Design Education: Don’t be Separate!

I’m very interested in how we develop the next generation of interactive design talent. Partly because I’ve been both a educator (teaching and developing curricula at Art Center) and an employer (my own studio, Triplecode, and within other firms). And also because my own personal path has covered a wide range of professions.

David Malouf wrote a interesting post on Johnny Holland about design education: Interaction Design’s Early Formal Education & Beyond.

He starts with something which is common for many of us:

There are many interaction designers like myself whose growth into the field was a feat of organic if not chaotic chance. Our community of practice was born out of the convergence of people who did not have the option to be formerly trained in interaction design in almost any way what-so-ever. So we educated ourselves – sometimes alone and sometimes with the support of peers and mentors…

He talks about the current problem common in schools:

At the core of these issues is the belief in the separation between form and interaction. This myth can no longer be maintained – definitely not in education.

And that this separation continues on in professional practice:

I would challenge that to have “design” separate from “user experience” – as many creative agencies have done; or having “user experience” be the name or structure of your “design organization” – does neither scenario any long term use…

His article is a thought provoking look at how to start changing design education, and hopefully have a broader impact on the profession.