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BA Interface Design

Interaktiver Tisch (blau beleuchtet) aus dem Studiengang Interfacedesign

Digital devices and systems are only accessible to us via the interface. In the interface, abstract processes become tangible. Interfaces provide us with information and enable us to control processes. How interfaces look, how they are organized, how they are operated, what information is displayed, what room for maneuver is offered to the user – all this is decided by interface designers. A variety of design strategies come into play, both at university and in professional life. From methodical user experience design (UX) to speculative design approaches, interface designers have a wide range of design options.

Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Type:
Full time
Course language:
German
Standard study period:
8 semesters, incl. one internship semester
Start of study:
Winter semester
Registration for the qualifying examination:
01.01. – 01.04.
Application deadline:
15.06. – 15.07.. (admission free)
Admission requirements:
General university entrance qualification/technical college entrance qualification/equivalently recognized prior vocational training, passed aptitude test
Credits:
240 ECTS credits
Module Manuals & Regulations
The Study

Interaction between man and machine

Nowadays, we encounter computers everywhere and in many different forms. From smartphones to the Internet of Things and a multitude of invisible computers - digitization has almost completely permeated our living and working environments. Not only are the devices themselves diverse, but the software in particular enables an incredible variety of applications - from simple games to huge social networks.
Digital devices and systems are only accessible to us via the interface. In the interface, abstract processes become tangible. Interfaces provide us with information and enable us to control processes. A map app shows us where we are and what is in our environment - but it also offers the possibility of changing the map section and calling up complex functions. Through a map app, we can discover places, find stores, book transportation, receive packages at the right moment, and meet people.

Concept

The task of interface design is to help shape the influence of the computer on our living environment and to unite digital technologies with humanistic ideas. Good interface design means structuring complex action sequences into comprehensible sensory units and then presenting them graphically, acoustically or haptically in such a way that they can be used and appreciated by very different people. People should have a positive experience when using digital technologies. But this also includes displaying data transparently in the interface and making risks clear.

Our study concept is based on the following overarching principles:

At the heart of every design degree is the training and development of one's own creativity. Creativity here means both finding one's own language of form, but also developing problem-solving skills. In almost all design projects, both aspects must be considered equally. A beautiful interface does not solve a problem - a good structure that is poorly presented is incomprehensible. Creativity in studies and on the job means finding innovative and sustainable solutions to problems and designing elegant interfaces.

Accordingly, creativity is also taught, trained and practiced in the interface studies at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. Even in the basic studies, creativity techniques are taught, aesthetic experiments are carried out and work is done on complex problems. In creative processes, there is no one right way. Rather, our goal is to teach you strategies that enable you to work on complex problems independently, both aesthetically and conceptually.

By teaching design and methodological skills, you will be able to address two seemingly simple questions: How do I design? And what do I design?

For the development of design competencies, we offer courses in which topics such as screen design, typography, graphic user interfaces, generative design, web design and data visualization are taught in practical exercises. Here, students learn how to design and how to justify their design decisions.

But interface design goes far beyond interfaces. In order to design elegant and comprehensible digital systems, one must also ask what is actually being designed. As designers, we don't have to take structures and systems for granted - rather, we have to question all sequences of action and interrelationships. To this end, we teach topics such as information architecture, user experience, usability, service design, digital business models and evaluation techniques.

Even if it is not possible to accurately predict the future of the professional field of designers, it is undisputed that technological developments such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning, robotics as well as virtual and augmented reality will strongly change both future design processes – e. g. Designing with AI – and user experiences. Even in this very dynamic field of tension between too much technology-centeredness vs. the acquisition of necessary competencies of future designers*, the program focuses on the balance of introductory and applied course offerings. It supports you in transforming your respect or barriers in applying these new technologies into curiosity, creativity and critical reflection.

The design program in Potsdam is characterized by a high degree of personal responsibility. We want to enable our students to set their own focal points and to deepen their knowledge in topics and specialist areas. It is not without reason that our study regulations encourage students to set their own priorities outside of interface design. However, personal responsibility also means taking responsibility in design processes, developing one's own power of judgment and taking positions.

Is this course of study a good fit for you?

Do you have to know how to program to study interface design?
No.

Do you have to learn programming in interface studies?
Both computer science and interface design deal with digital technology - but from very different perspectives. Put simply, computer scientists are interested in how digital technology works. Interface designers are interested in what can be done, designed and achieved with it. Interface design is not about technology per se, but about the relationship between people and digital technology.

