Articles on Interaction Design

30 Jul 2004 - 5:12am
10 years ago
17 replies
1154 reads
hilhorst
2004

Hi all,

I'm trying to formulate a definition of interaction design to use in my
graduate thesis (note: I study economics and the objective is to
familiarize the field of marketing and business with interaction
design). I don't want to start a riot and I know there's currently no
consensus as such, but are there any (worthwhile and respected) academic
publications that attempt to define interation design?

I have found numerous explanations (or attempts) online, but using an
URL as a reference alone is not enough in the context of this thesis (I
could start a rant on how academic research requires references from
a-list publications, but I'll refrain.) I have access to various
databases but they are obviously mostly related to economics and
business.

Thanks in advance,

Didier Hilhorst
---------------
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Mail: d.hilhorst at nundroo.com
http://www.nundroo.com

Comments

30 Jul 2004 - 5:55am
Dave Malouf
2005

The IxDG Definition is ... (to be released on our upcoming web site; this
definition was done months ago by our workgroup list and polished by our
editorial staff). -- dave

What Is Interaction Design?

Interaction design (IxD) is the branch of user experience design that
illuminates the relationship between people and the machines they use. While
interaction design has a firm foundation in the theory, practice, and
methodology of traditional user interface design, its focus is on defining
the complex dialogues that occur between people and interactive devices of
many types-from computers to mobile communications devices to appliances.

Interaction designers strive to create useful and usable products and
services. Following the fundamental tenets of user-centered design, the
practice of interaction design is grounded in an understanding of real
users-their goals, tasks, experiences, needs, and wants. Approaching design
from a user-centered perspective, while endeavoring to balance users' needs
with business goals and technological capabilities, interaction designers
provide solutions to complex design challenges, and define new and evolving
interactive products and services.

The success of products in the marketplace depends on the design of
high-quality, engaging interactive experiences. Good interaction design

* effectively communicates a system's interactivity and functionality
* defines behaviors that communicate a system's responses to user
interactions
* reveals both simple and complex workflows
* informs users about system state changes
* prevents user error

While interaction designers often work closely with specialists in visual
design, information architecture, industrial design, user research, or
usability, and may even provide some of these services themselves, their
primary focus is on defining interactivity.

The discipline of interaction design produces products and services that
satisfy specific user needs, business goals, and technical constraints.
Interaction designers advance their discipline by exploring innovative
design paradigms and technological opportunities. As the capabilities of
interactive devices evolve and their complexity increases, practitioners of
the discipline of interaction design will play an increasingly important
role in ensuring that technology serves people's needs.

In summary, interaction design defines

* the structure and behaviors of interactive products and services
* user interactions with those products and services

30 Jul 2004 - 8:15am
Josh Seiden
2003

I don't know about journals, but you could try the ACM
Digital Library (www.acm.org), which is probably the
best place to start a journal search.

More generally, here are a few books that might
jumpstart your search:

Preece et al, "Interaction Design"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/047149278
7

Cooper and Reimann, "About Face 2.0: The Essentials of
Interaction Design"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/076452641
3

Murray, "Hamlet on the Holodeck"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/026263187
3

The first is an intro to the discipline, written by
academics, and pitched I believe at undergrads. Cooper
and Reimann's work is pitched at professionals. It has
a good bibliography. Murray's book--academic in
nature--discusses "interactive design" and narrative,
but might be fertile ground.

JS

> -----Original Message-----

> I'm trying to formulate a definition of interaction
design to
> use in my graduate thesis

[snip]

> I have found numerous explanations (or attempts)
online, but
> using an URL as a reference alone is not enough in
the
> context of this thesis (

30 Jul 2004 - 9:59am
Peter Merholz
2004

On Jul 30, 2004, at 6:15 AM, Joshua Seiden wrote:

> I don't know about journals, but you could try the ACM
> Digital Library (www.acm.org), which is probably the
> best place to start a journal search.

Interactions magazine, published by SIGCHI within ACM, is a good place
to start:
< URL:
http://portal.acm.org/toc.cfm?
id=J373&idx=J373&type=periodical&coll=portal&dl=ACM&part=magazine&WantTy
pe=Magazines&title=interactions&CFID=24920226&CFTOKEN=61463602 >

(It's sad how it used to be a really excellent magazine, and how it's
declined in recent years)

For a much wonkier approach, there's TOCHI
http://www.acm.org/tochi/

And, you might want to poke around the http://www.hcibib.org/, a
collection of 29,000 articles devoted to HCI.

