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Interaction Criticism: Three Readings of an Interaction Design, and What They Get Us

Open Access:

Bardzell, Jeffrey; Bolter, Jay; Löwgren, Jonas. (2010): “Interaction Criticism: Three Readings of an Interaction Design, and What They Get Us”, Interactions xvii(2):32-37.

EXCERPT – Criticism is an integral part of the ongoing knowledge construction that is embraced in the more mature design disciplines — architecture, industrial design — and in the arts. Critics interpret, contextualize, interrelate, abstract, and question the artifacts of design to clarify opportunities for designs to improve everyday life and to explore the ways in which designs deliver on this promise.

In doing so, they feed an ongoing dialogue between design and criticism, through which knowledge grows for the benefit of practitioners, scholars, and the general public. Interaction design, in general, does not really accommodate criticism and the role of the critic, with some exceptions in new media, HCI, and video-game studies.

As HCI’s interdisciplinary expansion continues to incorporate design, criticism’s day is coming. As our work becomes increasingly culturally and socially complex, we will need both the “expert readings” of erudite critics and everyday design “crits” from practitioners to provide the knowledge we need to design. We expect interaction criticism to emerge as a skilled practice, closely tied to interaction design.

Our intention here is to fuel this development by providing an example of what interaction criticism could offer members of the interaction design community.

© ACM, 2010. This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Interactions xvii(2):32-37, ISSN 1072-5520, (March/April, 2010)