In 2009 we began with a question: “Why isn’t anyone teaching interaction design to high school students?” We knew we wanted to take on this challenge, but we didn’t know how to create such a class. We approached the problem as we would approach any other design problem. We began by researching our “users” – students, teachers, principals and education experts – and developed a curriculum and methodology for teaching design to high school students.
Through our process of research and prototyping we began to understand what it means to be a teacher. In our classroom, we saw students learning new concepts in a continuous cycle of risk-taking and reflection. We discovered that the way we design the experience of a high school student in a classroom isn’t so different from how we design the experience of a software application user. A student’s learning cycle maps to the way we expect our users to adopt new behaviors in technology.
We’ll share the story of Project: Interaction, the after school program we created to teach design to high school students. Through the lens of our story we’ll show how the definition of interaction design extends beyond technology and how our tools and methods can translate to other practices where human-to-human connection is essential to the experience.