Interaction Design

programme curriculum Book this course

  • OVERVIEW

    Harbour. Space has a tight connection with design giants all over the world that will guarantee that student portfolios will be reviewed by those teams. Also, there are many possibilities for a start of an internship.

    The programme is wrapped up with a Design Conference where Design Managers in the industry (teachers and those who didn't have the time to participate) are brought to talk about their teams, their work and their requirements.

    Being able to link students to companies like IDEO, agencies like Huge and Elephant, product driven companies like Facebook or Twitter allows Harbour. Space to create a unique learning environment where the best students interact with the best people in the industry in an important practical twist.

    Graduates go on to work for corporations, design agencies or consultancies, academic and industrial research labs, and to set up their own design studios.

  • First Year

    This programme contains an extensive number of real interaction design cases moving through which the students will gain a solid understanding of the decision making process in the design department of a real company or a design agency.

    All courses are electives, yet we strongly recommend students to take courses marked as core. In total 1 year Master's consist of 15 modules including 1 module of workshops & seminars, 1 client and 1 capstone projects. Our professors are not academic teachers – they are accomplished design and product professionals that have launched thousands of successful products and services and made many winning strategic decisions.

    • Interactive Design foundations
      Intro to Interaction Design (Art History + History of Design)

      Classes in this domain should focus in particular on “design thinking” and building a good process for identifying and understanding what people need, including different techniques for how to conduct user research. Ideally, classes here will have a series of group projects and a large final project that involves an end-to-end process of identifying a problem followed by researching, designing, prototyping and iterating on a solution.

      4 credits
    • UX Foundations
      Introduction to User Experience Design (Schematics)

      Products are no longer simply products; they live within complex business and technological ecosystems. To fully understand the user experience, designers must be highly flexible communicators, facilitators, mediators and thinkers. Whether designing a dialysis machine, a mobile phone app, or a water filtration system for the developing world, design is as much about framing user experi- ences as it is about the creation of new artifacts. This course focuses on the relationships between objects and their contexts, how to identify human behaviors and needs, and how those behaviors and needs converge to create user experiences.

      Students will be introduced to systems, user flows, sitemaps and other schematics within UX design and will learn when it is appropriate to use which.

      4 credits
    • Interactive Design foundations
      Sketching Design Ideas & Creating Concepts

      Adeptness at translating an abstract or early idea into clear and simple conceptual sketches or storyboards will help your process—you will think better and communicate more easily with others.

      4 credits
    • UX Foundations
      Content Strategy

      The Web has made everyone a publisher–and content is a critical component of user experience. This course will explore content development as an aspect of creating user experiences, and will pay particular attention to its relationship to information architecture. Students will examine different approaches to audio, video, and especially text, exploring ways that content can improve user experi- ence (while looking out for legal and copyright pitfalls). We will also address the basics of content management and examine how to develop a large-scale editorial strategy that can be used to guide the creation of websites with millions of pages.

      4 credits
    • UX Foundations
      Research Methods

      User-centered design begins, by definition, with an understanding of users. In this course, students will learn how to model interaction by conducting qualitative and quantitative research into users’ behaviors, attitudes and expectations. By exploring ethnographic techniques, usability testing, log analysis, surveying, and other research methods, students will learn how to engage user feedback effectively at every stage of the design process. We will also address how to conduct secondary research into published literature and other sources that can inform thesis projects and beyond.

      4 credits
    • Visual Design Foundations
      Designing Interactive Layouts

      The digital landscape contains an enormous amountof infographics, charts, posters or presentations containing visualizations and knowing how to interpret and communicate complex topics through elegant visualizations is powerful, particularly if you end up designing products in the health, finance or business space, or want to convey a ton of dense information.

      4 credits
    • Visual Design Foundations
      Interactive Art Direction

      Coming up with art direction can be one of the most important tasks for a visual designer. It’s about both how your final product will look and most importantly how users will feel when looking and interacting with it, whether it is an app, website, interface or any piece of design. Art direction helps your work to convey a specific message that you are trying to tell when applying design. What typography should you choose, does it fit the brand or selected group of people, how balanced the composition and layout is. Does it convey speed, calmness, anger, modernism, does it look and feel good.

