“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

interface & interaction

In preparing for a class this week I was reading Malcolm McCullough’s Digital Ground. This is by far one of my top 5 must read IxD thinking books. In the very first chapter there is a quote that got me thinking about a thread common in the IxDA Discussion List about differentiating between interface design and interaction design. Here is the short blip that caught my attention:

The use of the term interaction design instead of interface represents a cultural advance in the field. Recent mission statements by firms, schools and publications commonly acknowledge this. (pg. 19 w/ endnote)

Endnote: For examples of protests about the current state of interface design, the overemphasis on features and specifications, and the relegation of design to an after-the-face endeavor, see … He then lists the following books (I won’t give complete bibliogrphy):

Yes, his references are old, but I think they are still relevant to the discussion and books since, while not “protests” maintain the same basic position that interaction design is not limited to the design of interfaces in the classic sense of the term.

It is important to realize that there is a discipline developing that fills the gap between the different technological and cultural frameworks for interaction and the crafts that communicate their availability, capabilities and behavior.

While interface design deisgns at the level of point of interaction & function, interaction design itself (for lack of a better name of the moment) designs at the level of human situation and narrative, liberating it from technological constraints, but focusing it on other facets and layers of the total solution.

To learn more about this and other ways of thinking about interaction design sign up for my Intro to IxD workshop at the upcoming Interaction 09 | Vancouver conference.!

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  • http://www.ghostinthepixel.com Uday

    Yep, exactly, interaction design in this sense is becoming the definitive cultural evolution of design perspective, criticism, and practice, shaping a new discourse on the relationship between people, technology, and the situation of it all… And to learn even more, I’d encourage folks to read Dick Buchanan’s seminal essays in “Discovering Design” and “The Idea of Design” in which he posits that design (and interaction design in particular) is emerging as a liberal art of our technological culture.

    Or you can read my blog too ;-) where I’ve been posting/translating alot of Buchanan’s and McCullough’s ideas…


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