Recently I reread the paper ”Interaction criticism: three reading of an interaction design and what they get us” by Bardzell, bolter and Lowgren. I think it could be a very good example to recent discussion about single VS multiple theories in critiquing the interaction design. The article is about three criticisms on one interactive tabletop Mæve from three different perspectives. The interactive tabletop Mæve can be understood in quite different ways depending on who is doing the criticism. From the following explanation, we can have a sense of the perspective of these three criticisms:

– The distinction between content and form is a diehard meme in HCI and interaction design, perpetuated by concepts such as function versus interface and wireframes versus graphics. However, mæve is a particularly good illustration of why the distinction is problematic and why the interaction is the content from the user’s point of view.

– As digital artifacts move out of solitary, task-oriented use situations and into the public and semi-public spaces of everyday life, it is becoming increasingly important to acknowledge that interaction occurs between and among people, not merely between user and application. Interaction design is design for social structures and performative practices, and Mæve makes that point in a most emphatic way.

– Finally, Mæve helps us see how interaction design not only serves the empirically established needs of actual users, but also constructs its users by situating them in positions that are defined and bound by the choices they can make in performing their interactions.

No matter what perspective the criticism chooses, they all contribute to the interaction design field and may make some change to the knowledge of interaction design. Just like the assignment we are working on now, there are always several directions where the argument can go further at the beginning. Don’t worry about what direction of the argument we should go. “Knowing the body of knowledge in the design field and knowing where the important contributions can be made” is more important than choosing the direction of the criticism and the theory applied onto the argument. After we explorer more on the interaction, we may automatically know what we should say. Beside that, experience in critical practice can help us cultivate the design and art perception.

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