Interaction Design

Alan Kay views computers as “remediation machine” because he wants to turn them into a “personal dynamic media” and remediation means “the representation of one medium in another” and this tells us that there is a relation that’s connecting the old media and the new and as Manovich has put it – remediation is the new digital media’s defining characteristics. Kay also wants to create a computer as an umbrella, including all sorts of media or as Kay names it a “metamedium”. The next design step is simulation. Kay believes that “simulation is the central notion of Dynabook”.

I enjoyed reading through Moggridge’s book and I actually also quickly read about the fourth chapter as well and I found David Liddle’s three stages of technology use very interesting. Liddle divides the adoption of a technology into three stages: the enthusiast stage, the professional stage and the consumer stage. Not only is the adoption of technology very important but also the classification of users as it is part of interaction design. I personally think that there is no such thing as perfect design suitable for any group or user at any stage. Every design has a certain audience. If the design can satisfy the appetite of the users, then I think it is a successful design. The group of “enthusiasts” can almost be “ignored” for interaction designers because their own preferences are too obvious, and they are often intoxicated by the entertainment brought by the technology itself (there are lots of apple enthusiasts for example and they will buy apple products no matter what), but I think it is still very necessary to understand the opinions of this part of the group in the early stage of the design because these people often very familiar with the core advantages of the technology and they will probably have a more precise understanding of this technology. So for designers, knowing this kind of information will definitely help them consider the impact of this technology in the product and design and therefore make a prominent focus. The more difficult challenge probably lies in finding the good balance between the needs of your professional users and general pubic consumers. For example, FTP, File Transfer Protocol, is a software protocol for exchanging information between computers over a network. We can refer users who are accustomed to or often use FTP as “professional users” and refer those who basically don’t use FTP or only know its name (like myself) as “consumers”. So if you want to design an FTP software interface and conquer these users, interaction designers must consider the general consumers’ lack of professional background, and have a balanced consideration of technical and professional requirements and easy use in the design plan. Otherwise, for consumers, if they can’t make them work, they take them back to the store. This is the real threat.

 

References:

Bill Moggridge, ed., Designing Interactions. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2007.

Manovich, Lev. Software Takes Command. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013.