Make technology more meaningful, accessible, and delightful through exceptional interaction design.
Design at CCA thrives at the intersection of human experience and the built environment. The work we do—often called experience design, digital product design, and user experience design—impacts everything from vehicle dashboards that help us drive more safely to services that power our thermostats more efficiently. Our students imagine future mobile experiences, social networks, products and services, and complex systems while keeping equity, inclusivity, and sustainability at the forefront of design.
Study in the creative capital of Silicon Valley
As one of the world’s first undergraduate interaction design programs, we benefit from our location in the San Francisco Bay Area, home to Apple, Intel, IDEO, YouTube, Facebook, Google, and many other technology companies. Our program is also part of one of the best art and design schools in the country. This gives you the opportunity to collaborate with fine artists, industrial designers, writers, and other creative practitioners.
You’ll combine cognitive science, the history of design, and human-computer interaction to develop a practice that speaks to the issues you care about most. In order to create forward-thinking solutions, you’ll learn to master the following core skills:
- Understand behavior and human systems
- Master technical and visual interaction for real-world designs
- Create, evaluate, and validate physical and digital prototypes
- Demonstrate work through presentations and user interfaces
- Identify opportunities and produce original design responses
Connections with industry leaders
We build upon systems thinking and creative prototyping skills during sponsored studios that challenge student groups, often from different disciplines, to investigate a particular project domain. Past sponsors have included major automakers, telecommunication companies, and computer equipment firms. Students also have a chance to explore the professional field of design during required internships. They dive into design research, fieldwork, product development, and more.
Recent sponsored studios
Our faculty are all practicing designers with deep industry connections. They work for Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, IDEO, and numerous design consultancies in the Bay Area. They leverage their networks and experience to guide students to successful career paths and help shape thoughtful leaders.
Chair Aynne Valencia-Brooks is a product design director with over 18 years of experience. She has led product and service design teams for major consumer products, international advertising campaigns, and large-scale enterprise applications. Her cross-platform design experiences have won awards for clients such as Nike, McDonald’s, Visa, and University of Phoenix.
Every undergraduate student participates in the First Year Core program, an opportunity to explore a wide range of materials and tools. Faculty from many different disciplines guide studio projects, group critiques, and discussions on foundational theory to help set students up for success.
Our interaction designers emerge from the program with hands-on internship experience and a highly valued skill set. With project examples for recognizable brand names and realistic prototypes to share, alumni find success with design consultancies, startups, and product and service companies.
Potential career paths
- Interaction designer
- Experience designer
- Product designer
- Service designer
- User interface designer
- Design researcher
- Creative director
- Design director
- Information architect
- Voice interface designer
- Product manager
Our applicants are often just as interested in compelling visual design as they are in detailed documentation through wireframes and sketches. Whether they’re reinvigorating their careers or approaching interaction design for the very first time, they care deeply about making the world a better place.