Why study Human Computer Interaction and Design at EIT Digital?
Smart devices (mobile phones, PDAs, tablet computers), smart products (car, navigation) and smart environments (ambient intelligence) are enabling new services that require innovative interfaces. Human Computer Interaction and Design (HCID) focuses on the study, design, development and evaluation of novel user interfaces, interactive systems and services.
The EIT Digital Master’s degree HCID is an interdisciplinary programme where our User-Centred Design approach places the users at the centre of the design process. By combining human aspects (at a cognitive, aesthetic and sensory-motor levels) to technological and business aspects, we create new products and services with great usability and user experience, and a solid customer demand, which often translate into commercial success.
HCID serves as the bridge to new products and services. Students learn how to design and define how people interact and live with the modern ever-changing technical world.
"Through design we can force a change - hopefully for the better, for all things and for all people. Join the revolution."
Dr. Mika P. Nieminen Human Computer Interaction and Design Coordinator
Who can apply?
If you wish to apply to this programme you must have a Bachelor of Science in, or be in your final year of studies of:
In special cases students from industrial design, media technology, computational linguistics, and cognitive sciences with sufficient skills in mathematics, software design and programming can be considered.
Kindly note that relevant work experience can compensate a non-strictly matching bachelor degree. Please justify your work experience in your motivation letter or resume. Once your papers are received, the selection committee will make the final decision on whether your bachelor's and work experience are sufficient as prerequisites for the track you have applied for.
How is the programme structured?
All EIT Digital Master School programmes follow the same scheme:
Students study one year at an ‘entry’ university and one year at an ‘exit’ university in two of EIT Digital’s hot spots around Europe.
Upon completion, graduates receive degrees from the two universities and a certificate awarded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.
The first year is similar at all entry points with basic courses to lay the foundation for the chosen technical programme focus. Some elective courses may also be chosen. At the same time, students are introduced to business and management. During the second semester, a design project is combined with business development exercises. These teach how to turn technology into business and how to present a convincing business plan.
In between the first year and the second year, a summer school addresses business opportunities within a socially relevant theme.
The second year offers a specialisation and a graduation project. The graduation project includes an internship at a company or a research institute and results in a Master thesis with a strong innovation and entrepreneurship dimension.
To learn more about the I&E minor please click here.
Where can I study Human Computer Interaction and Design?
What can I study at the entry and exit points?
Entry - 1st year, common courses
Each Entry University in HCID provides an introduction course to HCI, working knowledge to the design and implementation of interactive systems, necessary usability evaluation methods and a multi-disciplinary design project.
This entry is best suited for applicants with a degree in Computer Science Engineering. This means a strong base of ICT, computer science, programming and engineering courses in your transcript of records, including math courses at academic level (e.g. calculus, discrete or stats) and physics. A competitive academic record (of more than 3.4/4 or 4.24/5 or B+) is also needed. Please note that the admission committee of Polimi can specify additional constraints on the individual study plan on the basis of previous studies, in order to compensate possible lacks in basic prerequisites.
Aalto University offers a specialisation in Computational Interaction. Students learn to apply methods from computer science, engineering, and mathematics to inform understanding of human-computer interaction and to design and adapt human-computer interfaces. Such methods build on for instance machine learning, optimisation, statistical modelling, natural language processing, control theory, signal processing and computer vision, among others. Emerging application topics include computational and data-driven design, interactive AI, conversational agents, interactive visualization, cognitive and behavioral modeling, and novel user interface technology.
The specialisation is offered by the Aalto University School of Science and the Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering and it builds on internationally recognized research and education in human-computer interaction, computational intelligence in games, and advanced machine learning methods.
* If machine learning basics have been studied at entry, select more electives on agreement with academic coordinator ** Course currently offered during spring semester
Antti Oulasvirta is an Associate Professor at the Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering where he leads the ERC-funded research group User Interfaces. His research interests include computational design, interactive AI, and behavioral and cognitive models. Read more information about the research group at http://userinterfaces.aalto.fi
Perttu Hämäläinen is Aalto’s professor of computer games, with 6 years of game industry experience prior to joining Aalto. His research and teaching topics include game design and computational intelligence techniques in games and media. For example, his group has developed state-of-the-art movement control algorithms for physically based game characters and Augmented Climbing Wall, an award-winning AR system that combines computer games with sports and exercise. For publications and videos, see http://perttu.info
Mika P. Nieminen, is a senior lecturer and a post-doctoral researcher at Aalto University School of Science. He coordinates the HCID programme for the EIT Digital Master School in general and locally at Aalto, while also teaching several of Aalto’s first year courses. His research interests include UCD at large, and user involvement and user-centered design competencies in particular.
