Interaction Design for ESL Textbooks?

12 Sep 2007 - 10:53am
7 years ago
25 replies
652 reads
Daniela Califano
2007

Do any Interaction Designers here think textbook design could benefit from ID input?

I work for the design department at an educational publishing house. I'm not an ID, but I'm familiar with the discipline. I believe using ID techniques in the design would convey the lessons in a more engaging and useful way.

Of course, there are components such as CD-ROMs to accompany the textbooks, but I want to focus on the content of the physical book itself. My concentration is on ESL teaching, but I'm curious about how to apply ID to math, language arts, history and reference books, etc.

Is it realistic to think an interaction designer could improve the quality of these publications or are books entirely outside the realm of ID expertise?

---------------------------------
Boardwalk for $500? In 2007? Ha!
Play Monopoly Here and Now (it's updated for today's economy) at Yahoo! Games.

Comments

12 Sep 2007 - 11:13am
Joseph Selbie
2007

Daniela,

There are probably many practices that you could use from IX design to
improve the information design of your textbooks. The first thought I had
when I read your question is whether or not your company does user research?
That is one of the fundamental tenets of IX design -- design to meet user
needs and desires.

If you don't already do user research sessions, I'd start there. Set up one
to one meetings with people who have read/used your previous version. You
would want to have a few core questions to ask them -- but mostly I would
advise listening to them respond in non-structured ways. You might be
surprised by the ideas they have to improve your textbook, and I know you'll
be pleased by the ideas the sessions generate for you.

Joseph Selbie
Founder, CEO Tristream
http://www.tristream.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Daniela
Califano
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 8:53 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Interaction Design for ESL Textbooks?

Do any Interaction Designers here think textbook design could benefit from
ID input?

I work for the design department at an educational publishing house. I'm not
an ID, but I'm familiar with the discipline. I believe using ID techniques
in the design would convey the lessons in a more engaging and useful way.

Of course, there are components such as CD-ROMs to accompany the textbooks,
but I want to focus on the content of the physical book itself. My
concentration is on ESL teaching, but I'm curious about how to apply ID to
math, language arts, history and reference books, etc.

Is it realistic to think an interaction designer could improve the quality
of these publications or are books entirely outside the realm of ID
expertise?

---------------------------------
Boardwalk for $500? In 2007? Ha!
Play Monopoly Here and Now (it's updated for today's economy) at Yahoo!
Games.
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12 Sep 2007 - 11:16am
White, Jeff
2007

Well, if you go by the definition of IxD that the IxDA has developed:

"Interaction design (IxD) is the branch of user experience design that
defines the structure and behavior of interactive products and services.
Interaction designers strive to create useful, usable and desirable products
and services that satisfy specific user needs, business goals, and technical
constraints."

Then, no. As IxD is focused on interactive products - where a user is
interacting with some sort of digital product - a traditional textbook would
not benefit from IxD. But the companion CD-ROM certainly would.

BUT, any product can benefit from good design. User centered design might
apply in your case, or just having an experienced information designer or
educational designer or graphic designer be involved with the development of
your products would certainly help. In your case it seems to be all about
the presentation of content and data to support the primary goal at hand:
learning about something. A good designer should be able to present the
content in such a way that makes it easier for your customers to digest &
learn the content you present in these publications.

Jeff

On 9/12/07, Daniela Califano <orangeskittles718 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> Do any Interaction Designers here think textbook design could benefit from
> ID input?
>
> I work for the design department at an educational publishing house. I'm
> not an ID, but I'm familiar with the discipline. I believe using ID
> techniques in the design would convey the lessons in a more engaging and
> useful way.
>
> Of course, there are components such as CD-ROMs to accompany the
> textbooks, but I want to focus on the content of the physical book itself.
> My concentration is on ESL teaching, but I'm curious about how to apply ID
> to math, language arts, history and reference books, etc.
>
> Is it realistic to think an interaction designer could improve the quality
> of these publications or are books entirely outside the realm of ID
> expertise?
>
>
>

12 Sep 2007 - 11:23am
George Schneiderman
2004

A minor classic in the field, User and Task Analysis for Interface Design, was co-written by Ginny Redish and JoAnn Hackos, both of whom come out of the world of document design, particularly form design. There are certainly relationships.

I would argue that what you want is more a usabilty perspective than an IxD perspective, but most of us who call ourselves interaction designers really practice across the wider terrain of information architecture, information design, usability, "experience design", and so forth. The skills that particularly distinguish IxD from those sister disciplines probably are not especially relevant to textbook design, in my opinion. But the foundational skills that underlie all of these related disciplines--most notably understanding people's informational needs and designing with that in mind--most assuredly are. Some graphic designers are very tuned into these issues as well as the aesthetic issues that people tend to think of as the province of graphic design, and the best person to bring on for that task would perhaps be a graphic designer with a strong usability and information design bent. But such people can be difficult to find, and I suspect that most good usability consultants, IAs, and IxDers would be able to help you as well.

