In Crawford book, interaction is:

“A cyclic process in which two actors alternately listen, think, and speak. “

It’s an interesting and vivid metaphor of interaction.

When doing interaction design between people and machine, I used to consider reaction as an interaction unconsciously and forget the most important cyclic input and output of machine. Thus, be clear on the definition is quite important for every interaction designer, like the state change of a indicator light of a machine is just a reaction, not an interaction.

Beyond this, I think interaction design should always provide an interesting or comfortable experience for users.

And in the video, our Future People are interacting with their hands. It is undeniable that hand is fantastic, but this idea may limit us. Through better sensors, we are able to sense body gestures, eye movements, heart rates. Like a Kinect could sense some certain navigation gestures to create better experience. Maybe in the future, machine could sense our feelings and emotions. At that time, your AC could control the temperature automatically by sensing your feeling, or your car will limited speed if you were angry.

Take the future AC as an example, I believe it is a kind of good interaction without hand.

For AC,

Listing: Sensing people’s body surface temperature and humidity.

Thinking: Judging turn up or turn down temperature and wind speed setting.

Speaking: The machine providing cool or warm air.

For human,

Speaking: their body biological characteristic are transporting information constantly,

Thinking: their brain are judging the environment is too much cold or hot.

Listing: their feeling are sensing the temperature constantly.

People won’t take much care about their environment when the temperature and humidity is comfortable. Therefore, if the sensors are good enough, this interaction would be totally intangible for human.

And as a designer, I consider better user experience is one of the most important parts of interaction design. And with the development of technology, we could design and make better machines that could interact well with people and provide better experience. And the interaction would not only focus on people’s initiative thinking, but also passive neural reaction of people.

2 thoughts on “What is Interaction

  1. Your ideals for interaction seem to be based on a device’s ability to read your state of mind, much like another human might do. But humans have limits to how much we can read each others’ states of mind. A good friend might be able to guess your mood based on your behavior or your attitude, but she can never truly read your mind. Would it be better if she could? Have there ever been instances where you were glad someone couldn’t read your mind?

    Taking that into the realm of technology, then: can you imagine situations where it might be a good thing that a given device can’t read your mind or interpret your mood? What would you consider the appropriate limits to emotional intimacy between people and devices?

    1. Yes, I agree that in some cases the appropriate limits to emotional intimacy between people and people. But sometimes thing is different between people and devices. You don’t like your mom or your friends know where you are all the time, but you don’t mind your App like Yelp know where you are, because you just need it. (And as I know, iPhone would track my location every 12h.) From my perspective, people’s tolerance of devices are much higher than their tolerance of people.
      In the future, devices may know you’re angry because it could sense your the heart rate, arterial tension or testosterone production increases, but device would never truly read your mind because it’s different between machine thinking and neural thinking. Sometimes people hide their emotion just because they don’t want their friends to worry about him or to annoy their bosses. But they might not mind a ‘dead’ device, or a program could read his mind.
      The development of technology is violating our privacy day by day. But it did offers convenient and better experience. And if a kind of technology can offer a better experience at the cost of interpret our mood, I think the market would give it a chance. It’s hard to define the limitation, but we can test and finally find out the most appropriate limits between people and devices.

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