IxD & ID (was RE: Patriarchs of the Design Famil y)

21 Nov 2003 - 9:46am
461 reads
Robert Reimann
2003

Beth Mazur wrote:

> Is it that industrial designers focus on form over function? Or is it
> that in their world, the complexity of the associated human behaviors
> is far more simple. Or if it isn't simple, say like for an automobile,
> there are established conventions and/or patterns that designers use
> rather than spending lots of time on designing for them.

These are very good points. And really, in comparison
to digital products of any complexity, even automobiles
(from a user interaction standpoint) are fairly simple.
Mechanical age products all have the property that if you
inspect them closely enough, you can physically determine
what they do. Not so for digital products, which have
invisible states determined by software. Also, you can't
throw a switch in a car that changes it into a helicopter
(unless you're James Bond). But the equivalent of this is
prevalent (for better or worse) in digital products:
controls that completely remap other controls, or interfaces
that transform into others. It's a completely different
order of magnitude of behavioral complexity.

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From: Beth Mazur [mailto:bowseat at bethmazur.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 10:08 PM
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: IxD & ID (was RE: [ID Discuss] Patriarchs of the Design Family)

At 2:49 PM -0500 11/20/03, David Heller wrote:
>So are we in agreement then that there are two distinct disciplines?

Yikes! When I mentioned digital industrial design, I certainly didn't mean
to imply that traditional non-digital industrial design and interaction
design weren't distinct (or at least, didn't have unique aspects to them).

I was more or less going after the commonalities (in the same way that some
try to focus on the commonalities of the world's religions). This all came
about because we were wondering if an industrial design organization could
represent us, and I was suggesting that they might, given that to some
extent, we share the same problems. But I think Coryndon and Kristoffer said
it better than I!

One quick question though before I stop beating this dead horse :).

Is it that industrial designers focus on form over function? Or is it that
in their world, the complexity of the associated human behaviors is far more
simple. Or if it isn't simple, say like for an automobile, there are
established conventions and/or patterns that designers use rather than
spending lots of time on designing for them.

Similarly, to some extent, many industrial design products are much further
along in their product lifecycles (compared to software and web
applications), so that functionality ceases to be a product differentiator
and form becomes much more important.

Thus one way of looking at this is just to say that the current state of
industrial design is just further along the curve than interaction design.
It may not be in my lifetime (I'm an old fart), but is it impossible to
imagine a world where software and web applications are actually usable? And
choosing between spreadsheet programs is like choosing between Ford and
Toyota?

Beth Mazur
IDblog: http://idblog.org

Syndicate content Get the feed