Interaction Design is Growing Up

Seámus is Director of User Experience at Graphic Mint.

As the dust settles on Interaction12, I am beginning to process many of the ideas I had been exposed to throughout the conference. Some of these ideas were new to me; some were old skool; but nearly all were mentally stimulating (which I was expecting) and emotionally engaging (which is a welcome bonus).

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To me at least, it seems Interaction Design has reached a certain maturity as a discipline. Previously and commonly held, heated topics around correct processes or best practices are beginning to simmer down. Agreement seems to be emergent-ly developing from various practitioners presentations at Interaction Design conferences. This community consensus centres around how to actually “do” this Interaction Design “stuff”. At #IxD12,  presentations were rife with axioms like “there are the ‘three’ types of ecosystem you can have”; “here are the five layers where we can apply Interaction Design”, “this method, has these three steps” etc.

I’m not saying that all the questions have been answered within the discipline, or that there are no more debates to be had– its just, for at least some topics there seems to have been a resolution within the community, and everyone seems to be arriving on the same page. The cards have been sorted by the global group – and its been long overdue.

We as a community – Interaction designers – are beginning to create a common language for ourselves, and starting to speak with the same voice. Interaction Design is finally growing up as a discipline.

As designers, our focus is beginning to naturally shift from the resolved questions to the areas that need work. Increasingly, the black spots and pain points are not occurring within the realm of Interaction Design. The gaps in our well designed systems, behaviours and experiences are occurring from at least two areas: “Content” and “Technology Platforms”.

These areas will need to be further explored by Interaction Designers, at the very least, their impact on design should be well understood.

We are back to the old adage “content is king”, and revisiting principles of designing for many platforms.

Interaction Design is finding its place in the world, but the next frontier is the mastery and streamlining of content, technology, and most importantly where they both meet – sounds like multimedia is making a comeback.