Master in Interaction Design - MIXD

Short description

Everyday use of technology is the norm in our modern societies, as we surround ourselves with technology at home, at work, and in public. Computers are pervasive, digital interfaces and interactivity is everywhere, and it is of increasing importance that we ensure inclusive, ethical and efficient human-computer interaction. NTNU meets this challenge with the Master in Interaction Design, where usability is key.

The Master program in Interaction Design teaches the students to put the users’ needs and requirements first in order to design inclusive, easy-to-use, robust and efficient human-computer interaction. The program provides the students with knowledge and awareness of human factors and conditions in interface and interaction design, as well as insights into system engineering methodologies and strategies for usability-optimalization of products and services.

Compared to other master programs, our Master in Interaction Design (MIxD) emphasizes an analytic and methodological approach to design, research and development. Students aquire a strong user-centered focus, placing importance on user involvement and user participation throughout design and development. The education is practice-related, providing a high degree of professionalism, ethical awareness and knowledge of design for diversity. Providing students with a broad range of methods, tools and strategies, they must become aware of their own professional identity based on their main competences within empathic, analytical, creative, technical and design-based Interaction Design (IxD).

The program is linked to the academic community of the Media Technology Laboratory, which is researching a wide range of aspects related to the design, development and production of digital and analogue media. The laboratory can currently boast prolific research in color technology and color research at The Norwegian Colour and Visual Computing Laboratory . Further, the laboratory researches gaming technology, serious games, "the Internet of things" and mobile applications through the Game Technology laboratory . The Media Technology Laboratory also researches image processing, video processing and intelligent systems, and co-operates with the Norwegian Information Security Laboratory (NISlab) and the Center for Universal Design . The broad research activities includes research on aspects such as User eXperience (UX), usability, the use of digital media, service design, software engineering, design, interaction design and inclusive design. Through the different laboratories, students at MIxD have access to advanced eye-tracker technology, both stationary eye-trackers and eye-tracking glasses, to EEG measuring devices, to Virtual Reality Headset for 3D Games, to simulation of various acoustic and lighting as well as to advanced assistive technology for research and development for users with disabilities. MIxD also co-operates with the Centre for Care Research , belonging to the Faculty of Health, on issues related to care work, health- and welfare technology.

Duration

The program is a two-year full-time study (120 ECTs). After passing the course the candidate is awarded the degree of Master in Interaction Design. The program may be completed part-time (3-4 years dependent on individual study plan).

Expected learning outcomes

With a Master's degree students will be able to apply for positions within usability and UX, Information- and Interaction design and Information architecture. They will be able to initiate, lead and perform usability engineering in research and development, conduct user research, make informed design decisions, identify usability requirements and validate their implementation in the development of user dialogues for interactive systems and user interfaces, e.g. in commercial software, multimedia applications and web services. They will be able to develop solutions for a wide range of users and contexts, including users with disabilities or special needs. With a completed master's degree graduates may also apply for PhD programs.

Knowledge

  • The graduate has an in-depth understanding of human factors and end-users' needs, user-centered strategies and methodologies and can discuss and reflect upon needs and requirements in the design of user interfaces and interactive environments.
  • The graduate is able to apply this knowledge to design and optimize the usability of products, services and interactive environments.
  • The graduate has thorough knowledge of scientific theory and methodology in the field of interaction design.
  • The graduate possesses a specialized and thorough knowledge of the research front on a limited and selected area, forming the basis for the thesis in interaction design.
  • The graduate is able to apply his/her skills in new areas of interaction design.

Skills

  • The graduate is able to analyze, choose and use appropriate methods for professional systems development usability engineering.
  • The graduate is able to analyze, choose and use appropriate methods for research on usability.
  • The graduate is able to plan, initiate, manage and execute usability and user-centered development in an independent manner.
  • The graduate is able to plan, initiate, manage and execute usability and user-centered research in an independent manner.
  • The graduate is able to carry out an independent, limited research or development project under supervision and in accordance with applicable ethical standards.
  • The graduate is able to analyze academic issues, existing theories, methods and interpretations based on subject area's history, traditions, character and place in society.
  • The graduate is able to analyze and reflect critically on various information sources and use them to structure and formulate scientific reasoning.