KTH offers a specialisation in mobile and ubiquitous interaction with courses in design, development and implementation of mobile and physical interaction. The two schools involved, ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and CSC (Computer Science and Communication) complement each other in mobile technology, user-centred design and design for physical interaction. KTH is well fitted for this specialisation with a strong research background in areas like CSCW, mobile computing and User Centred Design of communication media. Furthermore, KTH offers a unique and integrated education and research environment with world-leading telecom industries located in Stockholm / Kista. Other facilities accessible to the master's students include a mobile services lab, a haptics lab, a usability lab, a physical computing lab and a new center for information visualization (vic-sthlm.se) featuring ultra-high-resolution displays, holographic displays, eye tracking devices and multitouch surfaces.
Patric Dahlqvist is a Lecturer at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. He has over 20 years of experience teaching in the area of HCI. His main interests are Usability evaluation and methodology for understanding the user context. He has prior been at Stockholm University.
Cristian Bogdan is Associate Professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. His main research interests are in Human-Computer Interaction, developing novel methods for interaction design, design for user understanding of novel technologies such as electric vehicles and smart grids, as well as new methodologies and technologies for interactive systems development. Cristian worked previously at the Vienna University of Technology with interface modelling and at the Interactive Institute with physical interaction.
Université Paris-Saclay (UPS) - formerly Université Paris Sud, France
Université Paris-Saclay (formerly Université Paris Sud) offers a specialisation in situated interaction: students will learn how to design, develop and evaluate interactive applications and interfaces tailored to the user needs and adapted to their contexts of use. They will be trained to the state-of-the-art in novel interaction techniques, including mixed reality, tangible interfaces, immersive environments, interactive visualization and collaborative interaction.
HCID-301 - Fundamentals of Situated Interaction (2.5 ECTS)
HCID-302 - Virtual and Augmented Reality (5 ECTS)
HCID-303 - Advanced Programming of Interactive Systems (5 ECTS)
HCID-310 - Innovation & Entrepreneurship study (6 ECTS)
HCID-400 - Master thesis work (30.0 ECTS)
Elective courses (pick 4, 10 ECTS):
HCID-202 - Advanced Design of Interactive Systems (2.5 ECTS)
HCID-204 - Advanced Evaluation of Interactive Systems (2.5 ECTS)
HCID-511 - Introduction to Machine Learning (2.5 ECTS)
Sarah Fdili Alaoui is an assistant professor at LRI-Université Paris-Sud 11, part of the LRI HCC (ex InSitu) research team in interaction design, human computer Interaction and interactive arts. She is a media artist, a choreographer, a dancer and a Laban Movement Analyst. She holds a PhD in Art and Science from University Paris-Sud 11 and the IRCAM-Centre Pompidou and LIMSI-CNRS research institutes. She has an MSc from University Joseph Fourier and an Engineering Degree from ENSIMAG in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science.
Context-aware agents and decisions are key to supporting systems that perform automated reasoning and learn automatically from the user and the environment. We look at tools and methods that can deal with incomplete, uncertain and ambiguous real-life data, and we examine cognitive architectures and mental models that define the internal reasoning of the agents. You will learn to apply strategic interaction styles and to use existing platforms to design and develop multi-agent systems.
Dirk Heylen is full professor in Social Intelligent Computing at the University of Twente, working in the Human Media Interaction group. His research interests cover both the machine analysis of human (conversational) behaviour and the generation of human-like (conversational) behaviour by virtual agents. He is especially interested in the nonverbal and paraverbal aspects in conversation and what these signals reveal about the mental state (cognitive, affective, social).
Mariët Theune is assistant professor at the University of Twente, working in the Human Media Interaction group. She has a background in computational linguistics and her research interests include automatic language generation, interactive storytelling, serious games and interaction with embodied conversational agents.
Specialisation: Accessible and Adaptive Interaction
Universal Design implies taking into account the diversity of sensory, physical and cognitive abilities of the users of the system. Some users will have limitations in their abilities, which may be permanent, temporary, situational or contextual. The usability-based concept of accessibility implies that designers should work for reaching adequate levels of effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction across the diversity of users.