--George Schneiderman

-----Original Message-----
>From: Daniela Califano <orangeskittles718 at yahoo.com>
>Sent: Sep 12, 2007 11:53 AM
>To: discuss at ixda.org
>Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Interaction Design for ESL Textbooks?
>
>Do any Interaction Designers here think textbook design could benefit from ID input?
>
>I work for the design department at an educational publishing house. I'm not an ID, but I'm familiar with the discipline. I believe using ID techniques in the design would convey the lessons in a more engaging and useful way.
>
>Of course, there are components such as CD-ROMs to accompany the textbooks, but I want to focus on the content of the physical book itself. My concentration is on ESL teaching, but I'm curious about how to apply ID to math, language arts, history and reference books, etc.
>
>Is it realistic to think an interaction designer could improve the quality of these publications or are books entirely outside the realm of ID expertise?
>
>---------------------------------
>Boardwalk for $500? In 2007? Ha!
>Play Monopoly Here and Now (it's updated for today's economy) at Yahoo! Games.
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
>List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
>Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>Questions .................. list at ixda.org
>Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org

12 Sep 2007 - 11:34am
Phillip Hunter
2006

Layout, colors, information organization, and the like are all elements of
interaction design and a textbook creator could certainly benefit from the
skills and activities used to make decisions about those. The true
interactive part is different, though, since the book doesn't dynamically
respond to reader behavior.

ph

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Daniela
Califano
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:53 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Interaction Design for ESL Textbooks?

Do any Interaction Designers here think textbook design could benefit from
ID input?

I work for the design department at an educational publishing house. I'm not
an ID, but I'm familiar with the discipline. I believe using ID techniques
in the design would convey the lessons in a more engaging and useful way.

Of course, there are components such as CD-ROMs to accompany the textbooks,
but I want to focus on the content of the physical book itself. My
concentration is on ESL teaching, but I'm curious about how to apply ID to
math, language arts, history and reference books, etc.

Is it realistic to think an interaction designer could improve the quality
of these publications or are books entirely outside the realm of ID
expertise?

---------------------------------
Boardwalk for $500? In 2007? Ha!
Play Monopoly Here and Now (it's updated for today's economy) at Yahoo!
Games.
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
Questions .................. list at ixda.org
Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org

12 Sep 2007 - 11:59am
Marijke Rijsberman
2004

Daniela,

I feel I ought to chime in here as someone who learned English as a second
language, was trained to teach ESL, and actually did so for a few years, to
teenagers, to adults, and to adults with learning disabilities, with and
without books. Oh, I am an interaction designer and user researcher.

I have never seen any ESL books that
1. do a good job of teaching grammar in a way that works for the students
(as opposed to the teachers).
2. seem really aware of the fact that students might have goals of their own
distinct from those of the teacher.
3. do a good job helping people get over any fears they might have speaking
a language they have not yet mastered.

A good interaction designer could do the research to understand what
students and teachers need in a textbook and then work with the authors to
create appropriate content. But the challenge goes well beyond interaction
design, to pedagogy.

I'd certainly encourage you to involve people with user research expertise
in the process (as distinct from academic research) especially if you are
publishing books meant for self-study, but I don't think you'd get very far
having an interaction designer re-do the layout of a textbook.

Marijke

12 Sep 2007 - 12:12pm
Jeff Howard
2004

Hi Daniela,

I think it's entirely realistic. Think of it this way: the readers
aren't interacting with the book, they're interacting with the
subject _through_ the book. Or with the teacher through the book. Or
with their classmates through the book. The book itself is one
touchpoint (among many) that can be designed to facilitate those
interactions.

My perspective on this comes from two years of experience on a six
year project at Carnegie Mellon University focused on redesigning the
Domestic Mail Manual for the US Postal Service. CMU framed it as an
interaction design project, not a document design project for
precisely the reasons I outlined above. We re-wrote and re-organized
standards and spent long hours on information design and graphic
design to be sure (it's a 1000 page manual) but those functions were
in the service of interaction design.

// jeff

Daniela Califano wrote:
"Is it realistic to think an interaction designer could improve the
quality of these publications..."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the improved ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=20335

12 Sep 2007 - 12:33pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Sep 12, 2007, at 12:16 PM, Jeff White wrote:

> Then, no. As IxD is focused on interactive products - where a user is
> interacting with some sort of digital product - a traditional
> textbook would
> not benefit from IxD. But the companion CD-ROM certainly would.

Hold on there! Where in the definition does it specifically say
anything about a DIGITAL product?

A book is and interactive product. Jeff Howard's response expounds
upon this well.

