Interaction Design

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  • 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 or 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
    The first year foundational courses offer an intellectual framework within which students can begin to establish a coherent relationship between theory and practice.

    Course specific projects are designed to expose students to different roles, contexts, and approaches in relation to design and technology. Throughout the first year, students will explore different tactical skills such as programming and prototyping, typography, and sketching design ideas. Students will also undertake Design and Interaction Foundation courses in their first year – all of which culminates in the submission of the first year final project.

    The first project is designed to open up space for discussion, experimentation, and debate about the relationship between design and technology.

    • Design Foundations
      Art History

      This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and appreciation when dealing with a variety of visual art forms. It encourages a close analysis of visual materials, explores a range of issues and methods appropriate to the explication of a given work of art, and examines the intellectual structures basic to a systematic study of art.

      Most importantly, the course encourages the understanding of art as a visual language and aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Works of art are placed in their intellectual, historical, cultural, or more purely artistic settings in an effort to indicate the origins of their specific achievements. An informed appreciation of the particular solutions offered by specific works of art and the careers of individual artists emerges from a detailed study of classic issues within Western and non-Western art.

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      4 credits
    • Design Foundations
      History of Design

      What are the movements, events, and historical contexts that have shaped our current understanding of design? How does it differ from age to age, and from culture to culture? Some of this should be in a Fundamentals of Graphic Design class, yet the deeper your understanding of design throughout history, the better is your grasp of what “good” design really means and how this perception evolves.

      4 credits
    • Design Foundations
      Introduction to Interaction Design

      Classes in this domain should focus in particular on “design thinking” and on building a good process for identifying and understanding what people need, including various techniques 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
    • Interaction 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
    • Interaction Foundations
      Empathetic Design

      How do people affect the emotions and behaviours of other people? This is clearly relevant if you want to design anything social, where you need to optimise both for the benefit of a particular individual experience as well as for the health of an entire social ecosystem. The most impactful work one can do is going beyond training a team for a single match to designing the rules of the game.

      4 credits
    • Interaction Foundations
      Introduction to Programming for Designers I

      You don’t need to know the merits of Quicksort vs. Mergesort or how to write an operating system, but mastering the basics of coding (which is probably 1 year of fundamentals, plus one or a couple of big project classes) goes a long way. You will likely not go through a designer-in- tech career without wishing at some point that you had learned coding skills.

      4 credits
    • Interaction Foundations
      Introduction to Programming for Designers II

      This course picks up on the Introduction to Programming for Designers I. Students can select whether they would like to focus on specific programming languages for web.

      4 credits
    • Design as a Practice
      Leadership & Group Dynamics

      It’s rather unlikely that as a designer you’ll be working by yourself most of your time. So much of the design profession is about collaborating with others to identify and solve problems. How do you divide up work among yourselves? How do you decide what to do if there are differing opinions around the room? How do you deal with various styles and personalities? How can you work off each other’s strengths so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts?

      4 credits
    • Design as a Practice
      Design as a Job

      From contracts to selling design, from engaging with clients to working with each other, you’ll learn why navigating the business of design is just as important as the craft of it.

      4 credits
    • Design as a Practice
      English for the Industry

      As the global language of design is English, it is imperative that students master this language. This class will focus on English for the design industry in particular.

      4 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 upon 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
  • Second Year
    In the second year, students are expected to become progressively independent and will learn not only the practical application of various interaction design methods, but will also learn how design impacts people, environments, businesses, and organisations.

    The courses offered in the second year aim to give the students a deeper understanding of how they can approach problem solving through design. During the second year, students are expected to initiate two applied final projects – one will be a set brief generated by an actual real-world client that all second year students will receive, and a second will be a project of their own choosing.

    • UX Foundation
      Introduction to 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 developing markets, design is as much about framing user experiences as it is about the creation of new arti-facts.

      This course focuses on the relationships between objects and their contexts, teaches how to identify human behaviours and needs, and shows how those behaviours and needs converge to create user experiences.

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      4 credits
    • UX Foundations
      Schematics

      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
    • 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 with the information architecture. Students will examine different approaches to audio, video, and especially text, exploring ways how content can improve user experience (while looking out for legal and copyright pitfalls).

      We will also address the basics of content management and learn how to develop a large-scale editorial strategy that can be used to guide the creation of websites with millions of pages.

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      4 credits
    • UX Foundations
      Research Methods

      User-centred 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’ behaviours, 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 explore how to conduct secondary research into published literature and other sources that can inform thesis projects and beyond.

