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Prof. Michael Gibson

Professor and Graduate Programs Coordinator (Interaction Design and Design Research) The University of North Texas

As a longtime (literally, I’ll soon finish my 25th year) university-level, visual communication design educator and graduate program coordinator, I’ve helped a variety of design students—grad and undergrad—through a couple of “bad periods” in socio-economic history that have affected our discipline prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Among these were the dot com “bust” of the early 2000s and the recession of 2009 and 2010.

While neither of these had the sweeping social, economic, public policy and broad physical effects of the current crisis, neither of them had the potential to positively affect—that’s right, POSITIVELY affect—the state of user experience and interaction design that this pandemic does. ‘Long story short, the seclusion and social distancing protocols that are now daily realities for many are fueling opportunities to nurture more inclusive, broadly informed dialogues in and around the landscapes of UX and IX Design, ones that will help us facilitate new ways of being and knowing and understanding, all of which have the potential to positively catalyze human capability. This is, to borrow some language from design scientist Arkalgud Ramaprasad, a great time “to be synthesizing research and practical knowledge, [and their] interpretations [within] and applications to the design of solutions to complex, ill-structured… plastic problems.”

This also means that it might be a great time for many among the Linked In community who have suddenly and unexpectedly found themselves furloughed or laid off from positions in the UX or IX Design sectors that affect and are affected by the pandemic to consider enrolling in graduate study. The “time we’re living in now” is providing a backdrop against which we can equip ourselves with new means and toolkits to identify and instigate and then lead or manage new interaction and/or user experience design opportunities. This is what our human-centered, grad-level design curriculum has been designed to facilitate since we introduced our latest iteration of it almost three years ago.

If you’re interested in getting more information about what embarking on a graduate-level, UX and IX Design-rooted experience might be like for you, please visit our website at https://unt-ixd.com/, or contact me at ProfessorGibson@unt.edu.

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