Thursday, October 16, 2008

interaction design rant

Long gone are the days of consumer industrial design; more designers are being asked to design products and systems that incorporate interactivity. However the transition from traditional industrial design to interaction design is complicated as both disciplines are very different. Imagine asking a textile designer to design a building. Since the level of complexity increases exponentially as a product gains more digital intelligence, a new kind of expertise is needed; that of an interaction designer.

Looking at the fundamental, and to a certain degree classic elements of “industrial” design, there is almost no consideration to anything dealing with behavior and the relationship between man and object; it’s all about the color, texture and shape. These primary rules are the basic elements of traditional industrial design education.

Lately, "product design" education has steered industrial design programs to consider "context of use" as a core data set in guiding function and form. Even these programs tend to concentrate more on research methodologies for gaining further insights into user contexts, than in teaching the unique design foundations associated with interaction.

So it’s fair to say that product design is changing; we are in a transitional movement where, as designers in our own right, we have the opportunity to be more than just a product, media or industrial designer. We can be a bit of all three. We can be multidisciplinary.

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