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

The public is more familiar with
bad design than good design.
It is, in effect, conditioned
to prefer bad design, because
that is what it lives with.
The new becomes threatening,
the old reassuring.

- Paul Rand

12 Sep 2007 - 12:51pm
White, Jeff
2007

Ha! Ok, I thought someone on this list would say something a lot quicker
than this :-)

So a book is interactive? I guess the argument there is that you interact
with the pages, right? You grab them, turn them, etc. So does this mean
every single thing on the face of the planet is interactive and thus the
province of IxD'ers? That is not in line with the many recent debates re:
the definition of design, IxD and the role of interaction designers.

I disagree - the book is not interactive. Yes you could stretch and say
you're interacting with the subject matter via a book. But how does the
subject matter respond to your action? That is what IxD is all about, no?
Action/response. I've never a subject matter respond to me when I read a
book about it.

On 9/12/07, Jack Moffett <jmoffett at inmedius.com> wrote:
>
>
> On Sep 12, 2007, at 12:16 PM, Jeff White wrote:
>
> > Then, no. As IxD is focused on interactive products - where a user is
> > interacting with some sort of digital product - a traditional
> > textbook would
> > not benefit from IxD. But the companion CD-ROM certainly would.
>
> Hold on there! Where in the definition does it specifically say
> anything about a DIGITAL product?
>
> A book is and interactive product. Jeff Howard's response expounds
> upon this well.
>
> Jack
>
>
> Jack L. Moffett
> Interaction Designer
> inmedius
> 412.459.0310 x219
> http://www.inmedius.com
>
>
> The public is more familiar with
> bad design than good design.
> It is, in effect, conditioned
> to prefer bad design, because
> that is what it lives with.
> The new becomes threatening,
> the old reassuring.
>
> - Paul Rand
>
>
>
>

12 Sep 2007 - 12:37pm
Mark FelcanSmith
2003

For what it's worth, when I think about IxD for books, I immediately
think of my kids pop-up books. Those cardboard cut-out pop-up books and
ones that have spin dials, or sliders, to change the image w/in a page.
Is there something to be learned from these types of interactions that
may be useful in this context?

-Mark

>Daniela Califano wrote:
>Do any Interaction Designers here think textbook design could benefit
from ID input?

12 Sep 2007 - 1:27pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Sep 12, 2007, at 1:51 PM, Jeff White wrote:

> Ha! Ok, I thought someone on this list would say something a lot
> quicker than this :-)

And I'm surprised I was the first. :)

> So a book is interactive? I guess the argument there is that you
> interact with the pages, right? You grab them, turn them, etc.

Well, sure. But we're not necessarily dealing with the physical form
of the book in this case. We're dealing with organization and
navigation of the content. What is the purpose of the book, and how
is it designed to fulfill that purpose? What is the context of use?
What features should it have (TOC, index, color-coding, tabs, etc.)?
Would a supporting CD-ROM be helpful/necessary/overkill? Does the
book integrate in some way with a website?

> I disagree - the book is not interactive. Yes you could stretch and
> say you're interacting with the subject matter via a book. But how
> does the subject matter respond to your action? That is what IxD is
> all about, no? Action/response. I've never a subject matter respond
> to me when I read a book about it.

Alright, in the strictest definition of interaction, I suppose you
are right. The book does not react to me. However, is the design of a
book so much different from the design of a website? Certainly, the
constraints are very different, but the general goals of the
interaction are the same.

I wouldn't agree that an IxDer has no business designing a book, in
the same vein that I would not agree that a graphic designer
shouldn't be designing a website. Of course, I'm both, so maybe I
have my wires crossed. ;)

Oh no, please tell me I'm not starting another long thread on the
definition of interaction design.

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

I am in search of the
simple elegant seductive
maybe even obvious IDEA.
With this in my pocket
I cannot fail.

- Tibor Kalman

12 Sep 2007 - 1:57pm
White, Jeff
2007

"I wouldn't agree that an IxDer has no business designing a book, in
the same vein that I would not agree that a graphic designer
shouldn't be designing a website. Of course, I'm both, so maybe I
have my wires crossed. ;)"

I agree with you 100%. I'm both too, so I don't think your wires are
crossed. I do think there is a lack of understanding within our community
about what IxD is though. And if we don't know, gonna be kinda to hard to
really establish ourselves with businesses, academia, and consumers.

