29 August 2006

A good start.

Dan Saffer has written a book that documents the current state of practice in interaction design. The title, “Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices” is perfectly appropriate. I had been looking forward to the publication of this book and had opportunity to meet Dan at his book signing during Adaptive Path’s recent conference in Washington, DC.

Dan is a bright guy, has some impressive work under his belt, and a great education, I only wish that he had revealed a little more of it in his book. Don’t get me wrong – this is a nice collection of tools and processes. Dan is even a pretty good writer, but this book will not challenge or expand the thinking of most interaction or experience designers.

The goals Dan states for his book are to, “make you understanding of interaction design richer, deeper and broader.” For a design school undergraduate, or for a manager or businessperson unfamiliar with this content it is excellent, and in fact would be an excellent text for IX 101, but the schooled designer will have to look a bit further.

Chapter six could have been left out as it contains an abbreviated primer on basic design. The section on research is good (I agree with Dan that Focus Groups are pretty much worthless) but the coverage on converting research into actions and decisions in the design process was very vague.

I appreciate very much the dialog and sidebars with many of the pioneers of our profession.

Like recent works by Daniel Pink and Seth Godin, this book will serve all designers well by educating non-designers about design thinking, the process and the basics of interaction. I have been waiting a while for a book like this, but much like Brenda Laurel’s “Design Research,” it left me wanting more… much more.