IxDA Curriculum (Was: Importance of Masters Degree for IxD Professionals)

22 Jun 2008 - 8:41am
6 years ago
68 replies
2445 reads
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jun 22, 2008, at 5:54 AM, Adam Connor wrote:

> I think it would be great if IxDA came up with a proposed curriculum
> that could be used by schools to build new offerings in the IxD field.

As a thought experiment, here are my dream courses for undergrad and
grad (Master's):

UNDERGRADUATE

Year 1:
Sketching and Modeling
Introduction to Typography
Industrial Design Fundamentals
Introduction to Programming
Writing Fundamentals

Year 2:
Intermediate Industrial Design
Intermediate Typography
Information Design and Visualization
Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
Design History

Year 3:
Design Research
Digital Prototyping
Physical Computing
Design Theory
Interface Design

Year 4:
Senior Project
Studio: Projects with New Technology
Advanced Topics (CD, ID, CS, Psychology, Anthropology)
Current Topics in IxD
Documenting Systems

Ideally, there would be a mix of humanities classes in here as well.

GRADUATE

Year 1:
Refresher Courses (sampler as per undergrad courses)
Design Theory
Design Strategy
Design Research Analysis
Business Fundamentals

Year 2:
Master's Thesis
Master's Project
Design Management
Advanced Topics (CD, ID, CS, Psychology, Anthropology)
Current Topics in IxD

What's your list?

Dan

Dan Saffer, M.Des., IDSA
Experience Design Director, Adaptive Path
http://www.adaptivepath.com
http://www.odannyboy.com

Comments

22 Jun 2008 - 9:03am
Adam Connor
2007

Dan,
What do you see included in in the Undergrad, Year 2 - Information
Design and Visualization course?

The reason I ask is that in looking through your list I was looking
for something introductory on design patterns/principals (something
along the lines of the "Universal Principals of Design" book).
I've found on more than a few occasions in talking with High School
seniors (the company I work for takes a lot of them on as summer
interns) looking to one day get into IxD or UX that many of them have
no exposure to these principals.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=30515

22 Jun 2008 - 9:15am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jun 22, 2008, at 8:03 AM, Adam Connor wrote:

> What do you see included in in the Undergrad, Year 2 - Information
> Design and Visualization course?

Visualizing data sets. Grid systems. Color theory. Illustrations,
graphs, and charts.

> The reason I ask is that in looking through your list I was looking
> for something introductory on design patterns/principals (something
> along the lines of the "Universal Principals of Design" book).

One would hope that the universal principles would be taught in the
studio courses as a matter of learning by doing. ("Why isn't this
working? Because you've violated X principle. Let's discuss." etc.)

Dan.

22 Jun 2008 - 9:21am
SemanticWill
2007

Amen! This is what I hoped for when I said we could and should advise on we
think would be good for the profession.

A couple of additions to the Dan's Grad Program:

Electives:

Introduction to Marketing and Branding
Philosophy of Interaction Design from Heidegger to Benjamin to Bahktin
Introduction to Linguistics and Semiotics
Critical Theory - Formalism to Post-Structuralism
Business Process Management

On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 10:41 AM, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:

>
> On Jun 22, 2008, at 5:54 AM, Adam Connor wrote:
>
> I think it would be great if IxDA came up with a proposed curriculum that
>> could be used by schools to build new offerings in the IxD field.
>>
>
>
> As a thought experiment, here are my dream courses for undergrad and grad
> (Master's):
>
> UNDERGRADUATE
>
> Year 1:
> Sketching and Modeling
> Introduction to Typography
> Industrial Design Fundamentals
> Introduction to Programming
> Writing Fundamentals
>
> Year 2:
> Intermediate Industrial Design
> Intermediate Typography
> Information Design and Visualization
> Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
> Design History
>
> Year 3:
> Design Research
> Digital Prototyping
> Physical Computing
> Design Theory
> Interface Design
>
> Year 4:
> Senior Project
> Studio: Projects with New Technology
> Advanced Topics (CD, ID, CS, Psychology, Anthropology)
> Current Topics in IxD
> Documenting Systems
>
> Ideally, there would be a mix of humanities classes in here as well.
>
>
> GRADUATE
>
> Year 1:
> Refresher Courses (sampler as per undergrad courses)
> Design Theory
> Design Strategy
> Design Research Analysis
> Business Fundamentals
>
> Year 2:
> Master's Thesis
> Master's Project
> Design Management
> Advanced Topics (CD, ID, CS, Psychology, Anthropology)
> Current Topics in IxD
>
>
>
> What's your list?
>
> Dan
>
>
>
>
> Dan Saffer, M.Des., IDSA
> Experience Design Director, Adaptive Path
> http://www.adaptivepath.com
> http://www.odannyboy.com
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | User Experience Architect
tel +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
twitter: https://twitter.com/semanticwill
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

22 Jun 2008 - 12:49pm
Christine Boese
2006

Ooh, I love this one!

Philosophy of Interaction Design from Heidegger to Benjamin to Bahktin

You know what I think is needed for an elective, from a cultural studies
perspective?

History and Online Cultures in Networked Computer Systems from DARPA to
Present

(still hitting the early theorists, like Vannevar Bush, Nelson, et al.)

Chris

On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 11:21 AM, Will Evans <will at semanticfoundry.com>
wrote:

> Amen! This is what I hoped for when I said we could and should advise on we
> think would be good for the profession.
>
> A couple of additions to the Dan's Grad Program:
>
> Electives:
>
> Introduction to Marketing and Branding
> Philosophy of Interaction Design from Heidegger to Benjamin to Bahktin
> Introduction to Linguistics and Semiotics
> Critical Theory - Formalism to Post-Structuralism
> Business Process Management
>
>
>
> On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 10:41 AM, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:
>
> >
> > On Jun 22, 2008, at 5:54 AM, Adam Connor wrote:
> >
> > I think it would be great if IxDA came up with a proposed curriculum
> that
> >> could be used by schools to build new offerings in the IxD field.
> >>
> >
> >
> > As a thought experiment, here are my dream courses for undergrad and grad
> > (Master's):
> >
> > UNDERGRADUATE
> >
> > Year 1:
> > Sketching and Modeling
> > Introduction to Typography
> > Industrial Design Fundamentals
> > Introduction to Programming
> > Writing Fundamentals
> >
> > Year 2:
> > Intermediate Industrial Design
> > Intermediate Typography
> > Information Design and Visualization
> > Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
> > Design History
> >
> > Year 3:
> > Design Research
> > Digital Prototyping
> > Physical Computing
> > Design Theory
> > Interface Design
> >
> > Year 4:
> > Senior Project
> > Studio: Projects with New Technology
> > Advanced Topics (CD, ID, CS, Psychology, Anthropology)
> > Current Topics in IxD
> > Documenting Systems
> >
> > Ideally, there would be a mix of humanities classes in here as well.
> >
> >
> > GRADUATE
> >
> > Year 1:
> > Refresher Courses (sampler as per undergrad courses)
> > Design Theory
> > Design Strategy
> > Design Research Analysis
> > Business Fundamentals
> >
> > Year 2:
> > Master's Thesis
> > Master's Project
> > Design Management
> > Advanced Topics (CD, ID, CS, Psychology, Anthropology)
> > Current Topics in IxD
> >
> >
> >
> > What's your list?
> >
> > Dan
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Dan Saffer, M.Des., IDSA
> > Experience Design Director, Adaptive Path
> > http://www.adaptivepath.com
> > http://www.odannyboy.com
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
> >
>
>
>
> --
> ~ will
>
> "Where you innovate, how you innovate,
> and what you innovate are design problems"
>
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Will Evans | User Experience Architect
> tel +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
> twitter: https://twitter.com/semanticwill
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

22 Jun 2008 - 2:28pm
Chauncey Wilson
2007

Great thought experiment. Some things that came to mind when I read the list:

1. There is a jump between sketching and digital prototyping. I
think that there should be a survey course on the entire range of
prototyping methods to provide a suite of tools for interaction
designers. The course would include: workflow diagrams, wireframes,
metaphor, storyboards, wizard of OZ testing, personas (prototyping
users), paper prototyping, card sorting, and a few other techniques.
2. Advanced user interface design that gets beyond the basics into
things like agent technology, ambient user interfaces, etc.
3. Something on universal design and accessibility. There are a lot
of aging baby boomers around (I'm one of them and the eyes aren't what
they used to be).
4. Human factors fundamentals (this would be touched on in a number
of the courses including the one on cognitive psych, but there are
many principles in HF that have been heavily researched and that would
provide designers with a stronger rationale for their recommenations
and designs.
5. An experiential course in color (like the one that Albers did -- I
took a course from one of Alber's students and it was quite an eye
opener). Someone might have mentioned that.
6. Social psychological principles and their application to
interaction design -- much of what we are developing is collaborative
and involves groups working together so some old and some new social
psych principles would provide a foundation for the design of
collaboration software (which goes by different names like social
networking...).
7. Fun and Pleasure in product design.

