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Master in Design for Digital Experimentation

How can playful research be used to craft products and services that are technically innovative, socially responsible, and positively impactful? The Master in Design for Digital Experimentation focuses on achieving speculative design outcomes, exploring the edges of design and digital innovation with a nod to future needs and internet culture.

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Welcome

In today’s world, where digital and everyday life are deeply intertwined, rethinking design approaches is essential. The Master in Design for Digital Experimentation, led by field experts, embarks on a mission to push the boundaries of design through playful research methods. These methods prompt questions that lead to speculative design solutions, questioning and expanding our understanding of digital realms. This program recognizes the changing needs of a diverse audience, aiming not only to meet existing digital standards but to set new milestones in design creativity and inclusivity. We celebrate digital innovation, encouraging you to create designs that boldly venture beyond conventional norms, crafting digital experiences that resonate globally.

We welcome students from around the world, creating a melting pot of artists, designers, digital pioneers, and thinkers, all driven by the aim to redefine digital design through speculative outcomes. You will have access to a global network of professionals and leaders in digital design, fostering engagement and contribution to cutting-edge digital practices. Our program is dedicated to developing individuals with a deep conceptual understanding and the technical skills necessary for thriving in the multifaceted world of art and digital culture. Our graduates emerge as cultural contributors, future innovators, and trendsetters in digital design. Among the topics we will delve into are internet culture, digital ethics and design ethics, digital accessibility, data privacy, and data protection, all through the lens of playful research and speculative design.

Access and Admission Requirements: UI/UX or related digital design graduates with strong coding skills. Professionals with experience in the field of media art, digital design, front-end development, and an interest in contemporary digital and internet culture and art.

Master in Design for Digital Experimentation Program

1 Term 1: September — December

1.1 Playful Research Group

Within the year-long Playful Research Group module, integral to the program, students engage in weekly discussions and collaborative work with faculty and guest experts to explore innovative design concepts focusing on ethics, accessibility, attention, and privacy. The group commits to a rigorous schedule, publishing termly research papers on speculative design solutions that underline our drive to move beyond conventional design thinking. This effort not only aids in selecting a theme for your final Master’s project but also encompasses group discussions, experimental activities, and collaborative exercises across three terms. The objective is to enhance practical skills in research, analysis, and knowledge sharing, surpassing the limits of traditional academic learning and preparing you for a final project that marries theoretical insights with practical application in the digital design landscape.

1.2 Playful Research Practice

This module immerses the students in a hands-on exploration of various media across multiple design disciplines. Guided by experts from a broad spectrum of design fields, this module emphasizes practical experimentation to ensure our research is grounded in real-world applications and cross-disciplinary innovation. This approach not only enhances the relevance and potential impact of our work but also fosters a holistic understanding of design. Through engaging in this multidisciplinary practice of play, students are equipped to address design challenges creatively and ethically, enriching their professional toolkit and broadening their design perspectives to include a rich array of techniques and methodologies.

1.3 Digital x Ethics

In this module, we will delve into a vital yet often overlooked aspect of design: digital ethics. Unlike fields like psychology, medicine, law, and media, digital design lacks a universal ethics code. We’ll tackle this gap head-on. Through lectures, tutorials, debates, and workshops led by specialists, you will explore the roles and implications of web technologies in various sectors. The curriculum focuses on understanding bias in digital design and AI, identifying deceptive patterns, and distinguishing between persuasion and coercion in digital design. Students are encouraged to think both creatively and critically, aiming to design solutions that address real-life scenarios effectively.

2 Term 2: January — March

2.1 Digital x Privacy

In this module, you will delve into the crucial issue of digital privacy in digital design, learning to strike a balance between innovation and user data protection. Digital privacy is a nuanced and complex concept, especially for digital designers who must navigate the legal, ethical, and practical aspects of personal data. The curriculum covers various facets, including legal and regulatory considerations, the intricacies of data collection, use, and reuse, as well as the cost associated with maintaining privacy. You will explore different perspectives on defining digital privacy and understand the ongoing tension between privacy laws and technological advancements. This comprehensive approach aims to equip students with a deep understanding of privacy issues, preparing them to design responsibly in an increasingly data-driven world.