      4 credits
    • Instruments of interactivty
      Photography and Photo Manipulation

      A lot of times you would need photography to help your design convey the message, express look and feel or explain information more visually to the end user. You will learn basics of photography that will help you to communicate photo requirements for your design better or even find images you need faster. Sometimes having a photograph is not enough, it might not fit your look and feel, size or just non existent. You’ll learn photo manipulation and retouching to enhance photographs and make it work for your unique design.

      4 credits
    • Instruments of interactivty
      Introduction to 3D

      Not moving past 2-D limits what one can design in terms of physical devices, which we’d bet good money will become a bigger and bigger space in the future. This course is about the world of tangible objects, and how one thinks about what it takes to make something feel great to hold, carry, wear, and use.

      4 credits
    • Instruments of interactivty
      Introduction to Motion Graphics (video+ audio)

      From Hollywood to people's homes, motion graphics are changing the way we look at things. The program's 2D and 3D compositing, animation and visual effects tools allow students to create innovative graphics and visual effects for film, video, broadcast, DVD and the web. Students will learn the concepts of video, time-based animation and special effects. We will explore program features that include keyframing, editing, masking, type, 3D environment and tools.

      This course aims to develop and apply new approaches to live computer-based audio and sound. The primary focus is on real-time interactive systems that use information gathered from physical sensors and analysis of audio or video signals. Such systems can be applied to produce video projections, generative music, sound installations, augmented acoustic instruments, and new digital instruments. Influential performance projects from the computer music literature are surveyed, with an examination of technical and aesthetic concerns in each case. Based on this context and student interests, small teams are formed around proposed projects, with work culminating in a showcase at the end of the course.

      More
      4 credits
    • Realizing Design
      Creating and Applying Interactivity

      Interactivity is a very powerful tool! It’s about how your final project works all together. Transitions communicate to the user where things are coming from and where they go away in your design, animations give hints on what is important and guide users through your experience and interactive feedback is simply makes users feel comfortable showing that they pressed the right button. Sometimes applying interactivity to your design work might even make you reconsider certain decisions you made in the past that felt natural and logical.

      4 credits
    • Realizing Design
      Rapid Prototyping

      Teachers should introduce different modes and methods for prototyping (paper, html, etc.) and students should test these methods hands-on in group settings. Interaction design concepts can be hard to describe. And the best way to both communicate and improve your design is to prototype it quickly and often. This course examines how to integrate lightweight prototyping activities, as well as some basic research and testing techniques, into every stage of the interaction design process. A range of methods will be covered, from paper prototyping to participatory design to bodystorming. Students will learn how to choose the appropriate method to suit different dimensions of a design problem at different stages in the process and the pitfalls of each approach. The course is highly collaborative with hands–on prototyping and testing. Working individually and in teams, students will create rapid exercises, with one prototype developed or iterated each week, with the goal of evolving toward more robust ways of expressing ideas in rich interactive form.

      4 credits
    • Realizing Design
      Programming I

      Taught by the computer science department, this class will aim to bridge the gap between the two departments and give design students a solid foundation in programming.

      4 credits
    • Smart Design
      Working with Data (Data Visualization)

      We all intuitively believe that fact-based decision making is good, but we often lack the right skills required to present quantitative information in a meaningful way. Although tables and graphs are widely used, the presentation is often poorly designed-misrepresenting or obfuscating the truth. Why? Because almost no one, including financial analysts or business intelligence professionals, have been trained in information design and leveraging visualization techniques to help support better decision making. This course teaches information design fundamentals and introduces a variety of visualization tools and techniques. At the end of the course, the student will be able to identify which visualization technique will drive the most impact under a variety of scenarios. The student will also learn how to present meaningful information in the most compelling and consumable fashion.

