Elizabeth's example of the Vietnam bracelets is a much better
illustration of this concept. Here's the crucial detail that's obscured
in the Signal Orange project. The bracelets open a dialog between two
people. That's the interaction the bracelets facilitate.
"... the wearer could talk about the person [on the bracelet] to others."
Here's a related example of this kind of Interaction Design. The Spring
2004 issue of Design Issues has an article about Kate Wells and the
Siyazama Project in South Africa. It really shaped where I think Dan and
I are both coming from in understanding the ramifications of human to
The article discusses Design as an agent of social transformation. The
Interaction potential really isn't about the beadwork dolls that the
Zulu tribe created, though the dolls were integral to the process.
Instead, the act of constructing the dolls was designed to provide a
communal setting for the women of the tribe to discuss AIDS and its
prevention, circumventing the cultural taboo against such discussions.
Humans interact with objects, and that's a significant part of
Interaction Design. But that's only part of the story. Humans also
interact with other humans, as the Siyazama Project demonstrates.
Designers can have impact on how these interactions take place. Humans
also interact with their environment. Traditionally the domain of
architects and city planners, it's a fertile avenue for interaction
designers to explore.
Humans interact with Objects
Humans interact with other Humans
Humans interact with their Environment
I think Designers have something to contribute to each of these
areas--but we have to recognize the opportunity. It isn't an either/or
proposition. Different designers choose to scope their contribution to
Interaction Design differently. And that's okay. There's always going to
be human to object interaction. But as the discipline moves forward and
gains respect, I think we'll see it make inroads in unconventional directions.