Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Book Summary: Where the Action Is - The Foundations of Embodied Interaction (chapter 3)

Where the Action Is; The Foundations of Embodied Interaction
By Paul Dourish
MIT Press, 2001

Chapter 3 - Social Computing

In this chapter, Dourish explores the ways in which sociological concepts and methods are increasingly being leveraged in the design, development and evaluation of interactive systems. Social computing is defined as the application of sociological understanding to the design of interactive systems. Leveraging a sociological approach to designing interactive systems makes sense because of the context in which computation takes place: first, the work that computation does and the ways we put computation to use are embedded in a fabric of relationships between people, institutions and practices; second, the system mediates a "social" interaction between the designer and the user. This communication is founded on a background of common understandings.

Dourish focuses on two social computing approaches - Technomethodology, and the Locales Framework. These approaches share three common characteristics (in the author's own words):
  1. "They are concerned with the details of the organization of social conduct rather than broad social trends.
  2. "They are primarily oriented toward real activities and experiences rather than abstractions or models.
  3. "They all adopt an anthropological and ethnographical perspective on collecting, interpreting, and using field materials."

Before delving into these two social computing paradigms I will provide an overview of several concepts that provide a foundation for these approaches (Ethnography, Ethnomethodology, Abstraction, Space, and Place). Note that the concept definitions provided by Dourish are often more specific than the general definition to which the terms usually refer. I'll do my best to be brief and clear.

ethonography places an emphasis on the detailed understanding of culture through intensive, long-term involvement. Ethnographers explore not only what the members of a culture do, but also what they experience in doing it. In order to achieve this they attempt to avoid their preconceptions to understand and represent the culture from a member's point of view.

The Chicago School introduced an ethnographic approach to studying working practice in the 1950's. This led to the adoption of these types of fieldwork-oriented approaches in Human-Computer Interaction to support the discovery of system requirements and the evaluation of systems in use. Ethnographic approaches focuses on "work practice" rather than "work process." Work process refers to the standardized procedures that mandate how work must be carried out; Work practice refers to the informal practices that people develop to make processes work in the face of everyday contingencies. Practice is always dynamic, whereas processes are static.

An ethnographic approach enables designers to understand how a system can work in the context where it will be put to use, and whether a system is working effectively as embodied by a group of people using the system to do real work in a real setting. Dourish shares two examples that illustrate these benefits, the ethnography of an Air Traffic Control Center and that of a Print Shop (I won't go into details regarding either of them here).

Ethnomethodology focuses on how commonsense methods that people use to manage and organize their every day behavior create orderly social conduct. This approach is in distinct contrast to traditional approaches to sociology that leveraged abstract theories to account for our social reality. The focus of ethnomethodology is investigating the commonsense understandings - these are described as "what everyone knows that everyone knows". These are the understandings by which people make sense of the world and make it available for their actions and activities.

The impact Ethnomethodology had on the world of sociology was to focus the attention on detailed investigation of practice to find within it evidence for the ways that orderly social conduct is achieved. In other words, this concentrates "on the experiences of everyday life rather than on abstract reasoning." Though ethnomethodology is a small strand within sociology, it has had great impact on Human-Computer Interaction (and interaction design).

The concept of "accountability" is central to this school of thought. Accountability refers to the "observable and reportable" nature of actions within a language community (language community refers to any group that shares commonly held understandings - i.e. of doctors, musicians or church-goers). In other words, this means that members within a community can make sense of the action of other members based on the context where the action arises. The concept of accountability is based on the reciprocal relationship between action and understanding - the methods we use for engaging in action are the same methods used for understanding the actions of others.

In Dourish's own words "where abstraction is the gloss that describes how something can be used and what it will do, the implementation is the part under the covers that describes how it will work." Abstraction provides the basis for software systems. On the other hand abstraction also hide the information about how a system is doing what it does (i.e. how the perceived actions are organized). According to the notion of accountability, this information is key to enabling others to understand the actions.

Space & Place:
The concept of space serves as a central model and metaphor for our thinking and language. Spatial metaphors are common because they are based on a feature of our physical world that is shared by all human beings. The notion of space is primarily concerned with physical, or metaphorically physical, properties. On the other hand, the concept of place is concerned with social properties.

So while space refers to the configuration of people and artifacts within a setting, place refers to the behavioral framework for a setting that is conveyed by common social understandings.


