What is an interaction designer?

IT-design with the user as the top priority.

Human computer interaction – Interaction design

An interaction designer is responsible for the overall design-approach in projects where construction and building of computer-based systems and objects takes place. These can include anything from IT-aids in the care sector to cellular phones, digital calendars or new digitally based toys.

• The interaction designer is a systems architect on a user level.
• The interaction designer has the overall responsibility for the usability and expression of a development project.
• The interaction designer has profoundness in his/her design-knowledge and span in technical- and system-knowledge.

Information technology is not merely a tool for professional application or something we use to build large technical systems, but something that is being more and more being weaved into our everyday lives. For these, often fundamentally different, systems to work well, a design where the user is in the centre is needed. Human computer interaction (HCI) is a question of development-, analysis- and design-methods to ensure the usability and efficiency of different kinds of computer systems. Interaction design is the design profession that works with computer technology as the design material, an area that has grown from the requirement of creating a well thought-out design with its basis in current usage as well as future usage.

HCI – Interaction design covers both methodologies for usability studies to completely experimental design. We work with problem formulation and specifying requirements from the user’s requisites. To achieve these objectives in the final design solution, this approach must imbue all the development processes phases and design choices. Usage requirements are therefore handled in the same way as other types of requirements, e.g. technical requirements, in the process of system development.

HCI – Interaction design deals with the design of systems and artifacts focusing on interaction to achieve efficient usage in specific work situations as well as meaningful presence in our everyday lives. HCI – Interaction design deals with design where the collaboration between users and technology is in focus, and where the feeling for the cooperation of time and spatial form is central.

An interaction designer:
• Works with the entire chain, from idea to finished product.
• Studies and analyzes users and usage situations.
• Specifies needs and requirements.
• Develops design proposals and prototypes.
• Evaluates, tests…
• Is trained to work in a team with people with different competence, which requires a keen ear and an ability to communicate

The program provides a deeper studies within the HCI-domain with special focus on interaction design. The education is based on three large courses: HCI, seminars in interaction design I, II – where the teaching is strongly focused on project work in a study environment, workshops and seminar activity.

The program provides a stable foundation for independent work within the area of design and development as well as investigation and evaluation. The program is also intended to provide a starting point for further deepened studies in postgraduate studies. The education results in a master’s degree in interaction design at the Chalmers University of Technology. The masters program is held by the institute of computer science at Chalmers as a part of the IT-University of Gothenburg.

©2003 Daniel Lindros & Eva Eriksson