If you ask Dan's parents what they think their son does for a living, they might say he's in advertising or that he's a computer programmer. Pressed further, they develop somewhat of a blank staring response when asked what their son does as an Interaction Designer. With that type of response in mind, both from his parents and from many people outside of the Interaction Design community, Dan Saffer presents a definition of his trade.
From the highest level, Interaction Design is all about communication. Dan's presentation starts from there and further breaks the communication into three layers. The first layer takes the perspective of the technology itself; what is it, how does it work, and what problems can it solve. The second layer focuses on behavior; what happens when a user pushes this button, and what behaviors will the user exhibit as a result. The third layer is all about people and how they will use a technology to interact with one another.
Dan takes time to define exactly what an interaction is. He identifies some of the attributes of an interaction that designers measure while they create products and services around the interaction. He discusses some of the history of Interaction Design, and some of the people involved in the discipline early on. Lastly, Dan takes a moment to map out the many disciplines that make up the User Experience universe and identifies where, he thinks, Interaction Design fits into this large community.
Dan Saffer has worked for the last decade in the digital medium as a webmaster, producer, developer, copywriter, creative lead, information architect, and interaction designer. He is currently a senior interaction designer at Adaptive Path, a leading design consultancy and has designed and built web sites, devices, and applications for companies as diverse as Tiffany & Co and the World Wrestling Federation. His work has been featured in New York magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and the Chicago Tribune. Dan is a member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and received his Master of Design in Interaction Design from Carnegie Mellon University, where he also taught interaction design.
This free podcast is from our Adaptive Path series.