To reach good accessibility a combination of two approaches is required: design for all and assistive products. Design for all, also known as inclusive design, is the design of products to be accessible and usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for specialized adaptation.
But design for all is not always enough, as some persons with disabilities require specific adaptations to be able to use ICT. These adaptations are called assistive products, which are any product (including devices, equipment, instruments and software), especially produced or generally available, used by or for persons with disability for participation; to protect, support, train, measure or substitute for body functions, structures and activities; or to prevent impairments, activity limitations or participation restrictions.
Dr. Eng. Elena Villalba Mora is a Professor (Associate) at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain, in the Computer Science field, concretely in Human Computer Interaction; with more than 14 years’ experience in User Experience, eHealth and eInclusion. She holds a Master’s Degree in Telecommunications Engineering and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering, both from the Technical University of Madrid (Spain).
Sebastian Möller is full professor at TU Berlin and at the same time leads the Strategic Research Lab on Quality and Usability at TU Berlin. His research interests include speech processing, speech-based and multimodal interaction, quality perception and prediction of audio-visual services, user behavior modeling, and usable security and privacy.
Saman Zadtootaghaj is a researcher at the Telekom Innovation Laboratories of Deutsche Telekom AG. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in Information Technology at IASBS, and his Master's at the University of Tehran in 2015. The topic of his Master's thesis was "A Learning Based Algorithm to Detect Region of Interest in Cloud Gaming". Since January 2016, Saman is working as a research scientist at the Quality and usability Lab of Deutsche Telekom Laboratories, TU-Berlin and working on Quality of Experience linked to mobile gaming.
TU Berlin offers a specialisation in multimodal interaction with courses in speech signal processing and speech technology, speech recognition, emotion and situation recognition, image analysis, vision-based interaction, and biometrics. The focus will be on innovative interaction paradigms, both from the technical as well as from the user side. In order to follow these topics, a good set of mathematical (signal processing) and computer-science competences will be necessary. TUB is particularly suited for educating this topic, as it has a multidisciplinary group of professors and researchers with a background ranging from electrical engineering and computer science to psychology. Study and Master thesis projects can be performed on campus in conjunction with Telekom Innovation Laboratories (T-Labs) as an EIT partner, as well as with numerous scientific institutions intensively collaborating with TUB in the near surroundings (DFKI, Fraunhofer institutes, HPI, etc.).
The University of Trento (UNITN) offers a specialisation in cognitive interaction which studies the mental and cognitive processes that are underlaying language, vision, and interaction. This specialisation provides the student with the interdisciplinary training in language science, neuroscience, psychology, computational methods for the statistical analysis of large amounts of language and perceptual data, and in interface design. Theoretical knowledge will be supplemented by experience acquired in substantial practical projects carried out in research and industry labs.
Massimo Zancanaro is a full professor of Computer Science at the Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science of the University of Trento and the head of the Intelligent Interfaces and Interaction (i3) at Fondazione Bruno Kessler. His research interests are in the field on Human-Computer Interaction and specifically on the topic of intelligent interfaces for which he is interested in investigating aspects related to the design as well as to study the reasons for use and non-use. He co-edited two books and co-authored more than a hundred papers in journals (among them Artificial Intelligence, User Modeling, TOCHI, IJHCS) conferences (including IJCAI, CHI, IUI, UMAP) and peer-reviewed symposia. At present, he serves as vice-chair for the Italian Chapter of the ACM Special Interest Group in Computer-Human Interaction.
What are the career opportunities?
Graduates from the HCID master’s programme qualify for jobs in international and local organisations in both technical and business roles. Graduates could become:
User experience (UX) or interaction designer
Interactive systems engineer
Human factors expert
Through their multidisciplinary attitude, HCID graduates are valuable in open innovation settings where different aspects (market, users, social aspects, media technologies) come together. They can choose to work within companies that provide value-added products and services, such as game companies, e-learning, web developers, and entertainment. An alternative path would be to start your own company to provide product or technology development, media content, business development or consultancy services.
Music-loving engineer Filippo Sterrantino wants to bring technology to music. He used to play in a punk band and, during his two-year masters at the EIT Digital Master School in Stockholm and Paris, he became a member of the EIT Digital Academy House Band. Now he would love to find a job in the music industry combining his love of music with his fascination for artificial intelligence and augmented reality. “The effect of these technologies will be big.”