This term was developed by Dourish to describe a design perspective that focuses on creating a deeper relationship between ethnomethodology and technological design. It is characterized by the following criteria:

  1. "It attempts to draw not simply on a set of observations of a specific working setting, but rather on ethnomethodology's fundamental insights about the organization of action as being a moment-to-moment, naturally occurring, improvisational response to practice problems.
  2. "It attempts to relate these understanding not simply to the design of specific interactive system aimed at a specific setting, but rather, at the basic, fundamental principles upon which software systems are developed-ideas such as abstraction, function, substitution, identity, and representation."

The main challenge that Dourish address in regards to technnomethodology is how to reconcile the concepts of abstraction and accountability. To overcome this hurdle, a system needs to exhibit three primary features:

  1. The account of the system's behavior is connected to the actual behavior that it describes.
  2. The account of the system's behavior emerges from the action itself, it is not as a commentary about the action.
  3. The account must be based on the current specific behavior of the system, in its current configuration, carrying this specific task.
Locales Framework

The notion of locale is captured in the concept of place. The Locale's Framework was developed to provide system designers with a practical understanding of the social organization of activity that can be leveraged to impact their designs. This framework is based on five components, called aspects:

  1. Foundations: This includes the social world being addressed (community that shares a common action or goal and ability to communicate to establish a collective orientation), the sites (spaces) and means (furnishings) that make up the locale (place).
  2. Civic Structure: This is focused on how the local relates to other locales. "In the same way that meaning of action is constituted by other actions that come before and after them, so, too, can locales only be understood in relation to others."
  3. Individual Views: This addresses the different perspectives, concerns, roles, and forms of participation provided by the individuals who inhabit the locale.
  4. Interaction Trajectories: This refers to the emergence of a specific course of actions evolved through time and involving multiple actors (individuals). This aspect situates actions within particular histories, and, from a broader perspective, creates the notion of the collective action of social worlds.
  5. Multuality: This is a tough one to explain, so I'll plagiarize: "aspect refers to the ways in which sites and means are made manifest to members of a social world, and the way in which those members and their actions are made manifest to others through the sites and means."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

MacBook Touch Ad on YouTube (Fake)

I came across this video on YouTube earlier this evening when reading an article form ZDNet regarding the multi-touch war between Apple and Microsoft. The article itself is pretty interesting, it focuses on the maturation of touchscreen technologies that can sense multiple touches at once. Here is a link to the story.

Now back to the YouTube video, the original topic of my post. This video features a fake promotional advertisement for a "MacBook Touch" - an Apple version of a Tablet PC. Though this video is obviously a hoax I actually really like this person's vision for an Apple touchscreen laptop computer. Now I hope that this video and article point to the emminent release of an Apple tablet PC soon.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Apple iPhone 3G vs. Original - Physical Attributes and Speed

This is the continuation of my review regarding the evolution of the Apple iPhone. My last post focused on the purchase and activation process, this one will focus on physical aspects and speed of the iPhone.

Apple did a great job at updating the industrial design of the iPhone. The 3G model looks even more appealing, stylish and sexy than the original one. The most noticeable physical change is the switch from metal to a plastic for the back cover of the device. This change in material enabled Apple to create a curved design that, coupled with the feel of the plastic, provides the user with much better grip. Another benefit of the new casing material is that it feels warmer and softer in the hand, and the phone is considerably lighter.

Other notable physical design updates that have positively impacted my overall experience with the iPhone include fixing
the headphone jack that previously had a recessed design, rendering the phone incompatible with most headphones; and widening the top surface of the phone, making the virtual keyboard easier to use.

The final aspect of the phone that I will address today is speed. Much of the marketing for the iPhone has focused on speed. This makes sense considering that this is one of the most disappointing attributes of the original model. The new iPhone is definitely several times faster when running on a 3G network. Unfortunately, AT&T does not have 3G networks widely available and therefore the phone is often forced to connect via the much slower EDGE network. The one drawback of using 3G is that it eats up battery life extremelly fast.

In regards to speed it is important to point out that
event when running on a 3G network the iPhone is slower than comparable handsets, such as the Instinct (I own both an Instince and an iPhone).

Apple iPhone 3G vs. Original - Purchase and Activation

This is the first of many interaction design reviews that I will write as part of my curriculum. These reviews will be based on my personal experiences interacting with various brands, services and products. Though my motivation for writing these reviews is self-serving (focused on my learning), I hope that you get some value, and perhaps even enjoyment, out of reading them.

