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...?

6 comments:

Tyler Pace said...

To get the ball rolling ...

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.

Erik Stolterman said...

Tyler

Those are great suggestions. Personally I see the first and second one as immediate challenges, and also as challenges that are for most of us possible to see and understand. The third one is in a sense more intriguing, since it is not easily understood and explained, but maybe that is one of the big ones! In a way the challenges that we do no easily recognize are sometimes more foundational and important than the ones that are obvious. However, if a challenge is easy or not to recognize has nothing to do if it is easy to handle. For instance, the issue of identity has been around for some time, we all recognize it, but it seems extraordinary difficult to handle or solve.
To me the degree of interactivity is our environments is a grand challenge....it is not well defined yet..but we are getting closer.

Tyler Pace said...

I would be at fault to not add the following concern.

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

Perhaps my definition of interaction design is too broad, but somehow I see the designers of the digital integral to so many social, technical and legal issues.

Erik Stolterman said...

Yes, Tyler, that is one major concern or opportunity. I think it should be on the list.

Erik

Anonymous said...

How about homelessness?

Jon

UsableImage phd blog said...

Hi

Some great suggestions and enjoy reading the blog, one query though where you have talked about the degree of interactivity in the environments is an aspect of this not understanding the full affordances of the environment.

Which I think insufficient consideration leads to a higher frustration of interaction wit people as the interaction is now a fuller and richer experience in the environment.

Which from my perspective is from trying to understanding and ask questions of the interaction design challenges of our society today?