I found the Thoughtful Interaction Design really enriching and there were many useful ideas which I could learn from. Although Lowgren was specifically mentioning about the topic revolving “Designing digital artifact”, like he mentioned:
“Interaction design refers to the process that is arranged within existing resource constrains to create, shape, and decide all use-oriented qualities (structural, functional, ethical, and aesthetic) of a digital artifact for one or for many clients.”
Thoughtful Interaction Design?
I did some research about Jonas Lowgren and his main area of expertise includes collaborative media, interactive visualization and the design theory of digital materials. He focuses on the digital world and “design” to him is very different from how I interpret it. He places huge emphasis on the “digital artifacts” while I am for the inclusion of more than just that. I think that his concept of thoughtful interaction design could definitely transverse from the idea of just within the digital world into the physical world because not only do we interact with the “digital artifacts”, we also interact with the “physical artifacts”, take for example, a normal physical door. By not placing a door handle on the top corner of a two meters tall door, it might seemed commonsensical, but that is “Thoughtful Interaction Design” to me.
I think that for an artifact(digital or physical) to be an amazingly-thoughtful-interaction-designed, it has to be design with the consideration of all targeted user, how and where will they use the artifact, and account for the safety while fulfilling the expectation of the users, the specification of the client, and when it goes above these basic of an artifact, it has to inspire other designers to follow or “copy” the system or the ideology behind it while simultaneously, the original designer/company would improve the existing design and strife for a better version because nothing is really perfect,
Working with design means that you continuously need to define and redefine what you think of as good design. It is a never-ending process of thoughtful reflections.
And when something was brilliantly designed, not only the customer wants it, the competitors(existing or potential) would want it too.
The iPod Generation 2
I think that the iPod classic 2nd generation from 2002 was brilliantly designed in the aspect of thoughtful interaction design, it had also changed people’s life drastically, even though it was not the pioneer of the iPod series, nor the one that made the biggest leap in sales, I personally think that the 2nd generation iPod classic was the breakthrough within the realm of interaction design, not forgetting that there were many iPod generations to come after the 2nd, each had their multiple system updates and then upgraded to the next generation and then came iPod touch, which gradually evolves to the latest iPhone X.
(Just to be clear, I am definitely not a supporter of Apple and even dislike it as a brand, but their product marketing and system design sure is amazing.)
The biggest change that apple made from the generation 1 to generation 2 was the inclusion of Windows system for syncing the songs from iTunes, as the biggest downfall for generation 1 was that Apple forces the user to be running an Apple computer system to be able to use the iPod, this resulted in the potential user who doesn’t have an Apple computer to be excluded. In Generation 2, Apple included the Musicmatch Jukebox to manage the user’s music library and transfer music to the iPod which made generation 2 the first iPod for Windows.
Before iPod, the usual MP3 Players could hold like 100 songs, and then there was still CD player, where… yes is could hold 1 CD(about 20 song), I remember it took some time to click through the music in these MP3 players.This was the exact MP3 I used when I was young. It has 128mb storage space and uses one AAA battery.
I always think that the ipod were magical in a sense that the circular touch-sensitive wheel, these were really the thoughtful interaction design that was mentioned in Lowgren’s book:
Design work is given form and structure by designer’s own thought, consideration and actions.
These circular touch-sensitive wheel was designed in the consideration as of how they marketed the iPod: to”put 1,000 songs in your pocket.”(which was really ground breaking during that time). The designer took the system advantage(also the limitation) into consideration… Imagine that the iPod does not have the circular wheel for the user to scroll through the song list, and the user did have 1,000 songs, how long or how tedious would it take to click the down button or the next button to go to the 499th song in the list?
With the circular wheel, the user could easily scroll through the list at great speed by spinning the wheel.
The whole form and aesthetics, material used, hardware, software, even till packaging, was well thought of for the optimal user experience, the size is just right to be carried around in the pocket of jeans (target audience demographics placed into consideration), the placement of the screen and the directions was ergonomically constructed so that user could use it with single hand operation, back light of screen vs battery life were well balanced to have good visibility and above average battery life so that user could use the iPod wherever they go and it should last long enough until the user could charge it(understanding the target user). Every aspect of the iPod was efficiently designed to suit their target audience. And by watching the advertisement from that time, it is rather clear who the target audience was.
and then came this:
Young active hipster.
I think that through the eleven pages of reading, this quote impacted me the most as a designing student,
“We are all living in a world almost completely artificial and designed, and every new addition, every new design adding to this world has an impact on how we experience the whole”
(I like how it goes from a designer’s perspective to a user’s perspective here)
“Design is about shaping the world we live in by creating the conditions” and “it means that you influence people’s work, leisure, and everyday life.” It let me realize that we are actually living in a world that is partially ran by designer, every thing we saw, every thing we touched, was designed by someone at some point of time. We, the designers in making, may hold the power to change the everyday life of the people we’ve never seen in our life.