After spending perhaps too much time debating the boundaries of interaction design on the IxDA list a couple days ago, I started wondering why I felt so inclined to contribute to the discussion. Is it true that it doesn’t matter how IxD practitioners perceive interaction design?

One comment from that discussion that I’ve been thinking about is “design is design” (Mark Schraad). I’m not sure I can explain what I think that means, but it makes me feel like I shouldn’t take design all that seriously. Which reminds me of Dick Buchanan’s closing keynote at Emergence, when he said something to the effect of “Design: Don’t get too pretentious. All we do is serve. We’re not that important.”

This is echoed to an extent in a recent interview with Brandon Schauer of Adaptive Path: Design Thinking left unchecked can just lead to failure, failure, failure.

I really worry about design thinking especially at diagnosing any sort of business problem…There’s a lot of play in the marketplace besides the relationship between a customer and the product or the interface that they are using, and design thinking typically doesn’t look at those other aspects of the world. —Brandon

I must confess that I have a difficult time splitting interaction design from design or design thinking. Perhaps because I’m immersed in design, I also sometimes tend to fall into thinking it is greater in importance than it really is. I’m not sure if it’s better to adopt a position that design is just design or to believe design is indeed a powerful force in the world.