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What is Interaction?

 

What is interaction?  That’s an interesting question.

I think my definition of the concept before and after I read the two readings has changed. (Hooray ITP! you’re already changing me for the better.)
I think Crawford’s definition of interaction(“interaction: a cyclic process in which two actors alternately listen, think, and speak”)  is spot on, and really makes you recalibrate your thinking on what interaction is.
Many people (me included) sometimes mistake reactive technology as interactivity, and while the fancy “oohs” and “aahs” it can elicit are great, I now realize that they are not truly interactive.

For me, good interactive design would be something that is an experience. That engages some (if not all) senses and truly sucks you in to whatever you are doing. Interaction is something that will change and adapt depending on how you react to it and it will create an experience that somehow, it will be only yours. As chapter 2 put it, “Interactivity is superior to all other forms of human expression in one way: it engages the human mind more powerfully than any other form of expression. When we truly interact with someone or something, we are truly engaged.”

Coming from an advertising background, I think I’ve seen my fair share of cool digital technology that is not truly interactive. Many times the creatives teams would try to incorporate some new technology that had been recently released, or would drop in words like “Facebook” or “Twitter” and expect the agency partners and/or clients to buzz with excitement. All of the times that the ideas were presented as an empty shell, without any true purpose or meaning behind them, they never saw the light of day. It’s easy to get swept away with the flashing lights of new technology, but it’s much more difficult to create something meaningful aided by technology.
An example that comes to mind is of a cool digital technology example that wasn’t quite interactive was the 4D projection mapping experience that was put up in the San Diego Comic-Con in 2013 (I’m giving myself away here with this example but oh well) for the Simpsons show. FXX and Digital Kitchen set up an experience called “homer’s dome” in which you could walk into homer’s head and see 25 years worth of “Simpson’s memories” through the eyes of Homer. It was cool and immersive, but not really that interactive. See the case study here.

Homer's Dome - SDCC 2013
Homer’s Dome – SDCC 2013

Lastly, I found Victor’s rant really really interesting too. I hadn’t really thought about the massive role our hands play with technology, interactivity, and life in general; and how most of the tech we are using now uses them, but not really to their full potential.
I think the missing element of a lot of new things coming up is the tactile sense, and true breakthrough will happen when you can actually incorporate that into new interactions and really immerse the user into the experience–all five senses included.

Onwards and upwards!

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