22 October 2006

Today's definition

The recent shift in titling from the design group at the Royal College of Arts, from interaction design to “design interactions” has created some interesting discourse on definitions. The gist of which is, how we define “interaction design” or what exactly does it encompass?

My view is that interaction design is a much broader classification than that taught at Carnegie Mellon for example, where the HCI folks claim interaction with computers and the interaction folks claim the territory of human interaction (presumably through technology devices.)

From the outside these seem more territorial than professional.

In the situational context, of which all designers need be aware, there are users, interfaces (I use this term broadly as well), environments, action and/or goals, and there is that with which the user is to interact. Each of these has an influence. Each pair of these has interdependencies. These influences and interdependencies constitute a broader group of interactions, which must be considered, understood and designed for.

Interaction design is NOT exclusive to the web, computer applications or mobile devices. These are the areas that are currently exploiting a growing knowledge, study and discipline. The early interaction designers where architects, product designers, and interior designers who consider, in their work, the context. They are the pioneers of interaction. We should all broaden our minds a bit beyond our navels.