Why should Computer Scientists study Information Design or Interaction Design?

7 Apr 2010 - 4:28pm
4 years ago
9 replies
2097 reads
jackz
2009

I know there has been prior discussion to some aspects of what I am going to ask, but the background is a little different this time.

-After a Masters in Computer Science, why should one pursue Masters degree in Interaction Design or Information Design? At a more abstract level,  why are design studies essential for Software or Computer Science guys?

- Isn't it possible for a Software guy or a Computer Science guy to get the required knowledge in the areas of Information design and/or Interaction design with experience?

- If one can develop software and mobile apps, then what does Information design and interaction design add to his skills/knowledge/experience?

- What is Information design exactly?

Comments

7 Apr 2010 - 5:27pm
Ninad
2010

Interaction design deals with four aspects of a technology: Structural Charateristcs, i.e. what structures will the technology impose on the users; Functional Characteritics, i.e. how the technology is going to be used; Ethical Characteristics  i.e. relevant behavioral issues involved in the adoption of technology by users; and Aesthetic Characteritics which deals with values and ideals of the users.

So, people with computer science backgrounds can eaisily take care of the strutural and functional charateristics of the technology. However, not the ethical and aesthetic characteritics. Because these two characteritics deal with understanding people and their behavior. It's like merging computer science with sociology.

So, yes, since interaction design involves understanding of behavioral issues related to technology, pursuing a degree in Interaction Design seems justified. For examples, consider a customer management system for a automotive repair shop: Depending on whose perspective you take, different underlying values will come to the surface, in the sense that different qualities of the technology stand out as more or less efficient to a particular party involved. For example, for the owner, the guiding quality might be efficiency in calculating the product consumable report and employee salaries in an efficient manner, customers might prioritize correct and complete information, including all costs involved. For the mechanics, the guiding value will be less administrative work and more car repair work.

Interaction designers have to deal with all the values.

7 Apr 2010 - 7:38pm
bjminihan
2010

As for this question...

- Isn't it possible for a Software guy or a Computer Science guy to get the required knowledge in the areas of Information design and/or Interaction design with experience?

You could have gotten the Comp Sci knowledge without the masters, as well.

If your learning method benefits more from formal education, then you'll get a lot from a masters in interaction design.  If it benefits better from experience, you don't need either masters to get the same.

Either way, you can be a pretty powerful person with either masters in both, or equivalent experience.

8 Apr 2010 - 12:00am
pratimag.65
2009

Hi,
Good discussion, with lot of value inputs from members. 
Here I would like to high light the information design aspect. Typically information design is one of the most important element of visual communication design. The appropriate information design leads to catagorising information  defines the

On Thu, Apr 8, 2010 at 4:23 AM, jackz <jackzobin@gmail.com> wrote:

I know there has been prior discussion to some aspects of what I am going to ask, but the background is a little different this time.

-After a Masters in Computer Science, why should one pursue Masters degree in Interaction Design or Information Design? At a more abstract level,  why are design studies essential for
Software or Computer Science guys?

- Isn't it possible for a Software guy or a Computer Science guy to get the required knowledge in the areas of Information design and/or Interaction design with experience?

- If one can develop software and mobile apps, then what does Information design and interaction design add to his skills/knowledge/experience?

- What is Information design exactly?

(((
8 Apr 2010 - 12:30am
pratimag.65
2009
Hi,
Good discussion, with lot of value inputs from members. 
Here I would like to high light the information design aspect. Typically information design is one of the most important element of visual communication design. The appropriate information design leads to categorizing information, easy accessibility of content and focus user attention. And this rule applies to any problem related to visual communication design, be it a web application or another.


The information design was part of my Master of design (visual communication) course, from IDC, IIT Mumbai India.

And rightly said the knowledge can be developed with experience.

Best
Pratima


On Thu, Apr 8, 2010 at 4:23 AM, jackz <jackzobin@gmail.com> wrote:
I know there has been prior discussion to some aspects of what I am going to ask, but the background is a little different this time.

