Thoughts on Interaction Design


  • Jon Kolko, Jon Kolko, Editor-in-Chief, ACM Interactions Magazine; Executive Director of Design Strategy for Thinktiv; Board of Directors, Interaction Design Association (IxDA); former Professor of Interaction and Industrial Design, Savannah College of Art and Design

Thoughts on Interaction Design explores the theory behind the field of Interaction Design in a new way. It aims to provide a better definition of Interaction Design that encompasses the intellectual facets of the field and the particular methods used by practitioners in their day-to-day experiences. It also attempts to provide Interaction Designers with the vocabulary necessary to justify their existence to other team members. The book positions Interaction Design in a way that emphasizes the intellectual facets of the discipline. It discusses the role of language, argument, and rhetoric in the design of products, services, and systems. It examines various academic approaches to thinking about Design, and concludes that the Designer is a liberal artist left to infuse empathy in technologically driven products. The book also examines the tools and techniques used by practitioners. These include methods for structuring large quantities of data, ways of thinking about users, and approaches for thinking about human behavior as it unfolds over time. Finally, it introduces the idea of Interaction Design as an integral facet of the business development process.
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interaction designers, industrial designers, user experience practitioners, information architects, graphic designers, interface designers, user experience managers, design managers


Book information

  • Published: September 2009
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-378624-1


People are clamoring for more copies of Thoughts on Interaction Design. It is one of two key books on interaction design practice that are of relevance to students and practicing interaction designers alike." Jodi Forlizzi, Associate Professor of HCII and Design, Carnegie Mellon University

"This book occupies alone a special place on the designer’s bookshelf; it is truly a unique and lusciously written book that also benefits from being well-designed in its own right." -- Will Evans, Principal, Experience Design, Twin Technologies

"The major strength of the book is its success in rendering theoretical content in an accessible way. The book delivers a healthy measure of critical thinking about the field of Interaction Design in a readable, conversational style." -- Bill Lucas, MAYA Design

"Thoughts on Interaction Design became an instant classic. The 1,000 original bound copies of the book are treasured possessions of everyone lucky enough to have been able to purchase one." -- Steve Baty, editor for Johnny Holland magazine, a contributor to UX Matters

"This book has an eloquent and clear way of communicating the context for interaction design both in theory and in application, outlining its relative place in business, academia, and in practice. - Liz Danzico, Chair of the MFA in Interaction Design program at the School of Visual Arts

"MK author Jon Kolko talks with Jeff Parks of Radio Johnny about his recently re-released book Thoughts on Interaction Design!"

Table of Contents


Section One / Understanding Interaction Design

Chapter 1: Multiple Roots, and an Uncertain Future

Chapter 2: Computing and Human Computer Interaction

Interaction Design in an Engineering Centric World - A contributed essay

Section Two / Connecting People, Emotions and Technology

Chapter 3: A Process for Thinking About People

Chapter 4: Managing Complexity

Chapter 5: Shaping Aesthetics to Inform Experience

Interaction Design as Business Lubricant - A contributed essay

Section Three / The Rhetorical Nature of Interaction Design

Chapter 6: Interaction Design and Communication

On the Nature of Interaction as Language - A contributed essay

Section Four / Challenges Facing Interaction Design in Industry

Chapter 7: The Political Dynamics of Product Development

Getting Design Done - A contributed essay

In Summary