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      4 credits
    • Visual Design Foundations
      Designing Interactive Layouts

      The digital landscape contains an enormous amount of infographics, charts, and posters or presentations containing visualisations. Knowing how to interpret and communicate complex topics through elegant visualisations is a powerful tool, 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?

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      4 credits
    • Visual Design Foundations
      Creating And Applying Brand Guidelines

      The aim of this course is to introduce you to what branding is, how it is created, and how it should be used. Lots of times digital experiences you will be working on are just an extension of a larger strategy that goes outside of digital. Your job will be taking an existing or newly created brand and working with it to continue to build up the design language of the product. Something that works for one brand will never work for another.

      4 credits
    • Instruments of Interactivity
      Photography And Photo Manipulation

      A lot of times you would need photography to help your design convey the message, express the look and feel of the product, or explain information more visually to the end user. You will learn the 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 have the correct size or just not be ideal for your purposes. You’ll learn photo manipulation and retouching to enhance photographs and make them work for your unique design.

      4 credits
    • Instruments of Interactivity
      Introduction to 3d

      Not moving past 2D limits what one can design in terms of physical devices? We’d bet good money 3D is bound to become a bigger and bigger space in the future. This course is about the world of tangible objects, and about what it takes to make something feel great to hold, carry, wear, and use.

      4 credits
    • Instruments of Interactivity
      Introduction to 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.

      4 credits
    • Instruments of Interactivity
      Introduction to 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 used to produce video projections, generative music, sound installations, augmented acoustic sounds, and new digital effects. Influential performance projects from the computer music literature are surveyed, with an examination of technical and aesthetic aspects 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.

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      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 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 priorly felt natural and logical.

      4 credits
    • Realizing Design
      Rapid Prototyping

      Professors will 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 various dimensions of a design problem at different stages in the process as well as to avoid 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 new prototype developed or iterated each week, with the goal of evolving toward more robust ways of expressing ideas in a rich interactive form.

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      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
    • Year-End Project
      Client Project

      All client projects start with a presentation of a brief which outlines the subject, scope and purpose of the project. The people running the project give regular tutorials as the project progresses, and the project culminates in a presentation to the whole programme. Some briefs are developed with external partners, such as companies, while others are entirely internal.

      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 upon 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
  • Third Year
    During the third year emphasis is placed on exploring various design approaches, contexts, and roles in relation to emerging technologies.

    Students will also have the ability to work closely with students across different majors within Harbour Space and gain a deeper understanding of the correlation between design and technology. Lectures and courses in the third year will also prepare the students for a practical career in design. The two final applied projects of the course will closely follow the format of the second year projects, except that now students are

    themselves responsible for getting a design brief from a real life client. Their final applied project should reflect the professional context they wish to practice in.

    • Smart Design
      Physical Computing

      This class is a practical hands-on exploration of physically interactive technology used by a 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.

      4 credits
    • Smart Design
      Data Visualisation

      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 visualisation tools and techniques. At the end of the course, the student will be able to identify which visualisation 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.

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      4 credits
    • Smart Design
      Working with Data

      At some point, if you design or build anything at scale, making decisions that are informed with data becomes incredibly valuable. Enter statistics, the study of collecting, organising, interpreting, and presenting data. Having a solid understanding of probability, correlation versus causation, confidence intervals, inference, as well as some insight into how to build models and make predictions based on data is super useful in the practical day-to-day of making decisions based on understanding how people actually use your product.

      4 credits
    • Smart Design
      Designing for Mobile

      Although they have only become widely used 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 that leverage many of the advanced features of these devices to augment a users’ understanding of their environment.

      4 credits
    • Smart Design
      Emerging Technologies

      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, fun, and meaningful experiences? This course explores how interaction design fundamentals apply to physical spaces by surveying branded environments, retail stores, museums, urban settings, and corporate venues, with specific user goals and design considerations in mind.

      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.

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      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 describe 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 imperative to put yourself in situations where you can practice being ever more succinct, clear, and engaging. This 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 decision makers to buy good design is essential whether you’re running a start-up, building a product, or improving an organisation’s corporate 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, recognise, combine, push, and build on good ideas – and avoid bad ones.

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      4 credits
    • Business of Design
      Business, Entrepreneurship & Self Promotion

      How do you know what to work on that’s going to make the biggest difference for the people you’re targeting? How do you size a market? How do you prioritise between a dozen ideas that look good on paper? How do you take the technologies, people skills, and resources and make something meaningful out of them? The course will offer answers to all these questions and much more.

      4 credits
    • Business of Design
      Patent Law & Strategy

      The course provides a foundation to understand the patent system and strategies to build a patent portfolio and avoid patent infringement.

      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.

      8 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.

      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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