Human-Centered Product Design is a major that I created for myself through my University's Individual Studies Program (IVSP). This program helps students craft educational experiences not found in traditional UMD majors, and vets each major proposal through a panel of University faculty members.
The goal of my major is to prepare me for a role in Digital Product Design by exploring how to solve human needs through the application of technology and design thinking. This major is a combination of three concentrations: Technology in Design, People in Design, and Business in Design.
explores Computer Science as the enabler for digital technologies. A fundamental understanding of its theory and applications will allow me to design products that take full advantage of the immense power of computing. Coursework in these technical courses will prepare me to speak the language of software engineers, understand their limitations, and ensure that my designs are technologically feasible. This coursework includes object-oriented programming, computer systems, programming languages, algorithms, and information analysis.
considers the human aspect of digital products. This is important for any designer aspiring to make products at a large scale. Without extensive knowledge of the people they are designing for, designers would be blind to their users’ needs. Coursework in this concentration includes psychology, human disability and aging, and human-computer interaction.
deals with business and innovation as the driving force behind digital products. A product could be engineered perfectly and backed by terabytes of data-- but if its value-added is not compelling, it will not survive in the market. An understanding of what makes a product both viable and profitable is necessary for any designer to successfully turn an idea into a real product. The coursework in this discipline revolves around systems thinking, product innovation, and design in cross-cultural settings.