--peter

30 Jul 2004 - 10:08am
Peter Merholz
2004

Does anyone find this definition valuable?

It seems so caught up in itself, with shades and qualifications, as to
be rendered almost useless. Whom is this definition meant to serve? How
is it meant to be used?

> Interaction design (IxD) is the branch of user experience design that
> illuminates the relationship between people and the machines they use.

Of course, begging the question, what is "user experience design"?

> While
> interaction design has a firm foundation in the theory, practice, and
> methodology of traditional user interface design, its focus is on
> defining
> the complex dialogues that occur between people and interactive
> devices of
> many types-from computers to mobile communications devices to
> appliances.

Why stress "complex"?

> Interaction designers strive to create useful and usable products and
> services.

They do?

> Following the fundamental tenets of user-centered design, the
> practice of interaction design is grounded in an understanding of real
> users-their goals, tasks, experiences, needs, and wants. Approaching
> design
> from a user-centered perspective, while endeavoring to balance users'
> needs
> with business goals and technological capabilities, interaction
> designers
> provide solutions to complex design challenges, and define new and
> evolving
> interactive products and services.

I'm a "user centered designer," but I hate this part of the definition.
It's conflating approach with the thing. There are many ways one can
execute interaction designs -- user-centered is but one. Why wed the
definition to a particular ideology?

>
> The success of products in the marketplace depends on the design of
> high-quality, engaging interactive experiences.

I'm sorry, but: bullshit. Again, I'd love for this to be true, but it's
not. Issues of market success have no place in a definition of a
discipline.

> Good interaction design

> * effectively communicates a system's interactivity and
> functionality
> * defines behaviors that communicate a system's responses to user
> interactions
> * reveals both simple and complex workflows
> * informs users about system state changes
> * prevents user error

Says who? According to what criteria? Definitions now include such
judgments? Aren't there contexts in which these may be false? And/or
incomplete?

> While interaction designers often work closely with specialists in
> visual
> design, information architecture, industrial design, user research, or
> usability, and may even provide some of these services themselves,
> their
> primary focus is on defining interactivity.

Unfortunately, this definition of interaction design does not seem to
have a primary focus on defining interactivity. It seems to be
boosterism for the discipline.

> The discipline of interaction design produces products and services
> that
> satisfy specific user needs, business goals, and technical constraints.

This is so vague as to be meaningless. You can say this about any
design, and, frankly, about any engineering. What makes *interaction
design* special?

> Interaction designers advance their discipline by exploring innovative
> design paradigms and technological opportunities. As the capabilities
> of
> interactive devices evolve and their complexity increases,
> practitioners of
> the discipline of interaction design will play an increasingly
> important
> role in ensuring that technology serves people's needs.

Don't sprain your arm patting yourselves on the back.

>
> In summary, interaction design defines
>
> * the structure and behaviors of interactive products and services
> * user interactions with those products and services

Why isn't this at the beginning? And why doesn't it guide what follows?

--peter

30 Jul 2004 - 10:41am
Jess McMullin
2004

>Does anyone find this definition valuable?

This part below is good, and in fact is far more valuable to me than an
extended definition that requires a lot of explanation of other terms (with
business decision makers I don't want to get lost in the maze of 'ID is not
IA? Oh, what's IA?')

> In summary, interaction design defines
>
> * the structure and behaviors of interactive products and services
> * user interactions with those products and services

Good job to the people who boiled it down to this. Thanks.

cheers,

Jess

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30 Jul 2004 - 11:06am
hilhorst
2004

> Does anyone find this definition valuable?

Ok, so the riot I did not intend to start, did start. I'll blame Peter
;-) Anyway, since we're commenting on the definition I'll add my
thoughts.

Please keep in mind that my goal is to inform executives or other people
that tend to make decisions within companies (without any prior
knowledge of interaction design or anything related) of what interaction
design is, but more importantly how it affects the decisions they make
and the products they move. Personally I'd like to convince people
(especially in higher echelons) that interaction design is important, if
not critical, and not something along the lines of: "Oh, shit, yeah, we
gotta add some buttons with nice colors... uhmm, and maybe test that."

