Interaction Design is dead. What now?
Ralph Ammer
2.1K79

This is highly misguided. What you describe as Interaction Design bears little resemblance to the practice that I have experienced for the last 15 years. Look into the work of Interaction Design pioneers like Bill Verplank, Gillian Crampton-Smith, and Malcolm McCullough before you make assumptions about the field as a whole. Look at the teaching at places like RCA, SVA, and CIID to see a whole generation of Interaction Designers who are creative, ask open questions, and have the theory and craft to ask critical questions about our world.

The problems you describe are real, but they are the symptoms of a economic system gone wrong. They subjugate every practice that lives within them and turns them all into the profit focused beast that you’re describing. Look at medical practice in the United States, for example. Will you also throw out all of medicine because of how badly it’s practiced in one place?

What you describe as “Natural Design” is what I practice and teach as Interaction Design, coming from a long history of theory and craft that emerged from Industrial Design and Architecture in the 1960’s.

Please do some research into Bill Verplank to start, then look at the theories and practices that inform modern Interaction Design. Things like Cybernetics, Anthropology, and Systems Theory. Look at the work and writing of Paul Pangaro. This is Interaction Design.

Look at modern practitioners and studios who are doing it right. Meld Studio (Australia), Normative (Toronto), Tellart (Amsterdam/Providence), and many many more. Also take a look at the programs of Interaction Design conferences like the IxDA’s Interaction, EyeO, and more.

Let’s not create more pseudo practices, but instead invest in really learning what our practice is all about and how it’s meant to be done. If there really is a need for something new, only then will it become clear.

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