Interaction Design (MDes)

The fast-changing world of new technology has given rise to a new breed of designers who are putting people first.

Introduction

The Interaction Design specialism is directed at students with a passion for people and technology, who have curiosity about the future and want to shape how information is accessed and used, how environments might change based on need, or how embedded information in products support use. Those with a Bachelor’s degree in design (visual communication, product, digital media, or environmental design), communication, information technology, or even psychology may find interaction design to be the next step in their professional development.

Brief introduction of the School in your language:
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  • Master of Design 2016/17 September Intake
  • Applications start: 25 Nov 2015
  • Info Session: 9 Jan 2016 
  • First round review: 20 Jan 2016
  • Absolute application deadline: 29 Apr 2016      
  • Master of Design programmes will start accepting applications for the next intake (September 2017) on 22 November. To better prepare your portfolio/ application, contact us now.

Aims

This specialism seeks to enhance human ability and life through the design of innovative, interactive and experiential ideas, based on a synthesis of human thought patterns and habits with technical means. A combination of theory, planning strategies, research, and technical skills provide the foundation for workshops that explore emerging aspects of interaction design, based on human needs and pleasures as well as technological development.

Related: an article on Interaction Design Education by PolyU Design faculty and visiting faculty, sharing a vision for its future based on their combined years of teaching in design schools in HCI/ Interaction Design programmes (ACM Interactions, volume XXI.6 November-December 2014)

See also: Employers of MDes graduates

Objectives

This specialism seeks to join theory and action by:

  • putting people first in the people/technology equation — explore human-centredness
  • understanding active communication processes on which interactivity is built
  • learning methods for analysis and construction of interaction design
  • working across communication technology, product interface, and service systems
  • focusing on one of the above as an alternative focus
  • developing a holistic approach to human-centred interaction that includes problem or opportunity identification, research, prototyping and execution

Learn more about: International academic collaborations

New designers understand the importance of creating design which are people friendly.

Programme structure

The specialism is structured by a combination of intensively taught short courses that directly support a workshop investigation. Workshops take various forms from individual to team work, from self-initiated projects to externally sponsored projects. A range of electives are available to tailor the experience to individual interests. Some classes meet during weekends and evenings. The expectation is that the student is fully committed to the programme and works in the studio environment. The programme concludes with a demonstration project that unites: research, creative exploration, user understanding, and prototype testing toward a solution. Graduation requires the successful completion of 36 credits.

Common Core Subjects (compulsory) (1 credits)
SD5400 Vision and Change (1 credit)

Specialism Core Subjects (compulsory) (29 credits)
Theory/Method Subjects (12 credits)
SD5018 Research and Analysis for Design (3 credits)
SD5502 Information Architecture and Visualization (2 credits)
SD5507 Graduate Seminar I: Theories in Interaction Design (2 credits)
SD5508 Graduate Seminar II: Human Computer Interaction (2 credits)
SD5509 Prototyping and Scripting (3 credits)

Workshop Subjects (17 credits)
SD5520 Concept Workshop (1 credit)
SD5524 Tangible Interaction Workshop (2 credits)
SD5527 Graduate Studio Workshop I (3 credits)
SD5528 Graduate Studio Workshop II (3 credits)
SD5529 Embedded Interaction Workshop (3 credits)
SD5530 Demonstration Project (5 credits)

Electives* (6 credits)
These will be drawn from regularly occurring subjects within the MDes Scheme, including:
SD5001 Innovation Tools for Strategic Design (3 credits)
SD5002 Design and Culture: Cultural Identity and Authorship (3 credits)
SD5011 User Oriented Design: Theories, methods and Applications (3 credits)
SD5012 Future Contexts for Design (3 credits)
SD5014 Consumer as Producer: Critical Trends in Product Development and Consumer Culture (3 credits)
SD5015 Globalization and Design (3 credits)
SD5019 Design Criticism and Visual Arguments (3 credits)
SD5020 Special Topics in Contemporary Design (3 credits)
SD5021 Chinese Traditions and the 21st Century (3 credits)
SD5104 Branding: From Local to Global Strategies (3 credits)
SD5112 Strategic Design: Regional Case Studies (3 credits)
SD5113 Strategies for Sustainable Product- Service Systems (3 credits)
SD5163 Managing Value Creation (3 credits)
SD5201 Collaborative Design and Technology (3 credits)
SD5202 Innovative Products and Services Development (3 credits)
SD5215 Introduction to Ergonomics (3 credits)
SD5216 Introduction to Intellectual Property: Fundamentals and Strategy (3 credits)
AF5340 Finance and Accounting for Design Business (3 credits)
MM5761 Marketing Management (3 credits)

