Response: Thoughtful Interaction Design

This chapter discussed about the different challenges a designer face in the design process. One would be them being bounded by material qualities, tactile or digital. However, I feel that with the existence of such challenges, it should be a form of motivation for the designers to look at things in a wider perspective so that there would be a breakthrough in their design. Having a library of material characteristics is certainly a plus, but when it comes to working with more than one material, the real challenges come. The use/ combination of materials can make or break a product, in both aesthetics and user experience.

To me, good design is definitely not just being highly aesthetic but also considering a positive overall experience when using the product itself. That, to me will then be considered as a well-thought design. As designers, we have full control over how we want a product to work, technically as well as physically in terms of human-machine interaction. Hence, we should be constantly aware of what we are designing and always going back to the brief  whenever we are lost.

“The devil is in the details”

Speaking of thoughtful interaction design, I would wish to highlight one design detail which is very prominent in this digital age, yet people are still oblivious to its existence. That would be the indication on the earphone itself. I have often used the trial-and-error method to find out which is the left and right side of the earphone. However, in recent years, I was enlightened to the fact that there is usually a small indication on the right side of the earphone. This detail, is in fact I believe, designed for the visually-impaired to allow them to distinguish between the different sides. Upon discovering this minute neglected detail, I have since used the indication to confidently identify the right side of the earphone with a small dialogue in my mind: “Right, there’s the bump, this is for the right ear.” This is one thoughtful design which I feel that deserves more credit than it should.

Another thoughtful interaction design would be leaning towards a more cognitive design detail, which is the signal lever. Imagine lifting the lever upwards would signal left instead of right, it would totally be out of sync with the human anthropology (because it feels “correct” for us to steer right after completing the action of lifting up the lever and vice versa).

I am not sure of the exact reason why signal levers are designed in the way it is today but I do feel that if this interaction was designed to function the opposite way from today, we might be used to it and neglect the fact that it might feel weird.

Above are the two examples which I feel that are thoughtful interaction design and I feel that when one design is being “thoughtful”, they are usually the ones that are there when you need them, which often leads to being neglected of their value and taken granted of. On the other hand, such design, should be what we as designers should always strive for, incorporating thoughtful design details in our products so that these details can function unknowingly (to the user) when the need arises.


Form. Function. Emotion

All products come with aesthetics that attract consumers to make their decision to purchase the product. However, different product comes with different target users in mind, as well as the story behind the product.

There are 3 different factors influencing the aesthetics of the product: Form, Function, Emotion. These 3 different factors would then allow the product to have a characteristic of its own. Let’s look at some examples.

Human Factor


First, we have a product which has been designed with aesthetic values based on the human factor aspect. Having said so, this product would have to provide a comfort level fit for most consumers, given that every adult are of different body build and size.

Aeron Chair, Herman Miller

The Aeron Chair by Herman Miller would be a good example. Herman Miller has been making chairs that are of superb comfort as well as quality. The aesthetics of this chair allows the user to do multiple adjustments to the chair according to their preferences. I believe that this product would have been designed to fulfil the comfort needs of consumers who are health-conscious and would be the ideal product to be catergorsied towards ‘Human Factor’ node.


A product which allows user to complete a task in an easier or faster manner would be what I believe to be ‘function’ dominant. I feel that a ‘function’ dominant product should be straightforward, and allow users to know how to use it even without any instructions or directions.

Joseph Joseph, Nest™ Storage

One example would be the Nest™ Storage by Joseph Joseph. Known for their colour coding their products with bright colours, this product in particular, caught my attention. At first glance, this product is merely a set of stackable containers. But after looking further into this product, it is not what it seems to be.


There are also other functions that were designed and incorporated into the final product. Colour coding which serves a meaning, different sizes for different types of food to be stored, modular stacking, as well as reversible lids. These different functions allows the user to have have flexibility in using the containers, which I thought that this should be the way a ‘function’ dominant product be designed.


Last but not the least, another important factor which embodies a product, the ’emotion’ factor. It is not easy to design a product which effectively allow the user to feel good when they use the product. Hence, a product like that could possibly be a lifestyle product.

Sonos Play5

Sonos has been making their name known in the audio industry with their wireless home systems. Back in the past, audio have been corded and when wireless audio was introduced, Sonos took the chance and they have changed the way how audio works since.

Their wireless audio system allow users to have flexibility in configuring their audio products without the hassle of managing wires. Adding on to their wireless function, users can control their Sonos products right from their smartphones. Users would then feel that they have control over the whole sound system in the their apartment which I feel that is very much an emotional satisfaction,  given that we live in this technology jungle.