My first first review will focus on the evolution of the Apple iPhone - this will be the first of many reviews of Apple products. My focus in this review will be to highlight aspects of the interaction design that have changed, both from a product and service perspective.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am admitting that I am a huge fan of the Apple brand and their products. I've even gotten into arguments with friends when defending Apple products - no fist fights have broken out to date though.

Buying and Activating the iPhone

The purchase process for the original iPhone was extremely well design, I would go so far as to say that it was revolutionary within the cell phone industry. Here is a brief narrative that highlights the most salient aspects of my purchase experience:

My wife and I arrived at the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue at around 12:30 one the night the iPhone was launched. Since there was no line at the store we assumed the phone must have been sold out. We approached a store associated who informed us that the phones were still in stock and that I could pick one up at the cash register. I waited for less than 5 minutes to check out - there were no lengthy forms to fill or credit checks to endure. When I got home I openned up the beautiful packaging and without reading any instructions I was able to activate my phone. For me the activation process was simple - I connected my phone to my computer, completed a few forms via iTunes and within 20 minutes my phone had been activated (this even included the switching over of my phone number from T-Mobile).

This purchase and activation process was simple and seamless. It was by far the best experience I've ever had purchasing a new phone and it clearly expressed one of the Apple brand's core attributes, ease of use. Now I know that there were numerous reports regarding people who experienced issues during the activation process. Considering that most people were attempting to activate their iPhones from home, they had no one to turn to for help. This is one of the negative consequences related to moving the activation process out of the store. Though this is definitely an important interaction design issue that begs a solution, I did not like the changes in the purchase and activation process that were implemented for the 3G launch.

For the 3G, Apple moved the activation process back into the store, forcing buyers to activate their phones on location at the time of purchase. The impact that this change had on the purchase experience can be illustrated by the a short story about my family's attempt to purchase an this phone.

Our first attempt to purchase the iPhone was on the date that it came out. We assumed that we would be able to go to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue late at night to get the phone. When we called to check on availability the store associate informed us that the phone was in stock but that they were not selling it at that time of day because they didn't have the staff to support the activation process. A few days later I decided to try again -
my plan was to get my wife a 3G iPhone as a surprise. So I went to the Soho Apple store and got in a long, long line. After waiting for about 30 minutes one of the store employees told me that I can't get a phone for my wife, even though I going to add her as an extra line on my existing account.

Our next attempt was the worst of all - as you can imagine it was also thwarted. About one month after the launch, my wife and I decided to give it one more try. Since I have already written a long description of this experience on Engadget (
link to the full review), here I will provide a quick overview of what happened:
  • We went to the store in the afternoon and were given a dated reservation ticket that would supposedly enable us to buy an iPhone on that same day at 8:00pm;
  • When we came back to the store at 8:00pm we were made to stand outside waiting for 50 minutes, at which point it started pouring rain.
  • My wife and I left immediately. The other 20 people in line got drenched (though there was plenty of space for everyone inside Apple's huge NYC flagship store).
So why did Apple change the activation process. I can't imagine that this change was caused by the activation issues encountered with the first iPhone - if that was the case I would have expected Apple to come up with an improvement rather than return to old cell phone industry standards. I assume that in large part this was a financial decision negotiated as part of their agreement with AT&T - this was probably a requirement to have AT&T subsidize the phones by $200. I would have preferred the option to pay full price for the phone at the store, and then to get a $200 instant rebate upon activation.

Ultimately, by going back to a more traditional activation model the purchase and activation process of the iPhone 3G do not reflect values and attributes of the Apple brand. Considering that no other phone company offers a simpler and better activation solution, most people did not even notice a problem with the 3G activation process - I guess I'm just being a spoiled brat.

More to come soon...

- Physical Attributes

- Connection Speed
- Cool Interaction Design Features

Friday, September 19, 2008

More on Tangible Computing - The Tangible Media Group from MIT

I have just finished adding the summary of a chapter focused on tangible computing to my synopsis of the book "Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction". Tangible computing is an area of interaction design that truly fascinates me. The Tangible Media Group from the MIT Media Lab has been a research leader in this area for many years (Dourish's book that I have been summarizing is published by MIT press). Check out this Tangible Media Group's website; here you can find information about researchers and the projects currently being carried out at MIT.

