Master of ScienceHuman-Centered Interaction Design
It’s a wonderful thing when one of the fastest-growing tech-related career fields is accessible to you – even if you don’t hold a tech-related degree. In fact, having a liberal arts, humanities, or social and behavioral science background actually makes you a better fit for the Human-Centered Interaction Design (HCID) field than the techies!
This master’s degree program is about designing processes, apps and environments to make more fulfilling and useful experiences for people.
According to the Harvard Business Review there is strong corporate interest in “design thinking” as a way to open businesses to new markets through innovating new human-centered products and experiences. The career possibilities are endless and industry is clamoring for those qualified to bridge the gap between environments, technologies and the public. It requires creativity, empathy for people and strong problem-solving skills. For example, once you’ve completed your MS degree, your work could involve:
- Designing food-ordering kiosks that are intuitive, easy to use and people-friendly
- Using your knowledge to redesign the experience of a museum to allow visitors flexible and enriching interaction with exhibits.
- Reconfiguring an MRI room in a hospital to engage children rather than intimidate them
Ultimately, you will gain the skills to design effective and engaging interfaces, interactions, and user experiences that leverage the best of digital technologies and bring them seamlessly into complex human environments. The degree is intended to train individuals with liberal arts, humanities, business and technology backgrounds for careers in the rapidly growing field of UX research, digital service design, and interactive product strategy and design. Job titles possible for students after graduation would include UX Researcher, Interaction designer, UX designer, Information architect, Interactive systems designer, Digital systems analyst, and Digital services (or UX) manager.
- Demonstrate foundational knowledge of theories and applications from human behavior and design science;
- Communicate, collaborate and coordinate effectively across diverse populations and media;
- Effectively research people, document problems and determine research relevance;
- Reflect on self as designer and professional; and
- Design and produce engaging interventions facilitated by digital technologies.
This program requires a total of 36 semester hours: 18 semester hours from the core courses listed below, 6 semester hours of experiential courses, and 12 semester hours of Individualized Concentration courses. The semester hour value of each course appears in parentheses ( ).
This course will introduce the student to the design perspectives encountered most often in human-centered interaction design. Design perspectives are attitudes towards how to do design which reflect their political, social, and technological beliefs about design practice. Through readings and case studies, the student explores a variety of perspectives in the domain of digital interactive design. The student delves into the foundations of design practice through different standpoints, histories, frames of reference and interpretations of different views of the ‘best’ way to design.
This course will introduce the student to the package of study design and research methods employed within human-centered interaction design. In this process-driven course, the lessons will be structured around design research methodology, execution, and reporting. The course will take place as a series of situation studios, in which the student engages their evolving design eye and research skills to research the people, processes, contexts, and temporalities of digital interaction opportunities. Through readings, discussions, and the exploration of examples, guidelines, and heuristics, the course engages the student in the ethical and entrepreneurial aspects of design research within design practice.
This course will introduce the student to the theories and perspectives of human social behavior that are employed most often in HCID. Drawing on canonical and new sociotechnical science literature, the course will present the student with overviews of theories of information, action, sociality, conflict, and interaction within traditional and digital environments. Through readings and examples, the course includes attention to sociotechnical theories around communities of practice, online communities, social media, and enterprise knowledge management. This seminar course offers the student a better understanding of the contexts and perspectives within which people interact with others, around and through offline, online, and hybrid environments.
This course will introduce the student to the design-based theories and contexts of users and populations, as found in human-centered interaction design. The course will be structured around three design contexts: cohorts; environments; and capabilities. The course will take place as a series of case-based seminars. Through readings, discussions, and the exploration of examples and heuristics, the course draws the student’s attention to the need to develop their design eye for contextual integration of user and population theory within design practice.
This course offers the student the opportunity to work with a variety of tools and processes that support design practice. The course exposes the student to traditional and digital tools, templates, and techniques for design. Using an example project supplied by the professor, the course is run as a series of studios. After using tools and processes in each stage of the design process, the student reflects on the suitability and use case for each tool and reflect of their evolving sense of self as a designer. The course covers the tools, processes, and techniques necessary to professionalize the student’s design practice.
This course introduces the student to the contextual design of patterned interfaces in human-centered interaction design. The course is structured as a series of seminars around four design area: contexts; visuals; patterns; and actions. Taking the approach of goal-driven design, the student will engage in reading, discussing, experimenting, and presenting design rationales for design choices around traditional and new digital interfaces. The course builds on what the student learned in the other courses and intensifies the student’s development of their design eye for contextually sensitive interaction design. The student will be challenged to consider areas of conflict and divergence within design thinking. While employing their own evolving capacity for design, the student will learn to manage conflicts between goal orientations, contextual needs, and environmental challenges.
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