Italians turn psychology's attention to web designs

September 14, 2001

Trento University in northern Italy is offering a degree course in psychology to train people to work on the design and management of websites.

The course - science and techniques of applied cognitive psychology - will run at the Rovereto branch of Trento's faculty of economics.

Course director Rino Rumiati said the three-year course would "produce graduates who answer the growing needs of the world of multimedia and would improve the quality of interaction and communication".

The interdisciplinary course involves philosophy, anthropology, sociology, economics and psychology. Some 120 students will graduate as "junior psychologists" specialising in web communication.

"Despite the slump (in the technology sector), there is great demand for the kind of graduate that we will be producing," Dr Rumiati said.

"They will not be technicians or engineers, but psychologists with a mix of knowledge including the fundamentals of internet technology. They will be able to communicate with technicians and whatever person or institution is sponsoring the website. They will also be able to advise someone designing a computer program or operating system," he said.

"If working for a public service, they will know how to make a website as effective and user-friendly as possible. In the case of a commercial enterprise, it might be a question of designing a website along the lines of the psychology of the commercial group. If a website is trying to sell something to housewives, civil engineers or children, the layout and logic will be different."

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