What makes a good IxD program? (was Re: So you want to be an IxD - education)
7 Sep 2006 - 1:02pm
I really get the spirit of Michael's statement below.
I was going to head in a slightly more open direction with my posting
about this thread, thus the subject line change.
The question is pretty simple, "What makes a good IxD program?"
There was a thread on the AIGA-ED list about programs as well and many
pointed to the same schools that we listed here. I'm not so sure I'd
agree in both cases that an ED program is the same as an IxD program.
But here goes ...
1) I do think that IxD is a graduate level program,for people who have
business experience, or who have done undergraduate work in interactive
design or other design disciplines. I would characterize an IxD program
as vocational in nature, though I could see an IxD PhD level program at
the very edges for those who really want to go out there. But b/c IxD is
a discipline of "practice" first and foremost a Masters program should
be centered around practice and prepare designers for a leadership role
in designing interactive systems. [that was the first sleeve of my fire
2) it is a DESIGN program at best, and a multi-disciplinary program at
worst. What does this mean? It means that it should be managed and
directed more similarly to an Industrial Design program than a Comp Sci
or Cog Sci or engineering programming. In either case it needs to have
cross-department connections to many other disciplines beyond that
3) Being a design program, theory is taught through practice in a
studio. A studio is where projects are distributed to participants, and
students and teacher(s) review, critique and use this review and
critique to hone theory around practice.
4) Craft is at the core of the program. If you can't model/communicate
your designs, your designs (and your ideas) will have a harder (read
"really hard") time getting implemented to your satisfaction.
5) Since this is a masters level program, design management electives
should be offered and highly encouraged. Someone with a masters should
be moving quickly out of school either towards a principal individual
contributor role or a director/manager role. In either case, that
leadership role should have a good understanding of Product Lifecycle
Management, Design Research, Employee management, Brainstorming skills,
Hiring skills, mentoring, etc., project management including estimation
and budgeting, a courses on business mngt.
6) adjacent design skills: visual design, animation design, computer
programming, architecture, information architecture should all be
available as electives
I'm sure there is more, but this what in my mind would make a really
On purpose I'm mentioning the non-obvious stuff.