Create positive user experiences by designing user-friendly computer systems.

Human Centered Design and Development

What is human-centered design?

Human-centered design is an approach to creating products, systems, and services that are effective and enjoyable to use. By placing the user at the center of the design process, we ensure that we create great user experiences (UX). A human-centered approach to design and development helps lead to positive user experiences by ensuring that our artifacts are easy to learn and use, are fun and enjoyable, and help users to achieve their goals. More about what HCDD is.

What kinds of artifacts and experiences do you create using human-centered design?

Web sites, mobile applications, desktop applications, kiosks, vehicle dashboards, smart watches, educational tools, productivity applications, visual interfaces, and more.

What exactly will I get to do as a human-centered designer?

There are several common processes that you will use to design in a human-centered way:


  1. User Research—we get to know our users and their needs by conducting observations and interviews
  2. Understanding the Problem—we use insights from user research to ensure we are addressing the right problem, and identify ways we can address the problem
  3. Prototyping—we brainstorm, sketch, and create low and high fidelity physical and digital prototypes
  4. Evaluation—we conduct usability testing and understand how users think about solutions to identify and correct any issues that prevent the user from having a great experience.  

What kind of jobs do people with these skills get?

Job titles include: User experience (UX) designer, usability engineer, information architect, interaction designer, user experience architect, information designer, user interface designer, UX developer, and user researcher.

Are these skills in demand on the job market?

Human-centered design and development skills are in high demand, ranking in several lists of top high-paying careers. Starting salaries in HCDD are about $63,000, according to a report by the Nielsen Norman Group. Try searching job sites for some of the titles listed above to see for yourself what the current job-market demand is like.

What is the student experience like in the HCDD major?

Most HCDD courses are taught in studio environments, where students are actively engaged in working on projects, learning concepts and skills that have tangible applications. The major is structured around two types of studios: HCDD Studios and Experience Studios. In HCDD Studios, students learn, hands-on, how to conduct user research, frame problems, create prototypes and evaluate them. In the Experience Studios, students apply the skills they learned in the HCDD Studios to work on client projects. By the time they graduate, HCDD students will have 3.5 years of working experience on real client projects.

Great! Where can I learn more about Purdue's UX degree?

You can follow Purdue_UX on Twitter, connect with the CGT department on Facebook and contact us anytime!

What can I do?

User experience designer
Front-end developer
Visual designer
Web developer

Where can I go?

JPMorgan Chase
During one of my summer internships I was part of a development team with Salesforce. It was a unique opportunity to be a designer on a team of developers. I redesigned a filter tab to create a better user experience for one of their audience segmentation products.
Morghan Buhrman
Computer Graphics Technology

What to expect in Human Centered Design and Development

Core courses

CGT 10101 Foundations Of Computer Graphics Technology
CGT 11800 Fundamentals Of Imaging Technology
CGT 17207 CGT Experience Studio I
CGT 17208 HCDD Studio 1
CGT 25001 Computer Graphics Professional Practices I
CGT 27108 HCDD Studio 2
CGT 27207 CGT Experience Studio II
CGT 27208 HCDD Studio 3
CGT 37108 HCDD Studio 4
CGT 37207 CGT Experience Studio III
CGT 37208 HCDD Studio 5
CGT 41101 Contemporary Problems in Applied Computer Graphics I
CGT 41201 Contemporary Problems in Applied Computer Graphics II
CGT 45001 Computer Graphics Professional Practices II

What it's like to be a TECHIE!

The Polytechnic learning environment

Our learning experience is designed to produce graduates who not only have deep knowledge, applied skills, and experiences in their chosen discipline, but also problem solving, critical thinking, communications, and leadership skills sought by industries and communities.

About the department

The Department of Computer Graphics Technology touches all aspects of computer graphics, from animation to scientific visualization, and from user experience to game studies. Research projects on these topics push the boundaries of how the medium can be used, while the variety of degree options to prepare students to be practitioners and managers in an array of computer graphics-related careers.

Additional Information

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