Good topic.
Chauncey

> UNDERGRADUATE
>
> Year 1:
> Sketching and Modeling
> Introduction to Typography
> Industrial Design Fundamentals
> Introduction to Programming
> Writing Fundamentals
>
> Year 2:
> Intermediate Industrial Design
> Intermediate Typography
> Information Design and Visualization
> Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
> Design History
>
> Year 3:
> Design Research
> Digital Prototyping
> Physical Computing
> Design Theory
> Interface Design
>
> Year 4:
> Senior Project
> Studio: Projects with New Technology
> Advanced Topics (CD, ID, CS, Psychology, Anthropology)
> Current Topics in IxD
> Documenting Systems
>
> Ideally, there would be a mix of humanities classes in here as well.

> GRADUATE
>
> Year 1:
> Refresher Courses (sampler as per undergrad courses)
> Design Theory
> Design Strategy
> Design Research Analysis
> Business Fundamentals
>
> Year 2:
> Master's Thesis
> Master's Project
> Design Management
> Advanced Topics (CD, ID, CS, Psychology, Anthropology)
> Current Topics in IxD

22 Jun 2008 - 2:42pm
Jeff Howard
2004

The undergraduate aspect of this is the toughest.

My degree was a BFA in graphic design (which I think is easier to
grasp) but we didn't even _start_ the actual design classes until
the 2nd year. The first year was focused on foundation courses in
drawing and basic two- and three-dimensional form.

I came back and taught in the design department a number of years
later and in retrospect I saw that what we were really doing those
first two years was simply teaching students how to approach problems
in a designerly way. To care about craft. To sketch. To iterate. To
_think_ like designers. It's hard to overstate how alien this is to
most people and how long it takes to learn.

Essentially you need to teach students how to be designers before you
teach them how to be a particular kind of designer.

But it's inhumane to drop an 18-year-old into a design curriculum.
They need to ramp up and internalize the core design skills and work
ethic. Even once they get into the actual design classes in the 2nd
year it's really just baby steps; basic visual design fundamentals
and basic design software skills. Then basic typography and
information design etc...

There's never enough time. Even for the design stuff. You can only
realistically do about two studio design courses a semester, along
with maybe a tangental studio course in photography or drawing.
That's 18 hours of studio a week and another 18 hours outside of
class working on projects. Plus lecture courses and general
education.

And teaching students to appreciate code while they're learning to
be designers? Uhg. It's like pulling teeth to teach design students
how HTML works, much less Actionscript or Processing. And once you
take into account IA or human factors or research skills? I don't
know if it's possible to do it within a four year college framework.

I'd take Dan's list and besides adding much more history, a color
theory course, a photography course, a motion course, a web design
course and a design software course I'd add another year before
everything, just for basics in drawing and experimenting with
two-dimensional and three-dimensional form. Less rigorous than IDF.
Give kids a chance to experiment and decide whether 36 hours a week
of studio work is in their blood or not and weed out the dilatantes.

What is that? Six years?

The University of Cincinatti turns out skilled interface designers
through their Bachelors of Science in Digital Design program. But
they don't use the traditional college framework. It's a quarter
system rather than semesters with a comprehensive internship program
built into the curriculum. It's the closest thing I know to an
undergraduate interface design degree.

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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22 Jun 2008 - 3:02pm
Mark Schraad
2006

Which is why I do not think you can properly prepare an interaction
designer within the constructs of a bachelors degree. Given what Dan
outlines as a curriculum, and what Jeff has added (which I totally
agree with) it IS a lot. Also factor in that this excludes the well
rounded liberal arts courses as do most design degrees. Skip the
classics of literature? Pass on in-depth wold history, logic or
philosophies? One of the keys to being a successful interaction
designer is being a more than competent human - the ability to
understand people does not come from a psych class. You can not count
on (public or otherwise) high school for this stuff.

This is a difficult job to do well. And yes, I know that there are
people who do it well with out any degree at all. But there is also a
ton of really bad Ixd out there being done everyday by designers with
and without a graduate degree. If you are one of those who do it
well, without the help of college, then congratulations - that is
really something special. But be very careful in prescribing that
same path to others.

The breadth of human understanding, with a very deep design
understanding does not come easy or quickly... no matter how high the
demand or how much we want to grow the profession and this association.

Mark

On Jun 22, 2008, at 1:42 PM, Jeff Howard wrote:

> I'd take Dan's list and besides adding much more history, a color
> theory course, a photography course, a motion course, a web design
> course and a design software course I'd add another year before
> everything, just for basics in drawing and experimenting with
> two-dimensional and three-dimensional form. Less rigorous than IDF.
> Give kids a chance to experiment and decide whether 36 hours a week
> of studio work is in their blood or not and weed out the dilatantes.
>
> What is that? Six years?

22 Jun 2008 - 3:35pm
Jeff Howard
2004

I absolutely agree with Mark. To do any less would be teaching
interface design with a trade school mentality. You could do it, but
for _interaction design_ survey courses in history, literature, art,
philosophy, political science, anthropology, sociology, psychology
and ethics should be considered vital. Plus it doesn't hurt to have
a passing acquaintance with science, math and engineering.

Wow, this is starting to seem like a really hard sell to undecided
college freshmen...

// jeff

Mark wrote:
> Skip the classics of literature? Pass on in-depth
> wold history, logic or philosophies? One of the keys
> to being a successful interaction designer is being
> a more than competent human

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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22 Jun 2008 - 5:06pm
dmitryn
2004

While reading this thread, I couldn't help but notice a pervasive
assumption: The ideal educational background for an interaction
designer is a single degree (whether graduate or undergraduate) that
touches upon every aspect of the profession and related fields.

Is that a realistic premise? I doubt it. It ignores the reality of a
fast evolving field in which the best work is done by teams of
T-shaped specialists, in a world where information acquired in a
traditional university setting has an ever shorter half-life.

And of course it would be a hard sell to undecided college freshmen.
Imagine being asked at 18 years of age to invest 6 years of your life
to stake out your career in a field that's (for all practical
purposes) less than 10 years old. Sounds like a risky proposition, no?

Dmitry

On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 5:35 PM, Jeff Howard <id at howardesign.com> wrote:
> Wow, this is starting to seem like a really hard sell to undecided
> college freshmen...
>
> // jeff

22 Jun 2008 - 5:40pm
Dave Malouf
2005

dmitry, a common degree in the US is the 6yr. med program. Many
students enter undergrad "knowing" they want to be doctors. Why not
IxD's? If I can get an MD in 6 yrs (including summers I think), why
not a Masters of IxD in 5 years including some intensive work (or
required internships) during summers?

BTW, Jeff tells a great story and articulated beautifully the reasons
for foundations in ID and Visual Design.

BTW, one reason "design school" programs excite me so much that
people hadn't mentioned in the other thread that I thought about b/c
of this thread is the connection to all of the expressionist design
programs in the same school: illustration, fashion, interior, floral,
event, etc.ID, Architecture and IxD have the commonality of having
really conservative clients as a rule.

BTW, another type of course that no one has mentioned that I've seen
at ID schools are corp projects. You've got 10 weeks to do a
corporate sponsored project. Yea you can fail, unlike a real job, but
when done right students really can learn a lot about the real world
and what clients expects.

I have so much to add in this thread about curricullum but I'll just
say that no one mentioned two anthro courses (intro to socio-cultural)
and ethnography for anthro design.

I do think that a degree in ID (like in Syracuse) or IxD should be a
minimum of a 5 yr program. Basically the coursework is the equiv of a
double major.

As for a masters it should be treated similarly to a masters of ID
where if you weren't a bachelor w/ that degree you need to go 3
years so that you can do foundations, otherwise 2. Anyone who did not
go through foundations for ID or IxD shouldn't really have a masters
degree, b/c they probably didn't actually achieve a masters of craft
and design thinking that that year of foundations puts you through.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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22 Jun 2008 - 5:41pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Oh, another point to share. ...
In talking to an educator recently, they confessed that with all the
"new" stuff out there they have no idea how to teach anyone all
they need to know in any reasonable time frame at all.
-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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22 Jun 2008 - 6:15pm
Christine Boese
2006

There are also quite a lot of 5-year Architecture programs. Generally, with
these, and somee 4-year programs, you have to complete one year of school
outside the program, gen eds, overview courses, and then apply your
sophomore year for "admission" into the program. Those without the grades
from the first year are not admitted, so that also sort of screens out
people shopping for majors. They have the 1st year overview courses to
sample, while the faculty can concentrate on the students who have shown
they are committed to the program.

For instance, the University of Arkansas Architecture program is a very
intense studio experience, where all admitted students get drafting desks
and cubes of sorts to build their models etc in one big common area. They
put in long hours and work very very hard those 4 years they are in the
program, basically living in those cubes, with a tight community of students
as well, crits, the works. The program has a really excellent reputation.

