Thursday, February 07, 2008

Visualization is easy - Interactivity is difficult

After having seen a lot of amazing commercials and trailers of TV, and after having seen amazing visualizations on the web of complex information and data, I think it is fair to say that designing interactivity is difficult in relation to visualization. In a way it is the shift from the producer-consumer model to the interactivity model that makes the difficulty. I am constantly impressed by highly advanced visualizations developed and made possible with computer technology. At the same time, the interactivity in our daily lives with simple artifacts like remote controls, electronic products, cell phones, etc, still make many of us unhappy. Everybody complains about the design of the TV remote control. Why is it so difficult to design a remote that is easy to use, beautiful to look at, and that fits into our home environments. The answer can not be that no one is trying to design them right, or that we do not have the right technology. The answer is that interactivity is extremely difficult. It is much easier to develop an amazing CG environment for a Sci-Fi movie...than to develop a simple and elegant remote control...or....

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Interaction Criticism and Judgment

In a recent blog post, my colleague Jeff Bardzell writes about the need for a more developed understanding of interaction criticism. He writes the post in reply to someone who reviewed one of his paper recently who did not understand the notion of "judgment" and questioned its nature and role in our field. Jeff makes a great case for judgment and for criticism as valid expressions of highly developed personally internalized knowledge. There is definitely a need to develop interaction criticism. There is also a need for a better understanding of criticism as a process and activity and there is a need of theories that can serve as tools in that activity. I am looking forward to the work by Jeff and Shaowen (his co-author on the paper that was reviewed).

Design research -- paradigm shift

Today I was made aware of a position paper on the state of art of design research by Kees Dorst (I reviewed his book a couple of days ago, see below). The paper is published in Design Studies and the title is "Design research - a revolution-waiting-to-happen". It is an insightful text. Dorst manages to present the state of design research and make it clear what is missing and what has gone wrong. I fully agree with his analysis and interpretation of the situation. Anyone doing design research should read the paper and reflect on his or hers own role in making design research valid and a successful adventure.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

"Understanding Design"

In my last post I recommended a book that consists of many small truths about architecture and design. Another book with a similar format is "Understanding Design -- 175 Reflections of Being a Designer" by Kees Dorst. This is a great book! Each page consists of a very short reflections on what it means to be a designer. Many of these reflections contain insights that, on one level, are easy to understand, but at the same time, if taken seriously, has serious consequences on who your are and how you think and act as a designer. Read one reflection per day -- it keeps your intellectual understanding about design "updated"! I strongly recommend this book!

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