Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Crash Course Education in Interaction Design

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

I never had the luxury of a formal education in interaction design or HCI. Sometimes I wish I had majored in HCI, but I wouldn’t have given up my liberal arts degree and study abroad experience for anything. Majoring in Communication at USC let me explore the various fields from cultural theory to pscyhology, sociology, marketing, accounting, and anthropology. I just wanted to learn more about people and culture from all sorts of perspectives so I took whatever sounded interesting. All my technical and web knowledge is pretty much from years of independent study reading lots of books, articles, and blogs. Supplemented, of course, with constant observation/analysis since I was 12 of why certain products or web sites work well or why they are frustrating.

Anyway, because of all that other stuff that got in the way before I found what my calling in life was called (interaction design), I am now trying to catch up as quickly as possible by learning from the experiences of others so I don’t have to make quite as many mistakes that others have already have. I have experience with visual design and video so I have an intuitive sense for color and I know about typography, information hierarchy, and timing. Those have helped a lot so far, but I’ve decided to bite the bullet and register for courses at Cooper and UCLA Extension.

The Interaction Design Practicum at Cooper is an intensive 4-day workshop of the whole process from research to handing off a spec to developers. I need the hands on experience learning from seasoned designers. I also signed up for their 2-day Communicating Design course since that’s pretty much covering the deliverables that most interaction designers produce as well as the even more important aspect of presenting and selling designs to stakeholders. If those go well I’ll probably just continue through all their courses and do their certification program.

The UCLA course, User Experience Design for the Web, is probably going to be very similar since it’s taught by Jeanine Harriman and she used to be at Cooper. However, this course is online over 15 weeks so it’s a much longer engagement. I figure I’ll have to deliver a more substantial product at the end of that class. I also thought of taking a Drawing for Communication course through UCLA, but have decided to hold off so as not to get too overwhelmed balancing class with work. I know the drawing class is going to take a lot of time for practice. I’ll probably take that later this year after blogging about the results of these other classes.