Best of all, you can also access pretty much all of the research papers that they have published since 1990 -
here's a direct link to this page. Here is a short list of some interesting titles you will find here (I have not read any of these yet):
  • Interaction Techniques for Musical Performance with Tabletop Tangible Interfaces
  • PlayPals: Tangible Interfaces for Remote Communication and Play
  • Designing the World as Your Palette
  • Bottles: A Transparent Interface as a Tribute to Mark Weiser
  • Tangible Viewpoints: A Physical Interface for Exploring Character-Driven Narratives

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Alan Kay: powerful ideas for teaching ideas

This is a great talk that I recently discovered on TED.com that was given by Alan Kay earlier this year. In this video Alan shares an interesting perspective on the ways in which human beings experience reality and learn; he then goes on to discuss the implications of his perspective on education. Below I've put together a brief outline of what I found to be the most interesting parts of his talk.

Here is a little bit about Alan: he is a pioneer in the filed of interaction design. He has worked at XeroxPARC, Apple, HP and Disney developing numerous technologies including laptops and graphical interfaces long before they became widely available. You will have a chance to read about him soon in my summary of Bill Moggridge's book "Designing Interactions".

Key Concepts from Alan Kay's Talk

I will start with an insight that Alan shares from Betty Edwards regarding how we experience the world visually. In Alan's own words: "The way your brain perceives images is faulty. It is trying to perceive images into objects rather than seeing what's there." He uses a classic visual illustration from Edwards to provide proof for this claim. Having established that "human beings see things not as they are but as we are", Alan goes on to discuss the implications of this perspective:

  1. What we call reality is not an objective phenomena but rather a subjective experience that can be likened to a "hallucination, a 'waking dream'";
  2. What we consider simple and understandable might be complex, and what we deem complex might be transformed into simple and understandable;
  3. You cannot see how what is simple may be complex and vice versa until you admit that you are blind to "reality".
Alan goes on to discuss how over the past four centuries human beings have developed powerful ideas (which he terms "brainlets") that have enabled us to see the world in a different ways. In my view these ideas can be likened to new distinctions that have arisen in language and that have brought to life new shared perspectives, which in turn enabled us to extend our sensory and reasoning abilities.

After sharing these key concepts, Alan goes on to provide several examples related to children education to illustrate how some concepts that we believe to be complex can be transformed into simple and understandable.
Check out the video here.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Book Summary: Where the Action Is - The Foundations of Embodied Interaction (chapters 1, 2)

Where the Action Is; The Foundations of Embodied Interaction
By Paul Dourish
MIT Press, 2001


In this book Paul Dourish outlines his philosophical perspective on interaction design and HCI. Dourish advocates that designers need to consider the embodied nature of human action (and interaction) when creating systems. His concept of embodied interaction is strongly rooted in the phenomenological approaches of Heiddegger and Merleau-Ponty.

I enjoyed reading this book as it marries my current interests in Interaction Design with Phenomenological philosophy. The book provides an academic and theoretical perspective that was interesting but sometimes hard to follow. Tangible and social computing, two areas of interaction design in which I am very interested, are closely examined through an embodied interaction framework. The broad concepts and principles outlined here are abstract enough to remain relevant for a long time. However, designers looking for practical advice and how-to tips on using current technologies should avoid this title.

What is Embodied Interaction?
Embodied interaction refers not to technology but to the nature of our interaction with the world. “Our actions cannot be separated from the meanings that we and others ascribe to them.” Actions carry meaning that is derived from being embedded in social and physical environments that are laden with meaning. In turn, actions also create meaning that transforms the environments whose meaning originally gave rise to the actions. “Action both produces and draws upon meaning; meaning both gives rises to and arises from action.” This perspective on interactions has important implications for the design of human-computer interfaces.

Chapter 1 – A History of Interaction

In the first chapter, Dourish provides a brief overview of the evolution of computer technology and the history of its adoption by society. He illustrates how the style of human-computer interaction has evolved, and how this change has been crucial for enabling computation to become embedded in so many facets of modern life.

Towards the end of the chapter, Dourish turns his attention to tangible and social computing. These new types of interface enable an “expansion of the range of human skills and abilities that can be incorporated into interaction with computers” . Here Dourish lays out the main thesis of his book and provides a brief overview of its implications. His thesis is that “[tangible and social computing] draw on the same sets of skills and abilities… [and] are arguably aspects of one and the same research program.” This argument has four parts:

  • Social and tangible interactions are based on the same underlying principles.
  • Embodiment is central to these alternative perspectives on interaction.
  • Other schools of thoughts can provide a foundation for understanding embodiment.
  • We can build on existing schools of thought to create a foundational approach to embodied interaction that informs and supports design and unites social and tangible interactions into single model of human-computer interaction.

