Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rapid Expert Design

Lately there has been (and still is) an ongoing discussion on the IxD discussion list about the notion of "Rapid Expert Design". The discussion is about definitions and meanings and the debate is between those who argue that RED is something new and those who says it is the same old thing but in new clothes. It is quite interesting since the discussion and the arguments reveal some deep philosophical core assumptions about the nature of the design process and design competence. These assumptions are of course not revelaed in an intentional way but are visible in the way the arguments are structured and lined up. For instance, it is possible to see the old debate between the importance of the designer in relation to the importance of the method, and of course, some really deep asumptions about the very nature of design. Interesting readings!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Relation between concept design and visual design

In their patent application for the iPhone, it is interesting to see the sketch from Apple that shows the interface. It is very clear that it is the iPhone as we know it, even though it is a very simple sketch without any efforts made to make the appearance aestheticlly pleasing. For interaction designers there is a lesson to be learned here about the relationships between ideas and manifestations, between sketches and final designs. Almost anyone could have made this sketch of the iPhone with the purpose to portray the ideas. This is comforting for those of you who are afraid that you do not have enough visual skills. If you can do this, you can then get help from someone to make this into a full and beautiful deisgn.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

HCI and Aesthetics

Again I want to point to a blog post by my colleague Jeff Bardzell. He has done an excellent analysis of the latest issue of ToCHI (Transaction of Computer Human Interaction), considered to be a top journal in the field. This is a special issue on aesthetics and Jeff has examine what sources these researchers have used when they deal with the notion of aesthetics. Very interesting!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

[Re]Searching the Digital Bauhaus

I was happy to find the book "[Re]Searching the Digital Bauhaus" today in my mail. The book is edited by Binder, T., Löwgren, J. & Malmborg, L. and published on Springer in their HCI Series. The book is put together as a dedication to my dear friend Pelle Ehn on his 60th birthday and his work in design and interaction research. I am happy to be the author of a chapter myself, in the company with many highly distinguished colleagues. The content seems very interesting and I am looking forward reading all the other contributions.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Year of Interaction!

So, we are at the beginning of a new year. I just read a list of dominating trends in information technology development. There was nothing really new on the list. I guess we all understand and can see that the "cloud" takes care of storage, that we are moving into the era of "streaming" instead of downloading, and that we will have internet connection everywhere and all the time.

With these trends, the rest is all about interaction! With ever present access and with streaming data and information, use becomes all a question of how will we interact with this world of bits.

So, my prediction of when it comes to the future of computing (not unique in any way) is that most of what we see as traditional computing issues (computation, storage, access, etc) are moved into the background and becomes invisible infrastructure and services. For the individual user, these services will not be interesting since they will be always there. For the individual, it will be vene more about the "thing" or the artifact that is the window into the infrastructure/services, that is, the interaction. Everything will be about interaction design, not just this year but every year from now on!!!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Becoming Physical --Blended Competence

Around this time of year it is easy to find people trying to predict the new year or a longer future. Everywhere I read about the future of interaction, the same theme reappears. We are moving into the era of "natural user interaction". In most cases this means that the traditional mouse and keyboard is replaced by touch, haptic, sensors, etc. Interaction becomes physical.

This is of course not a new trend, but just over the last couple of years we have seen it being manifested in real products on a mass market scale. I have written many times on this blog about this new blended reality, the challenge of dealing with a new form of "material" (the physical/digital compound). 

But even if this is not a new trend, it means many things for anyone involved in interaction design. Maybe the most important one is the realization that there is nothing anymore that is either purely physical or digital products. This is a realization that deeply influences how we think about competence. What does a designer of interaction need to understand in this new world. It is clear that to design interaction involves knowledge and understanding of both the physical aspects of a product as well as the digital. 

Ok, I have to go in the middle of this post...maybe I will come back to this later...or someone else can add to it :-)

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