Interaction Design at ArtCenter College of Design

Interaction Design at ArtCenter College of Design


The world is really starting to realize the
value of design and being a designer isn’t being able to draw and sketch. It’s
really a way of thinking. It’s a way of doing research and it’s a process. Interaction Design is a focus on methods that
some of the other departments, they bring that in too, but it’s not the starting point
for their thinking. Interaction designers design across a real
broad range of platforms–from mobile devices, software, games, but also things like the
interiors of cars, all kinds of places where people are called upon to actually engage
with a product or service. You’ve got to really tap into the user,
and put yourself in their shoes is the best way to design. And designing with user empathy
is the most important thing. We’re trying to create intuition in our
users within seconds, so things need to look like they’re draggable, things need to look
like they’re big enough to press, that they’re important, that they can do what you think
they should do. To treat Interaction Design as its own discipline,
I think, is really exciting. And really defining what those processes are, who are you designing
for, some of those are the core questions of interaction designers. What we can do, in terms of the little ways
we can make life better for people, is to make products that speak to needs that they
don’t even know that they have. Just as you learn to paint and draw and sketch,
you also learn to code, and tinker, and hack, and build. So we do that in our first few
terms, and by the third term most students have a solid base in all of those things. You learn to use all the tool sets that you
can–sketching prototypes, making those prototypes work, using them with users and seeing what
they might stumble on. And then reiterating and keep doing that over and over again. What
the great thing is, is that it really gives you a community where you can try new things. I say, “If you come away from this class
and you’ve created something that looks good but doesn’t solve a real problem. You’ll
fail this class.” So my class is all about teaching students how to really think about
users, challenge their own assumptions, and really be critical of themselves. They teach you to think outside the box when
you don’t have to think outside the box, and kinda like in a real working world you’re
always the one standing out I think. I think that putting it into practice and
just getting enough experience in the curriculum is the key to these students having the confidence
and skills to go out and do that in the real world and own it. Senior students in Interaction Design are
just taking their first set of internships now. It’s been really exciting to see that
they’ve gone to NASA, they’ve gone to some of the larger companies like Google and
Facebook and Microsoft. We also have students that are creating their own companies, based
on their own service ideas We don’t know what the future holds in Interactive
Design. The student base are going to direct that. ArtCenter is one of the pioneer schools
to actually teach this degree and I just want to be part of that. There’s a huge future.
It’s not going away and it’s only getting more exciting everyday.


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