The graphics indicate the melding of technology and nature

I was in San Francisco last week to meet old friends from IDEO and Stanford, and while there I was privileged to give the inaugural lecture for the new Interaction Design Program at CCA (California College of the Arts). Students will start this fall, enrolling for four years to gain a Bachelor of Fine Arts. I also gave a talk at Facebook during the trip, and was told by the design folks there that it will be hard for them to wait until the students graduate, as they have such a rapidly expanding need for good interaction designers!

CCA’s Montgomery Campus in the old Greyhound Bus Station

CCA has a split campus, with more of the fine art courses on the Berkeley side of the bay and the design courses in San Francisco, located in the old Greyhound Bus Station that has a high vaulted roof structure like a cathedral, providing a generous open space for studios. Kristian Simsarian is Chair of the new program. I know him well as we worked together in IDEO’s San Francisco location. He is assembling a stellar team of teachers, drawn from the design community of Silicon Valley, and has developed an excellent curriculum.

A critical discussion in an open studio

Kristian thinks of interaction design in a broad context, including the design of any products and services that have some digital component, saying, “It’s the Interaction Designer’s job to make that stuff good, easy to use, compelling and delightful!” He wants to prepare students to create meaningful and innovative designed experiences in the realms of work, lifestyle, and play—from computers and mobile devices to interactive physical spaces, games, and social networks. I welcome this new program and I’m confident that it will be great, but I’m surprised that it has taken so long to get started, as interaction designers have been working in Silicon Valley for twenty five years.

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