FW: Patriarchs of the Design Family

20 Nov 2003 - 1:25pm
528 reads
Robert Reimann
2003

I'm sorry if I've led anyone to believe that I think
industrial design is "unconcerned with interaction".
What I was trying to say (thanks Dave H.) is that interaction
design (as I would characterize it) is concerned FIRST with
behavior, and then with form (as it applies to behavior).
Although industrial design must concern itself with behavior,
its focus, I would argue, is in most cases primarily form.

I was also not trying to imply that form is unimportant to IntD,
or should be entirely ceded to other disciplines. However,
form is a relatively well-understood problem with a broad
range of design tools and talents available, while behavior
is playing catch-up. We need to focus where the effort is most
needed. It would be great if all interaction designers could also
be excellent visual or industrial designers, but in my experience
there are few people with all the requisite talents and training
(I however do agree that it's very helpful for interaction designers
to have some level of basic visual design skill). I have seen extremely
successful collaboration between graphic designers, interaction designers,
and industrial designers, and don't believe that it's in any way an
all-or-nothing game.

I would also argue that form is not, or shouldn't be, the driver of
behavior, except perhaps at the very detailed level. At the conceptual and
structural level, I think it must be the other way around. But these are I
think all methodological quibbles, not an ideological split.

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From: Coryndon Luxmoore [mailto:cluxmoore at dakasa.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 12:54 PM
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Patriarchs of the Design Family

I disagree with his assertion that form is the primary driver of design. It
is the primary result it is the understanding of behavior that makes a
product truly successful. A great example of this is the Palm vs. the Newton
both interfaces were/are great but the form did not meet the behaviors that
the user required the product to meet.

To talk about design and to claim the design space requires that we step up
and take on form as a primary tool of our discipline. Form affect usability,
the behavior, and the experience. Form is the primary means for expressing
and supporting the behaviors. How many times have you seen the product
negatively affected by the form of the solution? Text too small, buttons
looking inactive etc. For me at least, claiming one over the other is a
strange prospect. Form is control over the solution that I would be
uncomfortable ceding to someone outside the interaction design space. Form
is a primary driver of behavior.

I believe that we must be responsible for form. Otherwise we already have
the formal disciplines, organizations, and titles out there to support what
we do.

Yes we will need people that specialize in form over behavior and visa-versa
but I believe all interaction designers must have both skills to be
successful.

--Coryndon __________________________________________________________
Coryndon Luxmoore
Design Architect
Dakasa
133 Federal Street
Boston, MA 02110
USA
e: cluxmoore at dakasa.com
t: 617.292.7700
f: 617.292.7704
____________________________________________________________
This email message and any files transmitted with it contain confidential
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Dakasa
t: 617.292.7700
____________________________________________________________

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
ers.com] On Behalf Of David Heller
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 12:06 PM
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Patriarchs of the Design Family

I don't think that Robert was saying that ID doesn't deal w/ the user. I
think he was (correct me Robert if I'm wrong) that the final design is the
form, whereas IxD's try to focus on the behavior primarily and fit the form
over that. In fact many IxDs would probably not even concern themselves w/
the final form's aesthetics at all, whereas ID is very much involved in the
final aesthetics.

That isn't to say that IxD doesn't want to inform the final form, but that
IxD as a discipline (and again, not a person or role) at its core does not
design the final form of a product. The person involved can have that skill
and thus would have both IxD and ID disciplines under their belt, but these
are different disciplines in deed.

Like an IA who can also do graphic design ... These are two disciplines in
one body humanus.

-- dave

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
ers.
com] On Behalf Of Coryndon Luxmoore
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 11:58 AM
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Patriarchs of the Design Family

Having been trained in ID then spending the bulk of my career working in the
interaction design field. I would have to say that it is unfair to
characterize ID as unconcerned with the interaction of the individual with
the product. Every skill that I apply to interaction design was first
learned at the knees of product design; understanding your user,
collaborating with engineers, the value of elegant solutions, as well as the
overall design process.

During my time in the ID program at RISD. The students there were obsessed
with the idea of "ritual." The process by which a product is used and
incorporated into a user's daily life. After chatting with a friend who
teaches in the program I hear that this is still true. Is this not
interaction?

In both fields there are members who create beautiful form for the sake of
form to those members who focus on the need of the user to achieve a task.
Confusing those designs that get published in glossy magazines with those
that are the bulk of the work in the field is unfair. Can you imagine what
someone might say about interaction design if they just judged us by the
beautiful but not very functional flash and web work out there?

I firmly believe that the future of interaction design and product design
are one. Neither field can be successful without the other. A beautiful
product design with a horrible interface is a horrible product, A beautiful
interface with a horrible product design is a horrible product.

--Coryndon __________________________________________________________
Coryndon Luxmoore
Design Architect
Dakasa
133 Federal Street
Boston, MA 02110
USA
e: cluxmoore at dakasa.com
t: 617.292.7700
f: 617.292.7704 ____________________________________________________________
This email message and any files transmitted with it contain confidential
information intended only for the person(s) to whom this email message is
addressed. If you have received this email message in error, please notify
the sender immediately by telephone or email and destroy the original
message without making a copy.
Thank you.

Dakasa
t: 617.292.7700 ____________________________________________________________

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesign
ers.com] On Behalf Of Beth Mazur
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 11:15 AM
To: Reimann, Robert
Cc: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Patriarchs of the Design Family

Quoting "Reimann, Robert" <Robert_Reimann at bose.com>:

> Calling interaction design "digital industrial design"
> might be a useful metaphor to help traditional designers feel more
> comfortable with it, but like most metaphors, it has significant
> limits. In this case, the core differentiator between IntD and other
> design disciplines -- a focus on behavior before form -- is buried.

I'm only peripherally familiar with industrial design, but the experience
that I've had with it suggests that it shares this focus on behavior before
form; then again, I worked with people who were faculty at Carnegie Mellon's
school of design, so perhaps they aren't typical. But this perspective seems
to be supported by IDSA; here's some of the text from the "About ID"
page on their site that resonated with me yesterday:

Industrial design is the professional service of creating
and developing concepts and specifications that optimize
the function, value and appearance of products and systems
for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer.

...

The industrial designer's unique contribution places emphasis
on those aspects of the product or system that relate most
directly to human characteristics, needs and interests. This
contribution requires specialized understanding of visual, tactile,
safety and convenience criteria, with concern for the user. Education

and experience in anticipating psychological, physiological and
sociological factors that influence and are perceived by the user
are essential industrial design resources.

>From http://www.idsa.org/webmodules/articles/anmviewer.asp?a=89&z=23

It may be that IDSA is trying to change a perception that it shares with
graphic design that the kudos and coverage goes to those who do form over
function. But I wonder if it is really so rare to find the alternative in
industrial design?

Beth Mazur
IDblog: http://idblog.org _______________________________________________

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