Written by: Kelsey Whitaker, A Senior at Brandeis University
The way in which people experience design is a vital factor in the success of any creation. There is currently a growing movement of designers who search to implement technologies that adapt to the user. This is where the newest Master of Science program at Brandeis GPS in User-Centered design comes in. User-centered design covers fields including Human Factors, Human Computer Interaction, and User Experience. Human factors deal with the physical factors of interaction as well as the psychological and social factors of design. Human computer interaction is concerned with the interfaces between humans and computers and how these factors influence user experience. User experience deals with the usability issues of design. In addition to providing students with an advanced understanding of these areas, the program at Brandeis GPS will provide students with the leadership skills necessary to implement and advocate for design thinking.
Currently, the field of User-centered design is in high demand and expected to grow significantly over the next ten years. CNN Money recently voted the profession as the #14 best job in America. It was also featured in Glassdoor’s list of “25 Highest Paying Jobs with the Most Openings Right Now.” “User experience has caught on so much, both as something that people enjoy doing and something that is more and more widely recognized as being valuable to a growing number of companies,” says user experience designer Louisa Armbrust. The applications of user-centered design are broad and specialization can be found in fields such as information architecture, web designing, engineering, interactive media, and technology. Leading organizations that are currently hiring user-centered designers include Amazon, IBM, Disney, Apple, and several more.
The Brandeis GPS user-centered design degree program is geared towards individuals who are currently working in fields such as information technology, computer science, information architecture, web design, and other related areas, who are looking to extend their expertise in human factors of design. The Brandeis GPS program is unique because there are few online master’s degree programs in this field, none of which are geared towards developing leadership. In addition to a focus on leadership development, the available electives will create possibilities for students to graduate with skills in user interface design. This is an altogether different field than user-centered design, however, employers generally search for individuals with skills in both. The 30 credit program consists of 7 required courses and 3 electives.