Chris

On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 7:40 PM, dave malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> dmitry, a common degree in the US is the 6yr. med program. Many
> students enter undergrad "knowing" they want to be doctors. Why not
> IxD's? If I can get an MD in 6 yrs (including summers I think), why
> not a Masters of IxD in 5 years including some intensive work (or
> required internships) during summers?
>
> BTW, Jeff tells a great story and articulated beautifully the reasons
> for foundations in ID and Visual Design.
>
> BTW, one reason "design school" programs excite me so much that
> people hadn't mentioned in the other thread that I thought about b/c
> of this thread is the connection to all of the expressionist design
> programs in the same school: illustration, fashion, interior, floral,
> event, etc.ID, Architecture and IxD have the commonality of having
> really conservative clients as a rule.
>
> BTW, another type of course that no one has mentioned that I've seen
> at ID schools are corp projects. You've got 10 weeks to do a
> corporate sponsored project. Yea you can fail, unlike a real job, but
> when done right students really can learn a lot about the real world
> and what clients expects.
>
> I have so much to add in this thread about curricullum but I'll just
> say that no one mentioned two anthro courses (intro to socio-cultural)
> and ethnography for anthro design.
>
> I do think that a degree in ID (like in Syracuse) or IxD should be a
> minimum of a 5 yr program. Basically the coursework is the equiv of a
> double major.
>
> As for a masters it should be treated similarly to a masters of ID
> where if you weren't a bachelor w/ that degree you need to go 3
> years so that you can do foundations, otherwise 2. Anyone who did not
> go through foundations for ID or IxD shouldn't really have a masters
> degree, b/c they probably didn't actually achieve a masters of craft
> and design thinking that that year of foundations puts you through.
>
> -- dave
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=30515
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

22 Jun 2008 - 6:39pm
Jeff Howard
2004

Dmitry wrote:
> Is that a realistic premise? I doubt it. It ignores
> the reality of a fast evolving field in which the best
> work is done by teams of T-shaped specialists

You can also look at T-shaped people as generalists.

I think the curriculum we're talking about would result in T-shaped
people. Students would specialize in interface design but be familiar
with other design disciplines and be able to relate to people from
majors like anthropology or psychology or computer science or
engineering or technical writing...

But to do that you need time. The fundamental problem with educating
a generalist is that there's too much general information in the
world that's tangentally important to cover in eight semesters.

So what are some options?

1). More specialization. Cover fewer general subjects.
2). Extend the number of years to obtain a degree.
3). Subdivide the term duration to fit more classes into the year.
4). Start earlier. High school outreach and summer programs.

Christine's architecture example (and to some extent, Dmitry's
last paragraph) illustrates how important high school outreach could
be. It's not uncommon for design programs to have prerequisite
classes the very first semester, and if you don't know to take them
upon enrolling as a freshman you can't apply for admission into the
School of Design as a sophomore. At my alma mater anyone who came to
design even one semester late couldn't finish the degree in four
years even though it was only a four year degree. There were lots of
design seniors in their mid-twenties.

Evangelizing to high-school students early on could help build the
awareness necessary to hit the ground running once they get to
college.

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=30515

22 Jun 2008 - 7:18pm
dmitryn
2004

Dave, you're absolutely correct regarding the 6 year med school
programs (as well as e.g. combined bachelors/MBA programs). Same for
the architecture programs as mentioned by Christine. A motivated high
school senior will have no problem making that commitment.

The difference is the perceived value of of the hypothetical IxD
degree. For the purpose of the comparison, it's useful to put yourself
in the shoes of the target audience - obviously, to an enthusiastic
and successful IxD practitioner, the value is quite clear.

In the eyes of a high school senior, the 6 year med school program or
the 5 year architecture program would lead them to a career in a field
that is prestigious, well-publicized, and well-compensated.

The student's parents and other adult figures, who may well be
involved in the decision making process, may also note that these
fields are regulated (hence fewer worries about outsourcing) and the
demand is not cyclical (hence fewer worries about a dot-com crash
repeat).

IxD, by contrast, is not generally known to be any of the above - or,
to be more precise, is just not generally known about, period. So I
agree with Jeff's point about the importance of high school outreach,
and would extend it to outreach to society in general. Only with a
greater level of public awareness about our profession do I see 4+
year IxD programs becoming viable.

Dmitry

On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 7:40 PM, dave malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
> dmitry, a common degree in the US is the 6yr. med program. Many
> students enter undergrad "knowing" they want to be doctors. Why not
> IxD's? If I can get an MD in 6 yrs (including summers I think), why
> not a Masters of IxD in 5 years including some intensive work (or
> required internships) during summers?

22 Jun 2008 - 7:40pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Ah! so we have a big marketing campaign ahead of us. Fortunately, Fast
Company already started this out for us calling IxD one of the top 10
jobs you didn't know you wanted to have. ;-)

I've been thinking about this from a different tact.

Maybe "major" doesn't make sense for IxD at the undergrad level. The
reason I'm swaying this direction for the point of argumentation here
is that I do believe that the medium agnostic philosophy of IxD makes
it very difficult to market to the younger crowd. The "thing" is well
the thing, so having concentrations in IxD for interactive, for
software product, for industrial design, for architecture (etc.) might
be a better tact and then for the really invested the masters degree
might work, no?

I think that this might speak to Andrei a bit more than some of the
others who have been discussing this sort of thing so far on the list.

-- dave

On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 9:18 PM, Dmitry Nekrasovski
<mail.dmitry at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dave, you're absolutely correct regarding the 6 year med school
> programs (as well as e.g. combined bachelors/MBA programs). Same for
> the architecture programs as mentioned by Christine. A motivated high
> school senior will have no problem making that commitment.
>
> The difference is the perceived value of of the hypothetical IxD
> degree. For the purpose of the comparison, it's useful to put yourself
> in the shoes of the target audience - obviously, to an enthusiastic
> and successful IxD practitioner, the value is quite clear.
>
> In the eyes of a high school senior, the 6 year med school program or
> the 5 year architecture program would lead them to a career in a field
> that is prestigious, well-publicized, and well-compensated.
>
> The student's parents and other adult figures, who may well be
> involved in the decision making process, may also note that these
> fields are regulated (hence fewer worries about outsourcing) and the
> demand is not cyclical (hence fewer worries about a dot-com crash
> repeat).
>
> IxD, by contrast, is not generally known to be any of the above - or,
> to be more precise, is just not generally known about, period. So I
> agree with Jeff's point about the importance of high school outreach,
> and would extend it to outreach to society in general. Only with a
> greater level of public awareness about our profession do I see 4+
> year IxD programs becoming viable.
>
> Dmitry
>
> On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 7:40 PM, dave malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
>> dmitry, a common degree in the US is the 6yr. med program. Many
>> students enter undergrad "knowing" they want to be doctors. Why not
>> IxD's? If I can get an MD in 6 yrs (including summers I think), why
>> not a Masters of IxD in 5 years including some intensive work (or
>> required internships) during summers?
>

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

22 Jun 2008 - 7:47pm
k lenox
2006

5 year BFA programs are not uncommon. My BFA was a 5yr program, but it
took me 6 yrs because it was a California State University. CSU's
never have enough general ed classes available, so it took that long
just to get IN to some classes. But the benefit was I had 6 full
years of art, design and theory courses as well as 6 years of gallery
exhibitions. You can't beat time for building your craft.

Dan's list is a good one, but I agree adding in some anthro and
perhaps cog sci would be nice too.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=30515

22 Jun 2008 - 8:04pm
Mark Schraad
2006

Pharmacy is a 6 year program now as well.

On Jun 22, 2008, at 4:40 PM, dave malouf wrote:

> dmitry, a common degree in the US is the 6yr. med program.

22 Jun 2008 - 8:29pm
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jun 22, 2008, at 6:47 PM, kim Lenox wrote:

> 5 year BFA programs are not uncommon. My BFA was a 5yr program, but it
> took me 6 yrs because it was a California State University. CSU's
> never have enough general ed classes available, so it took that long
> just to get IN to some classes. But the benefit was I had 6 full
> years of art, design and theory courses as well as 6 years of gallery
> exhibitions. You can't beat time for building your craft.
>
> Dan's list is a good one, but I agree adding in some anthro and
> perhaps cog sci would be nice too.

I did include a basic Cog Psych class in there (Year 2). And Research
(Year 3).

But honestly, I think we're smoking our own crack if we think it's
necessary for us to need a 5 or 6 year undergraduate degree. I hate to
break this to everyone, but what we do Isn't. That. Hard. Sure, there
are a lot of facets to it, but many of us on the list seem to be able
to do what we do without many years of intense preparation. I think we
need to expect that a lot of learning and growing is going to happen
on the job. And this is probably how it should be. Increasing the
barrier to entry for new practitioners is not something we should
strive to do.

Dan

22 Jun 2008 - 8:46pm
Jeff Howard
2004

Dave wrote:
> the medium agnostic philosophy of IxD makes it very
> difficult to market to the younger crowd. The "thing"
> is well the thing, so having concentrations in IxD
> for interactive, for software product, for industrial
> design, for architecture (etc.) might be a better
> tact

That's why I think interface design is an easier sell than
interaction design at the undergraduate level.

For better or worse, undergraduate design education is centered
around the act of making as a catalyst for learning about design.
Those are critical skills, but making artifacts isn't the whole
story when it comes to interaction design.

I remember a few snippits of conversations while I was at Carnegie
Mellon about why there wasn't a bachelors degree in interaction
design. Some of it might be a question of maturity (both the
discipline and the students). If you could build such a program,
would it be a good thing to have 21 year old interaction designers
running around?

