
  • Describe the kinds of data that should be collected during a site visit to users.
  • Interpret the data from a site visit in ways that can be used to develop a shared knowledge of the context of use.
  • State the difference between observation and interpretation.
  • List discount usability research techniques that can be used to understand the context of use, such as diary studies.
  • State the key principles of contextual inquiry.
  • Define affinity diagramming.
  • Choose the appropriate research method to understand the context of use.
  • Demonstrate the difference between opinion-based and behaviour based research methods.
  • Recognise that requirements gathering and conceptual design should be truly inclusive.
User Research
1 question
This section of the syllabus covers the following areas:
  • Illustrate the specific users of the system.
  • Write descriptions of users that can be used for design.
  • Explain the rationale for focussing on user needs.
  • Interpret key user needs.
  • Explain that including too many choices in a user interface increases the cognitive load on users.
  • State the elements of a user story.
Illustrating the context of use
1 question
This section of the syllabus covers the following areas:
  • Define usability.
  • Illustrate how the definition of usability can be used to construct measures of usability.
  • Demonstrate how to choose between good and poor design ideas by using behavioural data.
  • Illustrate the role design experiments play in validated learning.
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of multivariate testing as a method for choosing between design alternatives.
  • Explain the value of iterative design.
  • Recall that good and bad user experiences have an emotional reaction on users.
Measuring usability
1 question

This section of the syllabus covers the following areas:

  • Recognise the way information flows between a person and a product or service.
  • Choose appropriate schemes for classifying and organising information.
  • Organise, structure and label content, functions and features.
  • Describe the steps in carrying out an open and a closed card sort.
  • Compare and contrast an implementation model, a mental model and a conceptual model
  • State the concept of affordance.
Information Architecture
1 question
This section of the syllabus covers the following areas:
  • Describe different user interface design patterns.
  • Choose the correct interactive control in a user interface design.
  • Describe how the choice of user interface control has an impact on the time it takes users to achieve their goals.
  • Define the concept of progressive disclosure.
  • State the difference between interaction design and information architecture.
  • Explain why user interface consistency is an important design principle.
  • State the importance of focussing on the user’s tasks when designing the flow of a user interface.
Interaction Design
1 question

This section of the syllabus covers the following areas:

  • List fundamental principles of visual design.
  • Identify good and poor page layouts.
  • Define eye tracking as a research methodology and recall key insights from eye tracking research.
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of using metaphorical representations in visual design.
Visual Design
1 question

This section of the syllabus covers the following areas:

  • Choose between different types of prototype, for example paper and electronic, and recall the merits of each.
  • Recognise the appropriate type of prototype for the phase of design.
  • Describe the differences between prototypes and sketches.
  • Recognise the importance of identifying multiple different design solutions before deciding on a specific design solution.
  • Sketch paper prototypes.
User Interface Prototyping
1 question
This section of the syllabus covers the following areas:
  • Recall Nielsen’s Usability Heuristics and have an awareness of other usability principles.
  • State the different kinds of usability evaluation.
  • Plan usability evaluations to test design hypotheses.
  • Record the data from usability evaluations.
  • Interpret the data from usability tests to distinguish high and low severity usability problems.
  • Moderate a usability test.
  • State the difference between a usability inspection and a usability test.
  • Choose between good and poor tasks for a usability test.
  • State the difference between observation and interpretation.
  • Identify W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines as an important standard in the field of web accessibility
Usability Evaluation
1 question
17 pages

This is the full text of the syllabus for the BCS Foundation Certificate in User Experience. This document is © BCS. You can get the most up-to-date version of the syllabus from the BCS web site by using this link:

Section 3: The Examination

Here's some revision tips if you're about to take the exam. You can download the syllabus from the BCS web site:


This lecture aims to answer some common questions, like:

  • Can I sit the exam without attending a training course?
  • How do I take the exam?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What if I fail?
  • English is not my first language, is extra time allowed?
  • When do I receive my results?
Section 4: Conclusion

We're done! Time for an Internet High Five!


This lecture describes a related resource that you can turn to.

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Instructor Biography

David Travis, UX consultant and Udemy Outstanding Instructor

I'm on a mission to create more user experience professionals.

Perhaps you'd like a job in user experience. Or maybe you already work in the field but you've never had any formal training. Or maybe you want to improve your skills in one specific area, like usability testing or expert reviews. I've turned thousands of people into user experience designers and researchers and now you can join their ranks by taking my courses on Udemy.

You're probably curious about my background. At 18, I appeared as an extra in the film “Quadrophenia" alongside Sting and Ray Winstone. Despite a critically-acclaimed performance lasting 5 seconds, follow-up offers from Hollywood failed to arrive so I turned to psychology where I gained a BSc and a PhD. Since 1989 I've worked in the fields of human factors, usability and user experience and I've published two books on usability. I'm now the Managing Director of Userfocus, a consultancy specialising in user experience. I'm also an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Chartered Psychologist and a member of the User Experience Professionals Association. I'm no longer in contact with Sting or Ray Winstone, whose career trajectories have been somewhat different.

I've provided usability support to top brands like HP, Microsoft, Whirlpool, Orange, Skype, eBay and Yahoo! and I've also consulted with public sector organisations like The Greater London Authority, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, UK Government and the World Health Organization.

My students describe me as passionate and technically knowledgeable and students voted me a Udemy "Outstanding Instructor" in 2014.

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