Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Interaction Design and ID: You're alreay doing it...don't you want to knowwhat it's all about?

Interaction design incorporated in industrial design ...

"Today, more and more industrial designers are being asked to design products and systems that incorporate interactive components. And since the level of complexity increases exponentially as a product gains more digital intelligence, a new kind of expertise is needed.

Further, if we look at the classical foundational elements of industrial design, there is almost no reference to anything dealing with behavior—color, texture, shape, volume, space, and line remain the primary "building blocks" of a formal industrial design education. Beyond this foundation, ID as a historical design discipline has until very recently concentrated more on the balance of function and form only as they relate to visceral, visual aesthetics. But lately, "product design" education has steered industrial design programs to consider "context of use" as a core data set in guiding function and form. Even these programs tend to concentrate more on research methodologies for gaining further insights into user contexts, however, than in teaching the unique design foundations associated with interaction.

If product designers are facing a deluge of interaction design challenges (and they are), why is such poor attention being paid to bringing interaction design into the fold of the industrial design community?

Due to the incredible increase in both product and system complexity that the use of advance technology enables, it is more important than ever for industrial designers to step up and engage more directly with interaction design—the design discipline focused on the design of the behaviors between products, systems and humans.

Some definition

First, what is interaction design? Robert Reimann, Co-author of About Face 3, and first President of the Interaction Design Association, defines interaction design in his article, So you want to be an Interaction Designer:

Interaction Design is a design discipline dedicated to:
• Defining the behavior of artifacts, environments, and systems (i.e., products), and therefore concerned with:

• Defining the form of products as they relate to their behavior and use
• Anticipating how the use of products will mediate human relationships and affect human understanding
• Exploring the dialogue between products, people, and contexts (physical, cultural, historical)

Interactive products can be complex to design for. Just as there are rules for color theory and human factors that guide industrial design, similar rules exist within interaction design that help balance aesthetics with utility and usability. And like all design disciplines, there are specific methods and processes to help designers muddle through this complexity.

It's likely that most designers out there correlate "interaction design" (IxD) with either web design or software design. However, IxD is not focused solely on software. Devices with no screen at all offer lots of problem-solving fodder for the trained interaction designer. (Someone designed the behaviors associated with an iPod Shuffle, for example.)"    (Continued via Putting People First, Core77)    [Usability Resources]

Button Interaction - Usability, User Interface Design

Button Interaction

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