Human-Centered Design

Design is pervasive in our lives, as we spend most of our time interacting with human-made tools, objects, services, and information spaces. All these interactions are mediated through design, through structures and processes which are meant to optimize our relations with our environment. Design then is not only about form, but also about function, purpose and meaning. Many design questions start with an object or a practice, but lead to fundamental questions of economics, justice, and philosophy. The Course Thread in Human-Centered Design connects a rich offering of courses to the core question of design: Who does what with which tools? This question can be answered in a historical or visionary context, but also in a theoretical and a practical context. Hence our course thread connects business courses with engineering courses, and reading-intensive courses with practice-driven courses...

Check out Berkeley Institute of Design graduate student Lora Oehlberg's introduction of the Human-Centered Design Thread: http://youtu.be/3IZroX8uxhM

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 Design is pervasive in our lives, as we spend most of our time interacting with human-made tools, objects, services, and information spaces. All these interactions are mediated through design, through structures and processes which are meant to optimize our relations with our environment. Design then is not only about form, but also about function, purpose and meaning. Many design questions start with an object or a practice, but lead to fundamental questions of economics, justice, and philosophy. The Course Thread in Human-Centered Design connects a rich offering of courses to the core question of design: Who does what with which tools? This question can be answered in a historical or visionary context, but also in a theoretical and a practical context. Hence our course thread connects business courses with engineering courses, and reading-intensive courses with practice-driven courses.

Common to all courses included in the Design Thread is the notion that designers have a unique practice or way of knowing what distinguishes design from art (creation which is accountable to the vision of the artist); engineering (the application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends); and science (the development of generalizable knowledge through observation, experimentation and hypothesis testing). The courses also cover design as a practice which is iterative, non-verbal, and organized around principles of material discourse.

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