All posts tagged interaction design

  • Redström | Definitions of use

    Literature review: Redström, Johan. “RE: Definitions of Use.” Design Studies 29.4 (2008): 410-23. Web.

    My thesis advisor sent this article to me after I told him that I was interested in studying interaction design in use in the same way that sociolinguists became interested in studying language in use instead of just looking at semantic meaning.

    But anyway, however I got this article before me, I really enjoyed it. It makes some important distinctions in order to bring some precision to a blanket term. Redström comes from the understanding that “designing a technical object is also typically entails designing, or prescribing it’s use” so we must always consider its context (411). He then makes distinctions between intended use and actual use.

    Some of the main points were…

    Thing-design vs use-design. We design an object, a chair, to do a a particular thing: sit. He points out that this is different from form & function because we’re talking in terms of how we use it, now not on the thing.

    use through design: “what one does when expressing a specific notion of what it is to sit through how the chair is design”

    use through use “When someone defines what a given thing is by using it in a certain way.” For example, a person might actually sit a completely different way.

    before use: designing things before it’s actually tested and used by a participant. Like a prototype? What designers do when they’re creating a new product

    After design: How the product is actually used, or defining use by use after design (416).  They describe how this can be a continuous process whereby the participant uses the designed object in different ways and so the design should always be considered unfinished works or ‘continuous designs’ (417).

    use-design: Not just designing the thing (thing-design) but prescribing its intended use.

    Why is this is relevant to my thesis?

    Well, I don’t think this is what I was exactly looking for when I was writing about my project, but regardless I thought it was a super interesting article and I’m glad I read it. It kind of describes the relationship that I’m interested in design—that it’s not a finished product where you’re coercing a user to behave a certain way, but that it’s a negotiated process where the heart of the action actually in how a person interact with your…interaction design. I waffle between thinking that this is extraordinary to “duh.” Regardless, it was a really well written paper with a solid summary of similar works that I know will marinade in how I view design even if I don’t use it for my thesis directly.


  • Saffer | Microinteractions

    Literature review // Saffer, Dan. Microinteractions. Beijing: O’Reilly, 2013.

    What is the author’s main argument?

    Saffer describes microinteractions and explains what they can do for interactions (and how to implement them). He does this groups such as: triggers, rules, feedback, and loops & modes. His argument seems to be that implementing thoughtful micro interactions will create a better macro experience for users. He’s asking designers to be aware and implement them in their own work. Often I found that it pushed the design from the “least amount of work necessary” to the surprising and delightful.

    One “Little big details” I found was that the Vimeo 404 page title changes from Vimeo to….

    Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 11.24.18 PM

    These are the examples he’s more concerned with in his book (or at least that he takes more delight in). He explores how these small details of user experience enhance the overall product. And, perhaps, by thinking about these micro experiences we can create better big experiences because they tie into the system as a whole. They require careful planning on when and where they occur and to do this we must look at the larger system.

    The most interesting section I found was the section on feedback, which is something I think is unique to interaction design compared to other mediums like writing. Now that I’m considering it though, I guess tangible artifacts like…even scissors or something give you feedback when you interact with it. When you pick it up you you know it’s weight. when you open and close it you sense how smooth the movement is…food for thought.

    How is this relevant?

    It was important to get a list of additional types of interactions from Saffer. His section on feedback (page 90) was especially interesting to me as a list of when they should occur and why. He talks about how these stylistic details create and identity of the company/interface creator which I also thought was interesting.


    Sidenote: Our entire class has been thoroughly entertained by Saffer’s deep disappointment in our educations, expressed over Twitter. 

  • Mallon & Webb | “Structure, causality, visibility, and interaction: propositions for evaluating engagement in narrative multimedia”

    Literature review // Mallon, Bride & Webb, Brian (2000). “Structure, causality, visibility, and interaction: propositions for evaluating engagement in narrative multimedia” Int. J. Human-Computer Studies. 


    What was the author arguing?

    Mallon & Webb was looking to create criteria for evaluating the experiential impact of design. In looking at this through narrative computer games, the authors were gauging user experience. There focus was capturing the effect of the narrative (broadly defined) in these experiences because they believed “each microunit has some significance at some level for the global purpose, thus creating unity and meaning.” In other words, the nuances of the narratives greatly affect the overall experience (not surprising :) ). One of their significant conclusions was that interaction and story telling seem to have an inverse relationship to one another: interactivity is essential to multimedia but it also disrupts the sequences of an author’s control of events (p 283). And from their research they found that participants obviously wanted to feel like they were making progress and part of that was feeling like they had control of the future.

    Why is this relevant?

    I thought this was relevant to my thesis in that it was increasing the literacy of this interactive media. The authors explicitly state: “Narrative was the “suggested lens for evaluating the experiential impact of a product.” It was an example of researching the way interactivity could be measured as a narrative and what the qualities of a positive interaction are for these games at least.