Is interface design comparable to computer science?
Both computer science and interface design deal with digital technology - but from very different perspectives. Put simply, computer scientists are interested in how digital technology works. Interface designers are interested in what can be done, designed and achieved with it. Interface design is not about technology per se, but about the relationship between people and digital technology.

Is UX the same as interface design?
UX ("user experience design") is a term that is now frequently used when talking about the development and design of digital products and services. From our perspective, UX emphasizes methodological aspects of interface design. UX is thus about a structured and user-centered approach to interface development and evaluation. In UX, the needs of users are carefully collected, prototypes or products are tested, usage is analyzed, and conclusions are drawn for improvements. UX is an important design strategy that is taught in the interface design course. But it is not the only one. Research, creative approaches, experimental work and free speculation about interfaces are just as much a part of the training and professional practice as methodical analyses.

Do you design more than just apps in interface design?
Yes! Interface design is very versatile. From very methodical user experience design, which examines in great detail how technology is used, to the very artistic design of interactive exhibition formats, a great deal is possible and is also offered in teaching. Here it is worth taking a look at the course catalog, Incom and our project archive.

If I get a place in interface design, can I only take interface courses?
No. In the first semesters of the BA program, we offer a comprehensive and cross-curricular program in elementary design - i.e. in the basic courses for design students. But also in the further course of studies, one can - and should - take advantage of offerings from Communication Design, Product Design and European Media Studies. In the design modules, one can take up to 50 % of the achievements in the other two design courses!

Is interface design an artistic degree?
Good question. Artistic study: yes. Art study: no. One of the special things about studying design in Potsdam is that students can choose their own focus. You can study very applied - but also very free and very artistic.

I can't draw or paint at all - but I'm very interested in interface design! Is that possible at all? If so - how do I get a portfolio?
Drawing is a good way to get ideas down on paper- but not the only one. You don't have to be able to draw perfectly to study interface design. If you don't have a portfolio, take some time and set yourself creative tasks: Think of an app they would like themselves and sketch it. Use photography to document people, things, and interactions. Experiment with graphics software. Play with computer code. Create personal maps. Discover program sequences in everyday life and describe them. Design a cookbook without words. Translate a piece of music into a picture. Shoot a video.

I draw and paint a lot. But what belongs in my portfolio when I apply for the interface design program?
We are interested in the creative side of your personality. The portfolio is a way of presenting this side to us. In this respect, the portfolio can include drawings, sketches, photographs, paintings, renderings, models, web designs, but also films, animations, music pieces, sculptures, installations or other creative formats such as computer code, stories, websites, games, videos and music. Just show who you are, what they are interested in, and how they communicate their ideas.

How should I work on the assignment for the entrance exam?
As creatively as possible. Avoid clichés, convince us of your concept! The formal elaboration is not unimportant - but we are mainly interested in your ideas.

What skills should you bring with you when applying for interface design?
Curiosity, solution-oriented thinking, a good general education, a desire to design, enjoyment of complex problems, interest in digital technology.

Is it even possible to make money with interface design?
Yes - and possibly quite a lot. The program has very good industry contacts. Our graduates work in large companies, have founded very successful startups, or work as independent experts.

Is it possible to work in research in the future?
Yes, the Interfacedesign program is very involved in research. With the Interaction Design Lab and the Urban Complexity Lab, we have two outstanding research units with an international reputation. Furthermore, through a cooperation with the University of Potsdam, it is possible to do a doctorate with us on topics related to interface design.

Partner universities

The Interface Design program has especially good relations with the University of Malmö (Sweden), the University of Edinburgh (UK), the Accademia di Belle Arti di Frosinone (Italy), the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design (Israel). Outside Europe, we maintain a very close exchange with the National Taipei University of Technology (Taiwan). Through a funding program of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), up to three full scholarships are available per semester for a five-month stay abroad at the partner university in Taiwan.

International Office

Contact

The colleagues at the Student Counselling Service provide information to prospective students, first-year students, parents, teachers and students on all general questions about studying. For specific questions and concerns about the degree program, please contact the Student Counselling Service for Interface Design.