Naturally the definition that will possibly ensue may be different from
what people would prefer to use among peers, which could be more
detailed and with as much jargon as one can muster. But aren't we all
looking for a definition that even our grandma can comprehend? To me
it's important to find the essence of interaction design and if we can't
find one we'll never be able to explain what we do at weddings,
cocktails or parties among friends. You know what I mean...

>From Peter's comments I can only deduce that the current definition is
much too judgemental and too detailed, and I'm afraid I'll have to
agree. We can get anal about the details among ourselves, but please,
let's keep a definition for the outside world concise and to the point.
Can't we produce something that's a few sentences long, without getting
too specific? I'm not yet ready to believe that what we do is more
complex than rocket science.

The only thing I can really agree with, and possibly successfully
explain to others is this:

* the structure and behaviors of interactive products and services
* user interactions with those products and services

It's short and to the point.

Cheers,

Didier

30 Jul 2004 - 11:38am
Josh Seiden
2003

Peter and Didier,

This is the actual definition that the group is getting
behind:

> In summary, interaction design defines
>
> * the structure and behaviors of interactive
products and services
> * user interactions with those products and
services

The rest of the text is explanation, designed to speak
to both practitioners, and potential clients/employers.

The points you make about that text are good ones--to
continue the discussion further, come over to the
Workgroup list, which is the venue for such
discussions. (The group here voted early on to keep
this Discussion list centered on more practical
discussions.)

To join the workgroup list, or to volunteer to work on
a taskforce, send an e-mail to:
volunteers at interactiondesigners.com.

Thanks,
JS

>
>
> > Does anyone find this definition valuable?
>
> Ok, so the riot I did not intend to start, did start.
I'll blame Peter
> ;-) Anyway, since we're commenting on the definition
I'll add
> my thoughts.
>

30 Jul 2004 - 11:55am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jul 30, 2004, at 8:08 AM, Peter Merholz wrote:

>> Interaction design (IxD) is the branch of user experience design that
>> illuminates the relationship between people and the machines they use.
>
> Of course, begging the question, what is "user experience design"?

Yes it does. It seems what has been known as "user interface design" in
the past is being known as "user experience design" these days. I
personally disagree with the "experience" term, but I've stated that
plenty in the past.

>> Interaction designers strive to create useful and usable products and
>> services.
>
> They do?

A rather pointless cheap shot, Peter. Not sure of your point or intent.

>> The success of products in the marketplace depends on the design of
>> high-quality, engaging interactive experiences.
>
> I'm sorry, but: bullshit. Again, I'd love for this to be true, but
> it's not. Issues of market success have no place in a definition of a
> discipline.

It is probably a bit over-reaching.

>> Interaction designers advance their discipline by exploring innovative
>> design paradigms and technological opportunities. As the capabilities
>> of
>> interactive devices evolve and their complexity increases,
>> practitioners of
>> the discipline of interaction design will play an increasingly
>> important
>> role in ensuring that technology serves people's needs.
>
> Don't sprain your arm patting yourselves on the back.

Everything is marketing, Peter. You know that. And it seems to me you
need your coffee this morning.

Andrei

30 Jul 2004 - 1:44pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jul 30, 2004, at 9:06 AM, Didier Hilhorst wrote:

> The only thing I can really agree with, and possibly successfully
> explain to others is this:
>
> * the structure and behaviors of interactive products and services
> * user interactions with those products and services
>
> It's short and to the point.

It may be short and to the point, but it doesn't really say anything
about what you do on the job. In fact, it might trivialize the job so
much that if this short summary doesn't "wow" an executive, they'll
just think to themselves, "seems so simple, why do I need to spend
money for a specialist for this?"

A line has to be walked between creating a summary of the definition
for conversational purposes and a detailed definition that acts as both
a definition and a marketing tool for people in the field. The current
definition put out there may too much on the marketing-side and bit
over-reaching on the claims with the business piece, but the general
direction I have to agree with, especially in light for what it would
be used for.

