Human communication with technology
Digital product design is the newest speciality in the Faculty of Design at the Estonian Academy of Arts. Students learn to create products and services based on digital technology. Digital product designers shape the interaction between humans and tech, by, say, creating mobile and web apps and the user interfaces for self-driving cars and robots, as well as e-services and interactive exhibitions.
The designers who are in greatest demand on the labour market
The graduates of the digital product design speciality are among the most sought-after designers (OSKA study, 2019). The goal of the three-year bachelor’s programme is to train innovators – designers with an open-minded and enterprising attitudes and sense of social responsibility.
The IoT, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, big data and other technologies will radically change people’s ways of consumption, creation and economy. Digital product designers are at the heart of this process. Their job is to make the complicated world of technology and related information as user-friendly and easy to navigate as possible.
Digital products are born in transdisciplinary collaboration, where communication skills and teamwork play an important role. Curiosity and empathy are important personality traits for a digital product designer. These designers help to analyse the problems and pitch in when it comes to looking for a business idea. They are creative problem solvers who prototype and test the product, to also develop the core idea of the solution further.
Step by step, digital product designers create a product with a good user experience and design its user interface. Their work is rich in contrasts: they are able to do a great deal of drawing and designing but also interacting with colleagues and users.
Digital product design students have an opportunity to focus on
- visual design of the user interface (UI),
- design of the user experience (UX) or
- user studies.
Digital product designers find an outlet in many different kinds of companies ranging from construction and healthcare to game developers. Estonia has a great concentration of start-ups and IT companies whose business success depends on good design. The user interfaces of most Estonian electronic public services also need to offer a better UX.
The students in the two areas of specialization of the Industrial and Digital Product Design bachelor’s programme study together during the first semester; then they can choose one of the two areas.
Theory is integrated with practice. Project study – studios – play an outsize role, as it is here that students have to solve tasks that are similar to ones they will encounter in the professional design world. Students create products for different target groups and learn to design based on different technologies.
To be able to work with IT and business development, they also learn to program at a basic level and in the third year of study they work on a joint project with IT students.
The curriculum includes hackathons and two practicum events that give students the opportunity to pursue additional study and discover possibilities outside the Academy of Arts.
A large part of our students study abroad or intern at a foreign design agency for at least one semester.
Digital product design students can make use of all of the workshops and technologies at the Academy of Arts to execute their ideas, ranging from 3D printing to our virtual reality laboratory.
Possible future professions
Graduates of the digital product design speciality are hired in such professions as digital product designer, UX designer, UI designer, web designer, user study specialist, service designer and entrepreneur. Our alumni work for companies like Pipedrive, Veriff, Cleveron, Elisa, Milrem Robotics and Trinidad Wiseman.