Industrial Designers Switch to HCI

1 Apr 2010 - 10:45am
4 years ago
10 replies
1750 reads
garnold8509
2010

Hi

I originally posted to this portal because I was looking for oppurtunities to expand on my Interior and Industrial Design experience.

I have training funds available but I think money is allocated for only certificate programs as a web master or developer. However, I think it will be better to go for a Masters or Phd in HCI because I would like to do research and development. I have done a lot of research into various university programs. I have found that professors have been very welcoming and they offer a lot of input in this area. Some professors even said that I could call or visit them any time.

I am in NC so I have looked into the Human Factors Phd in the department of Psychology at NCSU. They have a lot of research centers in the area of the impact of age on understanding interfaces. The dont have a dedicated HCI program but a lot of Phd students are focused in that area. I have missed the deadline for this application so my entry will be fall 2011.

I have looked at Rensselaer Polytechnic and I love that they have HCI under language and literature department. It may be very out side the box thinking.

I will continue my thoughts on some of the programs in following posts.

Geri

Comments

1 Apr 2010 - 1:20pm
Fredrik Matheson
2005

First of all best of luck with your transition.
I'm curious:- what's your motivation for getting a Ph.D. as opposed to a master's degree? - are you aiming specifically for an HCI program, or are you considering interaction design/user experience programs as well?
Best regards,
Fredrik Matheson
 

(
1 Apr 2010 - 6:30pm
garnold8509
2010

Fredrik,

Thanks

I have a MFA already. I wanted a more research based MS that could lead to a PhD.

I am not sure of the difference between HCI and Interaction Design. Maybe someone

can enlighten me.

Geri

 

2 Apr 2010 - 9:40am
Michele Marut
2005

Hi Geri,
You are on the right track as HCI programs often lead to a MS while IXD programs often lead to MFA or MDES.While programs for both often include both research and design, the focus for the IXD programs is on becoming a designer and include studio time and related courses. Graduates of HCI programs may or may not pursue a career specifically as a designer. 
I'm going to take a stab at answering your question - HCI is the broader, all encompassing term while Interaction Design is one specific aspect or sub-group of the term. There are tons of previous discussions on this list that address that.
However, instead of focusing on the definition, reading the curriculums for the different programs might help.
Examples:
IXD- http://interactiondesign.sva.edu/http://www.design.cmu.edu/show_program.php?s=2&t=1
HCI - http://www.hcii.cmu.edu/masters-program-curriculumhttp://www.si.umich.edu/msi/hci.htm/
Hope this helps!

Michele Marut


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On Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 9:14 PM, garnold8509 <arnoldgear@gmail.com> wrote:

Fredrik,

Thanks

I have a MFA already. I wanted a more research based MS that could lead to a PhD.

I am not sure of the difference between HCI and Interaction Design. Maybe someone

can enlighten me.

Geri

 

(((Plea
4 Apr 2010 - 12:04am
Dave Malouf
2005

Geri, to be honest, the differences exist only in the specific practices. You can't really say that HCI is different than IxD and I disagree with Michele's assertion that one is parent to the other. Ugh! there is nothing further from my truth. But that is the point. Michele is right from her POV and I'm right from mine and there is no critical mass of agreement and that is OK. ;-)

But again as I always ask, what do you want to be when you grow up? Not what do you want to study, but what do you want to be? Then regardless of name, pick the program. 

what is wrong w/ your MFA? what are you hoping to gain a better understanding of from what you understand HCI to be how?

You say you want to do "research & development" but what kind of research and to develop what?

As a designer, one could learn new mediums and the criticism, crafts and knowledge that goes into them. There s tons to research in IxD as a design discipline and great places to do that (none in NC unfortunately). Then there are places that are more grounded in more analytical and structured methodologies that focus specifically on human and machine. IxD Design degrees tend to have less focus on digital and more on activities and people. in fact, for IxD technology as we use the term today is not really even required w/in many programs.

Lastly, you should always look at where graduates of a program are being hired consistently and what connections the school has with industry.

Good luck on your future!

-- dave

2 Apr 2010 - 6:29am
Yvonnia Martin
2009

Wouldn't HCI be considered more scientific? You know, Fitt's law and deep GOMS analyses? I thought interaction design just borrows from a bit from HCI. I had taken a human, computers and cognition class and it was HEAVY on science (I almost fell asleep!)

