Bachelor of Science User Experience Design

The BS in User Exerience Design (UxD) degree (formerly the BS in Interactive and Social Media) is an interdisciplinary, hands-on program that integrates creative and technical disciplines such as graphic design, human-computer interaction, and information technology. Students in the UxD program prepare to work in the expanding fields of user-experience design, interaction design, and social computing by developing their skills as designers, coders, and user researchers. In project-based, collaborative courses, students learn a user-centered software development process to conceptualize, design, build, and conduct research on interactive systems such as web and mobile applications. Students also learn to incorporate social media and social computing into interactive applications.

90% of reporting 2016 UxD graduates were employed, continuing their education, or not seeking employment after graduation

Graduates of the UxD degree will be able to begin career paths in roles such as User Interface (UI) Designer, User Experience (UX) Designer, User Researcher, Social Media Strategist, Software Engineer, Web Developer, and Mobile Web Application Developer. They may find careers in a variety of industries, such as software development, marketing, publishing, healthcare, and education.

Inside UX Design

 
  • Craig Miller

    Most of Craig’s research involves the study of human learning and problem solving through the construction and evaluation of cognitive models, often realized as working computer programs.

  • Denise Nacu

    Denise’s current research interests focus on examining the interactions of educators and learners in online learning platforms, and building technology tools and visualizations to support youth learning and development.

  • Adam Trowbridge

    Adam is a designer, programmer, and code media researcher whose current work focuses on user experience design for privacy and security, programming pedagogy for designers, and geo-located augmented reality.

Secure Design: Course and Experimentation Workshop

School of Design faculty Adam Trowbridge and Jessica Westbrook are working with School of Computing faculty Filipo Sharevski on this National Security Agency-funded project—developing a course under the Cybersecurity Core Curricula. The course will be developed using an innovative approach to cybersecurity pedagogy: educating students in cybersecurity, information systems, interaction design, and graphic design in parallel, with a focus on Internet-of-Things architecture. By taking the Secure Design course, the future cybersecurity professionals will be educated in principles of secure interaction and graphic design. Also, the course will help interaction and graphic designers to become an integral part of the cybersecurity workforce in designing and communicating security ideas to users.

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Undergraduate Research

Faculty in the UxD program are active in designing, developing, and researching interactive systems in a variety of domains. Undergraduate UxD students have opportunities to work with faculty to gain experiences as designers, researchers, and developers. This work can be conducted through independent studies, the Undergraduate Research Assistant Program (URAP), or paid positions. Students should contact faculty to learn more about research projects and opportunities.

students using computers  

Labs and Software

UxD students have access to labs dedicated to software evaluation and user research, including the Software Observation and Usability Laboratory (SOUL) which is available to conduct usability studies and playtests. Additional CDM labs provide students with professional software tools for user research, creating visual designs and prototypes, and developing web and mobile applications.

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UxD/ISM Minor

Students with a major other than User Experience Design are encouraged to consider a minor in Interactive and Social Media (ISM). The ISM minor allows students to acquire skills that can be applied in a variety of fields that technology is used to innovate. Increasingly, design and computation are fueling innovation in nearly every field. The ability to design and develop interactive systems can be especially valuable when combined with focused study in other areas.

students collaborating around a desk  

Community and Professional Connections

UxD students have access to a network of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, alumni, and professionals in the Chicago area and beyond. Activities and events related to UxD are organized by CDM student organizations, the Career Center, and local professional organizations. Current students and alumni are invited to connect around ideas, classes, jobs, articles, events, and resources through the Facebook Group and the HCI-info listserv.

many logo concepts on wall displayed  

Exhibition and Presentation Spaces

State-of-the-art spaces for presentations, showcases, special events, and collaborative work are available for students to build skills, share projects, and connect with others.

Mobile User Interface mockup  

Choosing a Concentration

All students in the program build a foundation in designing and developing interactive web and mobile applications. In the first two years, students in both the design and development concentrations will take courses that include both elements. The difference between the concentrations is in the advanced coursework. A student may choose either concentration knowing that it is easy to switch to the other within the first two years of study.

2 Concentrations

Design

Students in the design concentration focus on building the skills and methods needed to conceptualize design, and research user experiences and user interfaces for technology-based interactive systems such as web and mobile applications. Students learn to conduct user research (for example, user interviews and usability studies) and create wireframes and interactive prototypes that reflect design principles of interactivity, usability, visual design, and social interaction.

Development

Students in the development concentration focus on building skills as coders who are able to implement the mobile apps and interactive displays that they have designed. Course work emphasizes information technology and interactive scripting. At the advanced level, the development concentration includes advanced programming courses for implementing working solutions.