The professional MA in Design degree with a concentration in Interaction Design at the University of Kansas educates students in the theory, methods, and practices of interaction design. It affords students the requisite professional knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform as interaction designers. The program is developed for prospective students who already hold a related baccalaureate degree and who are seeking advanced study in a versatile, rapidly growing professional design discipline. Courses are offered at both the Lawrence and Edwards campuses to accommodate the needs of working professionals.
Interaction Design is the activity of researching and fashioning products, services, and systems that are useful, useable, and desirable to people. Interaction Design offers a human-centered approach to innovation, creatively mediating how businesses engage with customers and how brands and entire organizations can become more relevant in the marketplace. Broadly speaking, interaction design is the activity of defining the contextual behavior of artifacts, environments, and systems.
Applicants to the Interaction Design concentration should have at least two years of full-time professional work experience in design or in a related field.
The Master’s student in Interaction Design should evidence the ability to conduct original design research, translate research insights into actionable design inputs, and produce an interactive artifact of relevance and quality.
The program seeks both full-time and part-time students. The holder of the Master’s degree will have completed at least 31 credit hours of coursework, a thesis that documents independent discovery and research, and will have passed an oral examination on the outcomes of that work.
Interaction Design is concerned with:
Defining the form of products and services as they relate to their behavior and use
Anticipating how the use of products and services will mediate human relationships and affect human understanding
Exploring the dialogue between products, people, and contexts (physical, cultural, historical)
Interaction design is also a perspective that approaches the design of products and services in several different ways:
From an understanding of how and why people desire to use them
As an advocate for the users and their goals
As gestalts, not simply as sets of features and attributes
By looking to the future-seeing things as they might be, not necessarily as they currently are
— Robert Reimann
Given these definitions, interaction designers must:
Learn new domains quickly
Solve problems both analytically and creatively
Be able to visualize and simplify complex systems
Empathize with users, their needs, and their aspirations
Understand the strengths and limitations of both humans and technology
Share a passion for making the world a better place through ethical, purposeful, pragmatic, and elegant design solutions