While reading the Murch passage, the following quote really stuck out to me:

“Your job is partly to anticipate, partly to control the thought process of the audience.”

I read this line and decided to reflect on it in regards to Interaction Design.  I definitely think that our job is definitely in a way to anticipate user actions.  Or, at the very least, to anticipate how users might want/expect to use the particular product or service we have designed.  There are a number of ways in which I think this is applicable to Interaction Design, so I’ll skip to the next portion.

“Your job is partly…to control the thought process of the audience.”

Just let that sink in for a second… I know it wasn’t intended to directly relate to IxD, but we are reading it under the context of an Interaction (Design) Culture class.  My first thought to this was, “Absolutely not.  I don’t want to control the thought process of my users.  Why would you want to remove their agency to do as they please?”  

I then thought back to our discussion in class regarding TurboTax, and my recent experience in using the software for filing taxes.  In this instance, I most definitely wanted TurboTax to control and curb my thought process.  I have next to no idea what I am doing when utilizing deductions and credits, earning money outside of Indiana, and the rest of the cornucopia of tax-related phrases that many of us are so unaccustomed to.  

I guess it just depends on the design to see how much you want to control the thought process of your users.  I read that line, and under the context of IxD it seemed a little jarring.  Granted, I think I am definitely taking it a bit out of context, but I wanted to analyze this and how it relates to IxD.  I think it just relates back to how much agency you want to give your users given a particular design situation.  Are you looking to give users freedom to do what they want and venture outside of the realm of what you are designing, or are you attempting to give users a guided experience to augment an otherwise tedious and confusing process?

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To change directions a bit, another passage (or list, I suppose) that I found interesting was the following:

So there are really three problems wrapped up together:

1) identifying a series of potential cut points (and comparisons with the blink can help you do this),
2) determining what effect each cut point will have on the audience, and
3) choosing which of those effects is the correct one for the film.”

As has been stated before, design is about judgments and decisions.  You work towards making the best “cuts” that you can in a design, hoping that your “cuts” will line up with the users’ “blinks”.  

I love that block of quote from the reading.  It indicates no solid prescription for creating a good movie.  The whole paper sort of insinuated a bit of a finesse that film editors have to hone over time.  In the same way, designers have to develop this finesse over the course of their schooling (and eventually career) to recognize what is good design, what is bad design, what will work, and what will not.  Granted, none of this is an exact science and the world is unpredictable.  Educated guesses are all we really have in the world of interaction design (and other forms of art/design as well).  Stick your neck out, back it up with good logic, and hope for the best!

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