Dan Saffer calls out the Interaction Design community for allowing distracting topics to consume our attention, and for paying too little attention to "moonwalking bears," the opportunities interaction designers can take advantage of in the near future.
About Dan Saffer
Dan Saffer is a principal at Kicker Studio, a product design consultancy. Every day, millions of people use the products he has designed.
Robert Fabricant talks about Interaction Design as a practice beyond just computing technology. He gives examples of Interaction Design as far back as ancient history, all the way to a humanitarian project underway today. He shows that Interaction Design's primary medium is behavior, extending far past the high technology world into the realm of human behavior and relationships.
It can be intimidating — not to mention dangerous – trying to “tinker” with adding technology to public spaces and services. One risks violating laws and/or stepping on the toes of the various urban planning agencies, planning boards and other government bodies tasked by our communities to manage the world around us. This is particularly true when it comes to projects that require physical interaction and infrastructure — which we will see more and more often as the worlds of bits and atoms collide.
In March 2008 my two-month-old son Luca was diagnosed with AML, a rare form of childhood Leukemia. Immediately following his diagnosis we were admitted into Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where we would end up living in the alternate reality of pediatric cancer for a about a year. It has been an intense experience that has changed us in ways we are still discovering.
We spend a great deal of time thinking about and documenting design in two dimensions via sketches, flows, and wireframes, often for designs that are also rendered in two dimensions. We very often consider and incorporate three dimensional use and environmental information obtained via ethnography, contextual inquiry, and user studies. But we seldom evaluate or fold in the very real effects of a user’s relationship with design over time.
We live in a world where our ability to be connected and constantly available has changed in a remarkably short period of time, with profound effects on our behaviour. As designers, we are often asked to reflect this always-on state in the products, software and services we help to create.
Inspired by President Obama’s vision, government agencies have stepped on the accelerator and are opening up their agencies, data, and missions to the public like never before. With 305 million people in the US, that’s some lot of potential customers and users. And this audience spans different demographics, ethnicities, education levels, and levels of interest in government.