What was Interaction Design Interaction design is about managing the behaviour of entities (human or digital) to create a more conducive relationship between them within a system.

What is Interaction Design?

Interaction design is the orchestration of environments, technologies, services to make it (more) conducive for people to communicate with each other and have better experiences.

My definition of interaction design hasn’t changed too much. In fact, in reading it again now, I can see parallels between it and my final paper for this class.

I have a slightly different take on the popular perception that design is about problem solving. It was evident from our Interaction design studio projects that design is not so much about problem solving as it is about problem framing. Solutions and fixes feel more immediate and concrete but finding the right problem and asking the right questions are more critical.

Interaction design is also so tightly integrated with communication design –not just in the graphic design sense. Good and honest communication (vague, I know, but it doesn’t have to be efficient or clear), is so important when asking questions, teasing apart the problem space, facilitating conversations and presenting solutions and receiving feedback. Perhaps that is the simplest and broadest way to describe interaction design — as a conversation. Good interaction design is a good conversation, it doesn’t have to be a resolution.

In my previous definition I skirted the issues of technology and ethics. Both have their own implicit political baggage. I’ve learnt through the course of the readings that technologies have flavour and affordances. It’s important to understand what it is and what it’s trying to do, what it can do and what kind of infrastructure systems it gives rise to or that support it. Initially I was adamantly against the techno-centric view of design and I still am not in support of a techno-deterministic society but I’ve come to realize that it’s a tool like any other and as designers, it’s imperative to be in the know. That way, you always have the option to subvert it. But if it’s not part of your personal design ideology at all, that can be problematic.

My previous definition restricted interaction design within a system but I now think that design can operate at two levels — where it works within the system but affects it and the other is at the system level itself. I’m interested in seeing how to work with it at this level. How do interaction designers become part of this larger process? How do we prototype and iterate? How do we scale up and scale down, maintain the 30,000 feet (5.68 miles doesn’t have quite the same impact) perspective and the 1 foot perspective? What does it mean to craft systems for interactions and not just the interactions?

Interaction & Service Design Concepts: Principles, Perspectives & Practices

Graduate Seminar 1, Fall 2015, Carnegie Mellon School of Design, Collection of the Seminar’s Work

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