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UW offering computer user experience design certificate

February 10, 2017 By Dean Robbins
Photo: Elements of a website drawn on a napkin

Concept elements for designing a website. Students in the User Experience Design Capstone Certificate program will learn techniques for assessing and improving user satisfaction with interactive media. Photo illustration: Bill Oxford/iStock

User experience design is the process of making information systems more people-friendly. Given the value of improving interactions between humans and computers in a digitized world, user experience design practitioners are increasingly in demand in business, nonprofit, educational and government organizations. To make the field more accessible to a wide range of professionals, the University of Wisconsin–Madison will launch the User Experience Design Capstone Certificate — or “Mad UX” — in fall 2017.

Photo: Kristin Eschenfelder

Kristin Eschenfelder

The graduate-level capstone certificate program provides convenient entry to user experience design for those with jobs, families and other adult responsibilities. Students will take a course per semester online and complete the program within one year. They’ll benefit from UW–Madison expertise with less of a time and financial commitment than they would have in a traditional master’s degree program.

“Students can take the courses from anywhere in the world while keeping their full-time jobs,” says Kristin Eschenfelder, professor in the UW–Madison iSchool (School of Library and Information Studies). “Mad UX provides a solid grounding in user experience for those with no previous experience in the field, as well as helping current information systems professionals develop new skills. Students will have full access to UW–Madison’s resources, world-class instructors and extensive alumni network.”

The user experience design program draws on the expertise of UW–Madison’s top-ranked Department of Computer Sciences and the iSchool. In three courses and a capstone class, students will learn techniques for assessing and improving user satisfaction with interactive media. They’ll earn graduate credits that are transferable to a master’s degree.

Mad UX students will be admitted as a cohort and regularly interact with their peers as part of a vibrant online community of learners.

“The students will work together, form teams and contribute to virtual critiques, just as they’ll do in their user experience design jobs,” says Bilge Mutlu, associate professor of computer science. “They will also network with UW–Madison alumni and global tech firms, helping them make essential connections as they build their user experience design skills.”

The application deadline is Aug. 1 for the cohort starting in fall 2017. For more information, see the program website or contact certificate coordinator Jenny Greiber at 608-263-2900 or