On 9/12/07, Jack Moffett <jmoffett at inmedius.com> wrote:
>
>
> On Sep 12, 2007, at 1:51 PM, Jeff White wrote:
>
> > Ha! Ok, I thought someone on this list would say something a lot
> > quicker than this :-)
>
> And I'm surprised I was the first. :)
>
>
> > So a book is interactive? I guess the argument there is that you
> > interact with the pages, right? You grab them, turn them, etc.
>
> Well, sure. But we're not necessarily dealing with the physical form
> of the book in this case. We're dealing with organization and
> navigation of the content. What is the purpose of the book, and how
> is it designed to fulfill that purpose? What is the context of use?
> What features should it have (TOC, index, color-coding, tabs, etc.)?
> Would a supporting CD-ROM be helpful/necessary/overkill? Does the
> book integrate in some way with a website?
>
> > I disagree - the book is not interactive. Yes you could stretch and
> > say you're interacting with the subject matter via a book. But how
> > does the subject matter respond to your action? That is what IxD is
> > all about, no? Action/response. I've never a subject matter respond
> > to me when I read a book about it.
>
> Alright, in the strictest definition of interaction, I suppose you
> are right. The book does not react to me. However, is the design of a
> book so much different from the design of a website? Certainly, the
> constraints are very different, but the general goals of the
> interaction are the same.
>
> I wouldn't agree that an IxDer has no business designing a book, in
> the same vein that I would not agree that a graphic designer
> shouldn't be designing a website. Of course, I'm both, so maybe I
> have my wires crossed. ;)
>
> Oh no, please tell me I'm not starting another long thread on the
> definition of interaction design.
>
> Jack
>
>
>
>
> Jack L. Moffett
> Interaction Designer
> inmedius
> 412.459.0310 x219
> http://www.inmedius.com
>
> I am in search of the
> simple elegant seductive
> maybe even obvious IDEA.
> With this in my pocket
> I cannot fail.
>
> - Tibor Kalman
>

12 Sep 2007 - 2:15pm
Jeff Howard
2004

Not all books are good examples of interaction design. Few are
interactive products in and of themselves, although as one simple
example, "Choose Your Own Adventure" books are at least as
interactive as a static website.

I posted to encourage Daniela to follow her line of inquiry. I
didn't intend to start a theological debate. But if the dead trees
are causing a conceptual problem, think of it as curriculum design
instead of book design. Students certainly interact with their
classmates and teachers through their curricula (as expressed through
a book), and I might humbly suggest that if you haven't experienced
the subject matter responding to you then you may not have been
paying close enough attention.

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the improved ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=20335

12 Sep 2007 - 2:30pm
Patrick G
2006

On Sep 12, 2007, at 1:51 PM, Jeff White wrote:

> Ha! Ok, I thought someone on this list would say something a lot
> quicker
> than this :-)
>
> So a book is interactive? I guess the argument there is that you
> interact
> with the pages, right? You grab them, turn them, etc. So does this
> mean
> every single thing on the face of the planet is interactive and
> thus the
> province of IxD'ers? That is not in line with the many recent
> debates re:
> the definition of design, IxD and the role of interaction designers.
>
> I disagree - the book is not interactive. Yes you could stretch and
> say
> you're interacting with the subject matter via a book. But how does
> the
> subject matter respond to your action? That is what IxD is all
> about, no?
> Action/response. I've never a subject matter respond to me when I
> read a
> book about it.
>

Just to play devil's advocate for a moment: The subject matter of a
standard textbook might not respond in the way the feedback display
of a digital device responds, but does this mean that books are
entirely passive (without taking the opposing view, articulated
above, that then EVERYTHING is interactive)?

Does an artifact have to blink or beep or change states in order for
an "interaction" to be said to have taken place? Take, for example, a
work of experimental fiction like Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves,
in which the typography and layout mirror events in the narrative
(e.g. - as the protagonist gets lost in a maze the text and its
footnotes begin to merge until the distinction between narrative and
annotation becomes totally confused.). The reader must flip back and
forth to reconstruct the fractured narrative and bring coherence/
meaning to the story. How is this any less "interactive" than reading
the New York Time online?

Setting aside the formal properties of print, what about the overall
experience of the class that the books is designed to facilitate? The
in-class activities and participation, homework assignments, study
methods, quizzes and tests, etc.? As designers of experiences, do
these not fall within our realm, at least to some degree? The company
I work for is currently trying to position itself to do more service
design, focusing not only on the design of the artifact that the user
interacts with, but on the overall experience and context within
which that interaction unfolds. I'm not sure I see how this is vastly
different from designing a class curriculum...

Patrick

12 Sep 2007 - 2:56pm
White, Jeff
2007

"and I might humbly suggest that if you haven't experienced
the subject matter responding to you then you may not have been
paying close enough attention"

Please tell me how any *subject matter* has ever *responded to you* in a way
that could be designed by an IxD.

**I'm sure there is some way to wax theoretic and say that people interact
with subject matters and vice versa,** but I don't think it's realistic.
That's my 2 cents. If that means I didn't pay close enough attention, then
so be it. In my opinion subject matters are not interactive.

Daniela should absolutely pursue her efforts in designing the information on
a printed page in a better way so it better achieves its goal. But no
printed page will have a button you can click or push with your finger, etc
etc. That's how it's different from a static or any kind of website.

