Ash at CIID

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

Posts Tagged ‘frog 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…..


Written by Ashwin Rajan

May 13, 2009 at 6:12 am

Fabio Sergio at CIID

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Fabio Sergio of Frog Design gave an open lecture at CIID a couple of weeks back. He was emphatic right at the start about not categorizing ‘interaction design’ as anything different (whether in terms of approaches, skills, or industry) from ‘design’ as such; and from this hub discussed the state of design and the three major waves in design thinking since the industrial revolution.

Form follows function: the craftsman’s aesthetic; phrase coined by Louis Sullivan. The guts and internal workings of an artifact are reflected in its exterior ‘form’. Pure, direct, beautiful, functional, sometimes confusing at the level of ‘interface’, not very communicative of ‘state’, poor at providing feedback. A ‘how it works’, not ‘how it looks’ approach. Yet, I don’t see how some things can be better designed.

Spindle from 1815 in my friend's home in Copenhagen - alive, well and even today runs as smooth as silk.

Form follows emotion: The second major shift – a reaction to the cold wave of industrial mass production, a response to the inhuman montony characteristic of the machine – whose influences included developments in areas like branding, measurement and logic of interacting with aritfacts, GUI, usability, cognitive pyschology, ‘satisfaction’ of user. Don Norman’s ‘Emotional Design’ with Philippe Starck’s juicer on its cover was one of the landmark books that presented the approach to a wide audience. Powerful, and for me, always relevant.

Philippe Stark's Juicer - take me home?
Form follows meaning: The New Shift. The Now. The Tomorrow. The Connected. The Conversation. As digital and physical realms collide and specific, tangible artifacts merge, mingle and morph into others, boundaries are dimmed and designing for people’s values and value systems becomes paramount. Curious and bizarre terms such as mirror-worlds, everyware, spime, mass-customization come into currency. I am presently dipping into ‘Shaping Things’ by Bruce Sterling every now and then, and quickly coming back up for air!
An Internet of Things is here.

An Internet of Things is here.

Written by Ashwin Rajan

December 21, 2008 at 10:57 pm