Interaction Design

Interaction Design is about building meaningful relationships between people through the products and services we use. New technologies are not important in themselves - they're important because they can improve how we achieve ancient human needs like community, self expression, and individual empowerment.

In parallel with trends in Information Architecture, I think that people need ways to narrow their options and identify their second-order desires. As BJ Fogg's behavior model shows, technologies do more than augment abilities - they also affect motivations.

This NWU Study tracks dieters' daily calorie budgets to implement the Diabetes Prevention Program with less doctor time. The app also provides exercise monitoring, social networking, and immediate visual feedback about the cost of particular foods to helps align users' daily decisions with long-term goals.

A group of people in church on a Sunday morning don't behave the same way they did at the bar the previous night - this is because the context and tools surrounding our interactions affect the things we say, do, and think. Great interaction design leverages this to help people build relationships and achieve their goals.

LOC helps local shops by connecting customers to Communities of Style. These shopping communities form when users record and categorize their purchases and desires through LOC's mobile app, website, and public displays. Like Amazon's collaborative filtering, LOC aggregates user data to make recommendations - and by including explicit user input about what goes together, LOC can also suggest styles and aesthetics.

Interaction design is a vector for self-expression. McLuhan's assertions about the continuity of the place of media in relation to human society make it clear that computer networks and interfaces are in the same bucket with clay, canvas, and paper in terms of how people want to use it.

Scoop gives high schoolers a new medium to express themselves through the urban environment, at the same time promoting the exchange of information and the growth of communities of expertise.

One basic principle of IxD is to support both novices and experts. I'll go a step further: interactions should scale to fit into a user's life. For a novice who just wants to get the job done, the interaction should be invisible. But the connoisseur - who blogs the un-boxing and owns a dozen collector's books - should find it easy to dig deeper, customize, and share.

LOC provides useful services like price alerts, item and shop reviews, and public critiques while helping novice shoppers learn the culture and attitudes of shopping. Advanced users like fashionistas and audiophiles can view trend data from the masses, cluster items to define a style, and find new friends based on where they go and what they buy.