Interaction Design and the Internet of Things


Anyone who’s read this blog for long knows that I’m a bit of a fanatic for great design. I love listening to designers talk about their craft– whether it’s designing hardware such as the Arc Touch Mouse, or a user experience like the one found in Fresh Paint.

Along those lines, Fast Company Design posted a video last week that’s worth checking out – I actually saw the video a few months back at an internal private showing and am delighted it’s now out there in the wild. Much of the video is focused on this group of seasoned designers from Nokia, Frog, Method, Twitter, Microsoft and elsewhere discussing the tension between creating digital devices that are truly useful without being distracting, and the challenge of designing a digital experience that feels natural, without trying to mimic the epitome of natural — the analogue experience. I loved the quote that “fake digital is tragic” and it was refreshing to hear all of this without anyone using the word skeuomorphism!



Equally fascinating was the shared opinion that interactive design is becoming less about the experience on a particular device or product, and more about how this entire “network of things” interacts, i.e. the Internet of Things.

The world we live in is permeated with information and new connections that allow us to put that information to use. And as one designer pointed out, the tools are in place to start driving interactive design across those connections into the more “mundane and meaningful” parts of lives, such as energy consumption and healthcare.



Creating a thin layer of interactivity and contextual information could provide people with the ability to make choices about when and how they use electricity, or whether that extra helping of chips is such a great idea.

Thanks to the Windows Phone Design Studio and Barrett & Partners for a thought provoking look at interactive design and the Internet of Things, two of my favorite subjects.