We all interact with technology dozens of times a day in our ordinary lives. We get money out of a hole in the wall; call a friend on our mobile phones; tap out a note or a letter on our computers. If all those actions are quickly and easily performed, that’s thanks to our Interaction Designers, who are the people who design communications between people and machines.
The Interaction Design Institute of Ivrea (IDII) near Turin was set up in 2001 to train such designers. The Institute forms part of “Progetto Italia”, which supports cultural and sports events, as well as advanced training courses and is promoted by Telecom Italia (a leading Italian telecommunications company), which sponsors the school in partnership with Olivetti.

The IDII courses are open to new graduates or those with two or three years’ working experience behind them, as well as to employees of foreign companies, whose studies are wholly or partly sponsored by their employers. IDII differs from most other schools in its three fundamental teaching methods: Learning By Doing, which focuses on prototyping; User Centered Design, which eliminates briefings in favour of interviews, in the course of which problems requiring solutions are identified; Teaching On Demand, which means no standard curriculum, but requires all of the Institute’s lecturers to custom-tailor their teaching to their students’ individual needs.

This year’s course has attracted 45 students from 22 different countries. By the end of their course they will all be equipped to undertake a variety of careers: as Design Directors, experts in product usability and ergonomics and as service planners, as well as Interaction Designers.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 150

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