The gist is, good interaction designers “sketch” out interactivity (often by making interactive prototypes), and they think about aesthetics. Or, to put it another way…
I’m not actually sure if I agree, but I like the focus on making things that demonstrate the interactive stuff, and also the understanding that how it looks matters.
The problem is, by this definition, a lot of the interaction designers that I know are not that “good." Many of them don’t have a very sophisticated aesthetic sensibility. And even more of them don’t regularly sketch out their ideas in a form that’s interactive. (They fall back on static wireframes and then use their words to try to create that sense of interactivity instead.) And of course, by they I mean me.
So maybe I’ll take this as a challenge. Start getting dirty with the concept of clickable sketching. And also, uh, get more, um, aesthetic? Yikes, I think I need to take some typography and color theory classes.
Not long ago some folks at my office got excited about Wordle, a tool for making word clouds. You put in the text. Out comes a word cloud.
One smarty pants at work used it to analyze her own writing for bullshit corporate words. You know, “utilize,” “collaborate,” “synergies.” Damn words. They creep into my diary, my thoughts, my dreams.
Another person used it to analyze card sort results, actually. Very clever. We had a client who kept arguing for “professional” sounding labels rather than intuitive ones. Wordle demonstrated rather irrefutably that the professional labels were not obvious choices for people.
And here, in this Pew Research Center survey on words used to describe the U.S. presidential candidates, clearly Wordle works its magic again.
Except this time it sorta makes me sad. I don’t want the biggest word next to Barack Obama to be “inexperienced.” “Change,” “intelligent,” “hope,” those words are pretty alright. Real small, in blue, on the right, I see “socialist.” What the hell?
Wow, I am having some trippy flashbacks to being a sad, skinny kid in Denver in the 80s. Except, thanks to this rad discussion on Boing Boing, I feel sort of happy and sentimental about it all. In fact, now that I think about, Denver was just the sort of weird, down and out place where really interesting kitsch and counterculture flourished like mold in a petri dish. Ah, petri dishes! Now I am thinking about the science unit in 4th grade, when we grew spores and did experiments with mealworms. I named my mealworm Ben, after my next door neighbor / boyfriend Ben Thompson.
I think I may have just this moment passed through some critical adult rite of passage when childhood memories suddenly go from being embarrassing and painful to nostalgic and bittersweet.