      4 credits
    • Business of Design
      Selling & Presenting Design (Business, Entrepreneurship & Self Promotion)

      as a designer, there’s no getting around the fact that you’re going to need to talk about and present your designs. Every top-notch designer is also a master of crisp, clear, and compelling communication. We cannot stress how important this skill is. It’s important to put yourself in situations where you can practice being ever more succinct, clear, and engaging, it will pay dividends for your design career. All the talent, experience and expertise in the world can’t advance your career if your client buys the wrong design or waters down the right one. Creative gifts, hard work and luck are part of any career, but even more important is the ability to coax others to accept and help you produce your best ideas. Persuading deci- sion makers to buy good design is essential whether you’re running a startup, building a product, or improving an organization’s in-house website and publica- tions. What skills will help you make a genuine difference in the world by recog- nizing and promoting your own and your colleagues’ best ideas? “Selling Design” will help you begin to become not just the talented creative person you already are, but also an accomplished design professional who can collaborate and work persuasively with colleagues at all levels, from creative directors to budget direc- tors, and from clients to investors to C-level executives. Through interviews with and presentations by successful designers and entrepreneurs from many walks and phases of the creative life, we will learn what it takes to pitch, recognize, combine, push and build on good ideas—and avoid bad ones.

      4 credits
    • Smart Design
      Emerging Technologies for Physical Spaces

      Interfaces are embedded in nearly every aspect of our daily lives— from grocery shopping to banking to reading books. How can we integrate technology with the physical world to create better interfaces and more useful, playful and meaningful experiences? This course explores how interaction design fundamentals apply to physical spaces. This is accomplished by surveying branded environments, retail stores, museums, urban settings, and corporate venues with specific user goals and design considerations in mind.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Smart Design
      Mobile

      Although they have become widely used only in the past few years, mobile devices have already had a tremendous impact on our culture and its social dynamics. Recent rapid growth in the mobile device market has not been primarily driven by voice communications, but rather by the limitless ways in which these devices may be used to explore our local environments. These new communicative modes are expressed through small and selfcontained “apps” that are focused around a central concept, and the leverage many of the advanced features of these devices offer to augment the users’ understanding of their environment.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Smart Design
      Physical Computing

      This class is a practical hands-on exploration of physically interactive technology for the designer. Students will learn how to interface objects and installations with the viewer’s body and ambient stimuli such as motion, light, sound, or intangible data. Starting with the basics using the open-source Arduino platform, the class will move through electrical theory, circuit design, microcontroller programming, sensors, and complex output including motors, video, and intercommunication between objects.

      elective
      4 credits
    • UX Foundations
      User Experience Design

      Products are no longer simply products; they live within complex business and technological ecosystems. To fully understand the user experience, designers must be highly flexible communicators, facilitators, mediators, and thinkers. Whether designing a dialysis machine, a mobile phone app, or a water filtration system for the developing markets, design is as much about framing user experiences as it is about the creation of new artifacts. This course focuses on the relationships between objects and their contexts, it teaches how to identify human behaviors and needs, and how those behaviors and needs converge to create user experiences.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Realizing Design
      Entrepreneurial Design

      Taught by the High Tech Entrepreneurship Department, this class is an immersion into creating a new viable venture – from idea to launch. Students are challenged to think of themselves not as designers but as entrepreneurs. In this hands-on course they will master the analysis and actions required to launch and commercialise a high tech company. In particular, how to use several conceptual frameworks and analytical techniques to evaluate technologies, markets and commercialisation strategies, attract and motivate the resources needed to start a company (e.g. people, partners, and venture capital), prepare comprehensive business plans, structure business relationships, and create and grow their company. The programme is coupled with real world practice as students apply the learned skills to grow their own companies in an increasingly networked world. The course's rigour will stretch the abilities of any student, and it will require intensive outside-of-class commitment from all.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Interaction Foundations
      Cybernetics

      Cybernetic systems may be technological as in artificial intelligence, biological as in the control of human body temperatures, or environmental like the Earth as a self-regulating cybernetic system. This course analyses how cybernetics may provide a practical structure for designing systems, modelling human-computer interaction, and approaching design processes in general. We will focus on applying cybernetic guidelines to the creation of complex, interactive systems. Systems may be physical, virtual, social, or a combination; however they are always grounded in a social context. Examples include software applications and web services, instrumented environments for learning, business, and government, and collaboration systems for work or play.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Smart Design
      Smart Objects

