patterns of interaction

I’ve been thinking a lot about interaction design as a part of good information architecture design, and also […]

I’ve been thinking a lot about interaction design as a part of good information architecture design, and also as an art in itself. Why is it such a quiet practice? Where is the noisy community, where is its Jared Spools and Lou Rosenfelds… of course there is always Cooper but that is so mingled in with his methodology of personas, one can hardly think of him as a proponent of the craft in itself.

Anyhow, all this prompted a search on google, which led me to The Interaction Design Patterns Home Page

So You Want To Be An Interaction Designer

and not a lot more…yet….


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  1. 1

    Well, I’m honored to be considered in the same sentence as Lou Rosenfeld! (Someday I hope to have both my names capitalized. 🙂 )

    My opinion on the question of Interaction Design being a quiet practice is that we have a boundry problem. Where does “usability” end and “interaction design” begin? Where does IA end and usability begin?

    We keep trying to subdivide our world, partially I think, because we are having such trouble figuring out how to do it well. It’s a natural tendency to try to break things down into managable components. So, we create usability, IA, interaction design, graphic design, user experience, content management, publishing, … the list just goes on.

    But, each one is trying to do exactly the same thing: get the user/customer/receiver/person to achieve their own goal (and to achieve our own goals simultaneously).

    Why don’t we just call it “user goal achievement” and all work on the same thing? 🙂

    My Sunday thoughts.


  2. 3

    I think that many IAs out there by name are also practicing interaction design – I am one of them – we may also be called UI designers. I think if you polled the people who are active in voice and action on the various lists – SIGIA, AIGA ED – you will find a ton of them are Interaction Designers, but that much of what we do is so intertwined with IA and UCD that it is hard to say there is or should be a separate community.

    I don’t think we are quiet at all – we are just mixed in.

  3. 4

    I am not exactly a fan of lumping together, nor a complete fan of finding lines of division. Many of us cross boundaries and do not hold tightly defined positions. Some folks are IAs, or UI designers by job title, etc., but perform a broad selection of services. Others are these terms by area of concentration, yet pick-up skills and roles from other definitional areas. Jared is correct in the user is the center of the focus (along with information). All of us have the goal of presenting information that is accessible and usable by the user. Understanding the user is as important as understanding the information. The lines begin to break when the user is not a focus (and I have seen that far to many times) or the information is not also focussed upon (this too is problematic as there are folks that think they can program around anything and understanding the information is not important). Within this family there are separate focuses and strengths of understanding, which gives us our different stripes, but we all can and should learn from each other.

  4. 5

    I think you missed the noisy community. I think the interaction design world was a very noisy place in the late 80s, early 90s. Folks like Tog, Bill Buxton, Ben Shneiderman, Aaron Marcus, Stu Card, and many more were stirring up quite a lot of dirt.

    Of late, the din has died down, probably because you can keep such heated discussions going for only so long. Without new thoughts and research to stoke the flames, people settle into their various viewpoints, or certain approaches win out.

  5. 6

    Why must a practice be noisy? Why must we always talk, share, label and compare what we do?

    I think you hear so much about Personas from Cooper Interaction Design mainly because that is the message they have most refined. There’s plenty more there regarding Interaction Design, but there is some invisible (emotional) bottleneck keeping it in.

    By the way, nice redesign. 🙂

  6. 7
    Brad Lauster

    I’m still collecting and sorting through the research for my paper on the history of interaction design, but I have a feeling that part of the reason the interaction design community is so quiet now is because a lot of the people who helped define the discipline are no longer practicing interaction designers.

    Like I said, at this point, this is just a feeling I have…keep your eye out for my paper.

  7. 8

    Why must we always talk, share, label and compare what we do?

    in order to innovate, rather than to merely invent (and reinvient) we must know what’s been done before. A shared community of practitioners gives us an opportunity to learn from each other and refine our craft.

    I’ve been reading up on the old guys, and I’ve been growing hungry to know what is new in this particular craft.

  8. 9
    Jakub Linowski

    When I grow up, I don’t want to be an ID, IA, UX, nor CXO. I want to simply be a UGA (“User Goal Achiever”). 🙂

    I agreed with Jared. It’s all the same. In the end it’s all about being able to recognize: people in users; experiences in objects; goals in tasks, etc.. right? Or maybe we strive for ends, which in turn become means?

  9. 10

    Last week I was attending a seminar by Shedroff, who proposes that the two disciplines work best when tied together, he calls it Information Interaction Design (he makes no distinction between Architecture and Design)

    Last week many people gave lectures about interactivity, and it got me thinking… trying to nail down my own point of view about Interaction.

    Some nights after, I was told “Let’s stay home, I’m not really in the mood to interact with anybody else”, and it hit me like a brick. If we stick to the original meaning of the word, to interact is to engage in a dialogue of mutual influence.

    Interaction with computers is the same, each command we give the system invokes a change in it’s state, we influence it. The system also gives us new possibilities for each change of state, influencing our participation. Therefore I concluded that Interaction Design can be compared to writing the script for a play, a special kind of play where one of the actors has a certain freedom of action, and the write has to anticipate all the possible combinations.

    Well, I kind of wandered outside of the original question, but I thought this was a nice place to share my new idea…
    What do you think?

  10. 11

    now you probably didn’t want to go down this route..

    but your title prompted me to post a couple or four [uncat] links:

    a paper by Tom Ericson

    Personally, design, be it: information (which i think includes to a > or “>> and ‘software patterns’ for… software “>>

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