Human Centered Design (M.Des.)


“It’s not enough that we build products that function, that are understandable and usable, we also need to build products that bring joy and excitement, pleasure and fun, and yes, beauty to people’s lives” - Don Norman


The vision of this program is to create designers who will empathetically explore and apply understanding of human behavior, context, and technology towards creation of digital products and services that enhance the users lives. They will not only, what David Kelly, IDEO says, “Have a dream that goes beyond what exists, rather than fixing what exists”, but also realize this dream.

Human Centered Design is about keeping focus on “people” while creating products and services. It is about creating rich user experiences that aim at solving existing problems, creating delight for people and making products and services usable and useful. At Srishti Human Centered Design concentrates on Interaction Design and User Experience Design. We think about human-centered design as not just “user-driven” in its traditional sense, but more about “designing for emerging usages”. We foster a combination of creative Art & Design thinking, along with critical thinking of the Humanities to explore a human-centered design that not only produces great digital solutions, but also critically questions and explores future ways of interacting with digital technology and their implications. Human-Centered Design at Srishti not only covers the traditional reductive aspects of User-Centered Design & Human-Computer Interaction such as

  • Historical Frameworks & models (e.g. cognitive psychology models, cooperative design, participatory design, contextual design)
  • Design Elements (visibility, accessibility, legibility & language)
  • Creative Design (Ideation & brainstorming, concept development)
  • Analysis tools (persona, scenarios and use-cases, usability and experience evaluation)
  • Evaluative tools (requirements, usability)but also covers aspects such as
  • Theory of Persuasive & Emotional Design, including how to design for human emotions, aesthetics & pleasure
  • Designing meaningful interactive products and services across different cultures through applying Cross-cultural and trans-cultural design frameworks
  • Emerging trends around transitions in human behaviors, cultures and societies and their implications on Design
  • Emerging trends in technology and interaction modalities
  • Methods and frameworks for creative thinking and innovation, such as participatory enactment, alpha ideation, vision-driven design, etc
  • Frameworks & models (e.g. cooperative design, participatory design, contextual design)
  • Design Elements (visibility, accessibility, legibility & language)
  • Rhetorical situation (audience, purpose & context)
  • Analysis tools (persona, scenarios and use-cases)
  • Evaluative tools (requirements, usability)

Apart from these, the course also covers aspects such as

  • Emotions, aesthetics & pleasure
  • Cross-cultural and trans-cultural influences
  • Trends around transitions in behaviors, cultures and societies
  • Trends in technology and interaction modalities
  • Creative thinking and innovation

The Postgraduate studies in Human-Centered Design is rooted in the historical evolution of the field of Human-Computer Interaction, from the early versions of a cognitive human to the current understanding of designing for the emotional and socially situated humans, with their own needs, desires and aspirations. However, we also make the students capable of exploring the emerging understandings of humans in transition, and explore and construct a future that seems to go beyond human-centered design.

Graduates of the Human Centered Design at Srishti will be able to contribute in the areas of strategic user experience design, interaction and user-interface design. They will be involved in designing and enhancing digital products and services and their interfaces such as Zomato, Cleartrip, etc. They could also shape the emerging markets through designing new digital products & services in the areas of healthcare, and smart and sustainable living.

Course Structure

  1. Studios encourage active, contextual learning where students develop core disciplinary skills and knowledge. Studios facilitate collaborative and creative design solutions to complex, open-ended problems
  2. Workshops provide intense learning experiences in making and doing, across the different disciplines.
  3. Internship with an industry or a design studio is compulsory for students at the end of 1st year for M.Des.
  4. Self Initiated Project is an end of the semester challenge that allows the student to engage in research / enquiry or design based projects. Students begin by writing their project proposal and defining the scope of their project and they are mentored by faculty / design professionals.
  5. Electives are liberal arts courses aimed to cultivate intellectual and reflective abilities in students and motivate them to probe deeper and approach their design process in a holistic manner.
  6. Capstone Project is the culmination of the research, capabilities and knowledge gained over the last three semesters. Students are required to submit their design output and a mandated thesis document. Students are mentored during this final project and go through seminars to get feedback from faculty and peer groups

Learning Approach

Learning is driven by an inter-disciplinary engagement with theories, methodologies and advanced skills of Design Thinking. Learning will primarily happen from “doing” and “experiencing”. When students are able to apply theories and frameworks to what they design they not only value the research and constructs created by others, but also question and reformulate existing norms. Learning will be through solving real life problems through the application of theories, frameworks and methods of Human-Centered Design. Skills and tools will be picked up along the way, however “application” of design principles in the context of real-world design problems will be the primary mode of learning.

Discussion-based learning, learning by teaching, and project-based learning are some of pedagogical tools employed to create insights into real-life situations and industry needs. The learning approach will encompass hands-on design thinking, design research, deep understanding of human-centered design approach, and creative thinking, in combination with critical humanist thinking. The program prepares the students to participate and function in the areas of innovative digital product & service design by training and exposing them to various skills such as but not limited to Design Thinking & Processes, Collaborative projects, Leadership Skills, Social Concerns, and Technical & Written Communication.

Capability Sets

Upon successful completion of the course, graduates will have the capabilities to:

  • Understand the essence of centering the human in a design process and apply the principles of human centered design to formulate value-driven digital solutions
  • Understand and develop an individual stance on historical, current and emerging trends about the relationship between human experience and digital technology
  • Observe and systematically evaluate everyday human activities and develop empathetic & nuanced understanding of human experience
  • Engage with multiple forms of data sourced from multiple stake-holders through participatory methods and synthesize into novel insights that will inform design
  • Develop divergent and convergent design thinking abilities to convert the empathetic insights from research into purposeful & value-laden ideas of digital interactions & experiences
  • Apply principles of user experience & interaction design to craft usable, desirable & appropriate digital artifacts
  • Work with multiple media and materials rapidly to make technological artifacts available for iterative evaluation.
  • Speculate, craft and utilize interactive mockups as tools of inquiry into contemporary & future digital experiences.
  • Take a critical & cross-cultural stance towards complex issues and the role & implications of a human-centered designer in shaping and solving the issues.
  • Communicate compellingly the design process to invite critique & develop a community of stakeholders for the work.


Students of the Human Centered Design at Srishti will be able to contribute in the areas of strategic user experience design, interaction and user-interface design at numerous MNCs, startups, R&D centers across India and abroad, involved in developing technology based products, interfaces and services. Training in HCD also opens doors in the areas of strategic design thinking and innovation.


This course is led by

Dr. Naveen Bagalkot
For further information, kindly email Girish Prabhu 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
Anthropology, Sociology, Cognitive Psychology & Cultural Studies
Information Technology

Research and Collaboration

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

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