PCOMP WEEK 1
Notes on Chris Crawford’s The Art of Interaction Design, ch. 1 ,2 and Bret Victor’s A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design
Good interaction design is not a linear cause-effect interaction. It is a process, a “conversation” operating on an integrated system that can adapt to behavioral and environmental changes.
There are degrees of interactivity and those degrees are set subjectively by the interactor. The refrigerator game¹ is an interaction that operates at a low level of interactivity for adults and a high level of interactivity for a babies. Conversely, a conversation between two people about subjectivity operates at a high level of interactivity for adults and a low/nonexistent level for babies.
Listening, thinking, and speaking are fun metaphors to use when describing the essential elements of interactivity. To design physical interaction as dynamic and nuanced as stimulating conversation would be extraordinary. Crawford describes a great conversation he had as “dazzling and fascinating. [his] mind was reeling from the implications of his ideas.” I’m having trouble thinking of any physical interaction design that truly accomplishes this. However, objects such as phones, skype, and snail mail facilitate these kinds of conversations by connecting two human interactors.
Crawford deems books to be non-interactive. What about choose your own adventure books? What about pop-up books?
Crawford seems to think interactivity holds the only key to unlocking the future without acknowledging creativity, computer learning, and evolution as distinct and powerful factors.
¹When you open a refrigerator and the little light inside turns on, and then you close the door and the light turns off.
Pull quotes from Victor’s rant↓
“I’m not going to talk about technology. That’s the easy part, in a sense, because we control it. Technology can be invented; human nature is something we’re stuck with.”
“…[This] technology, Pictures Under Glass … sacrifice[s] all the tactile richness of working with our hands, offering instead a hokey visual facade.”
“Pictures Under Glass is an interaction paradigm of permanent numbness. It’s a Novocaine drip to the wrist. It denies our hands what they do best. And yet, it’s the star player in every Vision Of The Future.”
“The most important thing to realize about the future is that it’s a choice. People choose which visions to pursue, people choose which research gets funded, people choose how they will spend their careers. Despite how it appears to the culture at large, technology doesn’t just happen.”