Educating Multi-disciplinary Design Teams


Designing interactive systems requires diverse expertise, which is why most successful design teams are multi-disciplinary. Unfortunately, managing such teams can be difficult, because team members often do not communicate effectively with each another. When we teach interaction design, we address this problem explicitly, with a two-fold approach: First, we explain the value systems and some of the key assumptions from the component disciplines, including social sciences, engineering and design. Second, we teach hands-on techniques, often with video, that place team members (and users) on an equal footing when expressing design ideas. We want our students to understand and respect the contributions of others outside their discipline and to be able to use design techniques that allow all team members to actively participate, whether observing users, generating new ideas, prototyping systems or evaluating them.


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