I worked with a few seniors at CMU who would have made great
interaction designers, but I think they're the exception.

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=30515

22 Jun 2008 - 8:52pm
Steve Baty
2009

Dan,

I think it's important to distinguish between a generation practitioners
from other fields who, through experience, are capable of doing
*some*(niche - broader or narrower) IxD work really well; and
preparing a
generation of graduates with the grounding they need to approach *any* IxD
task with some reasonable chance of success.

Your course outline seems to me to provide for the latter pretty well,
whilst allowing for the former if someone sees their niche and quits after 2
or 3 years to pursue it.

Steve

2008/6/23 Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com>:

>
> I did include a basic Cog Psych class in there (Year 2). And Research (Year
> 3).
>
> But honestly, I think we're smoking our own crack if we think it's
> necessary for us to need a 5 or 6 year undergraduate degree. I hate to break
> this to everyone, but what we do Isn't. That. Hard. Sure, there are a lot of
> facets to it, but many of us on the list seem to be able to do what we do
> without many years of intense preparation. I think we need to expect that a
> lot of learning and growing is going to happen on the job. And this is
> probably how it should be. Increasing the barrier to entry for new
> practitioners is not something we should strive to do.
>
> Dan

--
----------------------------------------------
Steve 'Doc' Baty B.Sc (Maths), M.EC, MBA
Principal Consultant
Meld Consulting
M: +61 417 061 292
E: stevebaty at meld.com.au

23 Jun 2008 - 6:23am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Jun 22, 2008, at 10:52 PM, Steve Baty wrote:

> Your course outline seems to me to provide for the latter pretty
> well, whilst allowing for the former if someone sees their niche and
> quits after 2 or 3 years to pursue it.

The most important thing for an IxD is to actually start doing IxD.
Learn the basics, which I think Dan has laid out a pretty good program
for, get the foundations down, and then hit the street and start doing.

We are thinkers, but we get paid to do.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

23 Jun 2008 - 6:32am
SemanticWill
2007

"We are thinkers, but we get paid to do."

This is absolutely true - but - and it might only be my perspective - is
that many IxD folks do - a lot - all day long. Many know *what* to do - they
don't know *why* they do it. That is the critical piece that the theory does
provide. Studio, Crit - all very important. Some say you can get all the
theory you need from books and CHI papers, etc. But not to belabor
ChristineB's point - but most simply don't do the reading, and a formal grad
program may be the only place where they are forced to do the hard work.
Doing stuff, making stuff - that's fun, challenging, difficult, etc - but
for many, the reading, critical theory, and application of that to real
problems is where they slack off.
Think about it this way - if you read just one book a month related to IxD,
IA, Cog Sci, Design, etc - three years from now you have close to forty
books under your belt. That's a lot of knowledge - a lot of best practices,
new ideas - things to apply back into your work.

On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 8:23 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com>
wrote:

>
> On Jun 22, 2008, at 10:52 PM, Steve Baty wrote:
>
> Your course outline seems to me to provide for the latter pretty well,
>> whilst allowing for the former if someone sees their niche and quits after 2
>> or 3 years to pursue it.
>>
>
> The most important thing for an IxD is to actually start doing IxD. Learn
> the basics, which I think Dan has laid out a pretty good program for, get
> the foundations down, and then hit the street and start doing.
>
> We are thinkers, but we get paid to do.
>
>
>

23 Jun 2008 - 6:50am
Donna Fritzsche
2005

I was thinking about the qualities of good Interaction Designers (and also
comparing and contrasting the profession to that of IA, Graphic Designer,
etc.) It hit me that what was missing from this list - is time-based arts:
music, dance, etc. Then I thought of Tai Chi and American Sign Language.

After thinking about why that was important -I settled on this suggestion for
the list: Time based activities and arts which combine rhythm, pattern,
physical movement, communication, and language. Some examples: dance, tai-chi,
and choreography.

This also addresses Dave's desire to develop skills which are medium agnostic.

-Donna Fritzsche

On Sun, 22 Jun 2008 07:41:09 -0700, Dan Saffer wrote
> On Jun 22, 2008, at 5:54 AM, Adam Connor wrote:
>
> > I think it would be great if IxDA came up with a proposed curriculum
> > that could be used by schools to build new offerings in the IxD field.
>
> As a thought experiment, here are my dream courses for undergrad and
> grad (Master's):
>
> UNDERGRADUATE
>
> Year 1:
> Sketching and Modeling
> Introduction to Typography
> Industrial Design Fundamentals
> Introduction to Programming
> Writing Fundamentals
>
> Year 2:
> Intermediate Industrial Design
> Intermediate Typography
> Information Design and Visualization
> Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
> Design History
>
> Year 3:
> Design Research
> Digital Prototyping
> Physical Computing
> Design Theory
> Interface Design
>
> Year 4:
> Senior Project
> Studio: Projects with New Technology
> Advanced Topics (CD, ID, CS, Psychology, Anthropology)
> Current Topics in IxD
> Documenting Systems
>
> Ideally, there would be a mix of humanities classes in here as well.
>
> GRADUATE
>
> Year 1:
> Refresher Courses (sampler as per undergrad courses)
> Design Theory
> Design Strategy
> Design Research Analysis
> Business Fundamentals
>
> Year 2:
> Master's Thesis
> Master's Project
> Design Management
> Advanced Topics (CD, ID, CS, Psychology, Anthropology)
> Current Topics in IxD
>
> What's your list?
>
> Dan
>
> Dan Saffer, M.Des., IDSA
> Experience Design Director, Adaptive Path
> http://www.adaptivepath.com
> http://www.odannyboy.com
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

23 Jun 2008 - 7:06am
SemanticWill
2007

There is also *Service Design* (shout out to Mssr. Howard).

Here is JH's list of research in SD
http://www.howardesign.com/exp/service/

- W

On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 8:50 AM, Donna M. Fritzsche <donnamarie at amichi.info>
wrote:

> I was thinking about the qualities of good Interaction Designers (and also
> comparing and contrasting the profession to that of IA, Graphic Designer,
> etc.) It hit me that what was missing from this list - is time-based arts:
> music, dance, etc. Then I thought of Tai Chi and American Sign Language.
>
> After thinking about why that was important -I settled on this suggestion
> for
> the list: Time based activities and arts which combine rhythm, pattern,
> physical movement, communication, and language. Some examples: dance,
> tai-chi,
> and choreography.
>
> This also addresses Dave's desire to develop skills which are medium
> agnostic.
>
> -Donna Fritzsche
>
>

23 Jun 2008 - 7:19am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Jun 23, 2008, at 8:32 AM, Will Evans wrote:

> Many know whatto do - they don't know why they do it

Very true. I'm much more of a why than a what. Asking why got me into
a lot of trouble when I was younger. That's still my favorite question.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

23 Jun 2008 - 7:29am
SemanticWill
2007

On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 9:19 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com>
wrote:

>
> On Jun 23, 2008, at 8:32 AM, Will Evans wrote:
>
> Many know whatto do - they don't know why they do it
>>
>
> Very true. I'm much more of a why than a what. Asking why got me into a lot
> of trouble when I was younger.

But, Why?

> That's still my favorite question.
>
>

23 Jun 2008 - 8:23am
Adam Connor
2007

On the subject of "Why" vs. "What" I think that that is a
question, if not the question, that separates a good designer from a
great one, and separates decoration from design.

I've met a number of junior UXDs (and I should admit that I've done
this myself) who had at some point looked at their job as nothing more
than to take a set of requirements, make a few choices on the
controls to use and arrange them on the page. Its not until they're
almost complete that they realize that there is something wrong, but
can't figure out what.

It's the fact that they never asked "why." Why is requirement x a
requirement?

Asking that "why" leads to a whole bunch of "whats" that were
never exposed to them before. What is the user trying to achieve?
What is it that the project owner is trying to do with said
requirement? And so an and so forth...

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=30515

23 Jun 2008 - 8:24am
dmitryn
2004

This direction makes sense to me. It would ensure that new IxD's have
a T-shaped background, and would also defer medium agnosticism until
the students are presumably mature enough to fully immerse themselves
in it.