-- Yvonnia

2 Apr 2010 - 8:10am
pnuschke
2007

Have you looked at UNC? They have a program through library science.
FYI, the psych program at NCSU will only do PhD's (at least last time I looked). However, I did take a course through them and found the instruction to be very good. Another option is to go through industrial engineering at either NCSU or NC A&T, but since you have a design background they may not be the best option (too many required courses that you would be missing).
Paul

On Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 2:23 PM, garnold8509 <arnoldgear@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi

I originally posted to this portal because I was looking for oppurtunities to expand on my Interior and Industrial Design experience.

I have training funds available but I think money is allocated for only certificate programs as a web master or developer. However, I think it will be better to go for a Masters or Phd in HCI because I would like to do research and development. I have done a lot of research into various university programs. I have found that professors have been very welcoming and they offer a lot of input in this area. Some professors even said that I could call or visit them any time.

I am in NC so I have looked into the Human Factors Phd in the department of Psychology at NCSU. They have a lot of research centers in the area of the impact of age on understanding interfaces. The dont have a dedicated HCI program but a lot of Phd students are focused in that area. I have missed the deadline for this application so my entry will be fall 2011.

I have looked at Rensselaer Polytechnic and I love that they have HCI under language and literature department. It may be very out side the box thinking.

I will continue my thoughts on some of the programs in following posts.

Geri

(
12 Jun 2010 - 8:25pm
garnold8509
2010

I completed the application to UM but I now have to take the GRE again. I have a Masters already and I took it to apply to that program. Why do I need to take it over just because it is over 5 years old?

 

g

13 Jun 2010 - 11:06am
Bonnie E. John
2008

As the former head of the MHCI program at CMU, I can tell you a little about the admissions process.

GREs are the ONLY standardized score the admissions committee has to compare students who come from such varied backgrounds as apply to HCI programs. Scientific research has shown that (1) the verbal GRE correlates well with success in grad school (my guess is that it correlates with reading speed and comprehension and your sure have to read a lot in grad school programs to keep up with your work and integrate all the knowledge, even HCI) and (2) GREs are only valid for 5 years because the life experiences of a person change their scores substantially. For example, my verbal GRE was far lower than my verbal SAT 4 years earlier presumably because I had stopped devouring literature during my engineering education -- all I read was engineering textbooks -- I had slowed down and my working vocabulary had shifted. So you have to take them again if it was more then 5 years ago to guage your readiness now.

That said, every HCI admissions committee I know if does NOT use the GRE exclusively - only pretty much to break "ties" if they have to. Other things like work experience, protfolios, recommendations (well written!) and insightful (well written!) statements of purpose weigh more, at least at CMU.

Bonnie

garnold8509 wrote: > I completed the application to UM but I now have to take the GRE > again. I have a Masters already and I took it to apply to that > program. Why do I need to take it over just because it is over 5 years > old? > >
> > g > >

13 Jun 2010 - 1:13am
katey
2010

Geri,

I also have an MFA (SCAD) and am currently in an MS HCI-type program (the Human Centered Design & Engineering program at University of Washington.) I do think there is a level of theory and scientific research you can delve into in an HCI program that just doesn't happen in most design programs. Depending on the school, you may be able to receive funding for your research work, which obviously is almost impossible in an MFA or MDes program. I've heard great things about Rensselaer Polytechnic, it's supposed to be very multidisciplinary.

Unfortunately, GRE scores are only good for 5 years, so I don't think you can get out of taking it again. Frustrating, I know.

I think an MFA and an MS in HCI is a pretty good combination if you want to do design and research. It's a huge investment of time and money, obviously - but I'm having fun! :)

-Katey

13 Jun 2010 - 1:05pm
mdostert
2010

Hello,

I agree, an MFA and MSIS in HCI sounds like it has worked out for many people. I do agree the additional emphasis on research from the MSIS is very important. Many people do not have this and you will give you an edge. I wouldn't worry about the gres. Just practice a few times and do some reading and practice test taking.

Maureen

----- Original Message ---- From: katey To: mdostert2002@yahoo.com Sent: Sun, June 13, 2010 4:28:06 AM Subject: Re: [IxDA] Industrial Designers Switch to HCI

Geri,

I also have an MFA (SCAD) and am currently in an MS HCI-type program (the Human Centered Design & Engineering program at University of Washington.) I do think there is a level of theory and scientific research you can delve into in an HCI program that just doesn't happen in most design programs. Depending on the school, you may be able to receive funding for your research work, which obviously is almost impossible in an MFA or MDes program. I've heard great things about Rensselaer Polytechnic, it's supposed to be very multidisciplinary.

Unfortunately, GRE scores are only good for 5 years, so I don't think you can get out of taking it again. Frustrating, I know.

I think an MFA and an MS in HCI is a pretty good combination if you want to do design and research. It's a huge investment of time and money, obviously - but I'm having fun! :)

-Katey

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