Here is a brief overview of the stages in the development of human-computer interaction as outlined by Dourish. These stages have been defined based on the types of human skills that are required by the user interface:

  • Electrical: Analog computers were essentially an “apparatus for laboratory simulations that took place not in the physical world, but an analogous electronic reality.” During this time to set up a new experiment (which would be analogous to running a new application) the computer would have to be completely re-configured, including the incorporation of new circuits – hence the label as an electrical interface. A user would need to have deep understanding of the construction of any given machine in order to operate it. Even when the initial transition was made from “hardware configuration to digitally stored programs [from analog to digital computers] the dominant parading for interaction with the computer was electronic (i.e. machine language). The boundary that we now take for granted between hardware and software was a lot fuzzier”.
  • Symbolic: The arrival of symbolic forms of interaction was characterized by the emergence of conventions and well-understood capacities that became available across a wide range of machines – “register files, index registers, accumulators, and so forth”. A detailed understanding of the construction of individual computers was no longer necessary for computer programming. This was the era when computers began to be produced industrially. During this period, programs shifted from being primarily number-based to more symbolic forms that are easier for humans to learn and apply (i.e. assembly languages). Programming systems arose that specified two sets of rules: the first determines the instruction set for a programming language; the second describes how the human-written program can be converted into a set of instructions that the computer can execute (i.e. machine language).
  • Textual: Symbolic interaction evolved into textual interaction when the primary means of actual interaction with the computer shifted from punch cards and other symbolic media to keyboards via teletype and video terminals. The textual interactions are structured by a grammar that defines “commands, parameters, arguments, and options.” Human-computer interaction became a loop of “endless back-and-forth… instructions and responses between user and system.” This dialogue was enabled by the new way that interactions were mediated.
  • Graphical: Most modern day computer interfaces are based on graphical interactions. The evolution from textual to graphical interactions “did not only replace words with icons, but instead opened up whole new dimensions for interaction-quite literally, in fact, by turning interaction into something that happened in a two-dimensional space rather than a one-dimensional stream of characters.” This evolution enabled users to interact with computers using several additional human abilities, including: peripheral attention; pattern recognition and spatial reasoning; information density; visual metaphors.

The graphical interface paradigm continues to be the most common style of human-computer interaction. However, as I mentioned above it is two other emerging fields of study that are of special interest to Dourish–tangible and social computing. Here is a quick overview of key trends in these areas:

  • Tangible: Tangible computing encompasses a wide variety of physical interactions. There are three general trends in research related to tangible computing that Dourish highlights. The first trend is distribution of computation “across a variety of devices, which are spread throughout the physical environment and are sensitive to their location and their proximity to other devices.” The second is augmentation of every day world with computational power to make common physical objects “active entities that respond to their environment and people’s activities.” The last trend is an investigation into how these two types of approaches can be used to create environments where people interact with computation devices via physical artifacts.
  • Social: Social computing also encompasses a varied range of activities. There are three main areas of activities that are addressed by Dourish. The first area of investigation is incorporation of social understanding into the design of interactions. Next is the concern is with the application of anthropological and sociological approaches to uncover the “mechanisms through which people organize activity, and the role that social and organizational settings play in this process.” The final area of investigation is how the traditional “single-user” interaction paradigm can be enhanced by the incorporation of information regarding others, and their activities.

Chapter 2 – Getting in Touch

In the second chapter we delve deeper into the world of tangible computing. Here is one of my favorite passages from this chapter, where Dourish explains his perspective on tangible computing: "The essence of tangible computing lies in the way in which it allows computation to be manifest for us in the everyday world; a world that is available for our interpretation, and one which is meaningful for us in the ways in which we can undertand and act in it."

Since tangible computing has only recently become established, Dourish focuses on providing an overview of the important studies from the past decade that have provided the foundation for this field. The main strands of research that are discussed include: ubiquitous computing, which attempts to make computing invisible by embedding it in everyday objects and places; and tangible bits, which attempts to make computing more accessible by enabling humans to interact with digital information via physical media.

