About the Social Lab

CCA Masters in Interaction Design:  Imagining, prototyping, and building positive change

We are using design to make a social impact

CCA’s new Masters in Interaction Design program prepares students to make technologies more meaningful, usable, and delightful.  We’re committed to the idea that interaction design should have a positive impact on society.  Our students learn to address critical, complex challenges in innovative, socially conscious ways.

The core of our Masters program is the Social Lab, in which students address real problems with real stakeholders.  We collaborate with community members to identify local social challenges; we seek a holistic understanding of those challenges and their root causes; and we engage community members as partners in the process of designing tools and systems to address those challenges.

Challenge: increase community resilience in the Western Addition

Though we’re excited by the power of emerging technologies, we’re also mindful that gaps in access to technologies result in social barriers.  Such gaps are prevalent in the Western Addition neighborhood, one of San Francisco’s most ethnically and economically diverse areas.  That’s why we’ve partnered with the African American Art & Culture Complex, a neighborhood hub since its founding in 1989, to focus the Social Lab’s current efforts.

Our goal is to increase the neighborhood’s everyday community resilience by using interaction design to increase the alternative capitals (human, intellectual, social) available to residents.


Aynne Valencia

Associate Chair, Associate Professor Interaction Design Aynne's background features a blend of creative management, design research, business strategy, visual design, branding, advertising, marketing, and service design. She has crafted breakthrough, award-winning cross-platform experiences. Her design pedigree includes lead product designer for three of Microsoft's Incubation R&D teams, digital advertising at AKQA as Digital Product Design Director, Design lead for the Cisco Flip Camera, Service Design Lead at Fjord, and Associate Creative Director of R/GA San Francisco. She actively contributes to the design community through speaking engagements, panels, organizing community events. She served as Co-Local Leader for the San Francisco Chapter of the Interaction Designers Association (IxDA) between 2008 and 2013. She taught and created curriculum for General Assembly's User Experience Design Immersive and taught interaction and information design at San Francisco State University.