“Digital design is flourishing right now, and more and more companies have begun to notice what we’re doing. They are finally realising how important it is that a digital product does not just have to merely work but must also be able to provide the user with a positive experience.” – Peter Höglund, former student
Interaction design is an exciting field at the leading edge of technology innovation. Interaction designers aim to create experiences with products, services and environments which are not just useful and usable, but very often pleasurable, expressive and desirable.
Learning interaction design is a matter of building a repertoire of methods, skills and theoretical perspectives. Importantly, you also develop a sensitivity to the critical role of stakeholders in design, the implications of design in society and your own sense of interaction aesthetics.
Innovative, considered and well-executed design adds value to products and services. Interaction designers seek to understand the people and situations they are designing for, and, drawing on their mastery of interactive technology and forms of interactivity, design artifacts and experiences to improve the situation. In this process, we extensively research, sketch, prototype and test to not just get the right design, but get the design right. Designers very often take the role as the advocate for the user, and are skilled in mediating the complex of issues and stakeholders involved in the design and production process.
We are not like other digital-design related educations. Interaction Design at Malmö University sets itself apart in three main ways:
We take interaction design to be in the design tradition, with a focus on the design of interactivity – not just how an artefact looks or what it does, but how it responds and how it feels to use. Exploring and expressing interactivity requires technical skills, and as such acquiring basic programming skills is developed throughout the programme. We teach programming in a way which is relevant for interaction design and that any motivated student can learn. You will prototype interactive experiences across a range of devices and platforms, including web and mobile.
The products and services interaction designers shape are not just software. We have a strong tradition and world-class facilities for working with physical form, and you will learn techniques such as laser-cutting and 3D printing. Together with basic electronic skills and a microprocessor, you will be able to develop concepts in the area of Internet of Things, wearables and other forms of smart products.
You won’t just make good-looking mock-ups, but bring your ideas to life.
To design is to make a change in the world, whether the designer intends or not, their work has wider implications. Our education instils a responsible, sensitive design approach which takes seriously issues of ethics and sustainability, and how to design with human values in mind. Moreover, at Malmö University we have a strong tradition in participatory design approaches, designing not just for users but with users and other stakeholders. Interaction design can be done not just for commercial purposes but also to serve and challenge the pressing societal issues of our time.
At Malmö University, you will not just pick up the applied skills of an interaction designer – conducting fieldwork, programming, making mock-ups and concept videos, and so on – but you will engage with cutting-edge forms of interactivity and deep, theoretical perspectives on design and interaction. You will develop reflective, critical approaches, knowing not just how to do something, but when and why (or why not!). This is particularly important in a technology-related field such as interaction design where developments happen quickly and practitioners need to be able to make sense of new technologies and shifting practices.
The fifth term is an optional term. That means you can choose to take a course in a completely different topic but you can also choose to immerse yourself in a chosen specialisation. Alternatively, with an internship you can experience the professional practice of interaction design and gain valuable industry connections. A final alternative is a study abroad, an excellent opportunity to expand your personal and academic horizons.
The programme's sixth and final semester consists of a thesis. You will undertake a major independent project whose content and quality is equivalent to the input level for master's degree studies or professional career.
The programme leads to a bachelor's degree in Interaction Design.
Given the growing prominence of good design as a value differentiator, interaction designers find themselves in demand. Governmental agencies also value interaction designers in designing and improving access to public services. With an education in interaction design you may be suited for a number of different roles beyond interaction design, including a user experience design, user interface design, service design, digital designer, web design and more.
With a focus on teaching contemporary technologies and methods as well as forward-thinking perspectives from research you will adapt well to a changing employment market be well-suited to continue your education in a master’s programme. During your education, you will gain experience working collaboratively with industry as well as your own peers, working on a variety of different briefs in which you develop your project management skills.