Didier... when you get out of that fancy schmancy Ivrea school and
start having to earn your paycheck, you'll have to join the rest in
learning how to be sell-out without really being a sell-out. 8^)

Andrei

30 Jul 2004 - 3:00pm
hans samuelson
2003

Hello all;

Getting back to the original question of this thread, which is sources
for academic references which a person can credibly quote in academic
texts

<long aside>
this may often seem like navel-gazing, but it's really just another
part of the system, like marketing; publications are part of what makes
something a discipline or a profession, so it would be worth getting
whatever definition eventually sticks published in a journal or two, so
that we can argue about it in design schools for the next twenty or
thirty years...
</long aside>

I would suggest the following as starting points.

For a good list of the problems of defining and understanding
interactivity, with a marketing slant on why it might be important:
Joonhyung Jee & Wei-Na Lee, Antecedents and Consequences of Perceived
Interactivity: An Exploratory Study.
Journal of Interactive Advertising, Volume 3, Number 1, Fall 2002

The best take on the total lack of clarity about what 'interactive' and
'interaction' mean:
Carrie Heeter, Interactivity in the Context of Designed Experiences.
Journal of Interactive Advertising, Volume 1, Number 1, Fall 2000

Winograd is a heavyweight as such things go;
Terry Winograd, From Computing Machinery to Interaction Design. In
Peter Denning and Robert Metcalfe (eds.), Beyond Calculation: The Next
Fifty Years of Computing, Springer-Verlag, 1997.

There are a certain number of doctoral dissertations coming out now as
well. For example, I have been interested in the work of Redstrom :
Jonas Redstrom, Designing Everyday Computational Things
Ph. D. Thesis. Gothenburg Studies in Informatics, No. 20, May 2001.
Dept. of Informatics, Gothenburg University.

To go a little further, frequent poster Dan Saffer has a list of books
which are linked (some more directly than others) to interaction design
at
http://www.odannyboy.com/blog/cmu/archives/cat_readings.html

On an obliquely related note, I'd also put in a plug for the classic
"Wicked problems in design thinking" by Richard Buchanan, which reminds
us that not everything is easy to explain or define, even when you have
to have it on your supervisor's desk(top) before five o'clock. And
it's still your fault if things go wrong.

Happy groves of academe. And if you get published, let us know.

Hans Samuelson

30 Jul 2004 - 5:29pm
hilhorst
2004

> It may be short and to the point, but it doesn't really say anything
> about what you do on the job. In fact, it might trivialize the job so
> much that if this short summary doesn't "wow" an executive, they'll
> just think to themselves, "seems so simple, why do I need to spend
> money for a specialist for this?"

Needless to say probably, but I agree that we should not be looking for
an oversimplification that would downgrade what we do, yet, neither
should we have a complicated definition that will only confuse people,
or only introduces new unknown (to most) jargon.

> A line has to be walked between creating a summary of the definition
> for conversational purposes and a detailed definition that acts as
both
> a definition and a marketing tool for people in the field. The current
> definition put out there may too much on the marketing-side and bit
> over-reaching on the claims with the business piece, but the general
> direction I have to agree with, especially in light for what it would
> be used for.

Not sure about the "one-definition-to-rule-them-all" sort of thing. Is
that needed? I can imagine that we would want to communicate differently
within the field (the IxD cause) and the persons outside the field
(mainly business executives and decision makers.)

> Didier... when you get out of that fancy schmancy Ivrea school and
> start having to earn your paycheck, you'll have to join the rest in
> learning how to be sell-out without really being a sell-out. 8^)

Do I hear some sarcasm in that sentence? True -- I definitvely have a
long way to go before I come close to the experience level of most of
you guys and gals on this list. But I didn't learn what I know now by
keeping quiet, even if just a lowly student "studying economics of all
things", if I quote you right ;-) And maybe a paycheck will change
things -- but I'll worry about that later...

Nevertheless, what I do know, is that I just spent two weeks trying to
pinpoint what the hell interaction design is (a plausible and credible
definition that is.) Why does it have to take so long? Either I'm dumb
or ignorant or we have a serious problem communicating what we do and
how it's valuable to others and their business -- for now I'll opt for
the latter explanation if you don't mind.

