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Magazine > Lesson #1

Lesson 1 - 01/11/2011

Design Lab | Interactive Design | HIT

Design Lab | Interactive Design | HIT


What is interaction design?

The place: The Interaction Lab at Design Museum Holon.

Present: A diverse, even rather eclectic, group of students from Holon Institute of Technology (HIT), all of whom chose and were chosen to study an IDHO-Interaction Design Hands On course, also known as IDHO Extreme.

There are five electrical and electronic engineering students, one interior design student, one visual communications design student, and eight industrial design students.

You'll get a chance to get to know all of us later on.

14 students - 14 approaches to design.

Over the next 13 weeks we will be working in small, multidisciplinary groups and researching the concept of ‘interaction', its role in the world around us, its connection to design, technology, and various other fields that interest us. Along the way we'll also have to learn new languages: the engineers will have to learn the language of design, and the designers the language of engineering. Yes, working together is also a form of interaction.

So, what is interaction design?
The instructors, Luka Or and Shachar Geiger, let us grapple with the question, and the discussion leads to the word ‘dialogue'. Or, to be more precise, interaction design is such that facilitates dialogue between user and product, or between people and themselves, mediated by a product. In interaction design, people are an essential component, and technology is our raw material.

The discussion is fascinating, and the presentation interesting. Has anyone ever thought about the fact that this is how we see a computer?

Design Lab | Interactive Design | HIT

But this is how a computer sees us:

Design Lab | Interactive Design | HIT

So, what IS interaction design?
It's still a bit hard to understand, so it's time to show a few examples:

Wooden Mirror by Daniel Rozin
An example of design that makes intensive use of technology in order to achieve an almost anti-technology result.

TextRain by Romy Achituv
Design that stimulates different communication and interaction between people.

Blendie by Kelly Dobson
If we use baby language to talk to babies, and say "meow" to cats, why shouldn't we speak to electrical appliances in their language? And what'll happen if they talk back? (click here to see the work)

Would anyone even buy such a product?
Despite the absence of exotic electrical instrumentation or bubbling test tubes, we're reminded that we're in an interaction lab. As experimenters, emphasis will be placed on in-depth research of interaction from every direction and aspect. We're even cautioned against designing commercial products. The primary objective of our projects is to provoke thought and discussion, and stimulate the imagination.

After another discussion and a short introduction on electrical circuits - our first building blocks - we're split into pairs and receive our first assignment: to plan and build a direct interaction that includes digital input and basic output.

We leave the Lab at the Museum - where we will discuss our products and present them to the general public - and are introduced to the Lab at HIT - where we will solder, polish, program, and create interactions.

Design Lab | Interactive Design | HIT

Next Week:
The first seven interactions and how they affected us.

See you later.

Written by David Kantor
Illustration from Physical Computing by Dan O’Sullivan and Tom Igoe


- Introduction

- Lesson 1

- Lesson 2

- Lesson 3

- Lesson 4

- Lesson 5

- Lesson 6

- Lesson 7

- Lesson 8

- Lesson 9

- Lesson 10

- Lesson 11

- Lesson 12

- Final Lesson


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