(Having come to the field via the 2 degree route, though, I may be
somewhat biased. :))

Dmitry

On 6/22/08, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> Maybe "major" doesn't make sense for IxD at the undergrad level. The
> reason I'm swaying this direction for the point of argumentation here
> is that I do believe that the medium agnostic philosophy of IxD makes
> it very difficult to market to the younger crowd. The "thing" is well
> the thing, so having concentrations in IxD for interactive, for
> software product, for industrial design, for architecture (etc.) might
> be a better tact and then for the really invested the masters degree
> might work, no?
>
> I think that this might speak to Andrei a bit more than some of the
> others who have been discussing this sort of thing so far on the list.
>
> -- dave
>
>
> On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 9:18 PM, Dmitry Nekrasovski
> <mail.dmitry at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Dave, you're absolutely correct regarding the 6 year med school
> > programs (as well as e.g. combined bachelors/MBA programs). Same for
> > the architecture programs as mentioned by Christine. A motivated high
> > school senior will have no problem making that commitment.
> >
> > The difference is the perceived value of of the hypothetical IxD
> > degree. For the purpose of the comparison, it's useful to put yourself
> > in the shoes of the target audience - obviously, to an enthusiastic
> > and successful IxD practitioner, the value is quite clear.
> >
> > In the eyes of a high school senior, the 6 year med school program or
> > the 5 year architecture program would lead them to a career in a field
> > that is prestigious, well-publicized, and well-compensated.
> >
> > The student's parents and other adult figures, who may well be
> > involved in the decision making process, may also note that these
> > fields are regulated (hence fewer worries about outsourcing) and the
> > demand is not cyclical (hence fewer worries about a dot-com crash
> > repeat).
> >
> > IxD, by contrast, is not generally known to be any of the above - or,
> > to be more precise, is just not generally known about, period. So I
> > agree with Jeff's point about the importance of high school outreach,
> > and would extend it to outreach to society in general. Only with a
> > greater level of public awareness about our profession do I see 4+
> > year IxD programs becoming viable.
> >
> > Dmitry
> >
> > On Sun, Jun 22, 2008 at 7:40 PM, dave malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
> >> dmitry, a common degree in the US is the 6yr. med program. Many
> >> students enter undergrad "knowing" they want to be doctors. Why not
> >> IxD's? If I can get an MD in 6 yrs (including summers I think), why
> >> not a Masters of IxD in 5 years including some intensive work (or
> >> required internships) during summers?
> >
>
>
>
> --
> David Malouf
> http://synapticburn.com/
> http://ixda.org/
> http://motorola.com/
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

23 Jun 2008 - 9:59am
Uday Gajendar
2007

On Jun 22, 2008, at 7:46 PM, Jeff Howard wrote:
> I remember a few snippits of conversations while I was at Carnegie
> Mellon about why there wasn't a bachelors degree in interaction
> design. Some of it might be a question of maturity (both the
> discipline and the students). If you could build such a program,
> would it be a good thing to have 21 year old interaction designers
> running around?

Yep, exactly. I'd alluded to this earlier in the threads... At least
in terms of how CMU approaches "interaction design" as a strategic art
of thought, innovation, and connection-making across disciplines (for
ex: the applicability of interaction ideas/methods to services or
management), that would be too out of reach for most undergrads who
may lack the maturity and sufficient real-world experience to make
those leaps (and turn that into something meaningful, productive, etc.)

However, an undergrad degree program rooted in the more tactical,
digital-craft related aspects would be more appropriate given the
students' skill and thought level. With perhaps senior level studios
that touch upon or hint at those broader interaction areas, getting
into service design, social issues, etc. And if the student wishes to
pursue that level of inquiry and study even further, hey go for the
master's. That's what I did :-) My senior ID project (some combined
phone/PDA/wallet thing) was really an investigation of the service
design of geo-location and electronic cash mediated by a digital
hybrid device--but I didn't realize that at all, I just "sensed" there
was something to design bigger than the artifact. By the time I
reached my senior year in ID my "eye sight" had expanded to other
forms and possibilities of design that I was itching to explore
further. I would expect that any worthy design degree program would
inspire students in such a fashion...

Also, just to point out: neither undergrad nor graduate education is
meant to train/educate on every single issue or lesson of the
profession...else it would be a 6+ yr degree costing 300K! The point
is to give a baseline level of "necessary and sufficient" skills/ideas/
theory to get enough of a start (or re-fresher/new insights for those
already experienced) in the profession. And to hopefully provoke an
insatiable curiosity to learn more, however that may transpire...

Uday Gajendar
Sr. Interaction Designer
Voice Technology Group
Cisco | San Jose

23 Jun 2008 - 10:33am
Mabel Ney
2008

I would like to see the Design Theory include an exposure to
ethnographic research, 1:1 usability evaluations and how people use
screen readers. I see it as something like a hands-on lab for a
science course and a way to help students find their passion.

Also I feel the writing course should be focused on technical and
business writing. Electives could include statistics and analytics.

Thanks Chauncey for mentioning Albers and color theory. I was also
taught by one of Albers students and have visited his collection at
the Yale Museum of Art. I feel my charts, graphs, site flows and
influence on visual design are much stronger from being taught
Albers' theories.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=30515

23 Jun 2008 - 10:56am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jun 23, 2008, at 9:33 AM, Mabel Ney wrote:

> I would like to see the Design Theory include an exposure to
> ethnographic research, 1:1 usability evaluations and how people use
> screen readers. I see it as something like a hands-on lab for a
> science course and a way to help students find their passion.
>
> Also I feel the writing course should be focused on technical and
> business writing. Electives could include statistics and analytics.
>

This sounds more like an HCI degree than a design degree. Design
Theory has nothing to do with ethnography, usability, or screen
readers. Design theory is about the philosophical underpinnings of
design and its artifacts and the place of design in the world.

It is much more important for design students to be able to create and
justify concepts than to evaluate them quantifiably IMHO. The ability
to create new, inventive, and well-reasoned products and solutions
should be what we're training designers to do.

Dan

23 Jun 2008 - 11:24am
Christine Boese
2006

I dunno. I'd never say Design Theory has nothing to do with ethnography or
usability. To me, that kind of one-way design thinking approach is what got
the design field into the blind alley it currently is stuck in, helpless to
adapt to precisely what INTERACTIVE design means.

That blind alley is the reason we are creating this new field in the first
place. I'd say the last thing we'd want to do is put the Artist/Designer
back into her high-tower, preparing wondrous creations to unleash upon a
grateful and waiting one-to-many monologic world.

Chris

On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 12:56 PM, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:

>
> On Jun 23, 2008, at 9:33 AM, Mabel Ney wrote:
>
> I would like to see the Design Theory include an exposure to
>> ethnographic research, 1:1 usability evaluations and how people use
>> screen readers. I see it as something like a hands-on lab for a
>> science course and a way to help students find their passion.
>>
>> Also I feel the writing course should be focused on technical and
>> business writing. Electives could include statistics and analytics.
>>
>>
> This sounds more like an HCI degree than a design degree. Design Theory has
> nothing to do with ethnography, usability, or screen readers. Design theory
> is about the philosophical underpinnings of design and its artifacts and the
> place of design in the world.
>
> It is much more important for design students to be able to create and
> justify concepts than to evaluate them quantifiably IMHO. The ability to
> create new, inventive, and well-reasoned products and solutions should be
> what we're training designers to do.
>
> Dan
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

23 Jun 2008 - 11:26am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jun 22, 2008, at 4:41 PM, dave malouf wrote:

> In talking to an educator recently, they confessed that with all the
> "new" stuff out there they have no idea how to teach anyone all
> they need to know in any reasonable time frame at all.

It'll most likely be like this until technology settles down more.
That gives you roughly ten years, I'd say, given past technology
cycles. It's just the nature of the beast.

In looking over Dan Saffer's post about topics... I'm not sure why
some of you ever disagreed with me in the past over what it is that we
do. His list is pretty good and reasonably diverse, missing only a few
pieces that don't add to the overall weight of the discipline. Sure, I
call that list "interface" design you call it "interaction" design,
but the skills required in that list are very extensive and cross-
disciplinary. Yet, I've gotten no end of grief from folks from
requesting that designers in this field know more about a cross of
topics.

Oh well... At least people are coming around.

The few things I think Dan is missing in that list are (my additions/
changes are ***):

----------

UNDERGRADUATE

Year 1:
Sketching and Modeling
***Graphic Design Fundamentals (in lieu of Typography specifically.
Why limit to type when you can cover type, color and composition here?
It's just fundamentals, and the fundamentals of GD are no more complex
than the fundamentals of ID.)
Industrial Design Fundamentals
Introduction to Programming
Writing Fundamentals

Year 2:
Intermediate Industrial Design
***Intermediate Graphic Design (again, you want to cover enough type,
color and composition that's needed. Not full fledged GD, but enough
of a spectrum here if you are going to do the same with ID)
Information Design and Visualization
Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
***Introduction to Scripting (like JavaScript, PHP or ActiveScript,
low level languages that are not hardcore programming)
Design History

Year 3:
Design Research
Digital Prototyping
***Physical Computing (This might be too early here, depending on
technology, so it would need to scale with the times)
Design Theory
***(Removed Interface Design: No need to confuse the issue as no one
would be able to tell you what "interface design" is in relation to
this course since the topics here cover all interface design issues.
Best to cover whatever you meant here in the prototyping course)

Year 4:
Senior Project
Studio: Projects with New Technology
Advanced Topics (CD, ID, CS, Psychology, Anthropology)
Current Topics in IxD
Documenting Systems

----------

I would agree that a 5 years program might ease the burden for some
here.

As for the graduate work, I think you should consider the broader
"interaction" piece there. Things that are more outside the scope of
digital and software. You could get into environmental interaction
design there for example. This way the undergrad work stays focused on
more practical expressions of the field, while the graduate course
gets to spread its wings a bit more.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

23 Jun 2008 - 11:46am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jun 23, 2008, at 10:24 AM, Christine Boese wrote:

> I dunno. I'd never say Design Theory has nothing to do with
> ethnography or usability.