Cheers,

Didier

31 Jul 2004 - 12:41am
Amit Deshpande
2004

I don't know if I am even making a little sense when I write the following,
but this is what I am getting to right now.

<quote>
Yes it does. It seems what has been known as "user interface design" in
the past is being known as "user experience design" these days. I
personally disagree with the "experience" term, but I've stated that
plenty in the past.
</quote>

Interface Design: The Design of elements that help the user command the
underlying functionality, devising the "medium" that enables the user to
call functions in an abstract manner.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v106/cybaba/4site/cog1.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v106/cybaba/4site/cog5.jpg

Interaction Design: Interaction(action and opposite reaction) between
Interface Elements, including but not limited to alerts, button-rollover
effects, disjoint rollovers, event-based sounds.

http://www.curiousmedia.com

Experience Design: Could involve creating atmospheres and different "feels"
for the user. A "science fiction gadget" could be the figment of an
experience designers mind. Similarly, a site selling antique Chinese
paintings could use a mild asian backdrop and music, to give the user
"that" experience.

Terminator 3 skin by skinfactory
See Image:
http://www.wmplugins.com/images/full/300.jpg
Available at: http://www.wmplugins.com/ItemDetail.aspx?ItemID=300

Whenever I go to http://www.2advanced.com, it gives me a high. This site
makes the user 'feel' in charge of immense information(remember feel), and
comprehend the "blip-robotic groan-twitch-screech-blip-blip" as some highly
sophisticated computer (some crap apache driven server) engaging to this
node and establishing connection.

Just being me,

Amit Deshpande
http://www.amitdeshpande.com

Original Message:
-----------------
From: Andrei Herasimchuk andrei at designbyfire.com
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2004 09:55:29 -0700
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Articles on Interaction Design

On Jul 30, 2004, at 8:08 AM, Peter Merholz wrote:

>> Interaction design (IxD) is the branch of user experience design that
>> illuminates the relationship between people and the machines they use.
>
> Of course, begging the question, what is "user experience design"?

Yes it does. It seems what has been known as "user interface design" in
the past is being known as "user experience design" these days. I
personally disagree with the "experience" term, but I've stated that
plenty in the past.

>> Interaction designers strive to create useful and usable products and
>> services.
>
> They do?

A rather pointless cheap shot, Peter. Not sure of your point or intent.

>> The success of products in the marketplace depends on the design of
>> high-quality, engaging interactive experiences.
>
> I'm sorry, but: bullshit. Again, I'd love for this to be true, but
> it's not. Issues of market success have no place in a definition of a
> discipline.

It is probably a bit over-reaching.

>> Interaction designers advance their discipline by exploring innovative
>> design paradigms and technological opportunities. As the capabilities
>> of
>> interactive devices evolve and their complexity increases,
>> practitioners of
>> the discipline of interaction design will play an increasingly
>> important
>> role in ensuring that technology serves people's needs.
>
> Don't sprain your arm patting yourselves on the back.

Everything is marketing, Peter. You know that. And it seems to me you
need your coffee this morning.

Andrei

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31 Jul 2004 - 11:03am
Simon King
2004

>Not sure about the "one-definition-to-rule-them-all" sort of thing. Is
>that needed? I can imagine that we would want to communicate differently
>within the field (the IxD cause) and the persons outside the field
>(mainly business executives and decision makers.)

I appreciated the way that interaction designers were referenced on the
DIS2004 overview page (http://tinyurl.com/4zhre):

"interaction designers both in the large, involved with community building,
and in the small, developing interactive objects and installations"

The IA community has referenced big and little roles for a while now
(http://tinyurl.com/4b83m). I think it's a useful way to show the varied
levels at which designers can work and it's an easy concept for outsiders to
grasp.

Simon

30 Jul 2004 - 5:44pm
Dave Malouf
2005

I would also look at the way academic programs define themselves.
Ivrea
Carnegie Mellon

come to mind.

-dave
David Heller
dave at interactiondesigners.com
htt://www.interactiondesigners.com

5 Aug 2004 - 8:49am
hilhorst
2004

> I would also look at the way academic programs define themselves.
> Ivrea Carnegie Mellon

Thanks for the suggestion Dave, I did just that. Once I'm done gathering
all my info, relevant literature and references, I'll post a summary on
this list, if anyone is interested.

