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Human Centered Design


“Designers of digital artifacts face a particular difficulty. The material they use— that is, the digital technology—can in many ways be described as a material without qualities… As a consequence, the design process becomes more open, with more degrees of freedom and therefore more complex.” - Jonas Löwgren and Erik Stolterman in Thoughtful Interaction Design.


Ghost Notes: Prototyping future interactions with a suggestive piano.


Human Centered Design focuses on solving complex problems keeping the human concerns at the centre. At Srishti, we focus on designing systems, services, spaces and products by exploring the possibilities and implications of shaping digital technology.

Our vision is to create an interdisciplinary environment of learning that fosters a creative and located inquiry into human experiences with digital technology, both existing and emerging. Along with informed positioning, imaginative critical making remains at the core of this program, treated as a tool to ideate, tinker, play and express with digital technology.

Three closely interlinked paths define the learning space. They are

  1. Locating the self at specific, socio-politically contested sites that embed Human Computer Interactions. By being open to playing around with different theories and contexts, this path focuses on understanding, unpacking, and being responsive to the specific theories and contexts within which human centered design and use of digital tools and technologies is located.
  2. Moving Beyond Screens and towards exploring tangible, physical encounters with the digital material. This path focuses on exploring the possibilities and implications of designing digital technology as an integral part of the physical environment for human experiences.
  3. Moving Behind Screens, towards exploring opportunities and implications of designing for interacting with complex socio-technical infrastructures. This path focuses on exploring the design for screen-based interactions while digging deeper into the emerging complex technological infrastructure that is increasingly driving such interactions, namely big data, machine learning and advanced algorithms.

Though the undergraduate program primarily emphasizes on exploring the second and third pathways, we consider these three paths as closely interlinked and intertwined. Each learner will have an opportunity to explore the intersections of the paths, and thereby begin to work on developing their own unique, individual practice.

Learning beyond the studio - informal discussion with Dr. Lilly Irani, a senior HCI researcher.

Core Values

Our curriculum and its experience are guided by core values that fosters the space for the development of an independent creative practice of shaping digital technology and its usage. The values are:

  • Exploratory
  • Hands-On
  • Self-Aware
  • Inclusive 
  • Playful

Course Structure

The curriculum comprises of different ways of learning as follows:

  1. Foundation introduces students to basic principles and tools of Art, Design and Technology as methods, tools and processes
  2. Disciplinary Studios are learning spaces where students develop core disciplinary capabilities, while navigating a trans-disciplinary environment
  3. General Studies: A common and compulsory programme of study that integrates Humanities, Sciences, Development and Policy Studies and also offers Languages-English, Indian- Hindi and Kannada as well as Foreign (Spanish, French and German) Click here to read more about the General Studies Program >>
  4. Interim: An introduction to practice in new and emerging areas of art and design
  5. Electives: Of three kinds- this program allows students to expand their skills, develop the interests as well as provide opportunities for travel exchange
  6. Internship/Apprenticeship: Compulsory work experience done over the summer-break between the 6th and 7th semester
  7. Project involves the application, synthesis and demonstration of capabilities acquired, and is a qualifier to the thesis
  8. Thesis is culmination of the 4-year program, which allows for demonstration of an integration of values, positions, capabilities and practice.

Exploring bodily ways of knowing with Shabari Rao in the, final thesis project – Body First, 2020.

Learning Approach

Learning happens through engaging and experiencing with complex real-world situations. Which means learning is not bound to the physical space of a ‘studio’ or a ‘class’. Our knowledge is created in a collaborative manner, with a clear focus on hands-on making in and beyond a studio. We actively seek to play around with digital technology, making it as the objects of our inquiries, and not just apolitical means of solving problems. The learning approach encompasses engaging in and with the following aspects:

  • Hands-on and critical making.
  • Philosophies and methods of human centered design of digital technology and their limitations.
  • Speculative creativity.
  • Self-reflexivity.

Capability Sets

The complexity and the diversity of the design situations demand a pliable, customized design process. Equipped with following capabilities, we encourage our students to define and perform their own design process:

Imagine: Construct concepts in an unhindered and unbounded manner.
Speculate: Take risks while constructing plausible concepts even with limited information.
Discern & Align: Take an informed stance after perceiving, questioning, and distinguishing between information from different sources.
See & Connect: Consciously unearth and combine diverse experiences and information.
Be Honest: Be aware of and be transparent in articulating your position.
Make: Construct artifacts, things, and systems as demonstrators of ideas and concepts.

Making mock-ups and prototypes as a way to engage with public at the Namma Metro with ideas around Privacy and Cultural Futures.


The above-mentioned capability sets could lead to opportunities such as:

  • Employment in Information Technology industry with a focus on user experience, user interface and experience design.
  • Employment in design studios, R&D, product development teams in small and large companies focusing on novel, cutting-edge interaction and interactive product design.
  • Employment in start-ups, small and medium enterprises, NGOs & social enterprises focusing on both product design and service-system design.

Furthermore, we set a platform to develop an individual practice, towards pushing the social, cultural, economic and political status quo about the role digital technology could and should play in our lives. We expect the learners to push organisations or build organizations from the ground up that are accountable and responsible for the things they design.

Exhibiting mock-ups of voice-based interactions.


For more information about this program, kindly email Naveen Bagalkot at

Disciplinary Intersections

The course is informed by the following learning disciplines:

Industrial Design – namely Product Design, Furniture Design & Services and Systems
Visual Communication Design
Sociology, Cognitive Psychology & Cultural Studies

Information Technology

Paper prototyping a Smart Kitchen.

Research and Collaboration

The students under this course will have the opportunity to work with the following centers and labs at Srishti.



View Eligibility for Admission, Fee Schedule & Other information for this Program >>