Design School Interview #2: Interaction Design Degree

This second episode is an interview with Grégoire Cliquet, the course leader for Interaction Design at the Nantes Atlantique School of Design. After the student, the master speaks…

Grégoire, could you please introduce yourself?

I teach Real-time Interactive 3D  at the Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique and for 7 years have been in charge of the school’s Interaction Design cursus.  Soon I will become the head of the “READI” laboratory for applied experimental research in interaction design at the school.

What is “Interaction Design” and what do you teach your students?

The five-year Masters cursus is divided into two cycles.

The first cycle is an undergraduate program that teaches the fundamentals of interaction design. It aims at developing our students’ creativity. It also helps them develop techniques related to graphical representation (2D/3D), computing skills through learning Web Standards (XHTML/CSS/JS/PHP), and software such as Proce55ing, Flash/Flex and 3DVIA Virtools.

We also teach students how to manage from start to finish interaction design projects by involving them in real projects with IT companies. They practice the design process under real conditions, from understanding the demand and generating creative concepts, to making functional prototypes that embody design concepts.

The second cycle of the program is divided into seven areas dealing with contemporary social and economic issues. I will cite just two of them:

  • “Tangible Interfaces” centers on new interaction modes  with information systems, ambient intelligence and ubiquitous computing.
  • “Virtual Reality” is about designing innovative virtual and augmented reality interfaces and services.

What profile should a student have to enter this school?

The prerequisite to our design curriculum is a baccalaureate (French equivalent to A-levels or high school diploma) and applicants have to pass writing and creativity tests, followed by an individual interview to assess their motivation.

Can you describe the typical or atypical career of graduates from your school?   

Many interaction students now hold a position in the research and development departments of various companies. For example:

  • Frantz Lasorne works on new means of interaction for Ubisoft.
  • Nicolas Guyon works for Lego on “new gaming” projects.
  • Pierrick Thebault is finishing a thesis for Bell Labs.

About 90 percent of our students get jobs during the first month following their diploma.

Why did you choose 3DVIA Virtools to develop virtual projects?

Virtools covers a wide range of needs from virtual reality (immersive environments), games and real time 3D applications to augmented and mixed reality projects. It integrates our software workflow, so students can reuse 3D models they made from 3dsMax.

For designers it offers different levels of programming. Visual Scripting language is designer-friendly and can be learned quickly, making prototyping 3D real-time interactive applications a relatively easy task. Students can therefore concentrate on their imagination and concepts.

What do you think about the future of 3D?

With stereoscopic and auto stereoscopic displays, 3D will become increasingly present in our day-to-day living as 3D images are erasing the borders between reality and virtuality.

Grégoire Cliquet, thank you for answering our questions.

You are welcome!

What do you think?  If you’re a student, does this inspire you on your professional path?

Does anyone have any thoughts as to how the Interaction Design profession will evolve?



Charles Bonnassieux works as Marketing Specialist for Dassault Systèmes