Saffer 1, 5
Having most of my background in print design, I wasn't really sure what interaction design was. Chapter one does a good job of explaining it, not only as it pertains to technology, but to all interactions in life. When asked to name an experience with interaction design from everyday use, I had a hard time coming up with something. Then it hit me. Interaction design is almost everywhere. It's part of how you use your microwave – which I'll note took me several days to figure out when I first bought my house. It's part of how you turn on a shower, blow dry your hair, and make breakfast. And because it's very much about the use of products or services and not the products or services themselves, it's very personal. The idea of using personas to work through interaction design development is so smart. It brings that humanized element to design, and that's exactly what is needed for interaction design.
I really find it interesting that Apple is continuously used as a case study for all types of design discussions. Just in the past few weeks, books, professors and colleagues alike have shared the Apple story and mostly when talking about success. What I find interesting about the Apple story is that they were at the forefront of so many great ideas and yet they did little to no user testing. Their key? Keeping it simple. If it made sense, it worked. Oh, you want to select something? Then just touch it. It's that easy. Apple made interaction design what it is today, in my opinion.
The idea of designing for the wild is a great one. The story about the avalanche, while frightening, is a true testament to what good interaction can do. Under pressure and in a new situation, these people were able to work the system and ultimately save their friend. It's a much more dire situation than most people will be in, but it calls out to the main focus of interaction design – that good design will make it easy for people to use a product or service because it falls in line with the way they think and/or act.
Design is obviously important, and just like noted in these readings, there is often not enough research or thought put into it before executing. In a perfect world, we'd all research, test, adjust and test again. But in real life, it's hard to come by. And yes, it pays off in the end but hindsight is always 20/20 and it's hard to get people to see benefit sometimes…at least in my world.