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Ive just been accepted in a masters degree created by some of the most experienced interaction designers in my country. Before kicking off theyve asked each student to tell them a little bit about what our expectations are. I suspect that some of the things we say may slightly affect the content of the course so Im thinking hard about what I want to say.

What would you ask of a Masters in UX?

What do you think this type of course should teach in order to prepare excellent interaction designers?

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My question back to you would be: are you intentionally conflating UX and IxD as being interchangeable or do you understand the difference? Your question seems to indicate that you think they're the same. – Rahul Nov 7 '11 at 11:06
I am just curious: would you share where this Master's program will be conducted? – Nadine Schaeffer Nov 7 '11 at 18:57
@Rahul My question to you is what exactly is the difference and more importantly why does it matter? Let's talk about it in chat. – Patrick McElhaney Nov 8 '11 at 13:45
@Rahul: I tend to agree with Patrick. In my country at least, the people who do UX are the same ones who do IxD and the same ones who do usability, etc. And as far as I know, there really is no general agreement on where one ends and the other begins. Whats more I'm not sure how useful those distinctions really are in day to day work. No offense, but it doesnt seem like your comment was meant to help. – Andres Diez Nov 8 '11 at 18:21
@Nadine: Of course, its in Madrid. Not sure that makes much of a difference though. – Andres Diez Nov 8 '11 at 18:22
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I will now take a stab at answering your real question as well outside of the comments. I think of UX as a highly inter-disciplinary field, but the two basic foundations to me are human psychology and traditional art & design. So I would want to see make sure the program gives you these basics, and then also goes into detail around the various branches of UX itself.

The branches that tend to be most useful in my working experience are:

  • interaction design (straight up!)
  • user research methodologies
  • visual design
  • at least a basic survey of implementation technologies for web, desktop and mobile
  • design management and project management

I have seen a few blended business and design management Master's Programs in this country, and I have been impressed with some of their graduates. The breadth of their learnings seemed to prepare them better for the complexities that are involved in UX.

Having said all of that, I was a Literature major way back when, and I nonetheless seem to have done well on this odd career path that has wandered so far from my origins. Ultimately, I think an inquisitive and humble mind, as well as actual experience in life itself, are the underpinnings of a great UX practitioner.

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Thanks, thats the most complete answer. – Andres Diez Nov 22 '11 at 9:33

To answer the second part of the question, it might be worth looking at what a range of courses teach - if topics come up a lot they may indicate the more 'useful' content.

And there's already a question which points to a range of courses as a starting point:

Recommended UI / UX / IxD Master Studies ?

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Two things i would like to learn from them:

  • Their routine Methods / How they approach a Design Problem
  • Hands on practice and feedback sessions with them (and your co-students)
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Good stuff, thanks! – Andres Diez Nov 8 '11 at 18:22

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