Today marked the beginning of the third project in the Basic Interaction course I am teaching this semester. The goal of the project is to design an ebook reader taking into account gestural interaction for particular audiences and contexts. I thought this would be a good project because it combines a product with much opportunity for improvement and invention and an examination of the language and appropriateness of gestural interaction.

To begin the conversation on interactive gestures, we looked at Recognizing gestures: Interface design beyond point-and-click, the Interactive Gestures Pattern Library, and the recently released draft of the first chapter of the upcoming Interactive Gestures. Between the three, the basics of gestural interaction are well covered. The first chapter of Interactive Gestures, in particular, offers a lot in the way of examples for exploring the history and current state of gestural interaction. It was very convenient to have been released just a few weeks before the project began.

The students will have the remainder of the semester to conduct user research, synthesize, produce and test concepts, and then demonstrate their solution in the form of a video sketch. I have no preconceptions for the result of combining the ebook and gestures, but that’s what makes this exciting. In the words of Frank Gehry, “If I knew how a project was going to turn out, I wouldn’t do it.”