Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Reality Interactivity Index

Based on some earlier postings I think it is time to launch the concept of "reality interactivity index".

The index is a measurement of how interactive a certain environment is. An environment can have an index that is extremely low, which means that it does not react or change as a result of human actions. En environment can have an index that is extremely high, which means that every human action leads to a reaction and change in the environment. Of course, most environments are somewhere in between. One of the grand challenges for interaction design is to figure out what interactivity index fits a certain environment.

I am convinced that the reality interactivity index will become a common way of describing and defining the character of environments where humans live and act. It is a measurement that is similar to the notions of an environment being "natural" or "artificial", or "rural" versus "urban". We use these notions as a way to define the overall character of an environment. Interactivity will be, or maybe is already, one of the most important aspects of how we understand an environment.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Interaction Design Grand Challenges

A few days ago I asked here for proposals for what could be considered to be Interaction Design Grand Challenges. These challenges can be either problems that are caused by interaction designers or new technology and use of that technology. Challenges can either be seen as problems or as new opportunities that have not yet been exploited and developed.

Tyler Pace has, in a comment, suggested four challenges, he writes:

"1) Sustainability. I'm not the best person to post on this topic, but we all know it should be a chief concern for interaction designers.

2) Identity. It's fractured and seeping into and out of so many mediums that it's almost impossible to grasp.

3) Expectations of Work and Play. I'm not sure how to lump this into interaction design, but I feel/know that the expectations for work as separate from play are changing and I think the digital workforce has a large part to do with it.

4) Bleeding lines between producer and consumer and the resulting downstream issues of copyright, intellectual property, etc."

I think these are four good proposals, they are all consequences of our new interactive reality. They look and can easily be framed as problems, but can also be framed as enormous opportunities for radical and innovative interaction design.

More proposals anyone?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Big Interaction Design Challenges

In a reality that is becoming increasingly interactive we are frequently experiencing interactive breakdowns. Professional interaction designers are today in a wonderful position since the design and creation of the interactive reality seems to create more interaction challenges than it solves. This is of course good for the job market for future interaction designers :-) So, where has interaction design created more problems than it has solved. One small example is of course what we all experience every day when we try to handle the overwhelming number of remote controls in our living rooms. The living room is becoming more interactive on every possible level, and the true interaction design challenge is how to design that interactivity in a way that makes life in a living room, as a whole, simple and enjoyable. Where are the design ideas? It is an interesting exercise to try to define and make visible what can be seen as major interaction design challenges in our society today. Suggestions...?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Argue for your design

One of the most interesting observation I have done lately, for instance at the Nordes design conference in Stockholm, is the drastically increasing demand for design argumentation. It seems that the pressure on designers are increasing, not only to come up with unique and desired designs, but also to create convincing reasons for the design. At the conference it was obvious that when the understanding of design increases among design clients, they are asking for substantial and elaborate arguments for why they should chose a specific design.

This change is interesting and creates a new situation for any design education. It is not enough to develop designs, students also have to develop their ability to reflect, reason, and argue for their design. The argumentation in design corresponds to methodological considerations in science. However, they are completely different in nature, purpose and form.

I think that all design educations need to take this new challenge seriously and include in design courses a higher awareness of design argumentation, and how to develop it.

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