What the opinion of you about the true focus of interaction design?
I have seen several projects in the Master's programs that focus
only on the interaction between man and computer. Touch projects are
And a lot of discussions is about the interaction between human and
computer, but as we know, this is the area of human computer
interaction and the interface design.
Some authors rightly show that the difference in interaction design
is beyond this concept and the focus is about the interaction between
human and human through computerized systems.
What do you think?
ps. Sorry if this question is already a topic previously discussed.
"Some authors rightly show that the difference in interaction design
is beyond this concept and the focus is about the interaction between
human and human through computerized systems."
That's whats called 'Social Interaction Design.'
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Posted from the new ixda.org
Robert Fabricant's excellent keynote at Interaction 09 this past
February argued that "Behavior is our Medium."
I recommend spending an hour with the video, which is now available
After years as a UI designer, IA and IxD practitioner, I've begun to
change my focus by doing an MA in Learning and Technology. I work in
post-sec now and like the notion of applying design to deeper
cognitive things than just selling stuff.
Anyway, good learning is about primarily three things, human, system
and content. The permutations between those things can take on many
I can apply these directly to UI design by thinking about, not only
how a user interacts with the system through the interface, but how
they interact with the content, how content in two systems interacts
with each other (think Ajax/XML/feeds/APIs/etc) and how all of it
allows human being to interact with each other.
Learning is directly impacted by the quality of all these
interactions, but I'd argue that most of life, online or not, is
also impacted by the quality of all interactions. So, with regard to
design, more than just HCI is required to make complex things simple.
I don't believe there is a "single" focus for IxD at this time in
history. I think for some their practice does point to the moment of
interfacing between digitally enhanced systems and human beings and
there is no denying that. For others the focus might be more broadly
associated with the behavior of products and systems and their
interelationship to/with the behavior of human beings. This is more
where my practice and teaching has led me. It is about designing the
behaviors of systems so that they map against the behaviors of human
beings, BUT also about designing the behaviors of systems so that
they encourage behaviors in human beings. (i.e. facilitate change).
So in a way behavior is our medium as Robert Fabricant put it in
Vancouver last month.
Not to mention all the tacit thoughts and emotions that,
ideally, precede behavior-as-medium (and arguably the differentiator between
a good and a great product or service). Guess I hope there are just a few
selected siloed actions that are warranted in this world, sans cognitive and
affective data. Otherwise, we humans would be a pretty impulsive bunch
(oh-oh, hmm, LOL). Then there's the issue of emotion trumping intellect
or intellect trumping emotion, rather than being equal partners guiding the
E-mail: aschechterman at gmail.com
On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 5:08 AM, dave malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> I don't believe there is a "single" focus for IxD at this time in
> history. I think for some their practice does point to the moment of
> interfacing between digitally enhanced systems and human beings and
> there is no denying that. For others the focus might be more broadly
> associated with the behavior of products and systems and their
> interelationship to/with the behavior of human beings. This is more
> where my practice and teaching has led me. It is about designing the
> behaviors of systems so that they map against the behaviors of human
> beings, BUT also about designing the behaviors of systems so that
> they encourage behaviors in human beings. (i.e. facilitate change).
> So in a way behavior is our medium as Robert Fabricant put it in
> Vancouver last month.
> -- dave
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
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IxD is a kind of blanket term. It is really more of a philosophical /
psychological movement than it is a real design field.
IxD is the idea that interaction, between anything, can not only be
quantified in meaningful ways, but can be manipulated to produce
desired results in a controlled and predictable way.
It is both the science of how things interact, and it is the art of
designing ways for things to interact.
It is, and I've not really heard it put this way before, the science
We attempt to explain why someone feels certain ways when they
experience a creative item. It is the natural product of the unholy
union of design and engineering on a purely ethereal scale.
It is the alchemy of transmuting a string of ones and zeroes into
meaningful and easily understood forms.
Where gold was once created accidentally, we are now trying to
control chaos and produce that same gold repeatably.
William, I think there might be a good reason why interaction design
has not been described as the science of art before.
Where design and art often share the same dimension and often overlap
(Dunn & Raby are a good example), they most certainly are not same
thing. And the science of interaction design certain does not produce
the same results as purely artistic efforts.
IxD has philosophical and psychological elements, but it cannot
constitute such a grandiose ontology in the way that you have
I believe we would be best to avoid descriptions of the practice and
research which include adjectives like alchemy, unholy union, or
psychological movement.. at least so nobody mistakes this forum for a
Since what I was saying was, in fact, intended to be silly. I had
hoped that was obvious... I'll only defend "The Science of Art"
Think of that phrase to mean the science behind how art does what art
does. Art has always been something magical. I mean magical in the old
sense. There are practices and methods and forms which if you follow
will produce results. Somewhat like if you have a slab of iron and
you pray over it while heating it, then hammer paper prayers into it
as you fold it, to imbue the iron with the magic of those prayers.
The end result will be steel. And in certain places in Japan this
process is still carried out for ceremonial swords.
That is what art has been. But we are now able to separate the
superstition of art from what really matters.
What I meant, and it was really the only serious point I was trying
to make, was that IxD is the space between a need, and the tool that
meets that need. A space that is traditionally held by someone who
takes a superstitious path to design.
Be it software design, our field's foundation, or some of the many
fields we've branched out to handle as well.
We apply the scientific method to what has normally been the whim of
artists. Even if that art were programmer art.
Especially on the web, where most of our growth has been. And where
the design of pages has historically been the exclusive domain of
graphic designers, at least of the AAA professional level.
I flowered it all up with other metaphors and such. I was trying to
get the gist of us across without going into great detail.
Because, as in this email, a short description won't do a better job
of explaining our gist, so why not attempt to inject something more in
it to at least make it enjoyable to read?