The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Interaction Design

I take it back…I was a little unmoved by Matt Webb’s playsh at ETech 2006 and conceded I might not have fully grasped the implications of his work, but after reading Schulze & Webb’s recent The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Interaction Design, I’m really taken with Matt’s approach to design 🙂

Some of the mind-bending observations and illustrative product ideas include…

  • A self-powered scanner that breaks down scanned documents organically and uses the resulting methane to power a turbine.
  • Designing around experiential acts, than enrich moments of engagement – the anticipation of receiving and opening a parcel rather than simply receiving a gift.
  • The experience hooks intersecting with the ownership of books, that lift services like Amazon above a simple bookstore.
  • The notion of thresholds as an important moment in the experience of a product, such as unboxing a new Apple product.
  • The value of simple being and expressing friendship and sociality rather than carrying out the discrete acts of friendship.
  • The social letterbox printer, that allows family members and close friends to print items of interest directly into your home…a compliment to a regular printer, that acts more like an internet family-fax 🙂
  • The parallels drawn between sport and cleaning up, leading to products such as vacuum cleaners that emulate picking up pills like Pacman, along with a built in high-score table of the best players!

Though much of this is understood intuitively, a vocabulary that defines and qualifies the underlying design patterns is immensely useful…expect to see Carbon experimenting with some of these approaches shortly. First up mee:view

‘…an actor in your social life and life with media, and is helping
along something that wants to happen already: You want to have a
relationship with a soap opera; you want to discuss TV with your
friends tomorrow. These are the important moments of engagement a VCR is participating in, and we should focus on those, not the fact it is incidentally being used to record broadcast programming…’

UPDATE: S&W’ve extended their thinking a little further at this year’s ETech. From Pixels To Plastic includes the notion of a desk lamp that ‘looks’ at what you’re doing as you work…kinda like Luxo 🙂


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