In the early 1980s, Bill Moggridge designed the first notebook–style computer for GRiD Systems. When he brought the first prototype home in 1981, he basked in its ingenious industrial design. But as soon as he started playing with it, he felt himself
“being sucked down into the virtual realm, concerned only with how I interacted with the software, and forgetting the existence of the physical object. That’s when I realized the significance of human-computer interaction.”
Bill realized that designing human–software interactions was significantly different than industrial design. It demanded different research, different skills sets, and different ways of thinking. He felt an affinity between the disciplines, but believed they were not the same thing. He named this new field he stumbled upon “interaction design.”
I often feel that we are reaching similar bifurcation in the practice of design. For the last couple of decades, Design (yes, design proper) has steadily expanded its concerns beyond non dynamic objects and fully controlled experiences. The design theorist and intellectual John Thackara has written a new ethos for designing for a complex world. Hillary Cottam won the Design Museum’s Designer of the Year award for her work in what she called Transformation Design. Philippe Starck, who made his career in creating some of the most lust-worthy objects, said:
“I was a producer of materiality and I am ashamed of this fact. Everything I designed was unnecessary. I will definitely give up in two years’ time. I want to do something else, but I don’t know what yet. I want to find a new way of expressing myself …design is a dreadful form of expression…. In future there will be no more designers. The designers of the future will be the personal coach, the gym trainer, the diet consultant.” (PSFK)
“His point was more IT-specific, arguing that the combination of pervasive digital infrastructure, software-as-a-service, cloud computing, social software, and smart phones have enabled employee- and customer-driven solutions to a degree that renders top-down IT systems obsolete. As Dion Hinchcliffe of the Dachis Group writes: ‘Enterprises currently expend considerable resources trying to impose control on a situation that increasingly appears like it not only can’t be controlled, but almost certainly doesn’t need to be.’”
How do you create an infrastructure that allows self-lead individuals to come together in productive, collaborative creation?
Interaction Design: IxD shapes digital things for people’s use.P2P Design: P2PD creates “infrastructures of cooperation” to spur mass collaboration.PRINCIPLE DOMAIN OF INTERESTInteraction Design: Human–computer interaction (HCI).P2P Design: Computer–supported cooperative work (CSCW).RESEARCH AND STRATEGIC EMPHASISInteraction Design: IxD concerns itself with the user–object relationship. It emphasizes individual user psychology and behavior.P2P Design: P2PD concerns itself with networked relationships. It emphasizes group psychology and behavior.GOALInteraction Design: IxD aims to achieve ease of use, clarity, and fit to activity.
P2P Design: P2PD aims to achieve network effects, positive externalities produced by participants, and evolution of the designed infrastructure by its participations (see “produsage”).