I will provide a deeper dive into these two schools research shortly, however, first I want to highlight some common features and issues related to tangible computing systems:

  • Multiple centers of interaction: unlike tradional computing systems that have a single or a few centers of interaction, tangible computing has multiple centers of interaction. In traditional systems "Only one window has the 'focus' at any given moment; the cursor is always exactly in one place, and that place defines where my action is carried out." In tangible computing systems, the interaction takes place in the environment distributed across several objects. The coordinated use of various objects is required for the user to accomplish tasks.
  • Non-sequential organization of interactions: In traditional computing, the sequential nature of interactions is a consequence of the singular focus of intetractions. This helps to simplify both the user interface and the development of systems. In tangible computing systems, interactions are non-sequential - similar to the way in which we interact with the physical world. And, there is never any way to know how what a user might do next.
  • Physical properties are suggestive of use: Like other physical objects, tangible computing artifacts have physical properties that are suggestive of their use. This feature enables designers to create artifacts that can guide users through the process of use - "with each stage leading naturally to the next through the way in which the physical configuration at each moment suggests the appropriate action to take."

Ubiquitous Computing: the term "Ubiquitous Computing" was coined by Mark Weiser while working on a research project at Xerox PARC. The main idea behind this discipline is that "instead of taking work to the computer, why not put computation wherever it is needed." Ubiquitous computing attempts to seamlessly integrate computation into activities of our everyday life by enhancing objects and locations with processing power. "Computers would disappear into the woodwork; computers would be nowhere to be seen, but computation would be everywhere."

Examples of ubiquitous computing research projects include: use of active badges that enable applications to adapt a computationally-embedded environment to specific user needs (computing by the inch); digitally enhanced notepads that enable humans to interact with computers in the way we interact paper (computing by the foot); computer-enhanced desks that enable users to interact seamlessly and interchangeably with paper and digital documents and artifacts (digital desk).

From Ubiquitous Computing to Tangible Bits: Here is the explanation of this evolution in Dourish’s own words – below I’ve included my own interpretation: “[Tangible bits] sees computation within a wider context. Ubiquitous Computing pioneers saw that, in order to support human activity, computation needs to move into the environment in which that activity unfolds… [Tangible bits takes] the next step of considering how computation is to be manifest when it moves into the physical environment, and recognizing that this move makes the physicality of computation central.”

As promised here is my understanding of the differences between these two schools of thought:

  • The ubiquitous computing view of the world states that computing will become progressively more invisible once it is embedded into every day objects. This view has a technical/scientific perspective and is based on analytical thinking.
  • The tangible bits school of thought acknowledges that computation is being embedded into physical objects but rather than believe that it will become invisible it focuses on how to manifest computation in this new realm - the physical environment. This view has a design perspective that is based on lateral thinking.

Here are three important distinctions that differentiate the perspective of tangible bits from that of ubiquitous computing:

  • The design of artifacts in the world of tangible bits reflects a concern with communication. Artifacts are designed to convey information that is important, and are often readable “at-a-glance”. This is in contrast to the “invisibility” of computation under the ubiquitous paradigm.
  • The physicality of artifacts based on tangible bits must be designed intentionally; it is not simply a consequence of the design. This is based on “recognition that technology is the world, and so its physicality and its presence is a deeply important part of its nature.”
  • In the realm of tangible bits, computation is embedded more directly within physical objects. Whereas even in the realm of ubiquitous computing there is still a seam between physical objects and computation.

Tangible Bits: The term “Tangible Bits” comes from the Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab. Their research is focused on the belief that “while digital and physical media might be informationally equivalent, they are not interactionally equivalent.” Based on this premise, much of their investigation focuses on creating artifacts that support physical manipulation of digital information. By leveraging physical objects to represent information and/or actions we are able create more natural interactions with digital information.

Welcome to My Design Project

I’ve always been a fan of design - graphic design, furniture design, industrial design, interior design, fashion design, interaction design, architecture, and the list goes on. Recently I have chosen to put this passion to use once again; I am committed to becoming an amateur design practioner - I use the word amateur here in its original sense: "lover, devotee, enthusiastic pursuer of an objective".

In my last years in college and the few years that followed, I dabbled in graphic and interior design. During this time I developed flyers for parties, websites for friends and small businesses, and promotional materials for aspiring DJs (yours truly); I also constantly evolved the interior design of my apartment (to my roommate's surprise as this would often happen overnight); and designed furniture pieces with varying levels of success. It has been many years since I stopped practicing design. This has become an untapped source of passion and energy.

This blog will serve several purposes: First, it will provide an outline of the design curriculum that I have created. Second, the act of updating this blog will be integral to my learning process. Third, the posts will function as a repository of design resources. Lastly, the content will serve as a reflection of my learning and understanding.