What does an Interaction Designer do?

Interaction Designer

Discover what it is like to work as an Interaction Designer and the steps to become one. Read all about it!

Interaction Designer

Everyday we perform certain gestures automatically: we move our fingers away to enlarge an image on the smartphone screen or we press buttons in sequence to get money from the ATM. Behind these operations, like many others that we carry out almost without realising it, there is the work of the interaction designer.

The interaction designer is the professional who manages the design of the interaction between man and mechanical and computer systems. They ensure that man – with simple and intuitive maneuvers – obtain what they need from the machine (a computer, a smartphone or an automatic cash register in a supermarket). To achieve this goal they start from the analysis of the context: the study of the user, their needs and the reasons that lead them to interact with the machine, and the situations in which this happens. Based on the collected elements, they proceed with the development of the product design by defining both the functional aspects (how it should work) and the aesthetic elements (appearance, colours, dimensions). At this point, they put the idea into practice: they proceed with the construction of interactive prototypes, which will be subjected to various tests in order to identify the critical issues. In this way, the device is gradually modified to reach the final version.

An interaction designer’s academic background typically includes a bachelor’s degree in a design field. However, there is no shortage of professionals with studies related to psychology and/or sociology. These disciplines are, in fact, fundamental for understanding the drivers underlying people’s attitudes and behaviours. Undergraduate studies are usually followed by a master’s degree, which allows to acquire specialist knowledge and skills.

The interaction designer combines a strong practical sense with a sense for aesthetic. They must be able to grasp the pragmatic needs of users and understand how to respond to them effectively and efficiently, but also to translate them into aesthetically appealing and engaging solutions. This person should also be flexible and have an aptitude for problem solving. In the process of designing and subsequently testing the prototype, they will face with various types of obstacles and difficulties (from technical problems to those connected with budget management). Another important aspect is communication skills. Knowing how to communicate with different people – starting with potential users – is essential in daily activities. Furthermore, the attitude towards team working is essential.

Computer skills are an important part of the interaction designer background. In particular, they should know how to use programming and web design languages ​​(for example, Arduino, Processing, Javascript, HTML). They also need professional knowledge of UI tools, such as Figma and Sketch.

The interaction designer can develop their career in a design consultancy or in a company. In both cases they enter at a junior position, with executive tasks, and then can develop to become the manager of the entire design team. Alternatively – or after having acquired some experience – they can work as a freelancer, proposing themselves as a consultant to various types of companies.

The interaction designer can develop their skills within the Master in Interaction Design at Domus Academy that is designed for candidates who have a first-level degree and/or professional experience in design (product, visual, graphic, media, or web design) or in architecture, computer science, or engineering.

The programme is also open to candidates with experience in communication science, psychology, sociology, or equivalent, if they are motivated by interest in information design and possess a strong portfolio.

There are two types of Master in Interaction Design at Domus Academy. The Academic Master (60 ECTS credits) is developed over 5 modules, a curricular internship and a final project workshop and it allows to gain an Academic Master’s Degree accredited by the Ministry of University and Research (MUR), a qualification recognised in Europe and worldwide, as well as a Domus Academy Master Diploma. With the Double Award Master (90 ECTS credits), students have the opportunity to integrate the course of study consisting of 5 modules, a curricular internship and final project workshop, with additional lessons and a more in-depth individual project thesis. With the Double Award Master, students can obtain an Academic Master recognized by the MUR and, in addition, a Master of Arts officially recognized by the British system (Privy Council) and issued by Regent’s University London.

The Domus Academy’s Master in Interaction Design covers theoretical courses in Storytelling & Visual Narrative, Digital & Physical Prototyping, Design Research Methods & Tools, Professional Accelerator Activities, as well as workshops in Experience Design and Tangible Interactions. Moreover, an elective workshop to be chosen among Product Strategy, Identity Design, Entrepreneurship through Design, Advanced Design & Processes and Service Design.

Domus Academy’s Master in Interaction Design offers a multidimensional approach, through which students acquire the skills to define problems and propose solutions related to interaction and user experience, through innovative technologies.

The Domus Academy’s Master in Interaction Design trains professionals with advanced skills in the field of design, with the possibility of pursuing a career as independent consultants or entrepreneurs and roles of interaction designer, experience designer, design researcher and digital designer.

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