      In the near future, all existing and emerging smart objects will be integrated into the Internet of Things network. Instead of being the major object of people's attention the IoT should seamlessly support people in their daily activities. This powerful technology has already redefined our cultural attitude towards physical objects. In this course, students will study smart objects design including light, sound and movement, interaction systems, ergonomics, and data networks. How theories of product design apply to both physical and virtual systems? What should be the techniques for crafting product behaviours? Students will gain an understanding of physical interaction, networked objects, product personality, information displays, ergonomics, haptics, and the role of smart objects in contemporary design practice.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Smart Design
      Innovation in Service Design

      What tools and approaches work best in our service-oriented world? This course will help students to understand the theory and practice of service design – what it is, when and where it is applicable, how to practice it, and why it is valuable. Students will gain experience in identifying opportunities, defining, and framing problems, developing innovative directions, and executing and communicating service solutions. Students will be encouraged to work on a final project that considers all aspects of service design within the context of a larger theme.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Smart Design
      Future Wearables

      The future of wearable technology is not the wearables - it's analysing data. We already have an immense amount of data collected through these gadgets. What should we do with the data that fitness trackers and health gadgets collect? This opens a whole new opportunity. The challenge with weareables is to deliver appropriate data in an unobtrusive way. In this course we will discuss whether Google Glass was a failure and in what instances wearables may provide a better user experiences. Sure Google Glass is cool and Apple Watch is slick, but nowadays it is not enough to succeed. There must be a clearly defined purpose. In this course students will be encouraged to develop future lifestyle products that are useful and truly needed. Students will explore how technology should be utilised in wearable contexts as a compliment to the human body. The course spans product and fashion design as well as the manufacturing of prototypes.

      elective
      4 credits
    • UX Foundations
      Content Strategy

      The web has made everyone a publisher – and content is a critical component of user experience. This course will explore content development as an aspect of creating user experiences, and will pay particular attention to its relationship to information architecture. Students will examine different approaches to audio, video, and especially text, exploring ways in which content can improve user experience (while looking out for legal and copyright pitfalls). We will also address the basics of content management and examine how to develop a large-scale editorial strategy that can be used to guide the creation of websites with millions of pages.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Instruments of Interactivity
      Storytelling, Narrative and Interactivity

      People are sharing their own stories and building relationships with each other every day. Brands can no longer unilaterally talk at users and consumers. Everything is interactive: brands either join the conversation or are left behind. This course will develop an understanding of the process of digital storytelling and establish deeper connections by incorporating story elements and articulating a narrative within a digital context. Students will learn how to define the best channels of distribution for content, based on the target audience’s media preferences, and learn to shape each narrative to suit a brand’s identity and voice and tone – from creation to distribution to archiving. The study of storytelling offers designers a tool for exploring the user journey and understanding that journey from a different perspective.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Business of Design
      Design Management

      How do you pitch a compelling product or service to people? How do you figure out which audience to target, what the messaging should be like, which price to set, and how to ultimately attract them to what you’re building? Once a product or service is designed, it needs to be managed. Whether as an entrepreneur, a design consultant, or an inhouse designer, integrating the creative and business sides is rarely easy. This course will illustrate how to mediate between the two, empowering students to merge the design and business aspects effectively. We will examine design in its real-world, contemporary contexts (rather than as silos such as product design, web design, or mobile design) in order to realise its broad potential and reach.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Business of Design
      Selling & Presenting Design

      As a designer, there’s no getting around the fact that you’re going to need to talk about and present your designs. Every top-notch designer is also a master of crisp, clear, and compelling communication. We cannot stress enough how important this skill is. It’s important to put yourself in situations where you can practice being ever more succinct, clear, and engaging, it will pay dividends for your design career. All the talent, experience, and expertise in the world can’t advance your career if your client buys the wrong design or waters down the right one. Creative gifts, hard work, and luck are part of any career, yet even more important is the ability to coax others to accept and help you produce your best ideas. Persuading decision makers to buy good design is essential whether you’re running a start-up, building a product, or improving an organisation’s in-house website and publications. What skills will help you make a genuine difference in the world by recognising and promoting your own and your colleagues’ best ideas? Selling & Presenting Design will help you to begin to become not just the talented creative person you already are, but also an accomplished design professional who can collaborate and work persuasively with colleagues at all levels, from creative directors to budget directors, and from clients to investors to C-level executives. Through interviews with and presentations by successful designers and entrepreneurs from many walks and phases of the creative life, we will learn what it takes to pitch, recognize, combine, push, and build on good ideas – and avoid bad ones.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Smart Design
      Data Visualization