What then do you think design theory is? If we're going to talk about
what something is or isn't, please start by defining what you think it
is. "Nothing to do with" might have been a little strong, because
philosophically, how you approach design may intersect with those
fields, but theory is not really about methods, which both ethnography
and usability testing are.

(-$1 for me using usability as a noun earlier.)

> To me, that kind of one-way design thinking approach is what got the
> design field into the blind alley it currently is stuck in,

We're in a blind alley now? How so? Funny, I'm thinking just the
opposite. I'm thinking design is more integrated, powerful, and
respected than in any time in the previous 50 years, since back in the
heyday of industrial design in the 1950s.

> helpless to adapt to precisely what INTERACTIVE design means.

What is interactive design? That term is meaningless. I have no idea
what you mean by this. Explain. How are we not adapting to what? Are
you talking about graphic design?

> That blind alley is the reason we are creating this new field in the
> first place.

No, the reason this field exists is because design goes where
technology and materials take it. Once there became a need to start
designing the behavior of objects, the field of interaction design was
born. Not because of some blind alley (what does that even mean?).

> I'd say the last thing we'd want to do is put the Artist/Designer
> back into her high-tower, preparing wondrous creations to unleash
> upon a grateful and waiting one-to-many monologic world.

Why is this not a valid means of design? I'll let Andrei and Jim
Leftwich do their thing here, but I'll point to Jared's recent keynote:

<http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2008/04/23/ia-summit-keynote-journey-to-the-center-of-design/
>

where he notes:

"The foundations of user-centered design are now disintegrating.
Notable community members are suggesting UCD practice is burdensome
and returns little value. There’s a growing sentiment that spending
limited resources on user research takes away from essential design
activities. Previously fundamental techniques, such as usability
testing and persona development, are now regularly under attack. And
let’s not forget that today’s shining stars, such as Google, Facebook,
Twitter, and the iPod, came to their success without UCD practices."

Dan

23 Jun 2008 - 12:00pm
Uday Gajendar
2007

On Jun 23, 2008, at 10:24 AM, Christine Boese wrote:
> I dunno. I'd never say Design Theory has nothing to do with
> ethnography or
> usability. To me, that kind of one-way design thinking approach is
> what got
> the design field into the blind alley it currently is stuck in,
> helpless to
> adapt to precisely what INTERACTIVE design means.

Actually, sorry but Dan's right... Design Theory is focused on the
philosophical and theoretical foundations of designing: invention,
creativity, communication, decision-making, to design something, and
it's cultural/social value and place in the world. There maybe some
incidental reference to HCI related matters but that's really for a
straight-up HCI Fundamentals course, going into the HCI related
theories per computer science, psychology, and sociology and anthro
knowledge bases.

Not sure what you mean by "interactive", but the full range of design
theories and perspectives, with HCI theories combined provide ample
(maybe too much!) fodder to flexibly design compelling products/
services/systems for any kind of situation...How to effectively make
use those of ideas in action, is the real challenge and comes with
years of experience, which this field is still developing...

Uday Gajendar
Sr. Interaction Designer
Voice Technology Group
Cisco | San Jose

23 Jun 2008 - 12:21pm
Christine Boese
2006

Don't have time to reply at length right now (and you know my real name is
Chris Verbose), but if this will help clarify a position I intend to
strongly defend:

I was referring to Old School Design vs Interactive Design, and defining
that difference PRIMARILY in terms of MONOLOGIC Design vs DIALOGIC Design.

Big difference. Massive difference. Makes all the difference in the world.
We still have not even begun realizing all of the implications of what this
mean, esp. given the quick reactions to what I was putting out there.

Horseless carriage-land is not really where we want to be, and doing the
same thing over and over and expecting different results... an interactive
environment demands an interactive design response, and even more than that
(but that latter part is a theory I'm still working out, so it isn't fully
hatched yet).

But monologic design for interactivity is definitely NOT the Design
Capital-T Theory such a program should be teaching. It's a bit like an
oxymoron.

I understand the need to move beyond UCD, but I'm actually headed in the
direction of LESS of a focus on an atomized individual "user" and more on
the social aspects of design. And you can't do social design in a vacuum,
the lonely artist designer laboring in a tower.

Chris

On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 2:00 PM, Uday Gajendar <ugajenda at cisco.com> wrote:

> On Jun 23, 2008, at 10:24 AM, Christine Boese wrote:
>
>> I dunno. I'd never say Design Theory has nothing to do with ethnography or
>> usability. To me, that kind of one-way design thinking approach is what
>> got
>> the design field into the blind alley it currently is stuck in, helpless
>> to
>>
> adapt to precisely what INTERACTIVE design means.
>
> Actually, sorry but Dan's right... Design Theory is focused on the
> philosophical and theoretical foundations of designing: invention,
> creativity, communication, decision-making, to design something, and it's
> cultural/social value and place in the world. There maybe some incidental
> reference to HCI related matters but that's really for a straight-up HCI
> Fundamentals course, going into the HCI related theories per computer
> science, psychology, and sociology and anthro knowledge bases.
>
> Not sure what you mean by "interactive", but the full range of design
> theories and perspectives, with HCI theories combined provide ample (maybe
> too much!) fodder to flexibly design compelling products/services/systems
> for any kind of situation...How to effectively make use those of ideas in
> action, is the real challenge and comes with years of experience, which this
> field is still developing...
>
>
>
> Uday Gajendar
> Sr. Interaction Designer
> Voice Technology Group
> Cisco | San Jose
>
>

23 Jun 2008 - 12:25pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jun 23, 2008, at 10:46 AM, Dan Saffer wrote:

>> I'd say the last thing we'd want to do is put the Artist/Designer
>> back into her high-tower, preparing wondrous creations to unleash
>> upon a grateful and waiting one-to-many monologic world.
>
> Why is this not a valid means of design? I'll let Andrei and Jim
> Leftwich do their thing here, but I'll point to Jared's recent
> keynote:
> <http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2008/04/23/ia-summit-keynote-journey-to-the-center-of-design/
> >

The irony of this line of discussion is that good designers never need
permission to do what they know to be good design, regardless if they
are told not to act like the high and mighty designer sitting in their
ivory tower. They just do it regardless. So it effectively makes the
discussion moot for the good designer.

People seem to want some sort of guaranteed protection from bad
designers, when in fact they already have one: Don't use or pay for
what they design.

I think this line from Paul Rand speaks eloquently to this point:

"Meaningful design, design of quality and wit, is no small
achievement, even in an environment in which good design is
understood, appreciated, and ardently accepted, and in which profit is
not the only motive. At best, work that has any claim to distinction
is the exception, even under the most ideal circumstances. After all,
our epoch can boast of only one A.M. Cassandre."

Outside of this, I've always wondered what "Hamlet" would have been
like had Shakespeare been forced to write it with a team of
playwrights assigned by the Queen.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

23 Jun 2008 - 12:41pm
SemanticWill
2007

To the extent that you all would agree that interaction design has
everything to do with the design of conversations, the design of the
mediation as well as the mechanism for the dialogue - building upon
Borgmann's reexamination of Heideggar in "Technology and the Character of
Contemporary Life" and " Crossing the Postmodern Divide," then I think one
could convincingly argue that at least enthography and sociology should be
included in any conversation about design theory. No?

On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 1:24 PM, Christine Boese <christine.boese at gmail.com>
wrote:

> I dunno. I'd never say Design Theory has nothing to do with ethnography or
> usability. To me, that kind of one-way design thinking approach is what got
> the design field into the blind alley it currently is stuck in, helpless to
> adapt to precisely what INTERACTIVE design means.
>
> That blind alley is the reason we are creating this new field in the first
> place. I'd say the last thing we'd want to do is put the Artist/Designer
> back into her high-tower, preparing wondrous creations to unleash upon a
> grateful and waiting one-to-many monologic world.
>
> Chris
>
> On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 12:56 PM, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:
>
> >
> > On Jun 23, 2008, at 9:33 AM, Mabel Ney wrote:
> >
> > I would like to see the Design Theory include an exposure to
> >> ethnographic research, 1:1 usability evaluations and how people use
> >> screen readers. I see it as something like a hands-on lab for a
> >> science course and a way to help students find their passion.
> >>
> >> Also I feel the writing course should be focused on technical and
> >> business writing. Electives could include statistics and analytics.
> >>
> >>
> > This sounds more like an HCI degree than a design degree. Design Theory
> has
> > nothing to do with ethnography, usability, or screen readers. Design
> theory
> > is about the philosophical underpinnings of design and its artifacts and
> the
> > place of design in the world.
> >
> > It is much more important for design students to be able to create and
> > justify concepts than to evaluate them quantifiably IMHO. The ability to
> > create new, inventive, and well-reasoned products and solutions should be
> > what we're training designers to do.
> >
> > Dan
> >
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | User Experience Architect
tel +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
twitter: https://twitter.com/semanticwill
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

23 Jun 2008 - 12:46pm
Christine Boese
2006

Sorry with another quick hit, without answering all of Dan's questions, but
just a quick reply to one piece of what he raised, below:

