Image: Erik Abel


All courses are structured into 5-, 10- or 20-week blocks. Within each block, shorter course modules offer specific skills training, theoretic studies and practical exercises. Studio courses are usually part of a 5-week block and aimed at learning specific skills and applying them in practical exercises.

What you'll cover

 First year

1. Skills and Techniques, ID (7.5 credits)

This course provides an introduction to Umeå Institute of Design workshops, computers and communications networks. It further provides an introduction to the broader subject of interaction design.

2. Graphic Designs and Expressions (7.5 credits)

The course provides practical training in applying graphic design and brand aesthetics for application in graphical user interfaces. The course has three modules:

Module 1: Basic Design of Graphic User Interfaces (3 credits)
An individual project where students start from a given brand with distinctive graphic aesthetics, and apply it to an innovative digital product in a different format.

Module 2: Software Prototypes (1.5 credits)
This module provides an overview of current tools for software prototypes and provides the opportunity for training in these through practical exercises.

Module 3: Graphic brand manual for interactive media (3 credits)
Here, students are given the opportunity to explore graphic design, typography and other graphic elements to create a graphic brand profile program for digital media for a fictional organization, based on its core values that must be clearly reflected in the final brand expression.

3. Project 1: Specialized Product (15 credits)

The course provides practical experience of designing a complex product or system, with a focus on specialized use. It is usually carried out in collaboration with a company, an organization or other relevant partner. The course comprises three modules:

Module 1: Foundations (3 credits)
During the first module, students will explore different perspectives that explain how specialized work and activities are organized and transformed through design, as well as different methods of research and design for a particular practice. It will focus on reading, presenting and discussing literature, and short activities.

Module 2: Project (9 credits)
The user-centered design project has three overlapping phases: in a non-linear design process that allows for synergy between research, design, and prototype development.

Module 3: Sensemaking (3 credits)
This module is about understanding the project in relation to interaction design for contemporary professional practices and includes training in academic writing.

4. Form Workshop (7.5 credits)

This course addresses different ways of working with form in interaction design. It includes exercises exploring physical and temporal aspects of form and expression in interaction deisgn. In particular students explore connections between sound, visual expression and interaction experiences, and their relation to product identities. These skills are then put to work in a short and intense design project focusing on particularly sound design, executed in teams in collaboration with students from the MFA in Advanced Product Design.

5. Communication Design for Co-creation (7.5 credits)

The overall aim of this 5-weeks course is to explore alternative ways, through traditional and new media, to visualize and communicate information with focus on Service Design and to provide training in running co-creative design processes together with users and stakeholders.

6. Project 2: General Product - Service Design (15 credits)

The second core project in the curriculum is the 10-weeks General Product project, where you will engage with methods and approaches including design ethnography and observational studies.

You will address products and services like healthcare facilities, public transportation or public services, and you will look at a whole population as potential users as opposed to specific social or professional groups.

In this project you will work within a "service design" perspective, looking at people interacting with equipment, environments, services and other people rather than interacting with a single isolated product or product group.


 Second year

7. Experience Prototyping (7.5 credits)

This 5-week course is aimed at providing you with the skills you need to prototype many different forms of interaction with relevant technologies. Broken into week-long modules, each with a different focus, this is a crash-course in the tools you need to make (or fake) all your interaction prototyping needs.

8. Project 3: Interaction Concept (15 credits)

The third core project in the curriculum, the 10-week Interaction Concept project aims to introduce the practice and understanding of interaction design, as it is perceived at the Umeå Institute of Design.

We try to move away from an "object-oriented" design approach by specifying project deliverables in the form of an interactive process rather than a physical product. We emphasize the idea of people-to-people interaction mediated by a process or a technology rather than person-to-object interaction.

In this project, techniques and methods for prototyping interaction are emphasized, building upon the skills acquired in the experience prototyping course. 

9. Creative Reflections on Interaction Design (7.5 credits)

This 5-weeks course serves as preparation for the final thesis in the programme. The course include individual reflections about project themes, methods and the process of design in combination with the student's own design philosophy. It aims at exploring the potential of influencing and developing the work methods and process of design and thereby strengthen role of the professional industrial designer of the future.

Elective track: Practice in Interaction Design (30 credits)

The course is structured in 3 sections in which contemporary practice and work-related situations are explored by the understanding, analyses, discussions and experience from practical participation in professional design contexts. Practical experience is critically compared to design theory and students reflect upon their observations during the period. Remote tutoring and checkpoints support the creation of a written report for submission at the end of the course. Supervision based on written assignments guides the student in the process of creating a proposal for a thesis project in the Interaction Design Programme.

Section 1. Early Reflections (7,5 credits)
The first phase consists of building up knowledge and understanding about design practice. Observations about company culture, identity, structures, roles and methods experienced in the work place are compiled in a written report and used in a personal reflection about their relation to the actual creative task(s) the student is assigned to perform during the early stages of the internship.

Section 2. Design Theory & Practice (15 credits)
During this phase of the course the student will expand competence and skills by performing design work and compare further insights from the course literature and from design practice. The result is a second reflection paper to be added to the written report.

Section 3. Future Practice (7,5 credits)
The last phase of the course is dedicated to finalising practice work at the company and, in parallel, reflecting about the future of the Interaction design field and the role of designers in relation to industry and society. Student's own values and ambition will then help to identify and express goals and wishes for both personal and subject development during the upcoming degree project. This final reflection paper, accompanied by an evaluation statement issued by the student's mentor at the company, serve as the conclusion for the report.


10. Degree Project (30 credits)

The final core project in this program runs for 20 weeks and is a self-directed investigation into an area of your choosing. This project is normally done in cooperation with a corporate sponsor or external partner, established on the initiative of the student.

You are expected to identify design opportunities, establish contact with stakeholders and write a project brief which includes project goals, description of methods, anticipated deliverables and outline budget.

The process of defining the projects starts early in the third semester and is done in dialogue with the Programme Director. You will receive tutoring support throughout the project, with regular checkpoints to assess your progress. Your final results will be exhibited at the end of the year Degree Exhibition.

Student Work Gallery

Student Work Gallery

The 'Student Work Gallery' hosts visionary degree- and term projects from our students.

Latest update: 2024-03-19