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On 13, Jan 2007 | In | By phil

Productive Interaction Experiments

I continue working on a series of design sketches that explore the ideas expressed in my essay, Productive Interaction. The main idea is that Interaction Designers should create interactive systems that allow users to create their own meaning space rather than designing scripted experiences. These experimental sketches are sometimes very rough, and other times more refined. They help me as I pursue new ways of interacting, driven by my writing as well as feeding new writing in an ongoing cycle of thinking and making.

Some of these ideas ended up in more complete projects, including the Acura Oracles and A+D Museum projects. For the Oracles, the idea of generating bits of information from a database (as in the Words project) plays out as the user moves their finger across the touch table. In the A+D project, the ideas of simultaneity, juxtaposition, and randomness play out as the slideshows display. We also creating a dynamically updating system, inserting live images from the event.

Detailed explanations and videos after the break.

  • Words – This project is on the newecologyofthings.net website, and was part of the New Ecology of Things transmedia publication. It displays a cascading waterfall of phrases from the NET book’s glossary. The user can stop any word by hovering over it, and show a google search by clicking on a word.
    • Concepts: serendipity, randomness, simultaneity, center/periphery, passive interaction, associative linking
    • Link: newecologyofthings.net/words/
  • Topic Explorer– This project takes a different approach to the presentation longer form written material. There are two parts to it. One uses political statements on the economy and the environment from two presidential candidates and allows the user to compare them by reading directly, or exploring the texts through a text waterfall or specific keywords. The second part takes an article from Metropolis Magazine and reworks it with a similar approach, except adding visual excerpts (small rectangles randomly clipped out of the photos in the article) to the waterfall. This project intentionally uses very large displays (especially for its time) to take advantage of the amount of information that can be presented simultaneously.
    • Concepts: excerpting,¬†serendipity, juxtaposition, randomness, center/periphery, passive interaction, wide-bandwidth interaction
    • Link: See below for videos
  • Text Facets– This project explores showing different facets of a body of information. Again drawing on the policy statements of a presidential candidate, it creates a way for the user to select topics the want to view, and makes it easy to juxtapose different policies, while compressing or expanding them.
    • Concepts: faceting, remixing, filtering
    • Link: See below for videos
  • 3D Interfaces– Since almost all information is presented in a very flat manner, I wanted to see what would happen if an interface took advantage of our innate abilities to understand the world spatially. Would this make seeing different ideas make more sense – i.e. a literal kind of faceting across different sides of a cube? Or a more abstract 3D shape that contains different parts of a body of information?
    • Concepts: faceting, 3D manipulation
    • Link: See below for videos