“I like to make things easier for people’s brains,” says Sterrantino. That is why he first studied cognitive science at the University of Trento in his hometown and took courses in neurolinguistics, cognitive economics and Human Computer Interaction and Design (HCID). The latter inspired him to continue with a masters in the topic. “So, I googled ‘Masters’ ‘HCID’ and the first hit that came up was the EIT Digital Master School. I applied and got accepted.”
Why did you choose to study in Stockholm and Paris?
“I knew Stockholm has - alongside Berlin - a major startup hub. It has a really active startup scene and a lot of innovations are happening there. I just wanted to be there, that is why I chose my entry to be the KTH. I chose the Université Paris-Sud because of their specialisation in virtual reality and augmented reality. When it comes to human computer interaction, I believe these technologies are emerging.”
After Paris you went back to Stockholm for your internship. Why?
“The openings for student internships in Paris are mostly in labs, which are amazing by the way. But I did not want a lab internship. I wanted to go for one at a company. Also, if you don’t speak French well, it is difficult. So, I went back to Stockholm because I knew the environment there. I did my internship as a UX/UI Designer and Researcher at Weblify, a company that does web design and builds websites. I worked on different projects. In the beginning I designed a library of designs that the company could sell. Then I focused on improving the workflow of the production team. I created a plugin to build websites and implemented available tools to enhance proactive planning. The team can build a website in three hours instead of three days.”
Will you stay in Stockholm after graduating?
“Maybe, maybe not. I want to move on from user experience and work with artificial intelligence. I am not focused on Sweden. When I went to Stockholm in the first year it seemed huge. After being in Paris, I now see Paris is way bigger. I feel now that Stockholm is too small. I want to move somewhere else. Going back to Italy is not an option, I lived a large part of my life there already. And I do prefer a city where I need to put a jacket on. Amsterdam or Berlin maybe. I am a digital nomad. I can live anywhere.”
What is your dream job?
“I would love to end up in a company that develops music tools. I love making music. For me the perfect job will be building tools for making music in the music industry. I am talking to a friend who graduated from a music school in Stockholm about starting up a company to specialise in technology in music.”
Do you play music yourself?
“I sang and played keyboard in different bands, playing at exhibitions and in bars. Once, I even played in a punk band. We composed our own songs and did live shows around the region. At university I had no time anymore to play. Instead, I started composing music as a freelancer for TV commercials like for Alfa Romeo, and for documentaries. That paid for my student life. Now, I’m also a band member of the EIT Digital Academy House Band.”
How did that happen?
“During the summer school in Budapest in 2018, I met Kazi Injamamyl Haque with whom I sang a lot in the hotel. We also worked together on the business case for the Summer School. While talking to Ákos Wetters, one of the coaches, he asked us if we wanted to play at the Kick-Off 2018 in Paris. I remembered Fernando who played piano and Tilo who played saxophone and Kazi knew a drummer. Two weeks before the kick-off, I met a first year EIT Digital Master School student in Paris, who played cello in an orchestra and also knew how to play the bass. So, we recruited Rosa.”
You were all in different places, how did you practice?
“We practised together online, but mostly we were rehearsing on our own. The problem with online practising is the latency and bad connections. So, at some point we tasked ourselves to learn each of our own parts. One day before the opening of the kick-off we practised for the first time in real life to find synergy and chemistry. I had never practised like that before in my life. It was intense. Yes, I was nervous. The crowd was the biggest I had ever played in front of. But it is just like a business challenge: you have no time to worry, you’d better be good.”
What did you like best about the EIT Digital Master School ?
“The bonding. You meet amazing people in both academic years. You go to the kick-off and Summer School and meet more people from different backgrounds, with whom you will also work on a challenge. That brings new ideas and leads to bigger things, because everybody has their own assets. You go fast, your patience is tested, it breaks you up and at the same time it gives you energy so that you accomplish something together. That bonds for life. It teaches you to work in international teams and to build a network. ”
What else did you learn?
“You meet and work with different people who have a different way of working, interpret things differently, have a different sense of humour. I look now more objectively at what an experience is, seeing things through different filters. I learned how to think entrepreneurially. I am now always hungry to learn more, to gain more knowledge and to improve my competences. And I learned that you may fail. Fail a lot and fail fast so you can iterate next time. I learned to never stop. Failing is a lesson learned.
A researcher takes more time to do things well and do them extremely accurately. I was more like that. Pragmatic, doing things perfectly. Entrepreneurial thinking is more about doing things fast and fixing it later, that way of doing is not possible in science. Here I learned: Screw It, Let’s Do It.”