Interaction Design Primer

Interaction Design Primer
The Italian publishing house postmedia, specialised in books on visual culture, has published the English-language “Interaction Design Primer (Vol. 1)“, written by Walter Aprile, Britta Boland and Stefano Mirti.

The meanwhile defunct Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, where all the authors worked, has partly financed the publication, since most – if not all – of the work featured was done there (the book is not entirely clear on this matter).

The publication comes in the form of a 32 page printed book (which contains the table of contents and one of the twelve chapters) and a DVD with a pdf of the full 288 page publication, videos and some software.

Since it is such a valuable initiative, it is a real pity that the publisher didn’t want to take the risk of printing the entire, richly illustrated book or that not enough financing was available. It is after all not easy to read the pdf (laid out in double spreads) on a screen and it is quite a challenge to ask your readers to colour print an entire book — minus one chapter that is.


This is a book about design. We wrote 288 pages of text, pictures, code, the works and we put it on a dvd as printable PDFs. The 32 pages of the printed book contains the introduction and one chapter of the twelve on the dvd. Twelve afternoons of activity, twelve hundred ideas, twelve thousand possibilities for fun, thought and strange encounters.

On the included dvd you can also find the software we use in the book and videos on some of the most interesting projects developed at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea.

What is so great about design? What is so interesting about computation? Where do we start from? How do desires intersect reality? How do we know what we can do? We realized that the most interesting conversations were explanations of our particular discipline or of the activities of the Institute. These explanations took the form of stories, how-to procedures, activities and videos. We aim to put the fascination back into design and technology, exercise some magic and show how accessible design and technology are. What matters are not the specific techniques, but rather the intentional stance and process. This stance and this process constitute the object of this book.

Learning by doing, but doing what?


Chapters overview

The world of self‑produced books

  • How to make a notebook
    Appendix | Introduction to Processing
  • How to make an address book
    Appendix | Crunching strings for a better address book
  • How to make a booklet
    Appendix | Your first digital layout

The diary, myself, the world

  • How to track your life
    Appendix | How to sketch
  • Learning from bananas. How DNA entered the world of design
    Appendix | Form follows fiction
  • How to make a cellular automaton
    Appendix | Build your own cellular universe

Games. Computation … … electronics!

  • How to make a matchbox computer
    Appendix | Polygen, better than magnetic poetry
  • How to make a Turing machine
    Appendix | A Turing machine simulator
  • Going electronic
    Appendix | First steps into physical computing

Tying it all together

  • How to make a colourwalk
    Appendix | The realm of colours
  • How to teach, how to learn
    Appendix | Learning by doing. But doing what?
  • People, places, things. The curious index of this book
    Appendix | Thinking about vol. 2

Programming glossary


There is no online ordering, only an email address. Purchase procedures are aimed at an Italian audience with information in Italian only, so I suggest that you write them to ask about overseas shipping and handling.

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