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Saturday, September 27, 2003

John Dewey Readings

We're moving into a third interpretation of interaction: essentialist interaction. John Dewey's works are apparently a major part of this interpretation. The first two articles we're reading: Education as a Necessity of Life and Education as a Social Function, both from his book Democracy and Education.

posted at 10:50 PM in readings | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link



It's 10:30 on a saturday night. I'm doing homework.

posted at 10:36 PM in student life | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Second Most Important Interaction Text

Seminar reading, what Dick Buchanan says is the second most important reading in "classic" interaction design theory: Chapter II of Time and Free Will by Henri Bergson.

posted at 08:51 PM in readings | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Facial Engagements

When some of us weren't trying an unsuccessful coup of Seminar, we were discussing Erving Goffman's "Facial Engagements" article.

In Goffman's work, the relationship between the participants is what is important, not the content of what is communicated. Communication is the behavior, not the content. Content has no significant structure: all the form is created by the manner of communication.

Facial engagements consist of an opening, then maintaining a conversation, then a leave-taking. We have facial engagements (or "encounters") because it serves our self-interest to do so. It's part of the social contract.

The more articles we read, the more communication and interaction become intertwined. For some authors like Shannon and Weaver, communication is interaction. But for Goffman, it's the opposite: interaction is communication.

posted at 08:38 PM in design theory | comments (1) | trackback (0) | link


Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Situationally Appropriate Interactions

The other project that is occupying my mind is the new one for interface design class: creating a timekeeping interface that retrieves, generates, and delivers information in a manner that is sensitive to the situation of the user. We're creating up to three interfaces: one that can be interpreted at a glance, one that users can understand without using vision, and one that users can understand without using vision or hearing. It can be done in one interface if we want.

To that end, I've been plowing through readings on calm technology and ambient displays of information. I've also been brainstorming about time and possible applications with my two teammates from the HCI department, Angela Wagner and Irina Shklovski.

We've decided to focus on breaks and design some objects that help remind you to take a break. We're thinking of them as healthy smoke breaks, or coffee breaks, and have been doing a lot of contextual research on the benefits of breaks (microbreaks and micropauses) and similar products.

We have two weeks left to finish this project.

posted at 10:16 AM in interface design, projects | comments (1) | trackback (0) | link


Visualizing Information Space

The self-portrait project done with, we've moved on to another project for Design Studio: taking an information-rich object and re-imagining it in digital space. We were assigned the object, which could be anything from the New York Times Sunday paper, to magazines, to websites.

My object is a typography book on illegibility by Slovakian type designer Peter Bilak. It's an interesting book, but I have no idea yet how I'm going to re-envision it. A kinetic typography piece? A website? I have a month to figure it out.

posted at 09:50 AM in info design, projects, visualization | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Monday, September 22, 2003

Design and Social Progress

Dick Buchanan is back from Australia and teaching Seminar again. We revisited the Dean Barnlund article "Communication: The Context of Change" again. It is the introduction to the second interpretation of interaction design: Transaction: Existential Interaction.

Barnlund is an existentialist. He feels the world is meaningless, that the meaning we give to things is only what we give it ourselves. There is no regularity; the world is absurd. Context is only relevant based on your perception, as is subject matter. But how we deal with subject matter is important.

Barnlund argues that we need other people. Otherwise, the world would be stagnant. Another person with a different point of view provokes change. (In the same way a design point of view can change the fixity of a subject.)

Communication breakdowns are caused by source (people who threaten us), content (subjects that threaten us), and manner (the way the subject is presented).

What does this have to do with design? It's about people and the exchange of their ideas through dialog, through interaction. Whatever is created in interactions is created by us. And why bother? Because interactions create social progress. It's how things change.

posted at 05:16 PM in design theory | comments (1) | trackback (0) | link


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All straight lines circle sometimes. - The Weakerthans