On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 1:46 PM, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:

>
> On Jun 23, 2008, at 10:24 AM, Christine Boese wrote:
>
>
>
>
> I'd say the last thing we'd want to do is put the Artist/Designer back
>> into her high-tower, preparing wondrous creations to unleash upon a grateful
>> and waiting one-to-many monologic world.
>>
>
>
> Why is this not a valid means of design? I'll let Andrei and Jim Leftwich
> do their thing here, but I'll point to Jared's recent keynote:
>
> <
> http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2008/04/23/ia-summit-keynote-journey-to-the-center-of-design/
> >
>
> where he notes:
>
> "The foundations of user-centered design are now disintegrating. Notable
> community members are suggesting UCD practice is burdensome and returns
> little value. There's a growing sentiment that spending limited resources on
> user research takes away from essential design activities. Previously
> fundamental techniques, such as usability testing and persona development,
> are now regularly under attack. And let's not forget that today's shining
> stars, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the iPod, came to their
> success without UCD practices."
>
>
I'd just want to note that Google, Facebook, and Twitter above, do practice
something I would call Interactive Design (which is not necessarily HCD), in
that the SOCIAL element is the center. This is what I call out as the most
essential nature of true interactivity, not just branching structures and
options for "audience-participation," but seeing the social aspect as
actually giving power to audiences as true co-creators of the
communally-authored virtual landscape. How do these and other similar
grassroots or social-centered designs manifest and evolve? Generally, so far
in how this is working itself out in cybercultures, it happens with beta
releases, and big ears on the part of the platform hosts/authors. They
release some of their bread upon the waters, and then watch what the social
co-authors do with it, and design from that point on collaboratively,
dialogically, with actual users, often of fairly large scale.

I'm not talking about design by committee (blah) so much as I'm talking
about defining the essence of interactivity as POWER-SHARING, and for
Designers to share creation/design power with social forces that will use
the platform or designs, DESIGNERS MUST GIVE UP POWER.

That's why the old stereotypical model of the lone artist working in
isolation is moot. Sure, lone artists can work in isolation, but if the
process doesn't turn dialogic with the social forces of the audience for
true power sharing and co-creation, then I would argue what you have is
pseudo-interactivity, not real interactivity.

Ultimately (and I was able to document this in my dissertation in one
instance, 10 years ago), the best thing that can happen for true
interactivity, is for the audience, the social groups, to rise up and take
complete control, pre-empting the designers, the "original" content creators
and interface creators altogether, through poaching or alternative and
competing modifications.

Chris

>
>
> Dan
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

23 Jun 2008 - 12:56pm
Mark Schraad
2006

Ethnography and anthropology should be covered in a methods or
research class (and threaded through every other design studios
prototype exercise as well).

Conversations - or dialog would surely be a part of the design theory class.

Mark

On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 2:41 PM, Will Evans <will at semanticfoundry.com> wrote:
> To the extent that you all would agree that interaction design has
> everything to do with the design of conversations, the design of the
> mediation as well as the mechanism for the dialogue - building upon
> Borgmann's reexamination of Heideggar in "Technology and the Character of
> Contemporary Life" and " Crossing the Postmodern Divide," then I think one
> could convincingly argue that at least enthography and sociology should be
> included in any conversation about design theory. No?
>
> On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 1:24 PM, Christine Boese <christine.boese at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> I dunno. I'd never say Design Theory has nothing to do with ethnography or
>> usability. To me, that kind of one-way design thinking approach is what got
>> the design field into the blind alley it currently is stuck in, helpless to
>> adapt to precisely what INTERACTIVE design means.
>>
>> That blind alley is the reason we are creating this new field in the first
>> place. I'd say the last thing we'd want to do is put the Artist/Designer
>> back into her high-tower, preparing wondrous creations to unleash upon a
>> grateful and waiting one-to-many monologic world.
>>
>> Chris
>>
>> On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 12:56 PM, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:
>>
>> >
>> > On Jun 23, 2008, at 9:33 AM, Mabel Ney wrote:
>> >
>> > I would like to see the Design Theory include an exposure to
>> >> ethnographic research, 1:1 usability evaluations and how people use
>> >> screen readers. I see it as something like a hands-on lab for a
>> >> science course and a way to help students find their passion.
>> >>
>> >> Also I feel the writing course should be focused on technical and
>> >> business writing. Electives could include statistics and analytics.
>> >>
>> >>
>> > This sounds more like an HCI degree than a design degree. Design Theory
>> has
>> > nothing to do with ethnography, usability, or screen readers. Design
>> theory
>> > is about the philosophical underpinnings of design and its artifacts and
>> the
>> > place of design in the world.
>> >
>> > It is much more important for design students to be able to create and
>> > justify concepts than to evaluate them quantifiably IMHO. The ability to
>> > create new, inventive, and well-reasoned products and solutions should be
>> > what we're training designers to do.
>> >
>> > Dan
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > ________________________________________________________________
>> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> > Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> > List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> > List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>> >
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>
>
>
> --
> ~ will
>
> "Where you innovate, how you innovate,
> and what you innovate are design problems"
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Will Evans | User Experience Architect
> tel +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
> twitter: https://twitter.com/semanticwill
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

23 Jun 2008 - 1:02pm
SemanticWill
2007

>
> >
> I'd just want to note that Google, Facebook, and Twitter above, do practice
> something I would call Interactive Design (which is not necessarily HCD),
> in
> that the SOCIAL element is the center. This is what I call out as the most
> essential nature of true interactivity, not just branching structures and
> options for "audience-participation," but seeing the social aspect as
> actually giving power to audiences as true co-creators of the
> communally-authored virtual landscape. How do these and other similar
> grassroots or social-centered designs manifest and evolve? Generally, so
> far
> in how this is working itself out in cybercultures, it happens with beta
> releases, and big ears on the part of the platform hosts/authors. They
> release some of their bread upon the waters, and then watch what the social
> co-authors do with it, and design from that point on collaboratively,
> dialogically, with actual users, often of fairly large scale.

>
>
> I'm not talking about design by committee (blah) so much as I'm talking
> about defining the essence of interactivity as POWER-SHARING, and for
> Designers to share creation/design power with social forces that will use
> the platform or designs, DESIGNERS MUST GIVE UP POWER.

Well, if that doesn't sound like the "death of the author," ala peanut
butter sandwiches, Barthes, and Foucault -- than I don't know what is!

"If any field has accepted
the death of the author, surely it is HCI. As much as
many interface designers would like to be treated as
Hirsch's author, which would suggest that it is the
user's obligation to figure out and proceed in accord
with the designer's intentions, the fact is HCI has long
embraced the opposite position. The user matters more
than the designer, and design research is often largely
synonymous with user research."

Barzell, "Interaction Criticism: A Proposal and Framework for a New
Discipline of HCI," CHI 2008.

23 Jun 2008 - 1:06pm
Christine Boese
2006

Bullseye!

Chris

On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 3:02 PM, Will Evans <will at semanticfoundry.com>
wrote:

>
>
>> >
>> I'd just want to note that Google, Facebook, and Twitter above, do
>> practice
>> something I would call Interactive Design (which is not necessarily HCD),
>> in
>> that the SOCIAL element is the center. This is what I call out as the most
>> essential nature of true interactivity, not just branching structures and
>> options for "audience-participation," but seeing the social aspect as
>> actually giving power to audiences as true co-creators of the
>> communally-authored virtual landscape. How do these and other similar
>> grassroots or social-centered designs manifest and evolve? Generally, so
>> far
>> in how this is working itself out in cybercultures, it happens with beta
>> releases, and big ears on the part of the platform hosts/authors. They
>> release some of their bread upon the waters, and then watch what the
>> social
>> co-authors do with it, and design from that point on collaboratively,
>> dialogically, with actual users, often of fairly large scale.
>
>
>
>>
>>
>> I'm not talking about design by committee (blah) so much as I'm talking
>> about defining the essence of interactivity as POWER-SHARING, and for
>> Designers to share creation/design power with social forces that will use
>> the platform or designs, DESIGNERS MUST GIVE UP POWER.
>
>
> Well, if that doesn't sound like the "death of the author," ala peanut
> butter sandwiches, Barthes, and Foucault -- than I don't know what is!
>
> "If any field has accepted
> the death of the author, surely it is HCI. As much as
> many interface designers would like to be treated as
> Hirsch's author, which would suggest that it is the
> user's obligation to figure out and proceed in accord
> with the designer's intentions, the fact is HCI has long
> embraced the opposite position. The user matters more
> than the designer, and design research is often largely
> synonymous with user research."
>
> Barzell, "Interaction Criticism: A Proposal and Framework for a New
> Discipline of HCI," CHI 2008.
>

23 Jun 2008 - 1:08pm
Fred Beecher
2006

On 6/23/08, Andrei Herasimchuk <andrei at involutionstudios.com> wrote:
>
>
> Year 3:
> Design Research
> Digital Prototyping
> ***Physical Computing (This might be too early here, depending on
> technology, so it would need to scale with the times)
> Design Theory
> ***(Removed Interface Design: No need to confuse the issue as no one would
> be able to tell you what "interface design" is in relation to this course
> since the topics here cover all interface design issues. Best to cover
> whatever you meant here in the prototyping course)

Overall, I like your modifications... But I might leave "Interface Design"
in there. One of the most relevant courses I took in school was called
simply, "User Interface Design." It was offered through the Computer Science
department, and was taught by an HCI-focused professor... Joseph Konstan
(google him... he's big into recommendation engines, etc.)