Cheers,

Didier.

5 Aug 2004 - 10:02am
Robert Reimann
2003

Didier wrote:

> Nevertheless, what I do know, is that I just spent two weeks trying to
pinpoint
> what the hell interaction design is (a plausible and credible definition
that is.)
> Why does it have to take so long? Either I'm dumb or ignorant or we have a
serious
> problem communicating what we do and how it's valuable to others and their
business --
> for now I'll opt for the latter explanation if you don't mind.

Jodi Forlizzi (at CMU) and I came up with a definition for IxD
in 2001, which we presented at one of AIGA's Advance for
Design summits (Jodi presented a similar but abbreviated definition
at DIS 2004 this week). Our definition is in this article of mine from
Cooper's newsletter (and also appears, slightly edited, in About Face 2.0).
I've also probably posted it to this list once before.

http://www.cooper.com/newsletters/2001_06/so_you_want_to_be_an_interaction_d
esigner.htm

As you can see, its themes are similar to the definition put
forward by the group. One thing it doesn't do is define "interaction"
or "interactivity" precisely, which as Peter M. points out is
probably necessary. I'd submit these as candidates:

Interaction: The dialogue between behaviors of a product or
system that users can perceive, respond to, or influence,
and the users' behaviors in reaction to and in expectation of
those system-generated behaviors.

Interactivity: The quality or level of interaction in a product
or system.

What I remember most about presenting our definition at Advance was
that afterwards, Brenda Laurel came up to me and said that we were
"very brave" (in that mysterious Brenda Laurel way). And it's true:
design of behavior is different in significant ways from design of
form, and we should all be proud to be bold pioneers in this
evolving discipline -- and aware that half the excitement is that
we don't have all the answers yet!

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.
com] On Behalf Of Didier Hilhorst
Sent: Friday, July 30, 2004 6:29 PM
To: 'Andrei Herasimchuk'; 'Interaction Designers'
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Articles on Interaction Design

> It may be short and to the point, but it doesn't really say anything
> about what you do on the job. In fact, it might trivialize the job so
> much that if this short summary doesn't "wow" an executive, they'll
> just think to themselves, "seems so simple, why do I need to spend
> money for a specialist for this?"

Needless to say probably, but I agree that we should not be looking for an
oversimplification that would downgrade what we do, yet, neither should we
have a complicated definition that will only confuse people, or only
introduces new unknown (to most) jargon.

> A line has to be walked between creating a summary of the definition
> for conversational purposes and a detailed definition that acts as
both
> a definition and a marketing tool for people in the field. The current
> definition put out there may too much on the marketing-side and bit
> over-reaching on the claims with the business piece, but the general
> direction I have to agree with, especially in light for what it would
> be used for.

Not sure about the "one-definition-to-rule-them-all" sort of thing. Is that
needed? I can imagine that we would want to communicate differently within
the field (the IxD cause) and the persons outside the field
(mainly business executives and decision makers.)

> Didier... when you get out of that fancy schmancy Ivrea school and
> start having to earn your paycheck, you'll have to join the rest in
> learning how to be sell-out without really being a sell-out. 8^)

Do I hear some sarcasm in that sentence? True -- I definitvely have a long
way to go before I come close to the experience level of most of you guys
and gals on this list. But I didn't learn what I know now by keeping quiet,
even if just a lowly student "studying economics of all things", if I quote
you right ;-) And maybe a paycheck will change things -- but I'll worry
about that later...

Nevertheless, what I do know, is that I just spent two weeks trying to
pinpoint what the hell interaction design is (a plausible and credible
definition that is.) Why does it have to take so long? Either I'm dumb or
ignorant or we have a serious problem communicating what we do and how it's
valuable to others and their business -- for now I'll opt for the latter
explanation if you don't mind.

Cheers,

Didier

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5 Aug 2004 - 11:13am
Alan Cooper
2004

"...design of behavior is different in significant ways from design of
form"

And of course that's why there remains so much contention and fluidity
in the definition of "interaction design." So many people are trying to
reconcile the former as a derivative of the latter, which it distinctly
is not.

