“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

What’s in your [reading list]?

Here are the list of readings I’ve assembled for my Interactive Product Design (IACT 317) class I’m teaching this coming quarter at SCAD. (Link to the list of classes offered in the Interaction Design Minor.) 

Before I throw the list at you, you should all realize that the class in question is NOT an interaction design class per se, but really a class on interactive product design focusing on issues of interaction design. How is this different? Well, for some it might not be. But for me it is a semantical one. On the one hand one must include classic understandings of interaction as a human-computer interaction discipline with artistic and definitely aesthetic overtones. On the other hand, one has to support the project process and offer a more well-rounded survey of most (if not all) of the user experience disciplines. I don’t need to include Industrial Design in this because well, all of my students are Industrial Design majors and have gone through their equivalent of design foundations (this also includes visual design; but w/o the information/visualization pieces).

Ok, enough disclaimers, here is the list. Each reading has a topic section that the reading is supporting.


Introduction to why we are here: People!

Kapor, M. 1991/1996. A Software Design Manifesto. In Bringing Design to Software, edited by Terry Winograd, et. al., 1-16. New York: ACM Press Books.


Bringing context to our work in terms of the disciplines we work in.
(Besides the reading, the student will be asked to find samples of visualizations of what is User Experience. Ala, Dan Saffer’s most recent attempt.)

Garret, JJ.  2003. Meet the Elements. In The Elements of User Experience. 20-37. New York. Peachpit Press.


Patterns as a tool and an explanation

PatternLanguage.com, “A Just So Story,” http://patternlanguage.com/leveltwo/patternsframe.htm?/leveltwo/../history/ajustsostory6.htm

Tidwell, J. 2005. Preface. In Designing Interfaces. xi-xix. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.

Tidwell, J. 2005. What Users Do. In Designing Interfaces. 2-19. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.


Ubiquitous and Pervasive Computing

McCullough, M. 2004. Interactive Futures. In Digital Ground. 2-24. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

 Greenfield, A. 2006. What is everyware? In Everyware. 9-34. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.


Interaction Design as Theatre, Narrative
(I’m still trying to figure out how to bring in Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics into this section.)

Laurel, B. 1993. The Nature of the Beast. In Computers as Theatre. 1-34. New York: Addison-Wesley.


Foundations of Interaction Design

Boxes and Arrows, “Foundations of Interaction Design,” http://boxesandarrows.com/view/foundations-of

CHI-South Africa, “Your Program’s Posture.” http://www.chi-sa.org.za/articles/posture.htm

Information & Interaction Design

Nathan.com, “Information Interaction Design: A Unified Field Theory of Design,” http://www.nathan.com/thoughts/unified/index.html
(Note: This article unfortunately (& ironically) is not designed to be in a printable format.)


Social Network

Porter, J. 2008. Rise of the Social Web. In Designing for the Social Web. 1-20. Berkeley: New Riders.


Tag is the new click presentation in NYC Video (URL will be made available in time for less).


Communicating Design

Brown, B. 2007. Introduction. In Communicating Design. 1-12. Berkeley: New Riders.


Follow up disclaimers:

  1. The list is meant for beginners
  2. They already took an HCI theory course or similar HF course
  3. Reading materials are meant to be inspirational.
  4. Reading materials are meant to be teasers not just for class discussion, but also to drive students to want to dig deeper themselves.
  5. Section I realize I’m missing now but ran out of weeks (and it is only an undergrad course, where they ARE working on a project at the same time) is eco-system design (no! no! no! I refust to incluse anything on “experience design” … Yuck! Ick! Phewey!)

Ok folks, discuss!!!!

Be Sociable, Share!
  • udanium

    Nice list!

    I’d try to add in (or at least make reference to) Paul Heckel’s User Friendly Software book. Lots of great “classic” examples going back to IBM mainframes, VAX terminals, etc. whose core principles are still relevant to modern rich expressive devices/products today. Whether it’s the “cycle” light on a mainframe or the “Ring of Light” on a XBOX 360…same idea!
    Beginning students may find them quite eye opening!

    As for McCloud, you could weave it in as the “visual expression of dramatic narrative”, highlighting it as a design method of storyboarding to help visualize abstract processes into a human-interpretive format (that’s fun and easy to digest). It’s all about communication of the human moments, making them memorable and persuasive…

    Good luck on your first semester! Looking forward to how it goes on your blog…


The archives run deep. Feel free to search older content using topic keywords.