Ash at CIID

Ashwin Rajan's blog while at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.

“Behavior is the medium of interaction design” – Frog

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Being a student of the behavioral and social sciences, I naturally appreciate this approach to the design of interaction. But there is also an almost unnerving practicality to it. ‘Behavior’ has been a chief concern of psychology since the earliest days of the discipline, and for good reason. The fact that what something or someone ‘does’ is so much more observable in the real world (and therefore measurable, ‘designable’) than any internal state that the person or thing ‘experiences’, is a compelling perspective. Such an objective view brings (what some would call a boring) predictability into the process, but don’t forget – predictability brings in a quality that others might call ‘value’. Don’t miss the great examples in this talk by Robert Fabricant of Frog Design.

On the other hand I am not dumping the idea of ‘experience’ as a medium of interaction design altogether. Art in various media has traditionally supplied our need for experiences. This approach makes immediate sense for say the design of interactive installations or even services like flight check-in, where there is time, a handful of touch points and space for the designer to work with. But how does the ‘experience design’ approach help set concrete goals when designing for instance a business tool in a mobile handset context? I want smooth experiences, pleasant experiences, effortless experiences, and …? It might finally come down to goals like “allow the user to check sales status with a maximum of two taps, while avoiding the chances of error in shaky conditions”. This is essentially a problem of designing the behavior of systems to serve specific human behaviors. Hmmm…..

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Written by Ashwin Rajan

May 13, 2009 at 6:12 am

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