On Wed, 12 Sep 2007 12:15:00, Jeff Howard <id at howardesign.com> wrote:
>
> Not all books are good examples of interaction design. Few are
> interactive products in and of themselves, although as one simple
> example, "Choose Your Own Adventure" books are at least as
> interactive as a static website.
>
> I posted to encourage Daniela to follow her line of inquiry. I
> didn't intend to start a theological debate. But if the dead trees
> are causing a conceptual problem, think of it as curriculum design
> instead of book design. Students certainly interact with their
> classmates and teachers through their curricula (as expressed through
> a book), and I might humbly suggest that if you haven't experienced
> the subject matter responding to you then you may not have been
> paying close enough attention.
>
> // jeff
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the improved ixda.org
> http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=2033
>

12 Sep 2007 - 3:04pm
White, Jeff
2007

An awesome book - I had a blast reading it. But, those words are organized
on the page in a totally static way. They will never ever change unless you
burn the page or something like that. It's totally up to the cognitive
processes of the reader to digest the words and derive meaning from them, as
with any printed work. There is no interaction there, at least not one that
matches with what the IxDA has defined as interaction design. If you could
touch a word and change its' position on the page, then yeah I'll buy that.
But I don't think we've reached that level of technology yet. Or maybe we
have and I just wasn't paying attention. :-)

On 9/12/07, Patrick Grizzard <gamutant at earthlink.net> wrote:
>
>
> On Sep 12, 2007, at 1:51 PM, Jeff White wrote:
>
> Ha! Ok, I thought someone on this list would say something a lot quicker
> than this :-)
>
> So a book is interactive? I guess the argument there is that you interact
> with the pages, right? You grab them, turn them, etc. So does this mean
> every single thing on the face of the planet is interactive and thus the
> province of IxD'ers? That is not in line with the many recent debates re:
> the definition of design, IxD and the role of interaction designers.
>
> I disagree - the book is not interactive. Yes you could stretch and say
> you're interacting with the subject matter via a book. But how does the
> subject matter respond to your action? That is what IxD is all about, no?
> Action/response. I've never a subject matter respond to me when I read a
> book about it.
>
>
> Just to play devil's advocate for a moment: The subject matter of a
> standard textbook might not respond in the way the feedback display of a
> digital device responds, but does this mean that books are entirely passive
> (without taking the opposing view, articulated above, that then EVERYTHING
> is interactive)?
>
> Does an artifact have to blink or beep or change states in order for an
> "interaction" to be said to have taken place? Take, for example, a work of
> experimental fiction like Mark Danielewski's *House of Leaves*, in which
> the typography and layout mirror events in the narrative (e.g. - as the
> protagonist gets lost in a maze the text and its footnotes begin to merge
> until the distinction between narrative and annotation becomes totally
> confused.). The reader must flip back and forth to reconstruct the fractured
> narrative and bring coherence/meaning to the story. How is this any less
> "interactive" than reading the New York Time online?
>
> Setting aside the formal properties of print, what about the overall
> experience of the class that the books is designed to facilitate? The
> in-class activities and participation, homework assignments, study methods,
> quizzes and tests, etc.? As designers of experiences, do these not fall
> within our realm, at least to some degree? The company I work for is
> currently trying to position itself to do more service design, focusing not
> only on the design of the artifact that the user interacts with, but on the
> overall experience and context within which that interaction unfolds. I'm
> not sure I see how this is vastly different from designing a class
> curriculum...
>
>
> Patrick
>

12 Sep 2007 - 3:09pm
George Schneiderman
2004

"But no printed page will have a button you can click or push with your finger, etc"

Actually that's not quite true. I am doing some work with digital pens, which have little cameras built in. They have to be used with specially printed paper, which has a barely-visible dot pattern that the camera uses to tell where on the page you are writing. So you actually have printed pages with buttons (known as pidgets, for either "paper widgets" or "pen widgets") that users mark. The pen gives you vibrational and audible feedback to let you know if the "pidget" registered. The pen is a real pen with ink, not a Wacom-like stylus. You can use it, for example, to take written notes on a paper pad, and then have them get uploaded as an image when you sync the pen. If you have good handwriting you can even try to have your it converted to text.

--George

12 Sep 2007 - 3:15pm
White, Jeff
2007

That's pretty cool. But still it's not a traditional printed page which is
what this thread started with. There is the addition of pidgets and a
digital pen, which you certainly *do* interact with.

There's still a huge difference in my opinion.

