Deconstructing Interaction Design

Deconstructing Interaction Design

This series of blog posts was created in the module "design methodologies" teached by Dr. Joëlle Bitton at ZHdK.

What is interaction design?

Today in class we started talking about the term of our studies. "What is interaction design?".
It is a question I hear a lot from my family and friends. Although I probably answered it a hundred times, I still do not have a satisfying answer to it.
Therefore it was relaxing to know that everybody in our class struggled to answer this question.

So here a few keywords our class came up with:

Design process

In the first semester we did not learn theoretically a design process. But in the different modules a lot of practically group work was done. So we all came up with our own "design process". In the module "digital fabrication" it looked like the following:

  1. creating an idea pool / brainstorming (What should we do)
  2. Iterative process:
    • rapid prototyping
    • learning by doing
    • what works? what does not?
    • documentation
  3. break down to reality. Especially one idea (cubic popcorn) did not solve a concrete problem. It was more of an experiment. So we tried to find a use case for it.


The excursive method

After breaking down or process Joëlle gave us an introduction to the excursive method:


Our rudimentary design process already covered most of the six points suggested by our teacher. In our future projects it would make sense to use different methods / tools for each step. For example not just doing a quick brainstorming in the "investigation" phase but also considering reading literature or creating moodboards. So that each phase is analysed properly.
Furthermore it is important to know that a design process is always a guideline and can be adapted to the situation. As well as it is not linear. It is normal to go forth and back in the process or doing steps simultaniously.

Some interesting topics that were dropped in the course but not further discussed:


Löwgren, J. & Stolterman, E. (2007). Thoughtful Interaction Design. The Process (15–41).

What are the new terms in this text? How are they defined? Where do they come from?

Who are the authors? Where do they work? Who do they refer to?

The authors are Löwgren Jonas (Professor of interaction and information design at the division of Media and Information Technology, Campus Norrköping, Linköping University) and Erik Stolterman (Professor in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University Bloomington).

Both of them have a background in information technology.

In their book they refer to:

What questions come to your mind from reading this text?
How to share the visions, they are speaking of?
How to keep multiple ideas simultaniously? In my experience it is often needed to decide for one to continue working on? Especially in an environment with a lot of time pressure.

How does it affect your design practice? What applications do you see in your practice?