Building knowledge around collaborative media design: an interview with Jonas Löwgren

The academic journal Designs for Learning recently published an interview with Medea’s Jonas Löwgren. In the article they discuss the emerging field of collaborative media, the highly cited book Thoughtful Interaction Design and concepts such as experiential qualities, pliability and interactive visualizations. It’s a good read for anyone interested in the challenges lying ahead for interaction design as a discipline.

Read the full interview in Designs for Learning (pdf).

Collaborative media and challenges for IxD
In the interview, Löwgren talks about the emerging trans-discipline collaborative media, which tries to combine the fields of interaction design and media and communication studies, and what this means to these fields:

“for interaction design, it is about adding sociological and communicative perspectives on users to the traditional usability approach. From a media and communication point of view, the main thing is that you, as a researcher, not only work with studying and analysing the existing, but you also create anew. That’s a huge difference from a social science point of view.”

Löwgren also talks about how the biggest challenge to interaction design probably is “that the design object itself is dissolving”:

“It used to be okay to say, I am designing this piece of computer software or this digital handheld device, which is nicely enclosed within its plastic shell. That is really not the case anymore. Of course this has to do with collaborative media at one level, but to me what happens is that the design object is really dissolving into the whole complex of communicative practices and services that cuts across different media, and that pervades more or less every aspect of life. What are the roles of interaction designers if this is the design object, how do you work with other professions and how do you uphold some kind of distinct notion of what interaction design is?”

Read the full interview in Designs for Learning (pdf).

This interview was published in Designs for Learning, an academic journal at the crossroad of theoretical development and empirical examples related to learning resources, transformation processes, learning environments and digital resources. It is published by Stockholm university, Department of didactic sciences and early childhood education, DidaktikDesign, Sweden (ISSN 1654-7608).

Related articles
– CHI ’12 papers Designing Collaborative Media: A Challenge for CHI? by Löwgren & Reimer and What is the Object of Design? by Ehn & Linde et al.
Studying transdisciplinarity within interaction design labs