Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Assemblies, Compositions and the iPhone
Maybe one of the least understood concepts in interaction design is composition. Many interaction artifacts have the same functionality and features, but some of these artifacts are also compositions. A composition is a whole. It is a design where the relation, balance, contrast between deatils and the whole, between funtionality and appearance, etc., are all aspects of a deliberate composition that is designed to have an overall quality -- a compositional quality. The iPod and maybe now the iPhone are examples of strong compositions. This is not easy to ackomplish, so many advanced cell phones and smart phones are just artifacts that best can be described as assemblies of functions and features, without any compositional whole. To create an artifact that manifest a strong composition is maybe the most challenging aspect of any design. In interaction design, with all the technology and new opportunities, the space of possible assemblies are (unfortunately) infinite and to create true authentic compositions are the ultimate design challenge. Let's see more compositions and less assemblies in the future.
Posted by Erik Stolterman at 10:52 PM