PComp Week 01: Readings about Interaction


  1. Crawford, The Art of Interactive Design, chapters 1 and 2
  2. Bret Victor, A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design

1. How would you define physical interaction?

My definition of physical interaction: interaction is the communication between two processors (either human or computer) that all have input and output channels, and at least one of the channel should be physical. Like in this picture:


2. What makes for good physical interaction?

A good interactivity should, by definition, not miss any of the links and processing ability in this picture. If there is a bad listener/speaker, either human or computer, then at least one of the links will break and their conversation won’t continue. If one of them can’t process or speak or listen at all, they cannot even setup a conversation, or at most, like a man reading a book, there can only be one-way communication. Besides, the interaction should be physical, meaning that activities like people watching and listening, are not physical at all.

And that’s not enough a good physical interactivity. A good interactivity between two processors should be efficient, therefore they should have proper level of listening and speaking that match each other, and both of them should be efficient thinker. Say a person is typing on a computer like what I’m doing now, a good interactivity is based on that I have good eyes and an efficient typing skills, while the computer has a good keyboard and a good screen, and we can well understand each other and both perform our work efficiently.

3.  Are there works from others that you would say are good examples of digital technology that are not interactive?

Looking at the picture above, it is easy to find some digital things that are not interactive.

  • Digital things lack of input channel: traffic light and pedestrians, screen and user.
  • Digital things lack of output channel: keyboard and user, microphone and user.
  • Digital things lack of processor (straight-forward processing): air-conditioner and user. (I should say that it barely think about us at all >_< how cold they are! Why they don’t understand and be a little nicer…)

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