Course contents

Happiness and human flourishing is a universal human goal, yet, until recently, it has hardly been explicitly incorporated in design. Happiness is understood here as “subjective well-being” that encompasses the experience of positive emotions as well as enduring cognitive evaluations of one’s life, such as meaning and life satisfaction.

How can design contribute to (long-term) happiness of people? and in what way does design fail to reach this goal? This course focuses on state-of-the-art happiness-driven design theory and methodology – design processes with the predefined intended effect to enable and / or stimulate human flourishing. The aim is to acquaint students (a) with related theories and findings from the behavioral sciences, foremost positive psychology, (b) with related research methods, as well as (c) with characteristics of positive design processes and methodologies. Opportunities and limitations of design for happiness will be critically discussed.

Study Goals

Students who successfully complete this course will have an in-depth understanding of psychological concepts and determinants of subjective well-being and will be able to apply this knowledge in design. They will be able to envision and formulate design intentions for maintaining and/or increasing people’s happiness, to develop according design concepts, and to justify the essence of their design concepts.