These degree programs might also interest you

Weitere Studiengänge
Degree program Teaching language Start of study Application deadline
BA European Media Studies German Winter semester
until 15.07. at the University of Potsdam (NC program)
BA Interface Design German Winter semester
15.06. – 15.07.. (admission free)
Registration for the qualifying examination: 01.01. – 01.04.
BA Product Design German Winter semester
15.06. – 15.07. (admission free)
Registration for the qualifying examination: 01.01. – 01.04.
MA Design German Summer semester, Winter semester
15.06. – 15.08. und 15.02. – 15.03. (NC program).
Registration for the qualifying examination: bis 15.06. für das Wintersemester / bis 15.12. für das Sommersemester
MA European Media Studies German Winter semester
until 01.06. at the University of Potsdam
Career Prospects

Career Prospects

Interface designers have a clear job description: they are experts in the user-friendly design of digital products. From smartphones to ATMs – all these products have an interface that is operated by users. Graduates of the interface design program are well trained in recognizing how such an interface should be built and designed. This expertise in human interface design is used in a wide variety of industries. Even during their studies, students can benefit from the large network of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam and realize their first projects in cooperation with companies, institutions and partner universities.

Prospects in business and industry

Interface designers can fulfill various tasks and work in development processes as planners, developers or strategists - whether in permanent employment or on a self-employed basis. Experienced interface designers usually act in management positions and take over project planning and supervision as well as consulting. Typical employers in the field of interface design are:

  • Design agencies
  • Communication agencies
  • IT companies
  • Industry, e. g. the games industry

Perspectives in science and research

In the field of research, the demand for interface designers is constantly increasing. The range of tasks includes the development of interfaces for new applications as well as the actual research, for example on brain computing interfaces, where interfaces are controlled by thoughts. Graduates find jobs in, among others:

  • Institutes
  • Research labs
  • Universities

Master study

Graduates of the bachelor's program in Interface Design can expand their knowledge and acquire specialist skills in a further course of study. The focus of the Master's program in Design is on science and research. In this degree program, you will deal in detail with specific research questions and work on research projects. You can then pursue the path to a doctorate.

MA Design

These degree programs might also interest you

Weitere Studiengänge
Degree program Teaching language Start of study Application deadline
BA European Media Studies German Winter semester
until 15.07. at the University of Potsdam (NC program)
BA Interface Design German Winter semester
15.06. – 15.07.. (admission free)
Registration for the qualifying examination: 01.01. – 01.04.
BA Product Design German Winter semester
15.06. – 15.07. (admission free)
Registration for the qualifying examination: 01.01. – 01.04.
MA Design German Summer semester, Winter semester
15.06. – 15.08. und 15.02. – 15.03. (NC program).
Registration for the qualifying examination: bis 15.06. für das Wintersemester / bis 15.12. für das Sommersemester
MA European Media Studies German Winter semester
until 01.06. at the University of Potsdam
Study Contents

Course of studies

The Bachelor of Arts degree program in Interface Design is a full-time, eight-semester program.

 

  1st semester Basics and orientation: design basics, design basics, workshop, project
  2nd semester Basics and orientation: design basics, theory, design basics, workshop, project
  3rd semester Basics and orientation: theory, design basics, project, colloquium
  4th semester Focus and specialization: design/specialization, theory
  5th semester Focusing and deepening: design/specialization, project
  6th semester Focusing and deepening: internship
  7th semester Focusing and deepening: theory, design/deepening, perspective
  8th semester Focusing and deepening: theory, design/specialization, bachelor thesis

At the heart of the four-year bachelor's program is a common, generalist basic education and the three specializations with diverse, individual options for courses and projects.

Learn more about the concept, design fundamentals & theory of our design degree programs here.

Interfacedesign Studienverlauf Erster Studienabschnitt
Beispielhafter Studienverlauf im ersten Studienabschnitt.

In the first stage of the course, students learn the basics of design, sound craftsmanship skills and theoretical principles, gain initial project experience and receive an initial professional orientation. The courses of all three study programs Interface-, Communication- and Product Design during the 1st study period are basically taught across all study programs, although the subject orientation and the workshop courses may be concentrated on specific study programs. The study program demands and promotes individual tailoring through a distinctive system of elective courses.

The first three semesters of the course of studies in interface design can therefore - depending on the subject focus - be structured either in the sense of a generalization or a focus.

