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MA Data Visualisation Design

Course Description

Why take this course?

As a Data Visualisation Designer you can contribute innovative solutions with the potential to transform societal challenges, by designing the human interface to increasingly complex problems.

On this course, you will learn how to create rich and meaningful stories with data. We will study digital content in any mode, whether it is in alphanumeric form, binary, vector, pixel, video, or others. The designer provides an important interface, that allows us to explore data and generates meaningful communication. This communication is predominantly visual, but with developments in Wearables and the Internet of Things, is also becoming increasingly physical, affective, networked and interactive. Data Visualisation Design spans traditional graphic and information design, interaction design, information architecture, computational design, design thinking and user-centred and user experience design.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

Learn the theory and practice of data visualisation, data, interface/interaction design and user experience, and apply this to your own design
Critically question the role of data related to the social, political, economic and cultural through contextual research
Explore live data sets from real world scenarios, such as industry or charities like the digital humanitarian network
Develop independent research and project ideas to create innovative, forward thinking design solutions and experiences for a digital and data driven world

What opportunities might it lead to?

The course will prepare you to work in the design disciplines of the creative industries, with a focus on data visualisation, information design, computational design, digital content, interactivity and user experience. Data Visualisation designers are in demand in sectors including business, research, health, education, government/public service, the arts.

The skills gained on this course can also be applied to employment in UI (user interface) design, or focus on interaction as a UX (User experience) designer. The critical and contextual outlook allows you to position yourself as a strategist and operate in a consultative manner. The research aspect of the course would also suit a career in compulsory, further and higher education.

Careers include:

Data Visualisation Design
Information Design
Digital Graphic Design
UI (user interface) / UX (user experience) design
Interaction design

Module Details

The course is offered over one year (full-time) or two years (part-time).

You will study five units, one of which is shared with other MA courses in the School of Art and Design. There will be preparatory units delivering a grounding in practical skills, theoretical context and academic research (competencies and skills). You will also study units that allow more thematic engagement with interactive and data driven design in terms of theory such as critical design, affordances, experience and complexity. It will also provide a unit oriented towards employability, and incorporate live briefs and group work. These units work to catalyse your own ideas and research direction for the Major Project unit.

Core units currently comprise:

A Question of Research
Fundamentals of Data and Interaction Design
Digital Futures – Themes and Issues in Practice
Design Solutions for Enterprise, Society and Culture
Major Project

Programme Details

The teaching combines interactive lectures and group seminar discussions with support through one-to-one tutorials. You also receive feedback on your work through friendly but critical peer review in group sessions with other students, members of faculty and other experts as appropriate. One of the units includes working as a team. Your project work emphasises self-initiated learning which gives you the freedom to explore the specialist area of your interest, while being helpfully guided by your supervisor. The curriculum is very closely related to the research areas in the department, so the staff have cutting edge knowledge of the field and its potential for innovation.

Your learning is mostly assessed through the submission of practical course work, such as digital prototypes, and the documentation of the learning journey in sketchbooks, diaries, blogs or journals.

This will be documenting contextual research as well as stages in practical experimentation and annotation of reflection. There are some written elements to be submitted as well, mostly accompanying proposals/reports to contextualise your practice. The assessment also includes individual and group presentations, this mode is also used to give you formative feedback on your work throughout.

Here's how we assess your work:

Digital artefacts / prototypes
Learning journals
Oral presentation

Student Destinations

This course is an opportunity to focus your creative design practice on the interactive, data driven, user centred and culturally contextualised. It also enhances your design career by upgrading your skills and widening your knowledge and thinking in the digital arena, allowing you to stay one step ahead of the rest. The independent research aspect of the course prepares you for further education in terms of a research degree and employment in R&D and/or education.

Visit the MA Data Visualisation Design page on the University of Portsmouth website for more details!

Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

A minimum of a second-class honours degree in a related subject including design, media, communications, illustration, information technology and cultural and theoretical studies, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. An online portfolio submission may be required as part of the selection process.English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Email Enquiry

Recipient: University of Portsmouth
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