David Malouf on the foundations of interaction design

Boxes and Arrows
David Malouf is a Brooklyn-based interaction designer. He just wrote a long article for Boxes and Arrows on the “Foundations of Interaction Design“.

“Interaction Design is not Information Architecture, Industrial Design or even User Experience Design. It also isn’t user interface design. Interaction design is not about form or even structure, but is more ephemeral– about why and when rather than about what and how.

For any design disciplines to advance, it needs to form what are known as foundations or elements. The creation of such semantics encourages better communication amongst peers, creation of a sense of aesthetic, better education tools, and exploration.

If there are indeed foundations of Interaction Design, they need to be abstracted from form completely and thus not have physical attributes at all.”

The article then goes on to define what Malouf sees as the four foundations of Interaction Design: time (with pace, reaction and context as its sub-elements), metaphor, abstraction, and negative space.

He concludes: “It is the interaction designer’s attempt to manipulate these four foundations that separates the practice from industrial design, architecture, graphic design, fashion design, interior design, information architecture, and communication design. In the end, interaction design is the choreography and orchestration of these form-based design disciplines to create that holistic narrative between human(s) and the products and systems around us.”

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