Interaction and User Experience Design

The professional MA in Design degree with a concentration in Interaction and User Experience 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, usable, 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 and User Experience 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 and User Experience 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