A Reflection on ‘Thoughtful Interaction Design’

It is obvious that digital artifacts are all around us. In an age where smart phone companies introduce their latest model religiously, it is no surprise digitization and new technologies spread to our everyday life more and more each day. Ultimately, our designed world adapts to these advances as well; breeding new (and constant) challenges for the interaction designers of today.



In the book ‘Thoughtful Interaction Design’ by Jonas Löwgren and Erik Stolterman, this complexity and the constant imperfectness of interaction design is discussed. This challenging aspect of interaction design is emphasized as:

  • Construction of clear design knowledge is difficult due to rapidly changing design materials
  • The non-material quality of digital technology makes design process more open and complex
  • The un-bounded and developing nature of digital artifacts yields designer great responsibility

What is also unnerving for interaction designers is that digital artifacts almost always depend deeply on their context – and thus its users. This further creates the problem of assessing the quality of digital artifacts as even the fastest, most efficient, aesthetic and adaptive digital artifact of them all is worthless if the user is not satisfied.

That is why the term ‘thoughtful interaction design’ is introduced in the reading. Thoughtful interaction design is not a solution manual for all these aforementioned constraints but is more of a list of considerations on how to tackle interaction design for it to be more meaningful and functional in an age where everything changes constantly. Being thoughtful in this context consists of being reflective to what you design. This requires highly developed judgement skills supported by an effectual design ability. Through examining the role of designer (self), purpose, benefits and outcomes of the design process; one can/may create authentic and useful digital artifacts.

In addition, such ideas (for design of digital artifacts and interaction design) contributes to design theory as well as it can;

  • Liberate the designer from the design process precepts
  • Make everything more structured and categorized to yield a simpler practice
  • Create new conditions for innovative works

While every design process/work is unique in its own right, it is the uncertainty that makes design (especially interaction design) an amazing activity. To shape/embellish everyday life and to guide interaction of people while challenging the present day is precious – and will always be.

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