Saturday, 26 April 2008

Designing Interactions: Forward

Bill Moggridge

Moggridge, B. (2006) Designing Interactions, MIT Press, pp xi-xix.

"It's about shaping our everyday life through digital artefacts - for work, for play, and for entertainment."

So Gillian Crampton Smith sets the scene for the entire book. Her forward to this excellent book contains some really useful observations and points on what makes good interaction design. Designing for sociability is a fifth imperative when designing. Designers use a language of implicit meanings when designing interfaces. This adds a rich meta-communication channel over direct functional communication, that in turn enhances our modern everyday life. It is this aspect of sociability in an interface that needs to be considered alongside designing good usability, utility, user-satisfaction and quality communicative functions. These can be assured with the reassuring feedback that should be central to good interactive design.

Crampton Smith goes into some fundamentals of design such as consistency, before discussing intuitive interaction. Obviously qualities of interaction must be appropriate to the context in which it operates. If that interaction is intuitive it minimizes conscious thought to operate the interface allowing the user to concentrate on the goal they wish to achieve. To get to that goal we as designers need to design not just for the aesthetics but equally for the behaviour of the interaction. She raises the temporal dimension as a factor to consider within design, which I find really useful. Collaboration is equally important within the design process.

Finally she raises the notion of perceptual psychology and interaction design. Through perceptual psychology the limits of interactions between entities are becoming understandable. But the "level of mood and meaning, of sociability and civility" are areas that still need more work.

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