Thanx,
Alan

__________
Cooper | humanizing technology
Alan Cooper
Founder & Chairman of the Board
(415) 267 3500
acooper at cooper.com | www.cooper.com
49 Stevenson, Suite 1200, San Francisco CA 94105
All information in this message is proprietary & confidential.
__________
"We all learn by experience but some of us have to go to summer school."
--Peter De Vries

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
ers.com] On Behalf Of Reimann, Robert
Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 8:03 AM
To: 'Interaction Designers'
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Articles on Interaction Design

Didier wrote:

> Nevertheless, what I do know, is that I just spent two weeks trying to
pinpoint
> what the hell interaction design is (a plausible and credible
definition
that is.)
> Why does it have to take so long? Either I'm dumb or ignorant or we
have a
serious
> problem communicating what we do and how it's valuable to others and
their
business --
> for now I'll opt for the latter explanation if you don't mind.

Jodi Forlizzi (at CMU) and I came up with a definition for IxD
in 2001, which we presented at one of AIGA's Advance for
Design summits (Jodi presented a similar but abbreviated definition
at DIS 2004 this week). Our definition is in this article of mine from
Cooper's newsletter (and also appears, slightly edited, in About Face
2.0).
I've also probably posted it to this list once before.

http://www.cooper.com/newsletters/2001_06/so_you_want_to_be_an_interacti
on_d
esigner.htm

As you can see, its themes are similar to the definition put
forward by the group. One thing it doesn't do is define "interaction"
or "interactivity" precisely, which as Peter M. points out is
probably necessary. I'd submit these as candidates:

Interaction: The dialogue between behaviors of a product or
system that users can perceive, respond to, or influence,
and the users' behaviors in reaction to and in expectation of
those system-generated behaviors.

Interactivity: The quality or level of interaction in a product
or system.

What I remember most about presenting our definition at Advance was
that afterwards, Brenda Laurel came up to me and said that we were
"very brave" (in that mysterious Brenda Laurel way). And it's true:
design of behavior is different in significant ways from design of
form, and we should all be proud to be bold pioneers in this
evolving discipline -- and aware that half the excitement is that
we don't have all the answers yet!

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
ers.
com] On Behalf Of Didier Hilhorst
Sent: Friday, July 30, 2004 6:29 PM
To: 'Andrei Herasimchuk'; 'Interaction Designers'
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Articles on Interaction Design

> It may be short and to the point, but it doesn't really say anything
> about what you do on the job. In fact, it might trivialize the job so
> much that if this short summary doesn't "wow" an executive, they'll
> just think to themselves, "seems so simple, why do I need to spend
> money for a specialist for this?"

Needless to say probably, but I agree that we should not be looking for
an
oversimplification that would downgrade what we do, yet, neither should
we
have a complicated definition that will only confuse people, or only
introduces new unknown (to most) jargon.

> A line has to be walked between creating a summary of the definition
> for conversational purposes and a detailed definition that acts as
both
> a definition and a marketing tool for people in the field. The current

> definition put out there may too much on the marketing-side and bit
> over-reaching on the claims with the business piece, but the general
> direction I have to agree with, especially in light for what it would
> be used for.

Not sure about the "one-definition-to-rule-them-all" sort of thing. Is
that
needed? I can imagine that we would want to communicate differently
within
the field (the IxD cause) and the persons outside the field
(mainly business executives and decision makers.)

> Didier... when you get out of that fancy schmancy Ivrea school and
> start having to earn your paycheck, you'll have to join the rest in
> learning how to be sell-out without really being a sell-out. 8^)

Do I hear some sarcasm in that sentence? True -- I definitvely have a
long
way to go before I come close to the experience level of most of you
guys
and gals on this list. But I didn't learn what I know now by keeping
quiet,
even if just a lowly student "studying economics of all things", if I
quote
you right ;-) And maybe a paycheck will change things -- but I'll worry
about that later...

Nevertheless, what I do know, is that I just spent two weeks trying to
pinpoint what the hell interaction design is (a plausible and credible
definition that is.) Why does it have to take so long? Either I'm dumb
or
ignorant or we have a serious problem communicating what we do and how
it's
valuable to others and their business -- for now I'll opt for the latter
explanation if you don't mind.

Cheers,

Didier

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