Interfacedesign Studienverlauf Zweiter Studienabschnitt
Interfacedesign Studienverlauf Zweiter Studienabschnitt

The second study section is strongly characterized by design work in predominantly project-oriented tasks - 80 ECTS, i.e. two thirds of the 120 ECTS (= 150 ECTS minus 30 ECTS for the practical semester), are earned in design achievements. At least one project must be taken - supplemented by six specializations; a maximum of three projects can be taken - supplemented by two specializations. In addition, there are 3 certificates of achievement from theory as well as one certificate of achievement in craft-technical specialization or a complementary subject. An entire semester is reserved for the specialized internship, which is credited with 30 ECTS including a report. This internship semester can be scheduled at the student's own choice. The Bachelor's thesis, which is written during the eighth semester, completes the second part of the program.

Study Contents

Teaching formats

In the Interface Design program, theoretical and practical components are equally weighted. The theoretical knowledge transfer is realized in lectures and exercises, the practical part in courses that take place in the workshops and laboratories of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. The students are encouraged to be hands-on and to develop their own solutions. Since practical experience is important in professional life in addition to theoretical knowledge, students also have the opportunity to realize their own projects and project weeks and to work across disciplines. Through the interdisciplinary, free choice of courses, students in interface design can strengthen their own profile.

  • individual, interdisciplinary course selection
  • integrated lectures and exercises
  • technical and craft practice in the workshops and laboratories
  • interdisciplinary projects and projects with practice partners
  • supervised student projects and exercises

Elementary basics

In the "Elementary Basics" study section, students receive an introduction to the design and theoretical fundamentals, which are taught in exercises. This first study section is divided into the areas Basics, Context, Process and Studio.

  • Basics: among other things, design building blocks, basic craft and technical knowledge,

formal design and formal language

Context: including perceptual routines and perceptual phenomena, contextual relationships and visual language.

Process: including open-ended questions, research, analysis, selection, introduction to design methods and creativity techniques

Studio: including exercises in composition, proportion, color, form, surface and material, drawing exercises for visualizing objects, ideas and simple processes

Design bases

The module area "Design Basics" focuses on practical work within the respective design direction. In interface design, for example, the focus is primarily on methodology and the conception of user interfaces, in communication design on visual and written language, and in product design on materials science and aesthetic design.

Interface Design

  • Human + Context: User-centered analysis of application contexts.
  • People + Processes: Methodical development processes for interactive systems
  • Form + Interaction: Conception and design of user interfaces
  • Algorithms + Data: Design with data and algorithms, programming

Workshop

In the workshop modules, students have the opportunity to learn specific design techniques and gain practical skills. They receive instruction in their chosen technique and can then work independently in the workshop spaces and try their hand at it.

Interface Design

  • Interface labs: physical computing, interactive systems

Project

An important part of the studies is practical work. Students organize their own projects and project weeks during the course of their studies.

Theory

In the theory modules "Design History", "Design Management" and "Design and Media Theory", a well-founded retrospective view, entrepreneurial-strategic thinking and thorough aesthetic and content analysis are trained across the course of study.

  • Design/Media Theory
  • Design/cultural history
  • Design management and law

Colloquium

At the end of the 1st study stage, which usually comprises the first three semesters, students take part in a colloquium. In this cross-module examination, the results of the 1st study section are contextualized, reflected upon, documented and presented to a commission.

Design/specialty deepening

The module is used for in-depth study depending on the area of interest for individual focus. Design in the respective field of study is considered once as speculation, design research, artistic practice as well as problem solving. For this purpose, each field of study organizes four modules each, from which the students can compile their individual specialization.

Perspective

The aim of the perspective module is to give students the opportunity for individual in-depth study (especially in practical work). Students can choose from the following modules:

  • Project Weeks
  • Flex module
  • Tutorial
  • Project organization
  • Craft/Technique
  • Studio

Internship

The internship of 840 hours helps to prepare you for your future professional field of activity and gives you a realistic idea of the professional reality as well as the possibilities, limits and problems of the intended professional field. Students are often taken on after graduation by the companies where they completed their internship. Internships abroad are also possible and can be a very important experience during studies. An internship report must be submitted as the conclusion of the module.

More information about the internship

Thesis

  • Independent writing of a bachelor thesis

Projects

Weitere Projekte
No content available.

