Physical Computing Blog 1

While reading The Art of Interactive Design by Chris Crawford, I questioned many things that he wrote. The book was published in 2002, but many of his references seemed outdated. Throughout the reading, I kept thinking of how similar Crawford’s logic was similar to the logic in philosophy. I never thought of the actual definition of interactivity. I never really thought about the definition of interactivity changing as it became a common buzzterm. Although the definition of interactivity may change, many words have different meanings in different contexts. Crawford defined interaction as “a cyclic process in which two actors alternatively listen, think, and speak.” He determined a “scale of interactivity” ranging from zero to high with the following parameters: listening, thinking, and speaking. I’ve done physical computing projects in the past, but I was never really taught the meaning behind interactivity and the different factors that change the interactive process. Crawford wrote “… you spend a lot of time carrying out experiments to measure the efficiency of a design” to describe the process behind user interface designers, but this line stuck with me. Coming from a scientific background, I would quickly iterate through experiments to perfect the efficiency of a design. I now need to switch my thinking to get into the mindset of an interactivity designer rather than a user interface designer. I wonder how Crawford’s opinion on interactivity with a computer has changed now that artificial intelligence and machine learning have become so sophisticated.