On 9/12/07, George Schneiderman <schneidg at earthlink.net> wrote:
>
> "But no printed page will have a button you can click or push with your
> finger, etc"
>
> Actually that's not quite true. I am doing some work with digital pens,
> which have little cameras built in. They have to be used with specially
> printed paper, which has a barely-visible dot pattern that the camera uses
> to tell where on the page you are writing. So you actually have printed
> pages with buttons (known as pidgets, for either "paper widgets" or "pen
> widgets") that users mark. The pen gives you vibrational and audible
> feedback to let you know if the "pidget" registered. The pen is a real pen
> with ink, not a Wacom-like stylus. You can use it, for example, to take
> written notes on a paper pad, and then have them get uploaded as an image
> when you sync the pen. If you have good handwriting you can even try to have
> your it converted to text.
>
> --George
>

12 Sep 2007 - 3:23pm
White, Jeff
2007

Good point. Thanks for sharing your example. I learned something from it. I
think the subject matter responded to me! waaaaaa-hoo! :-) just kidding...

On 9/12/07, George Schneiderman <schneidg at earthlink.net> wrote:
>
> I agree. But you said "no printed page" and I couldn't resist.
>

12 Sep 2007 - 4:03pm
ALIYAH MARR
2007

Interactive design is the best teaching tool I know. Anything can be taught better using interactive design techniques. The only caveat is that the user needs to have basic computer skills.

Here are some reasons for the use of this kind of design in teaching curriculums:

-- engages the user more than any linear piece
-- can involve game-like elements to introduce the element of play: when people play they relax and learn more readily
-- the user may teach herself, at their own pace
-- can involve any other kind of media -- text, video, sound, etc.
-- can include elements that engage both sides of the brain, accelerating learning
-- can adapt to the user\'s needs, delivering customized content, at the level of the student\'s current comprehension
-- the same program can be built once and then modified for any language-learning program
-- the interface can be built in modules
-- an interactive piece can be built to run on many platforms, and interface one with another, for example: a DVD could check for more (recent) information on the web, when the user requests it

Mainly the use of non-linear content addresses the possibility of engaging both sides of the brain. There is great (mostly untapped) potential for learning there.

Hope this helps. More information on the brain functions are in my book about the creative brain called Parallel Mind. Read it at:

http://parallelmind.wordpress.com/chapter-two-%u2014-double-vision/

About halfway down the page is a section called PARALLEL MINDS -- some information on the functions of the two sides of the brain are included here and in other sections.

12 Sep 2007 - 3:48pm
Jeff Howard
2004

Jeff, you're still focusing on the artifact. On the physicality of
the book. You have to look beyond that to see the possibilities for
interaction design. Daniela is trying to "convey the lessons in a
more engaging and useful way" and focusing on the "content of the
physical book itself". The content. The lessons.

I believe this is a worthwhile topic of discussion (though the other
members of the list might disagree) and I'll be happy to continue
the debate in another thread if you're interested in starting one.
For now I think we've well and truly derailed Daniela's thread.

Sorry about that Daniela. To get back on track, I wanted to point you
to a few education blogs that I've found enlightening in the past.
You may be able to glean some information specific to your problem.

http://growchangelearn.blogspot.com/index.html
http://www.fullcirc.com/weblog/onfacblog.htm

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the improved ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=20335

12 Sep 2007 - 4:08pm
Patrick G
2006

Fair enough. I guess what I'm interested in is the assumption that
"interactive" inherently means digital, technological, mechanical.
This does seem implicit in the IxDA definition, and for the purposes
of promoting IxD to technologists, executives, academics, etc. it's
probably useful.

On the other hand, it could be unnecessarily limiting, as I alluded
to with the example of service design. I don't want to be constrained
to designing a single digital artifact if it sits at the center of a
larger network of offline services. I want to design all the
processes and communication so that the technology artifact
integrates with them seamlessly. I don't want to delve too deeply
into semantic debate about the meaning of "interaction," but when a
customer is making choices (input) and a company is responding
(feedback), that seems to quack like the proverbial duck of a
designed interaction.

On Sep 12, 2007, at 4:04 PM, Jeff White wrote:

