<aside> 💡 Interface & Structure is a series of interaction design workshops taught at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Fall of 2022



Complex systems govern our daily lives. Whether conscious of them or not, these systems have been designed for the outcomes they achieve. When dealing with complexity, it is inevitable that unintended consequences will arise, both positive and negative. And, with every anticipated outcome, we can expect a commensurate unintended consequence of roughly similar scale and impact.

Times are not getting simpler. As these systems continue to grow in complexity, so do the magnitude of their converging feedback loops, likely increasing the possibility of emergent unintended consequences. As designers, the question ensues: what is to be done?

Interface & Structure hones in on this present-day reality through a tactical set of workshops intended to equip design students with a systems-thinking orientation and practical skills toward designing for, with, and because of complex systems. Students will choose to respond to a prompt centered on postcapitalist themes, formulate a project brief around the concept, and use systems-thinking and participatory design methods to create a digital interaction design prototype that addresses the challenge.


Prior to the first session, please review the following prompts and choose to respond to one of them. Please write a ~250-500 word response to what problem/issue/idea you’d like to focus on, why you think it’s impactful to address, and how you have or intend to access real people affected by the focus of your inquiry.

Craft Review

We’ll be using pen & paper and Figma for all artifact-based work in this class. Prior to the first workshop, please familiarize yourself with Figma (if you haven’t already done so). Here are a few ways to review:


Figma for Beginners in 4 parts

Figma 101: Introduction to Figma | Designlab

Designlab Figma 101


Workshop 1: Ideation & Brainstorming

Workshop 2: Participatory Design

Workshop 3: Craft

Workshop 4: Real-World Transition

References & resources