Searching for Boundaries (was Intelligence and A wareness)

24 Jun 2004 - 11:50am
740 reads
Robert Reimann

> the "interaction" part of interaction
> design isn't about interacting with products;
> it's about people interacting, mediated by products

I really can't agree. When I interact with my VCR,
dishwasher, smart toaster, PDA, game of computer
chess, etc. I am not engaging in a mediated
communication with another human (unless you really
stretch the meaning of that phrase). I am most certainly
engaging in a communication (interacting) with a machine. I
agree there is a class of applications that *do* involve
machine-mediated communication with other humans, but I
believe that interaction design is more inclusive
than this narrow definition, and furthermore, that
the focus must be on optimizing machine behaviors so that
the human goals-- communication, information gathering,
being entertained, or not burning the toast-- are
met in the most effective and appropriate manner.



Robert Reimann
Manager, User Interface Design
Bose Design Center

Bose Corporation
The Mountain
Framingham, MA 01701

-----Original Message-----
From: at
[ at lists.interactiondesigners.
com] On Behalf Of Dan Saffer
Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 10:47 PM
To: 'Interaction Discussion'
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Searching for Boundaries (was Intelligence and

On Jun 22, 2004, at 5:13 PM, H Taylor wrote:

> The t-shirt is *not* interaction design, because that which is
> designed (the t-shirt itself) does not interact with anyone; that is,
> no one gives it any sort of input, and its state does not change.

I think we can all agree that feedback is a good thing. But is it a
defining characteristic of interaction design? Not to launch back into
a definition discussion, but the "interaction" part of interaction
design isn't about interacting with products; it's about people
interacting, mediated by products. The behavior (and content, form,
materials, medium, etc.) of those products are constantly changing and
we shouldn't use them to determine what is or is not interaction

As an example, ambient devices often have no or limited input by
humans, yet can be works of interaction design in that they are often
communicating information in order to change behavior. Also, I can
think of reasons that human input might not change the state of a
product at all (if the user kept entering the same value into a field,

Whew! Maybe we should all go back to discussing when to use check boxes
or something... :)


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