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The faculty did not try to force us to follow their own philosophy or their perspective on the design issue at hand – instead they provided an extremely nurturing environment in which to develop our own ideas and allowed us to find our own thoughts. Soo Basu, former Interaction Design student
We educate designers who can articulate and develop cutting-edge practices in key areas of interaction design: tangible and sensor-based interaction, wearable and embodied interaction, game design, participatory design practices, critical design, social innovation and collaborative media development. Students approach these genres within a broad context that considers the social, political and ethical consequences of their designs. Our education is studio-based, bringing students into close contact with our design professors.
Interaction design is a rapidly changing discipline, and we maintain the relevance of our education by working with real-world design cases and outside clients that include local industry partners, as well as cultural and civic organisations. Navigating a shifting design landscape also requires the critical mindset of a scholar, and we foster reflective design by teaching research skills and involving students in active research projects.
Our programme was founded in 1998, making it one of the more established programmes of its kind. We focus on areas where our design and research excellence is internationally recognised: tangible and sensor-based interaction, wearable and embodied interaction, game design, participatory design practices, critical design, social innovation and collaborative media development.
The programme comprises full-time study for two academic years. See the syllabus tab for courses.
The programme is based on a learning-by-doing pedagogy. This means that we encourage an iterative practice of experimentation and reflection. As teachers, we view ourselves as coaches guiding you in this process.
The programme is studio-based. You will also have access to computer labs, a materials workshop and a prototyping lab for electronics, sensor and microprocessor programming.
Group work in multidisciplinary teams
The primary method of learning is through group work in multidisciplinary teams with classmates and other stakeholders. Abilities to work in teams and with others - including user communities - are important parts of our curriculum, and several projects are organised to practice doing this.
With our humanistic approach, you will be practicing qualitative research approaches to support your design of tangible artefacts as well as digital and interactive services, systems and artefacts. We emphasize an understanding of people in their use situations.
Reflective and experimental design thinking and practical doing
Prototyping in the studio and real-world contexts is an integral part of becoming an interaction designer.
To practice reflective and experimental design activity, projects and courses integrate seminars and hands-on workshops introducing students to, among other things, ethnographic fieldwork, visualisation, low- and high-fidelity prototyping, microprocessor programming and video sketching, as well as evaluation of use qualities. All these practices are backed up by literature references and examples.
The thesis project
Your thesis project will be a combination of a design project and reflective writing that will involve communicating and discussing your own design work.
Students have access to studio space, and we encourage a healthy studio culture. This is where we conduct group-work, seminars, workshops, presentations and discussions. Close by there is a well-equipped materials workshop and a physical prototyping lab for electronics and sensor work. Additionally, we often use the facilities at the MEDEA research centre for final presentations, exhibitions, seminars and programme-meetings.
Design is a collaborative process, where users and other stakeholders contribute their expertise and values to the joint task of shaping future things, services, media and spaces.
Interaction design requires the fusion of multiple skill sets. We recruit students with different backgrounds —design, media, engineering, the arts, and social sciences—and focus our teaching on creating disciplinary synergy in the concrete design work.
Anette Sandegård divides her time between Beijing and Bjärred, and holds a master’s degree in Interaction Design from Malmö University. She is 45 years old and works at Sony Ericsson which she has done for the past ten years, currently as Global Manager for a team in Lund and two teams in Beijing.
I found out about this education in a telephone conversation with a friend, late one evening in 1998. It sounded so exciting that I checked out Malmö University’s website straight after the phone call and when I noticed that the application deadline was in quarter of an hour I registered immediately.
Anette Sandegård works at Sony Ericsson.
She also sent an email to the programme coordinator, which was followed by an interview and a presentation of her portfolio. This went well and she was accepted to the very first class of the programme.
At that time the department, K3, was rather small, the premises brand new, the academic staff energetic, attentive and curious, as were the students. Everything felt possible and the path from concept to design was short.
She believes it gave her proof of her existing knowledge and ideas, but also provided new tools and above all new methods to test and use as support. Before she started at Sony Ericsson she worked with art, education and media production in her own business. In the future she can see herself working within the field of artistic expressions again.
