User Experience: Society, Technology, and Critical Design
Many of us spend our days in front of various screens, surrounded by designed objects that shape not only our work, but also our social and creative lives. In this course, we will examine the power and politics that are built into the designed world, with an emphasis on user experience (UX) design, interaction (IxD) design, and digital artifacts. We will explore the very notion of “experience” as it relates to digital space and our relationships with technology. What new forms of knowledge are being produced through displays of information and graphical systems? How can we think about things such as embodiment, choice, and control as digital interactions become more embedded in our everyday lives? To answer these questions, we have to ask not only what do such objects do, but also how, why, for whom, and under what circumstances?
This foundational course takes contemporary interface design as an object of study through empirical and critical analysis. Drawing on readings from design theory and STS (science and technology studies), we will examine concepts and techniques that inform design, while engaging with a range of examples of interaction design. What is the relationship between design theory and practice, and how do both connect to social factors of economy, class, race, gender, and popular culture? How can critical design challenge the status quo and liberate design from the structures of production and profit? Readings will include work by Donna Haraway, Jane Bennett, Johanna Drucker, Jenny Davis, Carl DiSalvo, Daniela Rosner, Jessica Helfand, and others.
Course ScheduleTuesday, 6:30-9:30pm ET
July 13 — August 03, 2021