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Designing Interactions

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Digital technology has changed the way we interact with everything from the games we play to the tools we use at work. Designers of digital technology products no longer regard their job as designing a physical object--beautiful or utilitarian--but as designing our interactions with it. In Designing Interactions, award-winning designer Bill Moggridge introduces us to forty influential designers who have shaped our interaction with technology. Moggridge, designer of the first laptop computer (the GRiD Compass, 1981) and a founder of the design firm IDEO, tells us these stories from an industry insider's viewpoint, tracing the evolution of ideas from inspiration to outcome. The innovators he interviews--including Will Wright, creator of The Sims, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, and Doug Engelbart, Bill Atkinson, and others involved in the invention and development of the mouse and the desktop--have been instrumental in making a difference in the design of interactions. Their stories chart the history of entrepreneurial design development for technology.Moggridge and his interviewees discuss such questions as why a personal computer has a window in a desktop, what made Palm's handheld organizers so successful, what turns a game into a hobby, why Google is the search engine of choice, and why 30 million people in Japan choose the i-mode service for their cell phones. And Moggridge tells the story of his own design process and explains the focus on people and prototypes that has been successful at IDEO--how the needs and desires of people can inspire innovative designs and how prototyping methods are evolving for the design of digital technology.Designing Interactions is illustrated with more than 700 images, with color throughout. Accompanying the book is a DVD that contains segments from all the interviews intercut with examples of the interactions under discussion.Interviews with: Bill Atkinson - Durrell Bishop - Brendan Boyle - Dennis Boyle - Paul Bradley - Duane Bray - Sergey Brin - Stu Card - Gillian Crampton Smith - Chris Downs- Tony Dunne - John Ellenby - Doug Englebart - Jane Fulton Suri - Bill Gaver - Bing Gordon - Rob Haitani - Jeff Hawkins - Matt Hunter - Hiroshi Ishii - Bert Keely - David Kelley - Rikako Kojima - Brenda Laurel - David Liddle - Lavrans L?vlie - John Maeda - Paul Mercer - Tim Mott - Joy Mountford - Takeshi Natsuno - Larry Page - Mark Podlaseck - Fiona Raby - Cordell Ratzlaff - Ben Reason - Jun Rekimoto - Steve Rogers - Fran Samalionis - Larry Tesler - Bill Verplank - Terry Winograd - Will Wright

766 pages, Hardcover

First published October 1, 2006

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About the author

Bill Moggridge

4 books13 followers
Bill was the director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. He designed the first laptop computer, the Grid Compass. He describes his career as having three phases, first as a designer with projects for clients in ten countries, second as a co-founder of IDEO where he developed design methods for interdisciplinary design teams, and third as a spokesperson for the value of design in everyday life, writing, presenting and teaching, supported by the historical depth and contemporary reach of the museum.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 38 reviews
Profile Image for Phil.
26 reviews
January 23, 2010
Haven't read the whole thing yet, but this book needs "History of" in the title because "Designing Interactions" makes it sound like you might actually learn how to.. oh I don't know, DESIGN INTERACTIONS and not just what read about what others did in the past. So far I haven't gained much insight into how to approach problems and not be horrible at this stuff. Someone should make a book called "Poorly Designed Interactions" and explain what not to do, because all this book is telling me to do is:

a) be a genius

After I do that, maybe I can get my name added to the already long list of people on the cover of the book.

Perhaps things will turn around later in the book and some useful information will be conveyed.

Profile Image for Ivo Gomes.
2 reviews6 followers
January 29, 2021
As others have mentioned in their reviews, this needs an "History of..." before the title.

This is not about learning to be a better interaction designer. This is the story of how interaction design was born and how it will evolve in the future. And speaking about the future, keep in mind this book was written in 2006, before the iPhone and the revolution it caused on basically every product we use today. Reading this in 2021 and seeing how they predicted so we'll how devices and user interfaces would evolve is mind-blowing.

I particularly loved the history of the personal computer and how a small bunch of really smart people defined (in the 60's and 70's) what interacting with it should be like. It's amazing to see that most of the things they'd come up with to solve the problems they faced are still in use today. The mouse, copying and pasting content, the blinking cursor, icons representing files and folders. All that was designed 50 years ago and is still remarkably the same in today's systems.

In the process, they introduced the concepts of usability, testing prototypes with users, and created this new branch of design called "interaction design".
Profile Image for Ninakix.
193 reviews21 followers
January 2, 2014
This book might be colossal, but if you take the time to read it, you'll be doubly rewarded. The book is essentially a series of "case studies" on design, but what makes it truly spectacular is that they're actually an odd mix. While some chapters are more theoretical, and impart ideas about interaction design, others tell stories about how things came to be designed the way they were. Finally, others represent research and ideas that are more academic (or "cutting edge," depending on your point of view).
More than anything, the book is a joy to read - I found myself spending so much time reading I had to give it away during the school semester. Definitely the best book I've read so far this year.
4 reviews2 followers
Read
April 20, 2010
Great basics of Interaction Design with interviews with all the pioneers.
Profile Image for Tom Quast.
9 reviews
January 29, 2023
One of my favorite books. It consist of interviews with some of the most influential in human computer interaction.

