–Engage

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

What are the properties of a UX design cirriculum, Pt. 1

I was inspired by the Boxes and Arrows article by Jason Withow, which is a cases study of the creation of a cirriculum for User Experience Design.

While Jason made his cirriculum for a specitic environment, my response to it was one of an ideal. What struck me in reading his article was how much it was not a design study and how much DESIGN is really the core of UX Design.


I think any design cirriculum, needs to be based in design practice. The course structure and outline that Jason proposed is one that follows the pedagogic model of standard academics, instead of ones that come from the art/design schools.

Where are the studios? Where is the crit? One of the great things about design schools is that you learn by doing, and well then doing it again. It is also a process of focus on detail for the purpose of forging a relationship with foundational buidling blocks.

The other critique I would have to the articles thoughts on a cirriculum for UX Design is that it doesn’t seem to be one aimed at creating critical and analytical thinkers. I would remove the course on specific solutions, and instead delve deeper into the foundations of design based problem solving and innovation probing that will create design leadership.

Lastly, is that there needs to be some courses that deal with craft. UX has several crafts and tools that enable those crafts.

There are 3 elements to all formative processes:
Know theory to create ideas
Know how to communicate those ideas
Know how to evaluate presentation of those ideas

Craft is an essential piece for learning the 2nd one, applying the 1st and a good course will also teach a good eye for the third (but that usually just comes from constant experience and focused attention on detail).

I do realize that the article was written in a specific context. My critique is more of a think aloud in regards to creating a cirriculum for the general UX community and not just the specific case study.


UX Design really needs to get a formal program together. A comprehensive cirriculum. My only requirement is that in a 2 years masters program that there is significant focus on Design. Future articles will focus on other theory and practice aspects of a proposed cirriculum and then a final summation.

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