2.2 Digital x Accessibility

In this module, you will focus on developing inclusive designs that cater to a broad spectrum of user needs, ensuring digital experiences are universally accessible. The curriculum emphasizes the concept that digital accessibility equates to usability for individuals interacting with products differently, whether due to visual impairments, mobility or learning challenges, or varying digital literacy levels. Key topics include prioritizing ‘Accessibility First’ in design, deepening understanding of digital literacy, and enhancing learnability in UX. This approach aims to equip you with the skills to consider and effectively implement digital accessibility from the start, creating designs that are functional, inclusive, and empathetic to diverse user circumstances.

3 Term 3: April — June

3.1 Digital x Attention

In this module, you will explore the dynamics of user attention in digital interfaces, focusing on creating designs that are engaging yet responsible. With the growing challenge of devices captivating and often diminishing our ability to concentrate, the module addresses the importance of designing for the right type of attention. Topics covered include designing for passive attention, the impact of smart devices, and the concept of ‘Lovable Data.’ These areas will guide you in understanding how to craft digital interfaces that attract user attention ethically and effectively, providing a counterbalance to the trend of devices hijacking our focus. The module offers a blend of practical design strategies and insightful understanding of user engagement in the digital realm.

3.2 Final Project

During the master’s programme, students will participate in bi-monthly seminars to discuss their ongoing projects, sharing ideas, progress, and prototypes. They will develop individual projects throughout the year, presenting and receiving feedback at the end of Terms 1 and 2. The culmination of this process is the final presentation at the end of Term 3, where students showcase their final projects. These projects, often experimental and artistic, reflect the skills and knowledge acquired throughout the programme in digital design and culture. During this journey, you will receive guidance and mentorship from the Master director and professors, supported by regular meetings and individual consultations. This structure not only fosters continuous development but also ensures the final projects are both innovative and grounded in the programme’s teachings.


Beyond digital design

The Master in Design for Digital Experimentation invites you to rethink your role as designers in our digitally centric society. It is about understanding that breaking design conventions should be a deliberate, informed choice, grounded in a deep knowledge of norms and audience needs. This programme is dedicated to empowering you to create digital products and services that resonate profoundly with users, benefiting individuals, societies, and the environment.

Students in this programme will evolve into skilled designers and responsible citizens, learning to innovate in digital design through experimentation with new styles and techniques. They will aim to transform the digital design landscape, crafting unique and impactful user experiences unlike anything seen before. The programme tackles crucial questions: How do digital products influence our social, mental, and emotional processes? How can breaking away from traditional design conventions enhance the effectiveness of digital products and services, and when should designers choose to deviate from these norms? How can principles of digital design experimentation be applied to create products and services that are technically innovative, socially responsible, and positively impactful?

Envisioning a better world through design, research, and new technologies, the programme aims to inspire you to propose innovative businesses, conceive new systems, develop novel products, and design transformative realities. The curriculum merges the art of design with societal impact, treating design as a multifaceted, socially, and politically influential act. You will be encouraged to navigate the complexities of digital innovation, understanding its broader implications and potential for transformative change.


The experience
Do you want to know more about the Masters’ School?

Each academic year, students with very diverse professional and cultural profiles of more than 80 nationalities from all over the world attend their master’s or postgraduate training at Elisava. We want to promote connections and networks among students beyond the context of each master’s degree to promote the exchange of knowledge through very diverse projects: we organize interdisciplinary workshops and conferences; transdisciplinary projects with students from several master’s degrees; collaborations with companies, institutions and NGOs…

Interdisciplinary workshops Collaborations with companies, institutions and NGOs Elisava Masters’ Talks and lectures Elisava Alumni
Masters’ Scholarships

Do you want to study the Master in Design for Digital Experimentation at Elisava? In this section you will be able to check all the information on the annual call for scholarships, which recognize, reward and disseminate the talent and excellence of future master’s students.

Elisava Masters’ Scholarships