What is interaction design? I have to answer this question every time I meet someone new, which I say here a lot. Though the answer changes each time. It evolves.

Sometimes it is clearer to me what I’m talking about. Sometimes it appears clearer to my interlocutor.

This week, I have been swimming in the question: what is interaction design? It seems to be the theme of the first week of this semester.

We were asked the question in our first seminar 2 class with Jodi Forlizzi. She then presented her definition and gave us five readings that address interaction design and its history.

Shelley Evenson
presented her definition of interaction design in our studio 2 class. She does not believe you can design interactions, but you can design for interaction. It’s a subtle difference in syntax that I’m not sure has much difference in practice.

During the winter break, I took a break from design. While snowboarding, climbing, and generally having a good time in California, I nearly forgot about it. But this week’s immersion has recharged me, and I find myself again in awe that I managed to wander into the world of interaction design without really knowing where I was going.

It is an amazing and exciting world.

Next week we have a paper due to present our definition of interaction design. Like I said, were given several readings about interaction design definitions and its history. Two things impress me about these.

First, interaction design has a history, albeit short. I never even heard the term until about 13 months ago. (I must leave the cave more often.)

Second, interaction design is still in its infancy, but has huge potential to impact products, systems, and services, and ultimately make the human experience better. Yet there are few trained interaction designers. And I am being trained as one.