> An awesome book - I had a blast reading it. But, those words are
> organized on the page in a totally static way. They will never ever
> change unless you burn the page or something like that. It's
> totally up to the cognitive processes of the reader to digest the
> words and derive meaning from them, as with any printed work. There
> is no interaction there, at least not one that matches with what
> the IxDA has defined as interaction design. If you could touch a
> word and change its' position on the page, then yeah I'll buy that.
> But I don't think we've reached that level of technology yet. Or
> maybe we have and I just wasn't paying attention. :-)
>
>
>
> On 9/12/07, Patrick Grizzard <gamutant at earthlink.net> wrote:
>
> On Sep 12, 2007, at 1:51 PM, Jeff White wrote:
>
>> Ha! Ok, I thought someone on this list would say something a lot
>> quicker
>> than this :-)
>>
>> So a book is interactive? I guess the argument there is that you
>> interact
>> with the pages, right? You grab them, turn them, etc. So does this
>> mean
>> every single thing on the face of the planet is interactive and
>> thus the
>> province of IxD'ers? That is not in line with the many recent
>> debates re:
>> the definition of design, IxD and the role of interaction designers.
>>
>> I disagree - the book is not interactive. Yes you could stretch
>> and say
>> you're interacting with the subject matter via a book. But how
>> does the
>> subject matter respond to your action? That is what IxD is all
>> about, no?
>> Action/response. I've never a subject matter respond to me when I
>> read a
>> book about it.
>>
>
> Just to play devil's advocate for a moment: The subject matter of a
> standard textbook might not respond in the way the feedback display
> of a digital device responds, but does this mean that books are
> entirely passive (without taking the opposing view, articulated
> above, that then EVERYTHING is interactive)?
>
> Does an artifact have to blink or beep or change states in order
> for an "interaction" to be said to have taken place? Take, for
> example, a work of experimental fiction like Mark Danielewski's
> House of Leaves, in which the typography and layout mirror events
> in the narrative (e.g. - as the protagonist gets lost in a maze the
> text and its footnotes begin to merge until the distinction between
> narrative and annotation becomes totally confused.). The reader
> must flip back and forth to reconstruct the fractured narrative and
> bring coherence/meaning to the story. How is this any less
> "interactive" than reading the New York Time online?
>
> Setting aside the formal properties of print, what about the
> overall experience of the class that the books is designed to
> facilitate? The in-class activities and participation, homework
> assignments, study methods, quizzes and tests, etc.? As designers
> of experiences, do these not fall within our realm, at least to
> some degree? The company I work for is currently trying to position
> itself to do more service design, focusing not only on the design
> of the artifact that the user interacts with, but on the overall
> experience and context within which that interaction unfolds. I'm
> not sure I see how this is vastly different from designing a class
> curriculum...
>
>
> Patrick
>

13 Sep 2007 - 10:02am
AJ Kock
2007

UX is about the User Experience. Why does it have to be interactive before we can improve on the user experience? Text books sounds very much similar to text in website content to me, which falls under usability or IA (the foundations of UX Design).

13 Sep 2007 - 9:29am
Michael Micheletti
2006

Yes, absolutely. My son's high school social studies textbook weighs EIGHT
POUNDS. The interaction between this brick and his back could certainly be
improved. And he's big. Pity the small ones - this civics beast could be 10%
of their body weight, and one of six or seven they must drag around.

C'mon digital paper...

Michael Micheletti

On 9/12/07, Daniela Califano <orangeskittles718 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> Do any Interaction Designers here think textbook design could benefit from
> ID input?
>

13 Sep 2007 - 4:36pm
gloria
2007

Hello everyone, this is my inaugural post to the list. I am
interaction designer working in the area of learning and education.
So, I guess, this discussion thread is close to home.

Yes, Daniela, I do think that textbook design could benefit from ID
input. We have to remember that interaction design is the design of
behaviours (tasks or activities) for a particular purpose. In my
view, this is regardless of the product appearance. (I think that Dan
Saffer's book includes a definition that kind of relates to what I am
stating here.) The way that you organize the lessons in the textbook
should enable people to perform certain types of activities
(behaviours) to learn English better. You should start from defining
the goal that people should achieve by reading the book(s) and from
this goal organize and visualize the lessons in a way that people can
achieve those goals. The concept 'interaction" is familiar to
learning and education. Educationists often relate it to other
concepts such as mental interactions, student-teacher interaction,
peer-to-peer interaction, etc. Instruction is designed based on the
learning goals they want the student to achieve and instruction often
includes the development of instructional materials such as books,
CD-roms, websites, etc.

I am currently writing up my doctoral dissertation, which was
approach from an interaction design perspective. To investigate and
evaluate some issues in preschool concept mapping, I used interaction
design to develop a concept mapping tool for preliterates. This tool
was a functional prototype designed in a way that could work in any
preschool. After user research, I had to avoid the design of a
computer technology because not all preschools in Australia have
computers in the classroom. The tool was designed to enable these
children to perform behaviours related to concept mapping that
educationists said were not possible with this age group. Several
user-centred design methodologies, learning and educational theories
informed my decision-making process during the development of the
functional prototype. Teachers of two preschools introduced the
prototype into classroom activities and allowed me to make
observations. In my thesis I support and challenge some educational
claims about children's ability to make concept maps. In conclusion,
applying an interaction design perspective to study the problem
provided a different way to understand and see it.

In my view some principles used in interaction design, which are
really grounded in many other philosophies and methods beyond design,
are applicable to the solution of problems beyond digital
technologies, software and web applications. As a designer, one just
has to find a way to harness the philosophies and methods into the
product you are designing.