-After a Masters in Computer Science, why should one pursue Masters degree in Interaction Design or Information Design? At a more abstract level,  why are design studies essential for
Software or Computer Science guys?

- Isn't it possible for a Software guy or a Computer Science guy to get the required knowledge in the areas of Information design and/or Interaction design with experience?

- If one can develop software and mobile apps, then what does Information design and interaction design add to his skills/knowledge/experience?

- What is Information design exactly?

((
8 Apr 2010 - 10:31am
Karl Herler
2010

Being a computer science student I just wanted to give a quick note

- why are design studies essential for Software or Computer Science guys?

Are they? I mean "Design" as in the sense of good software development practices and architecture are of course necessary, but if you, as a computer scientist will work on for instance; A control module for a diesel electric ship engine, is degree design really that necessary? (I'm guessing since your here asking that you're not the 'control module for a diesel electric engine' type but the question was pretty unspecific)

 

What I'm trying to say is that it matters more what you want to do and how good you want to be at it. Of course things can be learnt in other ways than in a school but schools are really good at teaching you things so if you really want to learn then that's probably your best bet.

9 Apr 2010 - 12:27am
jackz
2009

Thanks Ninad, bjminihan, pratimag.65 and Kalle Herler.

To be more specific, for a Comp Sci. guy who is not a 'control module for a diesel electric engine' type' , how are design studies benificial, interaction and information design more so?

What are the generic new skills/abilities/perspectives/ideas/theories can one hope to acquire by pursuing design studies that computer science cannot inculcate? 

 

9 Apr 2010 - 4:20am
Fredrik Matheson
2005

Jack,
to learn more about our field, I recommend reading Dan Saffer's book "Designing for interaction".http://my.safaribooksonline.com/9780321679406/ch01
If your classmates want a quick explanation of user experience, point them to Teresa Brazen's post:http://www.adaptivepath.com/blog/2010/03/12/explaining-user-experience-design-to-high-schoolers-and-other-new-audiences/ 
Also, make sure you check out the suggestions that were offered to you http://www.ixda.org/node/21347

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9 Apr 2010 - 10:44am
iaaxpage
2010

When you intelligent automobile takes a decision, does it let you know what it is doing. And if it does, do you really want to get notified about every single little decision it makes?

Check out this super cool video where Don Norman talks about the design of future things.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQmwEjL6K1U

Also the read the article called Taste for Maker from Paul Graham 

http://paulgraham.com/taste.html

9 Apr 2010 - 12:43pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Jack, there seem to be 2 questions in your post. "What do I need to learn from "Interaction Design" to be better at what I do?" and "What is the best way for me to learn these things?"

If you are programming artifacts that people use w/o designer intervention (and don't want another person to take that role in your environment) then you most certainly should learn a few things. Hell, if it is part of a bigger system where some element leads to use by humans you should learn a few things from "interaction design".

But the real question is, what do you want to do? Do you want to design GUIs that you are tasked with programming? Then definitely need to get educated (regardless of manner) in several areas of experience design. What are those things?

 

  1. research methodologies: ethnography, co-design, survey design, active interviews, cultural probes, etc.
  2. analysis & modeling: mental models, infoViz, personas, etc.
  3. Synthesis: sketching, modeling, lo-fi prototyping, 
  4. knowledge: HCI theory, cognitive psychology, aesthetic systems, cultural systems, behavioral systems, patterns, methods, guidelines, standards, linguistics, semiotics, information architecture, grid systems, etc. IxD foundations.
  5. Methods: studio, brainstorming, design evaluation, criticism, etc.
Things that i find difficult to learn w/o having an environment to experience directly (i.e. can't learn in a book, or a conference) is the muscle memory that comes from deep practice with mentored criticism in a studio environment. Even stuff like research requires having practice in an environment that includes mentorship.
There are many ways to gain "mentorship". Formal education is but one (usually a fairly easy despite the costs) option.
BTW, I post a series of some 17 things that all designers should learn on my blog here: http://davemalouf.com/?p=1789
(you'll need to go to the main blog page to get 14-17. http://davemalouf.com/

 

-- dave

 

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