A philosophy of interaction design - conceptual framework behind Interaction|12
12 Feb 2012 - 12:41am
2 years ago
When planning the programme for Interaction|12 we started by setting forth a philosophy or conceptual framework for interaction design, as a way of helping to structure the content and ensure an overall coherent 'story'. I thought it might be of interest to the community.
Context, Purpose/Strategy, Dialogue, Ecosystems: are the "essential elements" of interaction design.
Process: describes the way in which we approach the creation of each 'element'
Theory: underpins our process, and provides our connection between the activities we undertake and the results we expect to ensue.
Behaviour as a label represents an aggregate outcome for the activities of interaction design, but each 'element' similarly has an outcome:
• Context: an understanding of the physical, mental and emotional triggers, conditions and motivations for the participants of/in the object of our design
• Strategy: the purpose towards which we're conducting our design - the economic value exchange that we anticipate taking place
• Dialogue: the specific low-level "interactions" - request/response 'transactions' that take place across an imaginary or tangible plane of interaction. [From Dave:] Aesthetics of the interaction design would be talked about in the context of this element.
• Ecosystems: the large-scale interplay between services, physical spaces and objects and people, resulting in large-scale behavioural changes either within a 'market', economy or various levels/scales of society/community
Process is the layer at which we see similarity with other design disciplines. There is a clear design heritage showing in the human-centredness, empathy, compassion; on the use of sketching, prototyping, critique, deconstruction, multiplicity.
Underpinning this process is a twin heritage in theory drawing on a tradition of design on the one hand, and a tradition of HCI on the other. It is through HCI that Cognitive and Behavioural psychology comes to Interaction design. It is also from HCI that we receive much of our understanding of the mechanics of the dialogue that occurs through a plane of interaction made physically manifest through digital interfaces.
A session - presentation or workshop - might plot a course vertically through one of the 'elements', covering theory, process, outcome. Or the presenter might explore a single element in the context of theory or process or outcome.
As a whole, the program plots an arc through the entire territory. For an individual the program offers opportunities to trace a path within a very narrow frame of reference; or one that touches lightly across each segment.
Workshops: focus on techniques, process or the bridge into design
e.g. sketching = process
prototyping = process
analysis = bridge from research to context
Theory: e.g. the integration of design & HCI traditions in modern ixd practice.
Context: e.g. what does "understanding" context look like? What do we mean by context? Different types of context - cultural, physical, emotional.
Strategy: e.g. how do we plot a path from where we are to where we want to be? The role of vision. Futuristic concepts - envisaging the future. Competition on the basis of interaction.
Dialogue: e.g. focused in on the immediate environs of the plane of interaction. New interaction paradigms (touch, gesture) or interfaces (Wii, Kinect, tablets, neural). Exploring the boundary/impacts of context on the design of specific interactions.
Ecosystems: e.g. the integrated, interdependent system of objects, services, spaces and people within which our desired, designed behaviour takes place
Behaviour: an exploration of, or examples of large-scale behavioural change and the role of interaction design on that behaviour.
Keynote presentations hit the big topics at a level of the entire layer or individual 'element'. They are intended to ask big questions or propose bold ideas, or pour cold water over a hyped-up idea or fad.
Presentation sessions: With less time at their disposal presentation slots will tend to focus more narrowly than the keynote sessions. Presentations - whether invited or not - will fit into the overall story arc, providing threading and context. For the Interaction conference sessions of a purely theoretical nature are acceptable. Theory is one layer of the philosophy and so can be covered on its own.