Aesthetic craft (was "Elements of Interaction Design")

15 May 2006 - 1:58am
1197 reads
Jonas Löwgren

Dave said:

> Can it be suggested that if we want to move IxD into being
> understood as an
> aesthetic form of design (as visual design is often) we need to
> have an
> educational program (Jonas, maybe you are doing this) that uses
> aspects to
> help draw out an aesthetic craft. Or is our only craft, how to make
> task
> flows and widgets?

In my opinion, aesthetic qualities influence the use of digital
artifacts in profound ways. Interaction designers need to realize
that aesthetics is part of their responsibility.

What makes this difficult is that we have
1. thirty years of usability/HCI tradition telling us that use is
instrumental, task-oriented;
2. ten years of collaboration with visual design and product design
where aesthetics are primarily static in a temporal sense;
3. no communal sense of the "aesthetics of use" and no established
venues for collectively developing such a sense.

Making progress thus amounts to a massive undertaking for educators,
practitioners and researchers -- but an essential one, considering
that use is increasingly discretionary and the economic value of
users' choices is constantly growing.

What it means for me as a teacher is that whenever I discuss the
students' ideas, help them develop alternatives, show examples to
them, critique their projects, and teach methods of assessment, I
need to ground my positions not only instrumentally, structurally and
ethically -- but also aesthetically.

For such tasks, taxonomies such as the one presented by Dan and
extended by Dave are most helpful.

Jonas Löwgren

Arts and Communication
Malmö University, SE-205 06 Malmö, Sweden

phone +46 7039 17854

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