Interface Design Research

The Interface Design program conducts research in current topics of human-computer interaction and information visualization. It participates in national and international research projects and conducts contract research for companies and institutions. Finally, it systematically integrates research-based learning into its course offerings.
At the core of design research at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam is the conception and design implementation of new problem solutions for a largely intuitive, meaningful and emotionally appealing interaction with digital technologies, products or services.

Interface Design Research

Aptitude Test & Enrollment

Aptitude Test & Enrollment

Enrollment is always possible from 15.06. to 15.07. for the next winter semester. Applications for a higher semester are possible from 15.05. to 15.07.
If you meet the admission requirements, you can submit an enrollment application. Please note the following information specific to your program of study:

Access requirements

To enroll in the open-admission bachelor's degree program in Interface Design, you need a university entrance qualification in accordance with the Brandenburg University Act. This higher education entrance qualification includes the general higher education entrance qualification or the advanced technical college entrance qualification or a previous professional training recognized as equivalent.
A further requirement is successful participation in the course-related aptitude test.

Registration for the qualifying examination

The course-related artistic-design aptitude test takes place annually in May. You can register for the aptitude test until 01.04. (cut-off deadline). Certificates are not yet required for registration.

After reviewing all applications, we will inform you of the date of the aptitude test and the topic of the homework.

The following tasks must be completed after registration:

  • fill in the application form and return it with a correctly addressed envelope (0,85 Euro) (without certificates)
  • complete the portfolio with a maximum of ten of your own works ready to hand
  • take care of the homework

Registration for the aptitude test

Testing

The qualifying examination consists of the following parts:

  • Presentation of the homework, combined with an interview in front of the responsible examination board
  • Presentation of a maximum of ten samples of recent work at the request of the examination board (photographic material up to DIN A0 format, computer representations on your own computers, three-dimensional visual objects)

The Campus Ambulance – a team of dedicated students – is on site and provides a nice and pleasant atmosphere between all the new impressions. On the website of the Campus Ambulance you will also find many helpful tips and answers to the most frequently asked questions about the aptitude test in Design.

Evaluation criteria

The evaluation criteria of artistic and design aptitude are the presentation of own ideas, the ability to abstract, creativity, technique and craftsmanship, communication skills and design-specific aptitude.

After the examination

After the aptitude test, the individual examining boards will confer and decide whether aptitude has been established. You will receive a letter in the following weeks informing you of the outcome. In the case that the aptitude test has been passed, you can apply for enrollment.

After the test

The assessment criteria for artistic and creative aptitude are the presentation of own ideas, the ability to abstract, creativity, technique and craftsmanship, communicative skills and Ddsign-specific talent.

After the aptitude test, the individual examination boards confer and decide whether aptitude has been established. You will receive a letter in the following weeks informing you of the result. In the case that the aptitude test has been passed, you can apply for enrollment.

Enrollment Application

The enrollment application is submitted online in the MyCampus university portal of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. After entering the information required for enrollment, an enrollment application is created. This application must be signed and submitted to the University of Applied Potsdam by mail together with the university entrance qualification in paper form. Please refer to the enrollment application if you need to submit additional documents. The deadline for submission is the last day of the enrollment period (July 15). The date of receipt at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam is decisive.

Documents to be submitted

  • officially certified copy of the university entrance qualification or the university degree certificate
  • Insurance certificate of the statutory health insurance for students or proof of exemption from the statutory insurance obligation
  • Proof of payment or order confirmation of the semester fee
  • photograph for the issuance of the Campus.Card
  • If applicable, certificate of exmatriculation from the last university attended
  • If applicable, further documents according to the enrollment application form
Eindruck der Eignungsprüfungen am Fachbereich Design

Impressions from the proficiency test

For an impression of the aptitude test, it is worth taking a look at the video of the FHP Campus Ambulance. The Campus Ambulance – a team of dedicated students – is always on site and provides a nice and pleasant atmosphere between all the new impressions. On the website of the Campus Ambulance you will also find many helpful tips and answers to the most frequently asked questions about the qualifying exam in Design.

Campus Ambulance website

International applicants

You would like to apply for studies from the first or a higher semester and have acquired your school leaving certificate and/or university degree abroad? Then you can have degrees and achievements obtained abroad recognized and study with us.

International applicants

Contact

Student Counselling Service

Student Counselling Service for the BA Interface Design

Prof. Reto Wettach

Prof. Reto Wettach

Professor for Design of Physical and Virtual Interfaces