Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cross country for cross-media (4)

At the conference I really started to understand that this was a conference on Cross–Media Interaction Design and not just concentrating at the phenomenon cross-media. I was surrounded by people who had an interest in the human computer interface discipline (HCI).

And this really hit home when Liam Bannon started his presentation. He is Director of the Interaction Design Centre and Professor of Computer Science, Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at the University in Limerick (Ireland). He is interested in improving the utility, usability, and desirability of the computational artefacts we design. He has been involved in examining alternative conceptual and methodological frameworks for understanding human activities, and their mediation by various technologies. This quest for more adequate explanatory frames has lead him to examine aspects of activity theory, ethno methodology, and phenomenology. Liam takes an understanding of use as being a prerequisite for design, and wishes to understand human practices. He also wishes to encourage a more participative approach towards the design field. Liam emphasizes the cooperative nature of human work and its implications for design.

His lecture contained several landings by references or quotes to position Cross-Media Interaction Design. He did not intend to clearly delimit the area and the content of the discipline. His thoughts were a scouting trip.

But I like the discussion around his starting point. What are we talking about:
- Cross-Media Interaction Design;
- Cross-Media Interaction Design;
- Cross-Media and Interaction Design.
For the discussion he would not allow a half-hearted point of view of juxtaposing cross-media and interaction design as if cross-media was just a new field for action on which interaction design could be applied.

Of course I come from the business side of the media and personally I felt that cross-media interaction design is not a proper term. It disregards the influence of the cross-media area. Interaction Design has existed for computer services, for videotex for CD-ROMs and it was never dubbed: CD-ROM interaction design. So why should the practitioners of interaction design claim cross-media as a special stand of the discipline.

Of course one could argue that it was for a lack of a better term. But for me the perspective has changed. Cross-media is busy with a combination of analogue and digital media. Interaction design has been active in the field of digital media only. But with cross-media designing has become a different discipline. Designers will have to activate also people who happen to consult an analogue medium. In order to activate them, a designer will have to use tricks like using a telephone number or asking people to take a photograph with their mobile camera of a particular sign on a billboard. Given this line of thought I would prefer Cross-media Interactive Design.

Continuing on the discussion Monique de Haas of Dondersteen, expanded the idea in a way I had not thought of. She put that interaction design is a closed area for designers; they deliver the actions for the desigital media and that sit. But as cross-media is basically building an experience with various media blocks, the term interactive design would also leave room for the cross-media audience to participate with actions and react to the experience.

Blog Posting Number: 705

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