A few weeks ago I attended Interaction Design Association's (IxDA) 9th annual Interaction conference in Helsinki, Finland on March 2-4, 2016. Nearly 1200 design professionals, leaders, students and volunteers gathered together to enjoy three days of workshops and lectures.
Design, Science, and Music
The opening keynote by Marko Ahtisaari was about the intersection of design, science and music coming together. The Sync Project is his company that aims to understand and decode the personalized therapeutic effect of music; to use music as precision medicine to improve health. He started the keynote with a beautiful recomposed rendition of Vivaldi's Spring by Max Richter.
Key points that he focused on:
From Enlightenment to Entanglement. We’re becoming increasingly entangled in our machines. We once struggled to give new institutions the power to act on our behalf. Now that we have smart devices surrounding us, we’re have a similar uneasiness when handing over power to computers.
Systems over objects. The ability to manufacture smart machines is now in the hands of not only large companies but also individuals and small organizations. This calls for supply chains and ecosystems to be more transparent and accessible if we want to foster innovation from smaller players.
Participation over user-centric. These new intelligent systems don’t have a center, so there’s no center to put a user. Instead, we’re seeing the rise of complex, adaptive systems. The role of the designer will be more facilitative–more like a conductor than a producer. How can we co-design with machine intelligence?
Emergence over authority / control. Lastly, we’ll co-design with artificial intelligence. The studio will be a symbiosis of human and machine, so we’ll need to figure out is best meant for humans and what's best for machines.
Steve Baty gave a fantastic talk on interaction design across scale. Interaction Design looks at the request-response mechanisms and controls - the microinteractions - that make up the fundamental building blocks of technology. As we increase the scale of our efforts, interaction design shifts in focus from microinteractions to screens and tasks; screens and tasks to activities; activities to services; and services to interconnected systems. At the same time, the toolset and perspective of the interaction designer needs also to shift. Steve Baty talked about change in perspective as we design at different scales of interaction, and the accompanying change in method and skill set needed to successfully navigate between them.
TLDR; The most successful interaction designers simultaneously operate across scales, balancing high-level thinking with detail, and moving seamlessly between the two.
- The Plane of Interaction
- Task activity focus
- Interaction handling
- Labels, micro-copy, error messages
- Beyond the Plane
- Cultural identity
- Consistency and coherence
- Persuasion, game mechanics
- Across Channels
- Focus on group activities an dynamics
- Closed systems are easier to design than open systems
- In Systems
- Step out of problem space, reframe the problem
- Chaos theory and emergence
- Urban planning, economics