Thoughts on Interaction Design

31 Mar 2007 - 5:04pm
7 years ago
5 replies
543 reads
Juhan Sonin
2003

Mark,

Great services change behavior.

As designers, if we're not changing behavior we're either improving
the environment that surrounds a service and/or improving the service
itself.

The big goal for amazing design is centered around CHANGING BEHAVIOR.

-Juhan

> From: Mark Schraad <mschraad at mac.com>
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] New Book: Thoughts on Interaction Design
> To: "Jon Kolko [SCAD]" <jkolko at scad.edu>
>
> Interaction Designers are the shapers of behavior. Interaction
> Designers - whether practicing as Usability Engineers, Visual
> Interface Designers, or Information Architects - all attempt to
> understand and shape human behavior. This is the purpose of the
> profession: to change the way people behave.
>
> This is a pretty interesting statement Jon.
>
> For the last 20 years I have practiced design as a facilitator,
> either through "story telling" or the "translation" of complex
> information. I have to be honest in that I never thought of my role
> as a designer being a behavior shaper. In fact, I spend most of my
> time managing innovation - either developing new products or
> improving existing ones. From a business perspective I think that the
> ultimate product is one that provides added value by delivering
> capabilities without forcing a change in behavior. Slightly less
> "optimal" would be a product that delivers capability at a level of
> utility greater than the cost of behavioral change. I suppose I will
> have to get a copy of the book...

Comments

31 Mar 2007 - 5:25pm
Mark Schraad
2006

I buy that great services can change behavior. Behavior is baysian in
nature - people come to most situations with a schema, and any
variation of that schema will be met with resistance. From a product
design perspective, many, many new products fail because the value
delivered is not sufficient to justify that changed behavior. That is
the problem with unguided innovation, the user must adapt. There must
be a payoff of substantial utility. Otherwise, why change? And that
is my point. Changing behavior can not be the goal - adding value
must be - realized as decreased effort or increased benefit.

Great design may change the tasks required to accomplish the goal but
MUST add value by making the activity easier - or by adding
additional value.

So - great design may involve changing behavior - but with the goal,
or an extended goal in mind. To put it a different way, if we either
simplify the tasks, or increase the utility, then changing behavior
can be a successful proposition.

Mark

On Mar 31, 2007, at 6:04 PM, Juhan Sonin wrote:

> Mark,
>
> Great services change behavior.
>
> As designers, if we're not changing behavior we're either improving
> the environment that surrounds a service and/or improving the
> service itself.
>
> The big goal for amazing design is centered around CHANGING BEHAVIOR.
>
> -Juhan
>
>
>> From: Mark Schraad <mschraad at mac.com>
>> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] New Book: Thoughts on Interaction Design
>> To: "Jon Kolko [SCAD]" <jkolko at scad.edu>
>>
>> Interaction Designers are the shapers of behavior. Interaction
>> Designers - whether practicing as Usability Engineers, Visual
>> Interface Designers, or Information Architects - all attempt to
>> understand and shape human behavior. This is the purpose of the
>> profession: to change the way people behave.
>>
>> This is a pretty interesting statement Jon.
>>
>> For the last 20 years I have practiced design as a facilitator,
>> either through "story telling" or the "translation" of complex
>> information. I have to be honest in that I never thought of my role
>> as a designer being a behavior shaper. In fact, I spend most of my
>> time managing innovation - either developing new products or
>> improving existing ones. From a business perspective I think that the
>> ultimate product is one that provides added value by delivering
>> capabilities without forcing a change in behavior. Slightly less
>> "optimal" would be a product that delivers capability at a level of
>> utility greater than the cost of behavioral change. I suppose I will
>> have to get a copy of the book...
>

1 Apr 2007 - 7:22am
Challis Hodge
2003

Juhan wrote:

> As designers, if we're not changing behavior we're either improving
> the environment that surrounds a service and/or improving the
> service
> itself.
>
> The big goal for amazing design is centered around CHANGING BEHAVIOR.

Juhan, I'm confused by this. Seems to me that changing behavior may or may
not be a factor. If so it must be accounted for lest an amazing design nopt
succeed. Behavior Change might be pivotal, integral, or critical but usually
not central!?

-challis

1 Apr 2007 - 8:05am
Dave Malouf
2005

I think through reading this thread, I see the problem. It is with
understanding the various levels that behavior exists.
I usually look at behavior as an interaction designer at the level of the
micro, but it appears that this discussion is seeing the word behavior at
the level of the macro. I believe both are in the domain of the interaction
design discipline, but I think that when we talk about defining IxD around
the design of behavior, we are really speaking about micro behavior.

