Interaction Design

I am taking a PhD course on Interaction Design which I am finding very fun and interesting, even though I am the less qualified of the attendees and certainly the only one with, borrowing from one of the readings, a positivist background. For the next session I have to present a set of readings which in general describe interaction design in relation to HCI and explore some particular topics of interaction design.

After leafing through the papers, me and my course mates, decided to organize the papers by topic like this:

HCI Design Engineering
Interaction Design
Aesthetics Interaction Methods

In the papers to treat, interaction design is presented as the confluence mainly of Design and HCI. However, some authors include other fields like Engineering. This confluence can be analysed in terms of the interactions that are supported/designed, the aesthetic factors, and the methods and models for research. In treating such complex topics, no one really defines interaction design. For us, it’s important to have at least an initial notion of what interaction design is, in order to be able to differenciate it from HCI and Design.

Lowgren’s critic of the interaction design book says “the book doesn’t get it, and talks only about HCI”. However, he avoids the issue and simply says that most people in the field subscribe that Interaction Design is the shaping of the use qualities of digital materials. A similar description is proposed by Kuutti. When describing the historical evolution of HCI in the 90’s, without naming it as Interaction Design, he says HCI had a turn toward design, looking for the exploration of digital technologies as a novel material for design.

So, we can say that Interaction Design is the study of digital technologies and their qualities as input material for design.



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