Archive

interaction design

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I’m in Oslo for a few days, and to get there I went through Heathrow’s new and controversial Terminal Five. After all the stories, and Ryan’s talk on the service design snafus it’s experienced I approached my visit there with excitement and trepidation.
Excitement still, because it’s still a major piece of architecture by Richard Rogers and Partners – and sparkly new airports are, well, sparkly and new.
YMMV, especially as we were travelling off-peak, but – it was pretty calm and smooth sailing all the way. I’m guessing they’ve pulled out all the stops in order to get things on an even-keel.
Saw both pieces installed in the BA Club Lounges by Trokia (‘Cloud’ and ‘All the time in the world’), both of which were lovely – you can get to see them both without having to be a fancypants gold carder, which is good.

The thing that struck me though was the degree of technological automation of previously human-mediated process that were anticipated, designed and built – that then had to be retrofitted with human intervention and signage.
It’s a John Thackara rant waiting to happen, and that’s aside from all the environmental impacts he might comment on!

My favourite was the above sign added to the lifts that stop and start automatically, to make sure you understand that you can’t press anything. Of course, we’re trained to expect agency or at least the simulation of agency in lifts – keeping doors open, selecting floors, pressing our floor button impatiently and tutting to make the lift go faster. Remember that piece in James Gleick’s FSTR where lift engineers deliberately design placebo button presses to keep us impatient humans happy? People still kept pressing the type panels – me included!
To paraphrase Naoto Fukasawa: sometimes design dissolves in behaviour and then quickly sublimates into hastily-printed and laminated signage…

The designer behind the new UK coinage (via Kottke) reveals the playful inspiration for his concept:

“I found the idea that members of the public could interact with the coins the most exciting aspect of this concept. It’s easy to imagine the coins pushed around a school classroom table or fumbled around with on a bar – being pieced together as a jigsaw and just having fun with them.”

Nice bit of interaction design thinking…

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Went to the as-per-usual-hectic opening last night and was knocked out to see such resolved and beautifully communicated work from everyone on the Design Interactions course.
In the past, the interim show work has struggled to make intangible and challenging concepts engaging – not this time.
Playful, clear and concrete stuff – well done all involved.

I’ve been catching up on the internets after a long roadtrip over Christmas.

Two images from the ever-excellent infosthetics.com made me think that the best interaction and information design is stuff that can be glanced-at:

To be glanced-at

or pored-over:

To be pored-over

but unfortunately, most commercial interaction design falls between these two stools, in the ‘don’t make me think’ category.

I’d like to create services that scamper between beautiful extremes in 2008…

Today, Dopplr went v1.0 and open – but while the rest of the gang were over in Paris, I was at the RCA for the final presentations from students on the teaching project I’ve been visiting tutor for.
A very long day, but very exciting to see the fruits of six weeks wrestling with an enormous, wobbly jelly of a brief: the future of money.
I’ve lectured and been a visiting critic at design schools before, and also been industry sponsor for a couple of projects similar to the one we’ve been running (Intel’s People and Practices group were sponsoring this) but this was the first time I’ve really been stuck into a project all the way through.
Totally nerve-wracking, and totally satisfying.

Thanks to Wendy March of Intel, Tony Dunne and my estimable co-tutor Onkar Kular. Special thanks to all the first and second year students on the Design Interactions course for putting up with me.

Curated in-part at least by Dan Saffer (who is probably the world’s best cello-playing interaction designer) Interaction 08 [upcoming.org entry] has a truly fantastic line-up of pundits, practitioners and provocateurs from the field of digital/physical interaction design, including Bill Buxton, Alan Cooper and Malcolm McCullough keynoting.

Dan was kind enough to invite me to speak, and I’m in equal part excited and terrified to be doing so in such company – and to what will probably be one of the most clued-up group of people you could put ideas in front of.

It’s in Savannah, Georgia, which by all accounts is a beautiful place, and up till 15th December, there’s a reduced registration price.

UPDATE: Here’s Dan talking about the event on Boxes&Arrows.

No permalinks (boo!) at http://www.design-interactions.rca.ac.uk/news.html so here’s the blurb:

“If you are interested in how to explore new roles, contexts and approaches for design in relation to the social, cultural and ethical impact of existing and emerging technologies, please join us for our Open Day on Friday 7 December 2007. Visitors can meet and talk with students in the studio between 2.00 pm and 6.00 pm. Professor Anthony Dunne, Head of Department, will give presentations about the course at 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm.”

Here’s an upcoming.org entry for it if like me you can’t just remember to go to things any more.