Cognitive Science degree a good option?

16 Sep 2006 - 11:15am
8 years ago
3 replies
1100 reads
Rizwan Javaid
2006

Hi Everybody, I have been a Web designer for almost 6 years now and I want to move into the Interaction design field. I am currently at University of Texas at Dallas and working towards a BA in Arts and Technology. I would like to get some opinions as to wether I should also get a BA in Cognitive science since they do not offer an Interaction design degree or just get my BA in ATEC and then find another university that does offer a more focused degree. What do you think?Thanks,Rizwan

Comments

16 Sep 2006 - 9:42pm
Christopher Fahey
2005

> Hi Everybody, I have been a Web designer for almost 6
> years now and I want to move into the Interaction design
> field. I am currently at University of Texas at Dallas and
> working towards a BA in Arts and Technology. I would like to
> get some opinions as to wether I should also get a BA in
> Cognitive science ...

If you want to enter the interaction design field, study *design*. The Arts
and Technology program at your school looks perfectly appropriate. Of course
there's nothing wrong with any form of additional academic study, but a cog
sci degree is about as appropriate to interaction design as, say, an
industrial design or computer science degree (maybe less). Which is to say
that yes, it's applicable, but it's not at all something that you can't do
without. Study design and technology, design and build interactive things,
and talk about interaction design with your peers.

As a person who hires interaction designers from a huge variety of
backgrounds, I put almost no value on what kind of degree you have -- I just
want to see the things you've made.

-Cf

Christopher Fahey
____________________________
Behavior
http://www.behaviordesign.com
212.532.4002 x203
646.338.4002 mobile

18 Sep 2006 - 11:13am
ErikaOrrick
1969

Rizwan,

If you just want to do Interaction Design, I wouldn't go all the way through
the Cog Sci program. I would, however, recommend you fit in the HCI 1 and
HCI Lab class at UT Dallas while you are there. As a disclaimer, I do teach
these courses, but since my day job is a user experience designer in the
"real world" I teach them to be very practical.

The Lab class is very focused on real world techniques such as Heuristic
Evals, Task Analyses, CI, Card Sorting, Usability Testing, etc and how to
produce documentation for clients and others in the workplace. I show
various types of wireframes and prototypes and the strengths and weaknesses
of each as a communication tool. We talk about how to fit user-centered
design into the workplace, including a small section on ROI. And we get
off on lots of tangents.

The HCI 1 class is more theoretical, focusing at the begining on some
psychology and human factors theory, but mainly as an introduction to
interaction design and usability principles (you know, why do cognitive
science people get so freaked out over the color blue? because the human eye
really isn't equipped to view it, and here's why, yadda, yadda) I have a
lot of current software engineers and web folk in my current class this
semester.

I completely agree with Christopher that you want to study design. I think
these 6 hours will get you enough exposure to the rest of everything else
people might expect you to know without having to completely rework your
degree plan. I think the next class up in the sequence is the Lab class in
the spring on Monday evenings. Feel free to email directly if you have
questions. I get paid next to nothing, I teach because I love doing it, so
you won't hurt my feelings if you decide not to do it :)

Erika

On 9/16/06, Rizwan Javaid <mindseye at hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Hi Everybody, I have been a Web designer for almost 6 years now and I
> want to move into the Interaction design field. I am currently at University
> of Texas at Dallas and working towards a BA in Arts and Technology. I would
> like to get some opinions as to wether I should also get a BA in Cognitive
> science since they do not offer an Interaction design degree or just get my
> BA in ATEC and then find another university that does offer a more focused
> degree. What do you think?Thanks,Rizwan
>
>
>
>
>
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18 Sep 2006 - 11:45am
Phillip Hunter
2006

" If you just want to do Interaction Design, I wouldn't go all the way
through the Cog Sci program "

So, I'm curious. When I lived in Dallas, I thought about the CogSci degree
at UTD as well, but just couldn't devote the time to it.

But I thought it seemed good idea because so many of the decisions we make
as designers are based on understanding how people think/don't think and
react and make decisions. We need to know this: " The HCI 1 class is more
theoretical, focusing at the begining on some psychology and human factors
theory, but mainly as an introduction to interaction design and usability
principles ", right?

So, does this mean that those of you who advise against a CogSci-specific
degree think that studying design includes the basics of what one needs to
know about people's thoughts and behavior?

It seems one could then argue that someone who wants to be an author should
get a writing degree instead of literature, right?

Or is there another take on this I don't see?

Phillip Hunter

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