* Remarks: Not all elective subjects are offered every year. Time table will be provided by individual MDes Specialism before academic year begins. Student should refer to MDes Scheme Definitive Scheme Document and may consult Specialism Leader when choosing electives.



Class delivery mode & duration

Classes are normally held during daytime on weekdays, except some shared electives are delivered on weekday evenings and weekends. Each of these weekend subjects requires three weekends spread over 4–5 weeks. Normally it takes one year to complete the programme.

Specialism leaders

Dr. Kenny Chow — Associate Professor, PhD, MFA, MSc, BSc(Hons)

Dr. Kenny Chow

Kenny K. N. Chow obtained a Ph.D. in Digital Media at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He also received an M.F.A. degree from the City University of Hong Kong and an M.Sc. degree from the University of Hong Kong.

Chow has extensive practical experience in graphic design, animation, and film production for over ten years. His latest film projects include international collaborative movies The Moon(2009), TICKETS (2007), which were selected and screened in the 6th Hong Kong Asian Film Festival 2009 and the 31st Hong Kong International Film Festival 2007 respectively.

Dr. Huaxin Wei — Assistant Professor, PhD, MSc, BSc

Dr. Huaxin Wei

Huaxin Wei holds a PhD from Simon Fraser University and a M.Sc. in Computing Science from University of Alberta. Her primary research explores the use of interactive technologies in narrative design for digital media. In her doctoral research, she established a descriptive framework for systematic analysis of video games using a variety of structural perspectives. She then demonstrated the use of the framework through case analyses in several published works. Her current teaching and research subjects lie in the intersection of user-centred design and interactive media.

Teaching staff

Recent collaboration partners

Application

Entrance requirement

A Bachelor’s degree in design or the equivalent in a related discipline is required. Candidates with other tertiary qualifications complemented by substantial relevant professional experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

A complete application includes

  • Application form
  • Portfolio (refer to FAQ for requirements and submission)
  • Evidence of degree or other qualification
  • Letter of intent
  • Three letters of recommendation (Academic/ Profession)
  • English language competency (minimum score: TOEFL 550 / IELTS 6.0 / iBT 80)

Applicants who are native English speakers with qualification from a university where the language of teaching is English are not required to provide such test score.

Interview
In the case of international students, the interview will be conducted via video calls on Skype.

  • Number of credits: 36

  • Normal Period of Study: 1 Year (full-time)

  • Tuition: HK$144,000 (local) / HK$158,400 (non-local) Initial Programme Fee: Local student HK$16,000 (4 credits x HK$4,000)/ Non-local student HK$44,000 (10 credits x HK$4,400)

Financial Aid

Three types of financial aid are available: (1) Scholarships, (2) Continuing Education Fund and (3) Extended Non-means-Tested Loan Scheme (ENLS). Only local residents are eligible to apply for (2) and (3). 

Find out more about Scholarships here.

Some subjects in MDes scheme are included on the Continuing Education Fund (CEF) list of reimbursable courses for local residents. For further information on CEF or reimbursable courses list, please visit CEF official website

Extended Non-means-Tested Loan Scheme (ENLS) offers interest-bearing loans to eligible students for covering tuition fees. For details of the scheme, please refer to the Government’s website.

Type of VISA (for International Students)

People’s Republic of China and foreign nationals may join the full-time programme provided either they apply for and receive a Student VISA; or they may join the part-time programme if they are holding a valid work permit or dependent VISA from the Hong Kong Administrative Region Immigration Department. School of Design will provide assistance in this regard.

Enquiry

Should you require further assistance, feel free to contact us by email at sdsteph@polyu.edu.hk or by phone +852 3400 3440.

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