Our students have gone on to careers in leading companies such as Anima Connected, Arduino Verkstad, BitCraze, Cybercom, Fjord, IBM, IDEO, inUSE, Massive Entertainment, Sony Mobile, TetraPak, Topp, Ustwo and Visma
Angelica Gillbjörn has always been efficient and finds it easy to see ways to simplify user-experiences. When she finished school, Angelica didn’t really know which subject she might want to go on to study, so she worked for several years before she began thinking about studying again. Choosing the right course wasn’t easy but, when somebody recommended the Interaction Design programme, she began to learn more about it and found that it felt just right.
Working with different projects is quite common in the Interaction Design programme – whether they are large projects stretching over a long period of time or shorter variants, lasting for only a week. All the projects included a presentation in front of the teachers and the rest of the class and, to begin with, Angelica thought this was a little unusual. After a while, however, she soon became accustomed and the experience gained from these presentations has become important in her professional life.
One of the projects Angelica worked with involved the creation of something that combined both digital and physical forms. Angelica’s group created a digital environment that could be controlled physically.
“We created a world where you could travel around in a floating ship by using your voice and two microphones. If, for example, you made a sound in the right-hand microphone, the ship would turn to the right.”
Having obtained her degree, Angelica decided to study for another year at Malmö University in order to learn more about projects and design for mobile devices. Angelica was then contacted on LinkedIn by a recruiter who wanted to introduce her to SONY. Following an interview and a work test, Angelica was offered the job. At SONY, she now works with TrackID™, which is a music-recognition app that can be used to identify a song that is currently playing.
“My involvement with the app includes working with concepts and interface development, the design of user tests and further analysis of these in order to determine aspects that need to be altered or supplemented.”
“Digital design is flourishing right now, and more and more companies have begun to notice what we’re doing. They are finally realising how important it is that a digital product does not just have to merely work but must also be able to provide the user with a positive experience.”
After studying business economics and a few years in the workplace, 32-year-old Peter Höglund didn’t feel that his personal development was progressing in the right direction.
“While it is, of course, nice to be earning money, I felt I wanted to move on and do something creative.”
He looked around and discovered the subject of Interaction Design at Malmö University. Peter originally only intended to study a short course (worth 30 HE credits) to complement his previous studies.
“But once I’d completed that course, I applied for the degree programme in Interaction Design as it was so much fun!”
Peter has always been interested in how people and the digital world fit together. Previously, he had constructed websites and other digital productions but had never really understood just what interaction design actually means.
“I came to realise that it was about so much more than just fancy websites and apps. It is very much to do with the ways in which digital products can make people’s everyday lives easier. We also got to look at how digital technology can create experiences that make people reflect and ask questions. The course opened up my whole outlook. It is a very wide-ranging subject so you can pick and choose those elements that particularly interest you.”
According to Peter, the course has both advantages and disadvantages. As is often the case, it is important to involve yourself in your studies as there are no ready-made answers.
“Some courses can be a bit vague – you don’t really understand quite what is expected of you and this can be frustrating. But the point is that it is all about finding your own solutions. We were presented with questions and were given free rein to solve the problems. For me, this is a great way to learn.”
This creative process has been of great benefit to Peter Höglund in his new job as an interaction designer at Topp Studios, which is a digital design company. Incidentally, he came into contact with this company as they contribute to the course at Malmö University.
“Starting to think like a designer, and the way in which I approach a problem, is very similar to the way we worked at university. It feels great to come out into the world and to design things that can be used in real life situations! I want to work in this industry for the rest of my life – I’m definitely not going back to economics!”
Syllabus for students admitted autumn 2017
Enquiries about the Interaction Design programme should be directed to K3student@mah.se.
If you have questions about admissions, requirements or documentation, please contact the Admissions Office at Malmö University, email@example.com / +46 40 665 75 00.
If you need study or career guidence related to the programme, please contact Student and Carreer Advisor Viktoria Brännström (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the department School of Arts and Communication.