Working with Aesthetics of Interaction

The last project has now been presented and I am finishing up the blog. I have been presenting a range of projects exploring various aspects of the aesthetics of interaction. I have presented screen-based and physical artifacts exploring primarily interaction attributes and their relations to emotion (Lenz, Diefenbach & Hassenzahl 2013; Lim et al. 2007). In the last project the scope was broadened and we had to take into account the context of use and the thematic expression of the artifact according to the brief.

However there are still aspects to the Aesthetics of Interaction that I did not cover in this course. Ross & Wensveen (2010) suggest four principles for Aesthetics of Interaction. “Aesthetic Interaction is an experienced interaction with a product or system that:

  • has practical use next to intrinsic value
  • has social and ethical dimensions
  • has satisfying dynamic form
  • involves the whole human being”

(Ross & Wensveen 2010, p. 4)

Throughout the course we have been touching more on some of these principles than others. We have been working extensively with the dynamic form of the artifacts by designing for particular behaviors and feelings. As a consequence of this we have also been working with the intrinsic value, however less with the practical. In my final project we worked with the social aspect of collaboration and distributed game controls, but contemplation on the ethics of our design have not been particular relevant.

It would be an overstatement to say that we have been concerned with all the skills of the human being in all the projects. But we have addressed the social skills explicitly in the final project. We have been working with perceptual-motor skills mainly in the physical cycle of the course and it turned out to play role in the “cat” program. The emotional skills have been addressed partly through the feelings that we tried to evoke through the interaction, but none of my design have been very challenging cognitively.

The point is not that all these aspects have been lacking from the projects. Rather that it has been interesting to work with them in (semi-)isolation. Working in a controlled lab setting allows you to focus on particular issues and leave out the noise. However making a list like this reminds you that there are many more things to account for when you embark on a project as complex as designing an interactive artifact for the real world.


Lenz, E., Diefenbach, S., & Hassenzahl, M. (2013, September). Exploring relationships between interaction attributes and experience. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces (pp. 126–135). ACM.

Lim, Y. K., Stolterman, E., Jung, H., & Donaldson, J. (2007, August). Interaction gestalt and the design of aesthetic interactions. In Proceedings of the 2007 conference on Designing pleasurable products and interfaces (pp. 239–254). ACM.

Ross, P. R., & Wensveen, S. A. (2010). Designing behavior in interaction: Using aesthetic experience as a mechanism for design. International Journal of Design, 4(2).

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