What it’s like to be… a Digital Interaction Design student

  • Published: 20 Dec 2018

We spoke to Digital Interaction Design graduate Connor Finlayson – who is now studying the MSc in Design for Business at Duncan of Jordanstone – about what he enjoyed about the course…

The Digital Interaction Design course at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design blends product design, graphic design, computing and user research, allowing students to learn, build and craft everyday interactions with digital technology. This doesn’t just include mobile apps and social networks, but also incorporates digital products, wearables, environments and services. Graduate of the course, Connor Finlayson, tells us more...

"The course is all about applying design skills to specific scenarios"

“When I'm designing something I’m always thinking about how the person would actually use and interact with it. The Digital Interaction Design course makes you really empathetic because of that; you're taught design skills but it's all about applying them to specific scenarios – and making sure those designs are actually usable by the people they’re designed for. You’re also given a lot of creative freedom because you're not confined to the constraints of a particular area.

“I started off studying computing at university, but it wasn't creative enough for me – I learnt to programme but it was more about how a computer ‘thinks’ rather than how you can use a computer to make stuff. I wanted to make stuff. It was then that I found out about interaction design and how it has that nice balance of technology and design. I spoke to the course director Graham Pullin and applied to the course, and I really felt like I got that creative side back.

“Dundee is a great place to be a designer”

“Dundee is a great place to be a designer. The city has always had a strong history of design but it’s becoming more and more visible now with the V&A Dundee opening. There’s Dundee Design Festival, the Degree Show, which attracts thousands of visitors each year, and lots of other cultural projects always going on. As a student, it's great to be able to join in all these events – one week it’s make/share, another a zine jam, a Pecha Kucha event… it’s an exciting time.

One of my favourite projects that some of my classmates worked on is the Speedwell Sociometer. I know that's quite cheesy because it won the UNESCO award, but it was just so clever. It recorded the network activity in a local bar – so how many people were on their phones rather than socialising – and displayed it like a seismograph, so in a really tangible way. It made you think like, oh, actually yeah, I should stop scrolling through Instagram when there are people right here.

“I want to use design to solve problems in the community”

“I want to utilise design as a tool for good. There are obviously people on the course who want to work for Apple or Google when they graduate, but I would rather use design to solve problems in the community or in a charity environment. I feel like I can actually do that because of the Digital Interaction Design course - it's really empowering.”

 Find out more about our Digital Interaction Design course on the Study section of our website.

“Dundee is a great place to be a designer. The city has always had a strong history of design but it’s becoming more and more visible now."

Connor Finlayson, Digital Interaction Design graduate