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Interaction Design, an industrial challenge

Interaction Design, an industrial challenge

In the span of two decades, information technology has become a part of our everyday. Interaction Design is crucial in terms of interactive product and service design, as well as digital innovation. Overview of the field from the corporate standpoint.

Betgame - Multi-screen Interactions - Benjamin ROYER and Jean-Charles WIELFAERT

Digital innovation at the core of education

The digital revolution’s exponential growth has been driven, in large part, by the constant strides made in technological innovation and at little cost. That said, not everything falls under Moore’s Law: Product purpose also owes its thanks to the Design field. The versatility of phones and computers boasting user-friendly, hands-on and intuitive features reflect the terrain of Interaction Design. If the digital economy has taken on colossal dimensions, it is also because interfaces are now accessible to all.

In existence since 1999, L’École de design offers an Interaction Design program now at the top of its game. For the past three years, the READi Design Lab (Applied Experimental Research in Interaction Design) has been offering students and partner companies research expertise in information and communication technology-oriented uses.

Both undergraduate and post-graduate curricula on Digital Culture give students the method-specific tools and techniques used in devising innovative business solutions. Be it for websites, mobile phone apps, intuitive searches on touch-screen devices, information-mapping, or virtual or augmented reality applications, the project model pairs well whether for top-down or bottom-up approaches.

C DANS L’AIR - Multi-screen Interactions - Rahman KALFANE and Nadim RAAD

A long-standing partnership with Orange

This insight is deeply-rooted in partnerships established across the board in every business sector. Orange has been one of the school’s long-standing partners since 1999. The emergence of this program has enabled the company to incorporate design in its projects. In turn, Orange entrusts us with several prospective studies every year to continually monitor the ever-changing uses. Nine Interaction Designers from the school have joined the ranks of the teams, and each year, several new interns are hired. Since 2011, four Vocational Training contracts from the Design and Innovation Management MDes have also been implemented. The bonds forged, thus far, suggest that similar changes lie ahead in an effort to make room for design within the company.

Interaction Design across all business sectors

With all of this in mind, interface-driven added value creation does not rely solely on technology companies. The school has delved even further into innovative solutions for machinery or content in the food processing, automobile, banking, HR management, TV, health and well-being and visual display fields. Bodet, VIF, Alcatel Lucent, Wiztivi, La Banque Populaire, Technicolor, Le Relais Thalasso de la Baule, Sigma, etc. represent companies, which, on the whole, have turned to the school to not only become better acquainted with Interaction Design, but to also get the integration ball moving. For a handful of them, this collaboration has proven beneficial on the image and use fronts with regard to new or enhanced added value.

Internships also enable students to express their creativity in design firms, start-ups and technology companies. Since 2000, over 270 internship agreements have been signed, which give students the opportunity to join project teams based in France and abroad. Google, Faber Novel, Dassault Systèmes, Ripple Motion, Microsoft and By Volta symbolize those that have opened their doors to students; some have even opted to leave theirs open. One such example is Capgemini, which implemented a team of four Interaction Designers in Nantes.

Download-mapping - Benjamin ROYER and Jean-Charles WIELFAERT

Jobs up for grabs

The Interaction Design job market has some rather interesting prospects, with the promise of career opportunities in France and abroad. More than 28% of graduates from a combination of fields found work abroad, including a third in North America, a third in Europe, and the others mostly in Asia. The remaining 72% of graduates work in France. Three regions account for three-fourths of those hired: Île de France (Paris), Pays de la Loire and Brittany, namely given a strong digital economy presence and the number of major tech companies that have decided to call these regions home. Digital businesses comprise specialists with a wide range of expertise and competencies, including software developers, digital service suppliers, virtual reality solutions providers and technical consultants in interfaces and interaction.

Around a dozen alumni have opted for their own design firm, the majority of which have been set up in Western France. The economic context has had no impact on these small businesses or their developments, which are in line with market expectations.

A story in-the-making…

The relatively young nature of this discipline is synonymous with a wealth of business potential and growth opportunities. Interaction, communication and immersion technologies are paving the way to extraordinary possibilities that have yet to enter the public light. For users, expectations around services and new applications are exploding. The story of Interaction Design is just beginning to unfold…