A Review: Interdisciplinary Interaction Design

I can absolutely see why GA (General Assembly) would put “Interdisciplinary Interaction Design” first on their list of required reading pre-course work for the UXDI program. The book itself is laid out to be user friendly and allow the reader to easily categorize and take in information as they move through the pages. Pannafino goes so far as to create his own page template to make the information more tangible and not inundate the reader with an intimidating amount of text or industry jargon to trudge through.

Each page is basically laid out almost like a big index or flash card. Pannafino goes a fantastic job of laying out the term he’s covering, doing a short write up about the concept, and then driving the point home using a visual cue or example.
The example page template from James Pannafino’s Interdisciplinary Interaction Design
“Many ideas in this book are based on timeless principles that will function in varying contexts.”

Some people might find a few of these pages to be a bit rudimentary or common knowledge. For example, the section on Maslow’s Hierarchy or Visual/Auditory feedback might be obvious to some, but they are all things that come into play either consciously or subconsciously during the design process.

From my limited understanding, there are always a lot of opinions flying around the room when it comes to how a page should and shouldn’t be designed. Steve Krug calls these “religious debates” in his book “Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited” The book gives you some great fall backs in terms of design philosophies or psychological priorities that can put some arguments to rest and how to make a strong case when collaborating with a team.

Steve Krug’s representation of “Religious Debates” in an office setting.

“Interdisciplinary Interaction Design” is definitely a book worth keeping around as a design encyclopedia. With the super simple lay out and concise wording, you could probably get through this book in an hour or two, but should be something you can constantly refer to when the religious debates don’t work out.

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