      We all intuitively believe that fact-based decision-making is good, yet we often lack the right skills required to present quantitative information in a meaningful way. Although tables and graphs are widely used, the presentation is often poorly designed so that it misrepresents or obfuscates the truth. Why? Because almost no one, including financial analysts or business intelligence professionals, have been trained in information design and leveraging visualisation techniques to help support better decision making. This course teaches information design fundamentals and introduces a variety of visualisation tools and techniques. At the end of the course, the student will be able to identify which visualisation technique will produce the most impact under a variety of scenarios. The student will also learn how to present meaningful information in the most compelling and easy-to- digest fashion.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Instruments of Interactivity
      Audio & Video

      This course aims to develop and apply new approaches to live computer-based audio and sound. The primary focus is on real-time interactive systems that use information gathered from physical sensors and analysis of audio or video signals. Such systems can be applied to produce video projections, generative music, sound installations, augmented acoustic instruments, and new digital instruments. Influential performance projects from the computer music literature are surveyed, with an examination of technical and aesthetic concerns in each case. Based on this context and student interests, small teams are formed around proposed projects, with the work culminating in a showcase at the end of the course.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Instruments of Interactivity
      Motion Graphics

      From Hollywood to people's homes, motion graphics are changing the way we look at things. The programme's 2D and 3D compositing, animation, and visual effects tools allow students to create innovative graphics and visual effects for film, video, broadcast, DVD, and the web. Students will learn the concepts of video, time-based animation, and special effects. We will explore programme features that include keyframing, editing, masking, type, 3D environment, and tools.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Instruments of Interactivity
      Projection Mapping

      This class serves as a comprehensive introduction to methods for creating projection mapping. By moving away from traditional flat projection surfaces, projection mapping allows the manipulation of video and imagery to create illusions of deconstruction and redefinition of physical shapes in a real world environment.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Realizing Design
      Programming

      Taught by the Computer Science Department, this class will aim to bridge the gap between the two departments and give design students a solid foundation in programming.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Realizing Design
      Interfaces for Disabled People

      This course teaches about how to design interfaces for people with disabilities. Thanks to technology nearly everybody has access to the computer, including individuals with impaired vision, people with dyslexia, the deaf or hard of hearing, and those with little or no use of hands. In this course students get a comprehensive overview of the wide spectrum of user interfaces created for people with special needs. The current interfaces are useless, unless the software, document form or website the handicapped people are trying to access is created especially for them. This problem could be resolved by creating laws that oblige accessible design but also by developing standards and guidelines to educate designers and developers. People with disabilities are still facing barriers when accessing technology. This course analyses these problems and gives students the chance to offer possible solutions.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Seminars & Workshops
      Seminars & Workshops

      Throughout the year, there will be many guest lecturers, at the minimum there will be one lecture per week. Starting in Year One, students must attend at least 40 hours of lectures in order to receive credit.

      elective
      4 credits
    • Year-End Project
      Client Project

      Students will have to contact a business or organisation themselves and get an actual brief. This applied client project should be in the area of the student's interest and will need to be graded by the company or organisation for which the applied client project was created. All client projects start with a presentation of a brief which outlines the subject, scope, and purpose of the project. The project culminates in a presentation to all the participants of the programme.

      elective
      8 credits
    • Year-End Project
      Personal Project

      Personal projects are self-initiated. Students are encouraged to work on a personal project that explores a specific area of interest. Personal projects must be agreed on with the course supervisor before students can start working on them. Like client projects, personal projects are presented at the end of the year so that students have the opportunity to debate their work.

      8 credits
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