General competence

  • The graduate is able to analyze ethical issues related to both profession and research.
  • The graduate is able to apply his/her knowledge and skills on novel areas to carry out advanced tasks and projects in usability or user-centered design.
  • The graduate is able to convey extensive work from an independent study and master the forms of expression in the field.
  • The graduate is able to communicate profession challenges and academic issues, analyses and conclusions within the field both to specialists and to the general public.
  • The graduate is able to contribute to innovative thinking and innovation processes.

Internationalization

Students are welcome to replace parts of the curriculum with a stay at universities abroad. For full time students, there are possibilities for this in the second or third semester. For students aiming for exchange in this semester, we advise taking mandatory courses running in the fall during the first semester.

The Master program is offered as an English-language Master, and all courses will be offered in English. All curriculums are in English, and the courses may be offered to exchange students.

Target Group

The Master program targets students who are interested in design, software development and digital media in general, and in usability, contextual design, inclusive design and user experience in particular.

The program may be viewed as a continuation and specialization of bachelor degrees in graphic design, media design and web design and development, as well as providing a relevant specialization for bachelor degrees computer science, engineering and computer-based media technologies. No previous job experience is expected, however the program is well suited for people with work experience and/or experience from project work and system development.

The study is also suitable for students who wish to combine studies with work. The courses are largely seminar based, with most courses having a full-day seminar every third weeks, and it is possible to take the program part-time (3-4 years).

Admission Criteria

Applicants for the master program must have completed a bachelor's degree or equivalent education of a minimum of three years duration, which includes 80 credits in media, design and/or IT subjects (see Regulation §3 Requirements for Master's degree 120 ECTs).

Course Structure

Contents

The program focuses on applied methodology for optimizing product and service usability, and enables students to initiate, manage and execute usability engineering in project and development contexts.

Since it is of vital importance for the students to have relevant and applicable skills for the job market at the completion of the program, the program includes topics such as establishment of user-friendly information architectures and systems development methodology.

Structure 

The courses are organized as a combination of lectures and seminars/workshops. Most courses are 7,5 credits. Most of the courses have mandatory requirements such as essays or empirical work. Student work-effort is expected to be 45 hours per week (for full time students) throughout the semester.

During the 1st semester students meet one of the core issues; the course "Usability and Human Factors in Interaction Design". Key usability knowledge such as human cognition and behavior, usability theories and professional and industry terms are covered through this course, along with theory and techniques for design and prototyping and training in expert inspection methodology for usability evaluation.

Students will also develop their media and design process skills through the course  "Design, Creativity and Innovation", and be introduced to design research. The 7,5 credits course "Scientific methodology and communication" in the first half of the semester combined with the 7,5 credits course "Research project in Human Computer Interaction" in the second part of the semester introduces the students to current research within human computer interaction, and has a focus towards laboratory research, using advanced usability research equipment, quantitative and qualitative data analysis and statistics.

In the 2nd semester, students will get a deeper knowledge of interface design through the 7,5 credits course "Colour in interface design". In particular, focus will be on the use of color for visual communication; color perception, color properties, color experience, color research and color design for visually impaired. In the 15 ECTS core course "Methods in User-Centered Design" the usability focus is shifted to contextual design, theory and techniques for collaborative, user-centered and participatory design and training in usability testing. The students practice and compare different techniques to investigate contexts, activities and behavior, to analyze, to specify and to design solutions. The course Experts in Teamwork is a course that we are planning to offer, but with reservations, since changes may occur. Students learn to analyze and discuss the appropriateness of methodology, processes, management techniques and leadership styles.

The 3rd semester gives the students, emphasis is placed on getting students started with their own writing and research. Efforts towards formulating a master thesis are central to this semester. In the  mandatory course "Research Project Planning" the students develop their thesis proposal. Students will study theoretical material to support the focus of the thesis, learn to formulate relevant research topics and questions and start to prepare one of the thesis chapters. The semester also includes 15 elective credits (see elective course table).

In the 4th semester, students work under supervision on their Master's thesis (IMT4904). The work of the fourth semester requires that all previous courses have been passed. The thesis must represent an academic progression in relation to practical, empirical and/or theoretical topics in relevant courses.

The program is offered in a flexible manner to fit well to all the target groups of students (full-time, part-time and distant). Prospective distant/part-time students should note, however, that the workload for full-time students is expected to be 45 hours per week during the semesters. Hence, students are not advised to sign up for full-time studies if they plan to study besides their regular job.