I hope this contribution has been of help and I am prepared to
continue the discussion in another thread as some have suggested
before me.

Gloria

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=20335

14 Sep 2007 - 4:40pm
Jarod Tang
2007

Hi Goria&Daniela:
Appreciate your inspiring Question&Comment. And together other guys, Goria's
comment may well answer that Interaction Design could definitly help design
a good book ( maybe you'll confuse that, our interaction designer
still/begin to fight what is ixd, ;-) , that's life, isnt it? )
As some previous guys described, the traditional document writing guide
lines are one of the good interaction design examples (IMHO, the guidelines
for writing presentation are especially the good example of interaction
design; and also the paper's writing guide line, ,as you can find from
resources as http://www.presentationzen.com/ ):
As Goria's opinion:
1. who's the book for? and what's their goals?
2. what's the characters of the book users ( not only readers)? their
behaviors?
......
As you doing editor work for books, you may found these kind of questions
are very familiar to your everyday practice. (this is exactly the proof that
interaction design really for you, ;-) ) And you may ask, what's
intereaction design for me? since these things, I already familiar with for
long time?

There's something from interaction design, such as "Personas, Goals, and
Emotional Design <http://www.uxmatters.com/MT/archives/000019.php>", we can
simplify as interaction design's levels (interaction):
1. usefulness layer
2. usability layer
3. emotional layer
A good education book ( as the well designed stuff), should better also
fulfill these levels's interaction design levels, so from this view, it
provide you a guide to design/evaluate the good result (good designed book).
To achieve this, it's better to understand the user's goal and motivation
deeply.
There's already some very good research on human learning
behavior/experience, such as:
1. *The Art of Changing the
Brain*<http://www.amazon.com/Art-Changing-Brain-Enriching-Exploring/dp/1579220541>
2. Taxonomy of Educational
Objectives<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxonomy_of_Educational_Objectives>
By these well research results, together with your specific user research,
you can gain insight to the user's learning process and behavior deeply, as
for interaction design, this insight of the education domain, is really most
important factor of really good interaction design. After this you can get
your concept design about what's the final book essentially as, then the
detail design follows.

Also, such as Alan Cooper's Goal Directed Design, provide the process of
interaction design, which you can follow/( use it creatively ) in your book
design.

P.S. seems you question is really a stone for a silent pond, many guys feel
crazy for it.

On 9/13/07, gloria <ggomez at swin.edu.au> wrote:
>
> Hello everyone, this is my inaugural post to the list. I am
> interaction designer working in the area of learning and education.
> So, I guess, this discussion thread is close to home.
>
> Yes, Daniela, I do think that textbook design could benefit from ID
> input. We have to remember that interaction design is the design of
> behaviours (tasks or activities) for a particular purpose. In my
> view, this is regardless of the product appearance. (I think that Dan
> Saffer's book includes a definition that kind of relates to what I am
> stating here.) The way that you organize the lessons in the textbook
> should enable people to perform certain types of activities
> (behaviours) to learn English better. You should start from defining
> the goal that people should achieve by reading the book(s) and from
> this goal organize and visualize the lessons in a way that people can
> achieve those goals. The concept 'interaction" is familiar to
> learning and education. Educationists often relate it to other
> concepts such as mental interactions, student-teacher interaction,
> peer-to-peer interaction, etc. Instruction is designed based on the
> learning goals they want the student to achieve and instruction often
> includes the development of instructional materials such as books,
> CD-roms, websites, etc.
>
> I am currently writing up my doctoral dissertation, which was
> approach from an interaction design perspective. To investigate and
> evaluate some issues in preschool concept mapping, I used interaction
> design to develop a concept mapping tool for preliterates. This tool
> was a functional prototype designed in a way that could work in any
> preschool. After user research, I had to avoid the design of a
> computer technology because not all preschools in Australia have
> computers in the classroom. The tool was designed to enable these
> children to perform behaviours related to concept mapping that
> educationists said were not possible with this age group. Several
> user-centred design methodologies, learning and educational theories
> informed my decision-making process during the development of the
> functional prototype. Teachers of two preschools introduced the
> prototype into classroom activities and allowed me to make
> observations. In my thesis I support and challenge some educational
> claims about children's ability to make concept maps. In conclusion,
> applying an interaction design perspective to study the problem
> provided a different way to understand and see it.
>
> In my view some principles used in interaction design, which are
> really grounded in many other philosophies and methods beyond design,
> are applicable to the solution of problems beyond digital
> technologies, software and web applications. As a designer, one just
> has to find a way to harness the philosophies and methods into the
> product you are designing.
>
> I hope this contribution has been of help and I am prepared to
> continue the discussion in another thread as some have suggested
> before me.
>
> Gloria
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=20335
>
>
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--
IxD for better life style.

http://jarodtang.blogspot.com

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