The Materiality of Interaction
Notes on the Materials of Interaction Design
A new approach to interaction design that moves beyond representation and metaphor to focus on the material manifestations of interaction.
Smart watches, smart cars, the Internet of things, 3D printing: all signal a trend toward combining digital and analog materials in design. Interaction with these new hybrid forms is increasingly mediated through physical materials, and therefore interaction design is increasingly a material concern. In this book, Mikael Wiberg describes the shift in interaction design toward material interactions. He argues that the “material turn” in human-computer interaction has moved beyond a representation-driven paradigm, and he proposes “material-centered interaction design” as a new approach to interaction design and its materials. He calls for interaction design to abandon its narrow focus on what the computer can do and embrace a broader view of interaction design as a practice of imagining and designing interaction through material manifestations. A material-centered approach to interaction design enables a fundamental design method for working across digital, physical, and even immaterial materials in interaction design projects.
Wiberg looks at the history of material configurations in computing and traces the shift from metaphors in the design of graphical user interfaces to materiality in tangible user interfaces. He examines interaction through a material lens; suggests a new method and foundation for interaction design that accepts the digital as a design material and focuses on interaction itself as the form being designed; considers design across substrates; introduces the idea of “interactive compositions”; and argues that the focus on materiality transcends any distinction between the physical and digital.