Creative Computing Suite

Interaction Design Stream

Theme Leader: Phil Turner

Interaction design has been described as the shaping our everyday life through digital artefacts - for work, for play and for entertainment[i]. It has also been described as an art form[ii]. Interaction design is a new and emerging design discipline which is separate from traditional of human-computer interaction being more concerned with aesthetics, pleasure and fun than designing for the office.

This thread will teach you interaction design by doing it – by designing interactive artefacts - rather than hearing about it - with each module having significant practical components.

In the first year you will acquire first hand experience of how people use interactive media and technology in their everyday lives. This ‘design ethnography’ comprises a set of essential skills which the interaction designer must have. You need to understand how media are used before you can begin to design new artefacts and services.

In your second year the module ‘practical interaction design’ which is built around Schön’s description of ‘design as a conversation with digital media’ will introduce key design principles and practice.  In parallel with and in contrast to the designerly approach of this module  you study User Centred Design for the Web. While web sites must be must aesthetically pleasing and fun to use, they must also be usable by everyone who comes across them. This pair of modules will equip you with many of the key skills needed for future employment.

In your third year you will be look behind the hype of Web 2.0 which is currently responsible for at least 25% of all Internet traffic. Web 2.0 is about user designed content, social networking and the wealth of computer-mediated communication. An important consequence of Web 2.0 is the appearance of social presence – the sense or experience of being with other people who are not physically present.

Finally, you will be introduced to the merging, research-driven trends in interaction design. These might include wearables, tangible (physical) computing, virtual and augmented realities and even cyborgs as this field is moving so rapidly, that by the time you get to the fourth year – who knows.

[i] From an interview with Gillian Crampton-Smith.

[ii] Norman, D. (2006) Interaction Design is still an Art Form. Ergonomics is a real engineering. interactions / January + February, p.45 & 60.

Key learning outcomes:

  • Appreciate why good user interface design is important
  • Understand the user-centred approach in HCI
  • Describe the key issues in designing usable interactive systems
  • Design, develop and evaluate interactive applications
  • Develop an insight into the role of human psychology in the design of interactive systems
  • Develop a professional and ethical approach to your practice

Knowledge and Skills gained:

The interaction design stream aims to equip you with the essential knowledge and skills required to design, prototype and evaluate highly usable interactive systems and devices. You will learn the principles of user centred design which lie at the heart of the approach. You are also expected to acquire a professional and ethical approach to your practice.

You will learn about the role of media and, in particular, how the use of different media can impact on the interpretation of information. You will also learn about how different media are being blended to create novel interactive experiences, from the physical manipulation of products, to the clothes we wear to the urban landscapes in which we reside.

The Interaction Design stream will introduce the concept of media through the study of the innovative interfaces associated with research in the field of Computer Supported Co-operative Working (ie Media Spaces and Shared Work Surfaces). This will form the basis for the study of Ubiquitous Computing, in particular how this paradigm has manifest in Tangible Media. The pursuit of the next generation of interfaces will lead to an exploration of Wearable Media and concluding with the study of Responsive Environments.


BSc Interactive Media Design BSc Digital Media

Foundation Year

Sound Design Design for Experience Graphics & Animation 3D Design Interaction Design