What's the difference?

micro behavior are the specific collection of interactions that take place
between a digital intelligent system and a human being AND the collection of
human beings surrounding that system. It is about how we interact with
buttons, lists, forms, etc.

macro behavior is what takes place within and between humans regardless of
the system: workflow, communication paradigms, task completion, etc.

As I write this I realize that these are both VERY important aspects of
behavior and of what IxDers need to be designing for and with.

To this point there are great examples of behavior change.

I also have to take issue with Mark's notion that our job is to reduce or
have no effect on macro-level behavioral change. That makes no sense to me
at all. It really depends on what we are doing. Even in business scenarios,
you want to work within the right contexts, but the best products like
Salesforce.com are ones that have really changed the way those businesses do
business. Creating efficiencies of communication, planning, tracking, mining
that never existed before in midsized organizations changed the entire sales
cycle, reducting costs, and focusing the teams. It was the changes in
behavior that made a product like this a success. There are many examples of
this.

There are also examples of technological systems that should be less
disruptive at the macro-behavioral level, or should at least have a toe in,
walk down the stairs into the cold pool, approach to behavioral change.

I can't imagine my job if I did not effect behavior at both the micro and
the macro levels.

-- dave

On 4/1/07, Challis Hodge <challis at experiencepeople.com> wrote:
>
> Juhan wrote:
>
> > As designers, if we're not changing behavior we're either improving
> > the environment that surrounds a service and/or improving the
> > service
> > itself.
> >
> > The big goal for amazing design is centered around CHANGING BEHAVIOR.
>
> Juhan, I'm confused by this. Seems to me that changing behavior may or may
> not be a factor. If so it must be accounted for lest an amazing design
> nopt
> succeed. Behavior Change might be pivotal, integral, or critical but
> usually
> not central!?
>
> -challis
>
> ________________________________________________________________
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--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

1 Apr 2007 - 8:52am
Mark Schraad
2006

I must of done a poor job communicating my point Dave.

You have in fact, done a better job of explaining my point. What I
was trying to accomplish was to put a trade-off or transactional
framework to the "micro" behavioral shift. It must be met with
(arguably) an equal, but preferably a greater utility either in
convenience or "value added" benefits.

To your example, why would a company move records and contacts to
Salesforce.com if there was not some added utility? This may seem
pretty obvious, but it is important for designers to understand that
pure change, such as moving an activity to the net, is not worth
doing unless it affords some worthy advantage.

Designers must also be aware that even if the micro behavior change
brings abundant utility, the change in behavior will likely be a
hurdle in adoption and diffusion. I see this all the time when a
"better" web interaction confuses users because it does not initially
conform to their schema and the affordances they currently utilize.

BTW - I really like the macro/micro context. I was in fact calling
out the behaviors specific to the interaction. What others were
referring to, I see as behavioral outcomes of the design's benefits.
As an example, many of us no longer need to go inside the bank
because we transact online and use ATM's. I am not so sure this was
an intended behavior - as much as an outcome of the benefits.

Mark

On Apr 1, 2007, at 9:05 AM, David Malouf wrote:

> I also have to take issue with Mark's notion that our job is to
> reduce or
> have no effect on macro-level behavioral change. That makes no
> sense to me
> at all. It really depends on what we are doing. Even in business
> scenarios,
> you want to work within the right contexts, but the best products like
> Salesforce.com are ones that have really changed the way those
> businesses do
> business. Creating efficiencies of communication, planning,
> tracking, mining
> that never existed before in midsized organizations changed the
> entire sales
> cycle, reducting costs, and focusing the teams. It was the changes in
> behavior that made a product like this a success. There are many
> examples of
> this.
>
> There are also examples of technological systems that should be less
> disruptive at the macro-behavioral level, or should at least have a
> toe in,
> walk down the stairs into the cold pool, approach to behavioral
> change.

2 Apr 2007 - 9:13am
Dante Murphy
2006

In some cases this is true...I think it depends on the goals you set for
your project or product.

Many projects I've worked on have focused on ENABLING behavior. Of
course, by enabling new behaviors, we permit the user to change the way
he behaves, but the semantic difference is quite important. Explicitly
trying to CHANGE behavior often seems nefarious, coercive, or dishonest
to me. I'd rather create something worth doing/having/sharing, then let
someone choose it.

_______________________________________
Dante Murphy | Director of Information Architecture
Medical Broadcasting Company | A D I G I T A S INC. COMPANY

The big goal for amazing design is centered around CHANGING BEHAVIOR.

-Juhan

> From: Mark Schraad <mschraad at mac.com>
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] New Book: Thoughts on Interaction Design
> To: "Jon Kolko [SCAD]" <jkolko at scad.edu>
>
> This is the purpose of the profession: to change the way people
behave.
>

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