The Good
- Easy, clear language
- Impressive lineup of interviews
- Good illustrations

The Bad
- The form of interviews does not fit every use-case
- Less structured because of the interview format

Conclusion
If you are interested in HCI and want to hear the story told by the people who wrote it, this is book to get. If you can live with the format it has a lot to offer to people who would like to know the persons behind the technology we use every day.
Profile Image for May Ling.
1,071 reviews287 followers
January 11, 2016
Summary: Amazing book. I already started recommending it before I finished reading it. If you are trying to start somewhere on thinking about design, particularly digital design, this is a great history that will put you square into the train of thought of it all.

My Notes:
THE POINT OF DESIGN
P. 32 Doug Englebert was really building the computer to augment human intellect (citation "Augmenting the Human Intellect: A conceptual framework". This was the point, though later others realized that building to augment those that are less genius than Mr. Englebert might be a more worthwhile/commercial exercise.

REAL AND FAKE LIMITATIONS
Additionally in this section, as relates to how to start in innovation, this early interview suggests to use the existing approach for a naming point or reference, but envision a better way associated with why someone is doing something. This is later echoed IMO on P 631 when they discuss the use of paint colors to draw a sky. In the physical world, you would use blue and add white paint. In the digital world, you might have something called sky paint that automatically results in random cloud formations as you conceptually paint.

This is not to be misinterpretted by the areas of the book that describe good design as acknowledging real areas of limitation. For example:
P. 649 Core skills of design
1)To synthesize a solution for all of the relevant constraints, understanding everything that will make a difference to the result.
2) To frame, or reframe, the problem and objective
3) To create and envision alternatives
4) To select from those alternatives, knowing intuitively how to choose the best approach.
5) To visualize and prototype the intended solution

Typical evaluation criteria for a student design project:
1) Creativity/innovation
2) Aesthetics/quality- note how these are coupled
3) Human factors/values
4) Performance/technology
5) Completeness/presentation <--- people have to understand what you did and how it is useful, does it need to be paired with something?

QUALITY OF DESIGN
I love the work on P. 577 that discusses the difference between sound vs. visual input. It follow so nicely with the work on memory between these two forms of sensory input.
P. 599 and other various examples about the manner in which some design forces interaction uses modern art examples that are fantastic.
P. 623 a reminder of Bauhaus and it's reemergence. Commentary from John Maeda that reminds us that the period began by requiring a master craftsman to work with a master designer. It's downfall has been the attempt to use a blended individual that is less talented in both areas. You end up with a mucked soup.

FRAMEWORK OF INTERACTIVE PROCESS/PROTOTYPING
Early in the book, the following 4 are described as relates to design of computing:
1) Motivation - errors and ideas that are driving the innovation
2) Meaning - Who is using it? Where are they? What are they trying to do in context? (I might call this empathy)
3) Modes - Modes and tasks - what is their state of mind while they are trying to accomplish it? Speed, or do we have time?
4) Mapping - Displays and controls. Where does the input or output need to be to be effective.

P. 726 Designing something new vs. New versions take different approaches. In the later you know the existing item inside and out. In the former, you start with - essentially - envisioning and imagination.

Another framework for innovation (multiple solutions):
1) Create a framework 2) Ideation 3) Envision 4) Uncertainty 5) Selection 6) Visualization 7) Prototyping 8) Evaluation

P. 235 Jeff Hawkins - Brains like familiarity, but they get bored...You don't want it too new because that seems dangerous. You want something familiar and somewhat new.
Also...
"People thought that the PalmPilot was successful because we only did a few things; that is not true. The things we did, we did well. People don't mind doing more things; they like it as long as you do them well. As long as you make it easy, intuitive, fast and so on.

ON STAFFING INNOVATION
P. 303 Designers are inherently people who are good at breadth... They are empathetic to other disciplines, which translates to having breadth.
20 reviews1 follower
July 27, 2007
Bill Moggridge, designer of the first laptop and best known as one of the founders of IDEO, wrote Designing Interactions to capture what he has seen and learned to highlight the importance of interactive design, including usability, testing and how the most accepted best practices can often wilt vs. the realities of actual users. He mostly succeeds.

Designing Interactions has 10 chapters following the development of the computer and how it was affected by interactive design – and how it helped develop that discipline at the same time. He covers the development of the mouse, desktop, laptop and Palm (Ch. 1-4), Technology Adoption (Ch. 5), Play, Services & the Internet (Ch. 5-7), new & future concepts (Ch. 8-9) and Prototyping (Ch. 10). He has a relaxed style of writing, his ‘professorly’ style easy to read.

