Intelligence and Awareness (was Signal Orange)

21 Jun 2004 - 1:17pm
10 years ago
3 replies
514 reads
Dan Saffer
2003

Intelligence and awareness are interesting places to draw distinctions,
I'll grant you that, Dave. But they do have their own problems. What is
intelligence? Or awareness? How do we measure them in products? Is a
light switch waiting for a human to flick it an example of interaction
design? Or, if variety is added into the mix, a thermostat? And if we
talk about designing systems, how do we define intelligence and
awareness in those? A level of complexity?

We're getting into a weird area here that's probably pretty academic...

Dan

Comments

21 Jun 2004 - 1:39pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Ah, but it is important for us as an organization that is trying to draw
distinction between ourselves and other Experience Design groups to do that
otherwise we are just wasting our time.

BTW, if I had my way binary systems like a lightswitch would not require
interaction design, but a thermostat, especially one w/ a time would. Of
course we are talking gray areas here and a probably continuum, but we have
to be willing to do so and not promote rash generalizations that make
everything IxD otherwise we are just doing Design and I feel we would be
remiss to loose this discipline so easily. ... Of course if I make a
computer wearable ... Does that mean that the whole system is not subsumed
under fashion design? ... Obviously that isn't the case either. But we need
to be clear about mixed disciplines collaborating on products together. IxD
is about the design of behavior (as our site so neatly says somewhere) ...
So if the product can't behave then it isn't designed by us.

BTW, your discussion re: systems ... I'm not feelin' it so much these days.
I do feel that we are designers of products more and more ... But I'll let
it go for now. A system can be intelligent if there are best practices,
policies, and directives that move human beings to react in predictable and
rational ways given similar trigger responses. The humans become actors just
like products would.

I think more than anything else I feel it is dangerous to general IxD to
anything and anyone interacting. We will loose ourselves and we will loose
our mandate for organizing if we go in this direction.

-- dave

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.
com] On Behalf Of Dan Saffer
Sent: Monday, June 21, 2004 2:18 PM
To: 'Interaction Discussion'
Subject: [ID Discuss] Intelligence and Awareness (was Signal Orange)

Intelligence and awareness are interesting places to draw distinctions, I'll
grant you that, Dave. But they do have their own problems. What is
intelligence? Or awareness? How do we measure them in products? Is a light
switch waiting for a human to flick it an example of interaction design? Or,
if variety is added into the mix, a thermostat? And if we talk about
designing systems, how do we define intelligence and awareness in those? A
level of complexity?

We're getting into a weird area here that's probably pretty academic...

Dan

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22 Jun 2004 - 2:08am
id at ourbrisba...
2004

Quoting David Heller <dave at interactiondesigners.com>:
> BTW, if I had my way binary systems like a lightswitch would not require
> interaction design [..]

That's interesting. A light switch, as an artefact can be a simple binary
system at one level of abstraction, but in use it is part of a more complex,
lighting system. How many times have you searched for the correct switch in an
unfamiliar room or lecture hall because it was not 'mapped' according to your
mental model of lighting? Should IxD take this into account since the design of
the light switch depends on the context of use?

In Human Factors literature, light switch mapping examples are almost as popular
as the ol' stovetop burner layout and dial mapping... ;)

> BTW, your discussion re: systems ... I'm not feelin' it so much these days.
> I do feel that we are designers of products more and more ... But I'll let
> it go for now.

Concentrating on mere artefacts would be losing the big picture as demonstrated
above, wouldn't it? That's what engineers do. Once you look at artefacts in
context and how they interact with each other and humans, you quickly find that
just concentrating on one artefact may not be enough to design something well.

> I think more than anything else I feel it is dangerous to general IxD to
> anything and anyone interacting. We will loose ourselves and we will loose
> our mandate for organizing if we go in this direction.

Perhaps having a look at how the areas of Human Factors and Activity Theory have
encompassed system design without losing direction could be useful?

Best regards,

Ash Donaldson
User Experience Designer
"It depends."

22 Jun 2004 - 6:22am
Dave Malouf
2005

Again,

There are many pieces of design besides interaction design that go into a
successful product. The cases that you are talking about below are NOT IxD
but rather more structural in their setting. Where = mapping. And the
psychological variant of human factors is also an informant of all design,
not just IxD ... I still fall back onto the requirement of boundaries,
otherwise everything is just Design w/ a "D".

And the set of artifacts is infact itself an artifact. The system of the
room would be an architectural problem. The light-switch an industrial
design problem. The light panel as you are describing it could have
intelligence to help the user better use a complex lighting system and if
there is more than just on/off triggers then I could say that is an IxD
problem. Do theories of human factors come into play ... Of course. But
human factors is just that theoretical ergonomics that informs design, but
not design in and of itself. This is the distinction between CHI as
information theory, Usability as task evaluation, and design as the creative
process for finding solutions. There are other areas that are similar in
design circles. Civil engineering to architecture. The materials science and
knowledge that goes into CE definitely informs architecture, but no one
would confuse the two areas of study and practice. The same could be said
for typography and communication design. Typography is information about
type, but communication design is the use of that information applied to a
specific solution developed by the designer.

I don't know what is so wrong about realizing that we as people do more than
just one thing. What is wrong with that one thing being part of a whole
system of other things that we do and know?

-- dave

-----Original Message-----
From: id at ourbrisbane.com [mailto:id at ourbrisbane.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 3:09 AM
To: David Heller
Cc: 'Dan Saffer'; 'Interaction Discussion'
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Intelligence and Awareness (was Signal Orange)

Quoting David Heller <dave at interactiondesigners.com>:
> BTW, if I had my way binary systems like a lightswitch would not require
> interaction design [..]

That's interesting. A light switch, as an artefact can be a simple binary
system at one level of abstraction, but in use it is part of a more complex,
lighting system. How many times have you searched for the correct switch in
an
unfamiliar room or lecture hall because it was not 'mapped' according to
your
mental model of lighting? Should IxD take this into account since the
design of
the light switch depends on the context of use?

In Human Factors literature, light switch mapping examples are almost as
popular
as the ol' stovetop burner layout and dial mapping... ;)

> BTW, your discussion re: systems ... I'm not feelin' it so much these
days.
> I do feel that we are designers of products more and more ... But I'll let
> it go for now.

Concentrating on mere artefacts would be losing the big picture as
demonstrated
above, wouldn't it? That's what engineers do. Once you look at artefacts
in
context and how they interact with each other and humans, you quickly find
that
just concentrating on one artefact may not be enough to design something
well.

> I think more than anything else I feel it is dangerous to general IxD to
> anything and anyone interacting. We will loose ourselves and we will loose
> our mandate for organizing if we go in this direction.

Perhaps having a look at how the areas of Human Factors and Activity Theory
have
encompassed system design without losing direction could be useful?

Best regards,

Ash Donaldson
User Experience Designer
"It depends."

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