Aesthetic Interaction Slides

Last week I had the pleasure of giving the keynote address at the Instructional Systems Design conference held in Bloomington, Indiana. My topic was “aesethetic interaction.” Several people afterwards asked for a copy of my slides, so I am posting a PDF here (they were done in Apple Keynote). Here is the link:

Presentation Slides (PDF, 14 MB)
UPDATE: This link was broken for a while but has since been fixed.

Also, there is an archive of the video stream. Note that the color on the slides was messed up on the live stream. That URL is here:

Presentation Video Archive

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About jeffreybardzell

Jeffrey Bardzell is an Associate Professor of HCI/Design in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University - Bloomington. His research foci include critical design, interaction criticism, research through design, and digital creativity, which he approaches from a perspective that reflects his background in the humanities.
This entry was posted in Aesthetics, Design Process, HCI, Interaction Design, philosophy. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Aesthetic Interaction Slides

  1. Dave Malouf says:

    This is a great presentation.
    I do think you are falling into the trap you wish to expose. Your juxtaposition of HCI against Aesthetics while necessary needs to have more caution applied to it. You are still trying to be too analytical.

    Let me explain, the one thing that is missing from your piece is the “artist” or “designer” (there really isn’t a difference). That aesthetics when best are directly connected to a single creative energy and it is feeling connected or empathetic towards that creator where it exists.

    Where this failing comes into play in your presentation is where you try to express (what it seems like w/o the voice over) that if we only allow users to participate in design more then we will have more empathy from designers, and thus the confluence of the two will create more aesthetic interactions.

    For me this is a false notion and I would suggest that it is not the designer’s empathy for the user that creates more aesthetics but rather the user’s sense of empathy (connection) to the designer that creates more aesthetics.

    But the presentation tackles a really important issue and I think this will hopefully lead to a great discussion in the IxD community.

    One last point. your work is very “North American” in its understanding of the practice and methods of Interaction Design. If you look at the European schools like RCA, CIID, Delft, Utrecht, etc. you’ll find more design being done by designers, and not by scientists and a deep resistance to data driven design.

    — dave

    — dave

  2. Thanks Dave for your thoughtful and constructive feedback. I think perhaps some of the differences between our positions are more apparent than real, and I’ll try to explain that by engaging with your text below:

    > Let me explain, the one thing that is missing from your piece is the “artist” or “designer” (there really isn’t a difference). That aesthetics when best are directly connected to a single creative energy and it is feeling connected or empathetic towards that creator where it exists.

    To me this is a romantic position that overly focuses creative agency on a single person. My background in the humanities, influenced as it was by Marxism and especially post-structuralism, makes it hard for me to accept any notion of “single creative agency” because I see creative agency always enmeshed in language games, intertextuality, ideology, and sociological practices, e.g., performance of the self, etc. It might be fair to argue that I take this too far (you wouldn’t be the first to say so), but I tend to think the agency of the artist and designer as overrated by virtue of our failure to situate it in distributed creative agency (I also don’t agree that artists and designers are the same thing, and the distributed agency of creativity applies much more strongly to designers than it does to artists, making my position even more relevant to IxD)

    > Where this failing comes into play in your presentation is where you try to express (what it seems like w/o the voice over) that if we only allow users to participate in design more then we will have more empathy from designers, and thus the confluence of the two will create more aesthetic interactions.

    All I mean to say is that this empathy is one pressure that would create an environment in which aesthetic interaction is more likely to come to pass. Not only is it not a necessary condition, but it’s not even a condition! Merely one pressure among others.

    > For me this is a false notion and I would suggest that it is not the designer’s empathy for the user that creates more aesthetics but rather the user’s sense of empathy (connection) to the designer that creates more aesthetics.

    I don’t know what “false” means in this sentence. I would, of course, agree that user empathy to the designer is another “pressure” (see above) that would increase the likelihood of aesthetic interaction. In the presentation placed both directions on equal footing (in the circle diagram).

    > One last point. your work is very “North American” in its understanding of the practice and methods of Interaction Design. If you look at the European schools like RCA, CIID, Delft, Utrecht, etc. you’ll find more design being done by designers, and not by scientists and a deep resistance to data driven design.

    I agree. However, I am up for tenure in North America, and not Europe, and so while I openly confess to Europe-envy, I must pragmatically speak from an American context. You are right, though, to offer that contextualization.

    On another note of even more specific contextualization, this presentation was given not to the HCI community at-large, but rather to an education conference with an emphasis on educational interaction design. They, too, are very scientifically motivated and interested in moving into more designerly approaches, which I understand is why I was invited in the first place.

  3. P.S. Dave you have a fantastic blog! Anyone reading this would likely be interested in Dave’s, so check it out: http://davemalouf.com/

  4. Pin Sym says:

    Hello Jeff

    I enjoyed the slide deck. I am watching the presentation over here in Singapore and I can hear and see the first minute and then the stream just stops. I am not sure why? I really want to hear it with the inimitable Jeff voiceover, because I don’t understand some of the slides. Do you think you could swing a Youtube version?

    PS

  5. gimewon says:

    Sometime, I couldnt feel symphathy with which you have said in your lectures, argument, or your presentations. Perhaps, this is because of the gap between as a beginner designer and skillful writer or thinker in your thinking process in order to explain aesthetics.
    Please dont blame me a lot. You gave made me the ability to criticize you. I am your student.

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