Skip to content

Interaction Design

Regular course – 80 hs – Digital Design Bachelor – Catholic University of Paraná (PUCPR) – Taught together with Rodrigo Gonzatto

This course develops students’ creative and critical skills related to technology and society. Since the Digital Design Bachelor has already separate courses on Usability, Information Architecture, Ergonomics, and Interface Design, the Interaction Design course focuses on what is particular from this discipline: designing interactions between people.

The interaction design course was supposed to be a regular course, but we tried to develop it as a critical appropriation of the design studio. We wanted to let students interact with materials, situations, and cultures other than what the bachelor and initial professional experiences may have offered them. However, this should be done without imposition, transmission, or any authoritarian means.

Video is the main format used in this course. Students learn how to cocreate a plot, props, and scenarios. They deliver at the end of the course a design fiction short movie.

Syllabus for the 2018’s cohort

This course had several cohorts. The Anthropophagic Studio article describes its pedagogical evolution. This is the last iteration in which Frederick and Rodrigo taught together.

COURSE NAME: Interaction Design  
TEACHERS: Frederick van Amstel and Rodrigo Gonzatto
SUMMARY: Fundamentals of Interaction Design and interactivity design. Historical review of Interaction Design and its intersection with other disciplines. Social, cultural, and psychological aspects of interaction. Technology as mediation. Creation and adaptation of interactive products and systems. Prototyping and research with users in the development of artifacts.
1. Understand the concept of interaction and the interdisciplinary approach to Interaction Design from a critical perspective;
2. Understanding Interaction Design from a historical perspective, as well as an awareness of the social, anthropological, environmental, and economic implications of its activity;
3. Mastering methodological aspects of the interaction project, solving problems with autonomy;
4. Work in teams applying interdisciplinary concepts in the search for complete and integrated solutions
5. Propose innovative solutions based on methods and techniques for creating, researching, and developing interactivity
1. Fundamentals of Interaction Design and main concepts
2. History of Interaction Design and research trends in interactivity
3. Methodological approaches: User-centered design, Participatory design, and Design Livre
4. Design processes of interactive artifacts: linear, cyclic, and iterative development
5. Methods and techniques for creation, research and evaluation: design, prototyping and documentation of the interaction
6. Social media and Internet of Things
Teacher activities: Explanation of key concepts, histories, and theoretical approaches. Promotion of critical analysis of interactive artifacts. Presentation of videos, books, and reference materials. Stimulating creative ideas. Projects mentoring.
Student activities: Experimenting with hypermedia tools. Group discussion. Reading and reviewing texts and scientific articles. Class participation. Execution of practical exercises that allow the understanding of the study topics. Application of Interaction Design techniques and methods. Interaction Design project development
EVALUATION PROCEDURES: The final grade consists of the assessment based on the quality and participation of short and long interaction design projects.
BASIC BIBLIOGRAPHY: NORMAN, Donald A. The design of everyday life. Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, 2006. 271 p.• PREECE, Jennifer; ROGER, Yvone; SHARP, Helen. Interaction design: beyond human-computer interaction. Translation, Viviane Possamai. Porto Alegre: Artmed, 2005.• PRIMO, Alex. Computer-mediated interaction – Communication, cyberculture, cognition. 2nd edition. Porto Alegre: Editora Sulina, 2008.
COMPLEMENTARY BIBLIOGRAPHY: COOPER, Alan; REIMANN, Robert; CONIN, David. About face 3: the essentials of interaction design. Indiana: Wiley Publishing, 2007. (ref. 005,711 C776af)• RECUERO, Raquel. Social Networks on the Internet. Porto Alegre: Editora Sulina, 2009. Available at <>• ROYO, Javier. Digital design. 1. ed. São Paulo: Rosari, 2008. 169 p• BUXTON, Bill. Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc., San Francisco, CA, 2007.• MOGGRIDGE, Bill. Designing Interactions. MIT Press, 2007.
RESOURCES NEEDED : Studio classrooms. Projector. Collaborative materials.

Course schedule

17/31/2018Course introduction
Reading and debate on the Teaching Plan
Introduction to Interaction Design 
Boids simulation + Conditional drawing + Facebook game
208/14/2018Interaction design and counter-projects
Perceived affordances and affordances
Design for Behavior, Design with Intent
Counter-project exercise on the PUCPR campus
38/21/2018Design, oppression and collective reaction
Definition of historical oppression
Dark patterns
Critical design
Anthropophagic design
Discussion of mockumentaries made in past cohorts
408/28/2018Oppressive and libertarian interaction design
Discussing the teachers’ IHC 2017 article
Embodied interaction
Theater of the Oppressed applied to Interaction Design
Reflection on Education in Digital Design
For next class: bringing printed news about oppressive technologies
509/04/2018Newspaper Theater about oppressive technologies
Aesthetics of the Oppressed Exercises
Forum Theater with quick scenes depicting the interactions described by the news
For next class: Emotional Freezer probe
69/11/2018Image Theater about the oppressions experienced by students
Aesthetics of the Oppressed Exercises
Mermaid’s Corner Game
Team building
For next class: interviewing someone who is also oppressed in the same way
709/18/2018Interaction rehearsing
Theater image + Theater Forum to experience reactions to oppression
Creating liberating technologies
809/25/2018Design Theater with liberating technologies
Acting with technologies and acting as technologies
Collaborative design
Speculative design and design fiction
Home task: designing a patent for the liberating technology
9 10/02/2018Liberating technology patent presentation
1110/16/2018Reality Hacking
Phenomenology of technology
Invisible Theater
Urban interventions
1210/23/2018Mockumentary scripting
Stakeholder mapping
Puppet theater
Interaction storyboard
1310/30/2018Production of fictional images
Fake news
Imaginary maps
1411/06/2018Review of early video captures
1511/13/2018Mockumentary editing
Wrapping up the course
1811/27/2018Reflection on futures and evolutionary notes

Student works

A group of students redesigned the history of the Brazilian sports scene as if Brazil was a major power in the classic videogame Pong. This was an analogy made to comment on the relationship between sports, national identity, and politics.

Selected student works are exhibited in the Futurologias Museum.


Van Amstel, Frederick M. C. and Gonzatto, Rodrigo Freese. (2022). Existential time and historicity in interaction design. Human-Computer Interaction, 37(1), pp.29-68. DOI:

Van Amstel, Frederick M.C and Gonzatto, Rodrigo Freese. (2020) The Anthropophagic Studio: Towards a Critical Pedagogy for Interaction Design. Digital Creativity, 31(4), p. 259-283. DOI:

Frederick M. C. van Amstel, Rodrigo Freese Gonzatto, and Gláucio H. M. Moro. (2018). Improvised Video as a Medium for Learning and Designing Interactions. In Proceedings of the 17th Brazilian Symposium on Human Factors in Computing Systems(IHC 2018), Raquel O. Prates, Heloisa Candello, André P. Freire, Isabela Gasparini, Marcelle Mota, and Bianchi Serique (Eds.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 28, 11 pages. DOI:

Rodrigo Freese Gonzatto and Frederick M. C. van Amstel. (2017). Designing oppressive and libertarian interactions with the conscious body. In Proceedings of the XVI Brazilian Symposium on Human Factors in Computing Systems(IHC 2017). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 22, 10 pages. DOI: – Oct 31, 2017

Categories: Teaching.

Tags: , , ,