This fall she returned to Sweden after four years in Beijing where she had developed and operated a design department with interaction and graphic designers for the same company.
"My new job entails the development of user support materials– to create content – texts, illustrations and animations –in order to describe to the end users how our products – telephones and accessories – function and how these functions can be used."
Mads Høyby is studying for his PhD in Interaction Design at Malmö University. He lives in Copenhagen and there he is member of the interactive artist collective Illutron.
"I am interested in the interaction between body and technology. I often make art installations. For instance have I made a singing plant for the Botanical Garden in Copenhagen."
After a degree in information design and programming at Copenhagen Business School Mats chose to continue his studies in Malmö, because he wanted a more design-oriented approach to technology.
"The education in interaction design in Malmö was one of the first with a strong focus on the relationship between people, technology and the social space that occurs in between. That is done by designing your own prototypes and testing them in real contexts.
Mads chose to continue studying for another four years, primarily because of the good dialogue with his adviser. He believes that he has received training in better being able to work in a reflective manner in the design process.
"The process is important. It is exploration and design combined - an expansive and practical explorative process that we work with."
As the education is in English he rarely speaks Swedish. The major part of the teaching takes place in the form of projects which are implemented and evaluated in groups.
"This requires that one is able to work independently and take large responsibility for one’s own learning. The teachers are more like sparring partners than classical communicators of knowledge. This gives us great freedom to find our own form of work."
Soo Basu today works as a User Experience Designer at Adobe Systems in Delhi, India, after Interaction Design studies at the School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University, Sweden.
Soo Basu sensed that the faculty felt right from the first day and that they helped her to figure out what she really wanted and supported her throughout the whole process.
"I don't think that I would have found such supportive people elsewhere! The faculty did not try to force us to follow their own philosophy or their perspective on the design issue at hand – instead they provided an extremely nurturing environment in which to develop our own ideas and allowed us to find our own thoughts."
Soo describes this as very different to the design faculty she had encountered attending her bachelor's programme in India where she were expected to align her thoughts with the faculty's.
"It was really great to have such a mixed bag of fellow students in the IDM programme in Malmö, we learnt from each other, and learnt to work with each other!"
Today Soo Basu works as a User Experience Designer at Adobe Systems in Delhi, India. The benefits of her studies at Malmö University she mainly uses as a participatory approach towards design, with engineers and managers.
"I also use elements of co-design, as the software that I work on has a pretty loyal user base that writes plugins and extensions for it. Apart from this, I think I learnt the skills of critical thinking and service design which I apply daily in most areas of life and work."
Students enter the programme with different kinds of expertise, from art and design to engineering and social sciences. Upon graduation, you will have built a strong understanding of how your particular skills play a role in interaction design and how they combine with other specialities of fellow designers.
Most alumni move on to positions as interaction designers, user experience specialists or usability architects in the ICT, telecom and media industries. For some, this involves fine-tuning the interfaces and interactions of current products to users' needs; other interaction designers work on concept development for future products and services. Yet other alumni find their calling in strategic positions where the role of interaction design is considered in relation to market and business development.
Some interaction designers are also found in the role of change agents in public organisations and NGOs.
Read the interviews with former students, see Interviews.
Finally, thanks to the close connections to world-class research, the programme prepares its graduates to enter academic research institutes. A fair number of alumni have moved on to PhD studies and positions as university teachers and researchers, in Sweden as well as abroad.
The programme was established 10 December 2006.
This programme syllabus (version 6) was approved 02 December 2011 by the Board of Studies at Faculty of Culture and Society (k3).
The syllabus is valid from 03 September 2012. Replacement for programme syllabus ratified 24 February 2011.
The School of Arts and Communication – also called K3 after its Swedish name “Konst, kultur och kommunikation” – is a multidisciplinary school engaged in media, culture and design. At K3 we combine traditional scholarship and academic knowledge with artistic methods and practical skills. In our teaching and research, art, technology, design and communication converge in new and innovative ways.
K3 offers education in fields as English, interaction design, media and communication studies, visual communication, graphic design, arts journalism, as well as a range of practical courses in different types of media production.