The tactile controls of an electronic, interactive product form its
most recognizable aspects, or “facial features.” Choosing which
controls to use and how they appear has an enormous impact on the
impact the product makes on first impression. The process of deciding
on your product’s facial features is tricky; a team must collaborate
closely across multiple disciplines to determine what controls are
needed, how they should appear and how they relate to the product’s
In the half-century since the first transistor was invented we’ve
seen radical changes in how humans interact with computers and digital
systems: We’ve gone from punch cards to text commands, from mouse
pointers to touchscreen gestures, from menus to voice recognition.
What all of these user experience innovations have in common is an
inexorable movement towards interfaces that behave more and more like
the way real humans have interacted with one another for millenia.
As more and more design challenges move from artifact to service,
and from service to system, the considered role of interaction design
has become an imperative. But in the arena of design for social impact,
the power of interaction design, deliberately paired with appropriate
products, can make for an explosive combination.
In 1900, Andrew Carnegie quietly declared that his “heart is in the work” – that he had found an endeavor worth pursuing, and that he would passionately follow-through on that endeavor until it was complete. We interaction designers feel that passion on a daily basis, as we’ve found ourselves at the heart of industry, policy, and culture. Our endeavors are worth pursuing and we approach them with the whole of our hearts. We build the artifacts and frameworks that support engagement, that keep us entertained, aroused, engaged and productive.
In the last decades we have been witnessing a growing wave of
social innovation. A multiplicity of institutions, enterprises,
non-profit organisations, but also and most of all, individual citizens
and their associations have been capable to move outside the mainstream
models of living and producing and to invent new and sustainable ones.
Social innovation is driven by diffuse creativity and
entrepreneurship. That is, by resources that, in a densely populated
and highly connected world, are very abundant (if only they are
recognized and valorised).