The course was structured in a very interesting fashion... you could take it
as a coder or non-coder. I, of course, took it as a non-coder. We learned
about user research, HCI UI design principles, etc. in addition to all the
code-specific stuff, and we worked together in groups on a project. So in
our group, I was the designer working with four coders. I was able to apply
what we were learning in class combined with what I already knew from my
technical communication classes. I found this to be very instructive. It was
very much like what some of my subsequent experience has been like, and I
feel it helped me work with technical people more effectively.

In most of this curriculum that we're throwing around here, we're focusing
on *aspects* of our craft rather than putting it together. Yes, the senior
project gets at that, but outside of that (and possibly Physical
Computing?), Interface Design is the only other course that starts to look
at the craft holistically. I'm of the mind that the more courses that do
this the better. Practice is what makes us practitioners.

- F.

23 Jun 2008 - 1:26pm
Charlie Kreitzberg
2008

Hi Everyone:

I find myself deeply troubled by the trend to dismiss UCD as irrelevant or
(worse) harmful and to suggest that design is a wholly new field.

Of course every field must advance in its thinking and its practices. But
there is a risk of design, divorced from usability, becoming effete and
irrelevant. I have seen chairs in museums that are beautiful but not
comfortable and thought that they were better off there and not in my
kitchen.

Most interactive products are tools of some sort. At the end of the day,
tools must be both useful and usable. They need to do something and do it
well. Efficacy is an inseparable part of the user experience when it comes
to tools.

If we can improve on UCD techniques and find better and more efficient ways
to make products useful and usable that is a wonderful thing.

The great computer scientist Richard Hamming (with whom briefly I studied
when I was an undergraduate) used to remark "Sir Isaac Newton said, 'If I
have seen further than others, it is because I've stood on the shoulders of
giants.' Today we stand on each other's feet!"

In the effort to define IxD as a "new" field rather than the next generation
of an existing one, there is a real risk of discarding the baby with the
bathwater. It seems to me that the better focus is how can we take
interactive design to the next level, building on what came before and
improving it.

Charlie

============================
Charles B. Kreitzberg, Ph.D.
CEO, Cognetics Corporation
============================

23 Jun 2008 - 1:57pm
Peyush Agarwal
2007

Dan's got a good list going here. I'd iterate on it as follows. Basically I think that design studio needs to exist for most of the time as it takes time, effort and practice to develop a design process. Also some focus on design communication - tools, practices, presentation skills etc., and at least a little bit about project planning.

UNDERGRADUATE

Year 1:
Sketching and Modeling
Introduction to Design Theory & Fundamentals
History of Design
Introduction to Programming
Design Communication
Design Research

Year 2:
Intermediate Design Theory
Design Principles for Interaction Design
Information Design and Visualization
Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
Programming for designers
Prototyping techniques
Design Communication
Introduction to Industrial design
Design Studio

Year 3:
Design Evaluation methods
Digital Prototyping
Interface Design
Industrial design
Design communication
Seminar class on diverse topics related to design - cellphones, audio-only, accessibility etc.
Design Studio

Year 4:
Senior Project
Studio: Projects with New Technology
Advanced Topics (CD, ID, CS, Psychology, Anthropology) Current Topics in IxD Documenting Systems
Project planning, estimating/costing

23 Jun 2008 - 4:13pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jun 23, 2008, at 12:08 PM, Fred Beecher wrote:

> Overall, I like your modifications... But I might leave "Interface
> Design"
> in there.

Ok... this is probably a semantic problem. What do you, and Dan, mean
by "interface design" then? Do you mean taking all that theory and
translating it to screen-based pixels and use of OS widgets like
menus, radio buttons, checkboxes, drag and drop behaviors and I/O
models? Or something else?

Again, what a lot of people call "interaction" design I've called
"interface" design when it pertains to software and digital products.
When I got started with interface design in the early 90s, I worked on
3D modeling, rendering and animation software, then jumped into pixel
editing, vector drawing and mutli-page layout and construction, a
large portion of my work was "interaction" design as near as I can
tell by what I hear people say off this list. Just that I include
*more* than just the interaction part, as I also help to define the
visual look (icons, color, type, composition of any screen elements),
along with higher level metaphors and organizing principles about the
interface on the whole.

For example, when I helped define Free Transform in Photoshop with
Mark Hamburg, I had to work with him on how to do 6 main transforms
using only 3 modifier keys, while having to adjust locked aspect
ratio, mirroring and distortion dynamically on the fly. Also had to
understand issues about pixel resampling and understanding how to
handle the limitations of what Mark could do at the engine level while
working with him to create as flexible an interface to transform as
possible. That work is still in Photoshop today just as we designed it
12 years ago.

When I was doing animation software for 3D objects back before I
joined Adobe, I helped to design a keyframing interface for 3D objects
in time, laying them out like music notes in sequencing software, then
allowing for the defined animation to be squashed and stretched in
time without the use of spreadsheet like keyframing interfaces.

I created an image composition program early in my career that treated
images and pixels more like page layout objects, and had worked out a
lot of layering issues in terms of how they work on a 2D screen before
they appeared in Photoshop.

This is what I call "interface" design. All of what's needed in order
to do what I've stated above requires an understanding of all the
courses laid out by Dan Saffer. Having a class on "interface design"
seems counterintuitive to me, because it's not clear how you learn to
do what I've outlined above as an activity on its own. The Student
Project would be something along the lines of what I've laid out
above, so it makes little sense to me to have "interface design" as
its own class per se.

The are too many people who use the term "interface" design and mean
"visual screen design" which is often a glorified term for someone who
draws icons. This type of thinking seemed to become prevalent right
aroun the same time the web broswer became a big deal, which is rather
ironic imho since "interaction" is fundamentally crippled when
designing applications inside a web browser. I've said this many times
in the past, but I don't just draw icons. Coming up with a music
metaphor like sequencing, and applying that to 3D object animation is
not something someone who just draws icons does.

So, that was a long winded way of asking what you mean when you say
"interface design."

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

23 Jun 2008 - 4:19pm
Anonymous

I really like Jeff's suggestions for courses.

I went the University of Cincinnati (CCM) and had many friends in the
"design" college. Their degree programs are almost all 5 years and
are not hard sells to incoming students because those students have
been in art classes for most of their high school careers. I'm
pretty sure that you don't get in without any formal art background;
it's pretty competitive.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=30515

23 Jun 2008 - 8:05pm
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jun 23, 2008, at 3:13 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

>
> On Jun 23, 2008, at 12:08 PM, Fred Beecher wrote:
>
>> Overall, I like your modifications... But I might leave "Interface
>> Design"
>> in there.
>
> Ok... this is probably a semantic problem. What do you, and Dan,
> mean by "interface design" then?

I mean designing what you call:

> the visual look (icons, color, type, composition of any screen
> elements), along with higher level metaphors and organizing
> principles about the interface on the whole.
>

This is as important to understand as programming, even if the
interaction designer does not operate at this level (which many will
not, the same way that many will never program their own designs). But
it is important to understand how a look and feel is applied to an
underlying structure (often visualized as wireframes).

That's what I was thinking anyway.

Dan

23 Jun 2008 - 9:15pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jun 23, 2008, at 7:05 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:

>
>> the visual look (icons, color, type, composition of any screen
>> elements), along with higher level metaphors and organizing
>> principles about the interface on the whole.
>
> This is as important to understand as programming, even if the
> interaction designer does not operate at this level (which many will
> not, the same way that many will never program their own designs).
> But it is important to understand how a look and feel is applied to
> an underlying structure (often visualized as wireframes).
>
> That's what I was thinking anyway.

That's what I thought you might mean, and I largely agree. I think
you'd be able to handle that particular set of issues during the
digital prototyping course, as a direct supplement to it. And it would
fit best there as it would be the moment where you have to make
something real. It would be sticky if taught directly tied to
prototyping imho.

Separating it out also runs into the problem that "interface design"
as practiced to today is limited in scope due to technology
constraints. Whereas "interface design" in the near future will assume
more 3D spatial concerns, more multi-touch concepts and far more
dynamic display devices.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

23 Jun 2008 - 11:00pm
Uday Gajendar
2007

On Jun 23, 2008, at 11:21 AM, Christine Boese wrote:
> I understand the need to move beyond UCD, but I'm actually headed in
> the direction of LESS of a focus on an atomized individual "user"
> and more on the social aspects of design. And you can't do social
> design in a vacuum, the lonely artist designer laboring in a tower.

I remember how Dick Buchanan in class often said the phrase "community
of use" as a way of breaking away from the pejorative and isolated
sense of "the user". Added a broader human, social dimension, also
avoided the phrase "targeted user" which sounds a like someone trapped
in a firing range ;-)

-uday

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