Relationships matter. Specifically, the interaction between product and user. In one of UID’s most specialised programme, students are trained to explore the structure and behavior of interactive systems, from computers to mobile devices to appliances and beyond.
How do you design for both the cognitive and physical interface? Can you integrate them into a successful whole? On top of this, what can you do to ensure it’s sustainable, comprehensible and pleasurable?
Courses in a range of subjects — including human-computer interaction, graphic design, contextual enquiry and “Experience Prototyping” — answer these questions. Whereas interface prototyping tools, scenario techniques and user studies enliven project work.
Projects — based on specific user groups rather than product categories — define this programme. Lectures are often combined with field trips, site visits, group method work, user studies and studio work. Collaborations with external partners are frequent, while tutoring is given both by UID teachers and visiting professional designers.
"At UID, the collaborative aspect is real. People truly depend on one another, all the time,” explains student Akansha Aggarwal.
Her aspirations to design things that offer genuine value and have an impact on "real" everyday needs of people led her to this programme. During her final year she realised them in a project that seeks to help underprivileged fishing communities in India's coastal region, one of the most vulnerable groups dealing with the challenges of climate change.
"From an interaction design perspective, the projects were balanced in their attempt to understand people, carrying both societal relevance and at the same time working with the possibilities and consequences of technology,” she explains. “I saw that projects focused on a future where technology is dictated by the needs and wants of people, where technology can be used to strengthen our humanity.”