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A Blog.

16. September 2014

So. A blog. 10 years late.1

Ten years ago blogging was already quite established – but still young enough to be considered cool. I remember that 2002 – during my time at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea – blogs were still quite a thing. And when I started teaching in Potsdam, it was kind of expected of a young Interaction Design professor. But I didn’t.

So what has changed in the last 10 years? Quite a bit. When the Interface Design programme in Potsdam was launched in 2003, it was a challenge to explain what interface and interaction design really are. The iPod was released in 2001 – and it was a hallmark of good interaction design. There were no iPhones, no Tablets and no Google Glass. Mac OS X was quite new and iOS pretty far away. Microsoft dominated the market, young people still used email, social networking was based on SMS and not on Facebook and twitter. I hated family parties where I was constantly asked what I was actually doing.2

In 2013 things are different. Digital technology has permeated our society. There are hardly any jobs or workflows that are not influenced by digital technology. One seventh of the world population is on Facebook. There are billions of small computers in the world that for some reason we still call »phones«. We play, shop, date, work, talk, read (etc.) using digital technology. This does not mean that interaction design is widely understood and recognised as one of the most important design disciplines of our time. But it is widely acknowledged that digital technology has a dramatic cultural presence in our global society. However, the idea that the interaction with digital technology can be understood and shaped is not very prevalent. It is a bit like acknowledging that human beings trade, work, pay taxes and acquire wealth – without realising that there is a discipline called »economics«.

So the point of this blog is to reflect on my activities as an interaction designer. Being a practitioner, a researcher and a teacher I talk a lot about design – but so far I have written very little. So I would like to thank Microsoft Research for inviting me over to Cambridge and give me the opportunity to actually sit down and write.

The blog posts are not scientific – and I don’t intend them to be. They are short essays that deal with observations and reflections on design. 10 years ago, a blog seemed like a good format for pinning down ideas and publish them. It still is.

  1. Now that blogs are officially dead, I am starting one. But I am a 40-something with kids – so I think that’s OK. 

  2. I still don’t like family parties. But hopefully this blog will clear things up. 

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