In general, on-campus presence is required only three weeks per semester (seminars and exams). Attendance is also strongly recommended for the initial first week of the start semester (first semester). 

All courses are available online, but there will also be on-campus sessions on a regular weekly or bi-weekly schedule.

Part time students should be prepared to spend some time working on the Research Project Planning course in their fifth semester although most of the work will take place in the sixth. The reason for this is that the seminars in this course only take place in the fall semester.

Students can elect up to 7.5 ECTS of courses at the 3000 level as part of their master program. These must however not be part of the necessary credits for admission – if so, they must be replaced by new credits. Students are particularly encouraged to browse the course offerings of the study programs Bachelor in IT-Operations and Information Security and Bachelor in Programming [ Game | Application ].

Technical Prerequisites

Computer lab with necessary specialty software is available at the university college. The students are expected to have a personal computer and Internet access available.

Table of subjects

Course tabel for Master in Interaction Design 2016-18

Coursecode Course name C/E *) ECTS each. semester
  S1(A) S2(S) S3(A) S4(S) S5(A)
IMT4110 Scientific Methodology and Communication C 7.5        
IMT4312 Research Project in Human Computer Interaction C 7.5        
IMT4313 Design, Creativity and Innovation C 7.5        
IMT4309 Usability and Human Factors in Interaction Design C 7.5        
IMT4314 Methods in User-Centered Design C   15      
IMT4315 Colour in interface design C   7.5      
IMT4310 Experts in Teamwork C   7,5      
IMT4205 Research Project Planning C     7.5    
IMT4316 User-centred Information Architecture C     7.5    
Elective, 7.5 ECTS E     7.5    
Elective, 7.5 ECTS E     7.5    
IMT4904 Master's Thesis C       30  
Sum: 30 30 30 30 0
*) C - Compulsory course, E - Elective course

Proposal for part-time schedule (of 3 years)

Coursecode Course name C/E *) ECTS each. semester
  S1(A) S2(S) S3(A) S4(S) S5(A) S6(S)
IMT4110 Scientific Methodology and Communication C 7.5          
IMT4309 Usability and Human Factors in Interaction Design C 7.5          
IMT4312 Research Project in Human Computer Interaction C 7.5          
IMT4314 Methods in User-Centered Design C   15        
Elective, 7.5 ECTS E   7.5        
IMT4316 User-centred Information Architecture C     7.5      
IMT4313 Design, Creativity and Innovation C     7.5      
IMT4315 Colour in interface design C       7.5    
IMT4310 Experts in Teamwork C       7,5    
Elective, 7.5 ECTS E         7.5  
IMT4205 Research Project Planning C         7.5  
IMT4904 Master's Thesis C           30
Sum: 22.5 22.5 15 15 15 30
*) C - Compulsory course, E - Elective course

Electives, The following table shows elective courses open to all students at MID

Coursecode Course name C/E *) ECTS each. semester
  S1(A) S2(S) S3(A) S4(S)
IMT3950008 Wayfinding E   5    
IMT5391 Service design, organizations and CSCW E   5    
TØL4003 Philosophies of social science E     5  
Specialisation Course E   7.5 7.5  
Sum: 0 0 0 0
*) C - Compulsory course, E - Elective course

If students meet the admission requirements for other programs, such as Master in Applied Computer Science (MACS) and/or Master in Information Security (MIS), courses from these programs may also be selected as elective courses (by application). The same applies to courses from other masters- and bachelors programs.  

It is possible to include up to 7,5 ETCS from relevant bachelor programs (3000 code courses), assessed individually on application (these must however not be part of the necessary credits for admission – if so, they must be replaced by new credits).


Electives – open to MID students depending on admission criteria

Coursecode Course name C/E *) ECTS each. semester
  S1(A) S2(S) S3(A) S4(S)
IMT4306 Introduction to Reseach in Mobile/Wearable Technology E   7.5    
IMT4307 Introduction to Research in Serious Games and Gamification E   7.5    
IMT4308 Introduction to Research on Web Technologies E     7,5  
IMT4072 Cross-media color reproduction E     5  
IMT3662 Mobile Development Theory E     7.5  
Sum: 0 0 0 0
*) C - Compulsory course, E - Elective course