5 October 2006

Book: Designing Interactions by Bill Moggridge

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Designing Interactions
Digital technology has changed the way we interact with everything from the games we play to the tools we use at work.

Designers of digital technology products no longer regard their job as designing a physical object—beautiful or utilitarian—but as designing our interactions with it. In Designing Interactions (which is not only a book but also a DVD), Bill Moggridge, designer of the first laptop computer (the GRiD Compass, 1981) and a founder of the design firm IDEO, tells us stories from an industry insider’s viewpoint, tracing the evolution of ideas from inspiration to outcome.

Moggridge and his forty interviewees discuss why personal computers have windows in desktops, what made Palm’s handheld organizers so successful, what turns a game into a hobby, why Google is the search engine of choice, and why 30 million people in Japan choose the i-mode service for their cell phones. And Moggridge tells the story of his own design process and explains the focus on people and prototypes that has been successful at IDEO—how the needs and desires of people can inspire innovative designs and how prototyping methods are evolving for the design of digital technology.

The early chapters are mostly about invention of precedent setting designs, forming a living history. The center section is structured around topics, so that one can find several opinions collected together for comparison, about designing in a particular context. The later chapters move more towards the future, with trends, possibilities and conjectures. The introduction and final chapter combine to describe the approach to designing interactions that has evolved at IDEO. The book is illustrated with more than 700 images, with color throughout.

Says John Thackara in a short review of the book: “Gillian Crampton Smith answers the question, “What is Interaction Design?” The original designers of The Mouse tell us why and how they did it. There are fascinating encounters with Brenda (Computers as Theatere) Laurel and Will (The Sims) Wright. Larry Page and Sergey Brin describe how they made the ultimate less-is-more interface for Google. Service designers Live|Work, Fran Samalionis, and Takeshi Natsuno describe how they derive useful purposes for all this tech. Hiroshi Ishii, Durrell Bishop, Joy Mountford and Bill Gaver describe their ongoing efforts to design multi-sensorial computing. Moggridge concludes by discussing “Alternative Nows” with Dunne and Raby, John Maeda and Jun Rekimoto.”

On the website you can see small video segments of all interviews.

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