Interaction Design at Malmö University
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.
This is a one-year programme, which is also offered as the first year of a two-year programme providing a more well-rounded combination of design practice and academic research.
Practical Design Skills and Academic Research
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.
Who are you?
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.
The programme comprises full-time study for one academic year, divided into four courses starting with a studio-based introduction to multidisciplinary collaboration and mainstream interaction design. The next two courses address embodied interaction and collaborative media, two of our signature topics. The final course is a Master’s level graduation project.
Upon graduation, you are eligible for the second year of the two-year Master’s programme to learn more about interaction design research and theory. Read more about the two-year Master’s programme
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 design work. See one result of a student's work in Thesis Project I at mah.se
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.
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.