Moggridge knows his stuff, having been there from nearly the beginning. Early on, he was with top designers at Xerox’s PARC, where a large number of modern computer designs were formed. So, he knows how we got where we are via interaction design. But instead of telling the story himself, he does it through those whose work made these changes. Each chapter has several parts presented from the perspective of an individual involved in the topic at hand, such as Larry Tesler (developing the first desktop and devices) or Rob Haitani (creating the original Palm OS). Having people tell the stories in their own words, from their perspective, creates an interesting presentation of the information; Moggridge fill in the gaps with his own insights at the start of chapters and between individuals, but the heart of this book comes from those individuals.

Great information included the hundreds of early iterations for creating the mouse, the creation the modern desktop interface (including how testing was important, but required them to develop a new testing process as well), and developing the familiar interaction design concepts we use today. Often, failure led to inspiration to prevent a similar problem in the future; other times, simple observation of people doing things provided the basis for standard rules. These concepts were, of course, the reason we bought this book – history is nice but we wanted something concrete to work with, and there is a lot here to learn from.

NOT ALL INTERACTION GOODNESS
I found that Designing Interactions was diluted by repetitive coverage of the same events from different points of view - too much time is spent on how the first mouse, computer, monitor and laptops were developed – over 1/3 of the book, in fact. Worse, it’s like a history lesson more than thorough explanation of interactive factors.

Other sections’ purposes left me wondering. Models (p. 363 – 372) spent lots of space on the development and history of “The Sims” and EA: good information meriting an introduction, not a long discussion. Similarly, Google’s history is interesting, but didn’t fit the scope of this book, or at least not to the length taken (12 pages). The whole Internet section could’ve been condensed in half with little impact.

It was disappointing that this book appears to be a Who’s Who of people in Moggridge’s life. Not that they weren’t worthy of discussion; to the contrary, they were often people who helped develop the discipline. But, time spent on them tended to be more biographical than relevant, focusing on how they got to where they were rather than what they DID that made them worth covering.

Overall, I felt this book failed - while there’s certainly enough good information, it was lost among the handshake biographies, repetitive content and overlong introductions to topics. A condensed version, with less interpersonal commentary and stronger focus on the Interaction Design would produce a better product.
Profile Image for Amber Case.
17 reviews21 followers
February 13, 2016
Digital technology has changed the way we interact with everything from the games we play to the tools we use at work. Designers of digital technology products no longer regard their job as designing a physical object--beautiful or utilitarian--but as designing our interactions with it. In Designing Interactions, award-winning designer Bill Moggridge introduces us to forty influential designers who have shaped our interaction with technology. Moggridge, designer of the first laptop computer (the GRiD Compass, 1981) and a founder of the design firm IDEO, tells us these stories from an industry insider's viewpoint, tracing the evolution of ideas from inspiration to outcome. The innovators he interviews--including Will Wright, creator of The Sims, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, and Doug Engelbart, Bill Atkinson, and others involved in the invention and development of the mouse and the desktop--have been instrumental in making a difference in the design of interactions. Their stories chart the history of entrepreneurial design development for technology.Moggridge and his interviewees discuss such questions as why a personal computer has a window in a desktop, what made Palm's handheld organizers so successful, what turns a game into a hobby, why Google is the search engine of choice, and why 30 million people in Japan choose the i-mode service for their cell phones. And Moggridge tells the story of his own design process and explains the focus on people and prototypes that has been successful at IDEO--how the needs and desires of people can inspire innovative designs and how prototyping methods are evolving for the design of digital technology.Designing Interactions is illustrated with more than 700 images, with color throughout. Accompanying the book is a DVD that contains segments from all the interviews intercut with examples of the interactions under discussion.Interviews with:Bill Atkinson • Durrell Bishop • Brendan Boyle • Dennis Boyle • Paul Bradley • Duane Bray • Sergey Brin • Stu Card • Gillian Crampton Smith • Chris Downs• Tony Dunne • John Ellenby • Doug Englebart • Jane Fulton Suri • Bill Gaver • Bing Gordon • Rob Haitani • Jeff Hawkins • Matt Hunter • Hiroshi Ishii • Bert Keely • David Kelley • Rikako Kojima • Brenda Laurel • David Liddle • Lavrans Løvlie • John Maeda • Paul Mercer • Tim Mott • Joy Mountford • Takeshi Natsuno • Larry Page • Mark Podlaseck • Fiona Raby • Cordell Ratzlaff • Ben Reason • Jun Rekimoto • Steve Rogers • Fran Samalionis • Larry Tesler • Bill Verplank • Terry Winograd • Will Wright
Profile Image for Lorenzo Diaz campos.
158 reviews5 followers
August 12, 2015
Padre de la primera computadora laptop y pionero en el diseño de las interfaces modernas
Bill Moggridge fue un pionero de nuestros tiempos, en una época de enorme desarrollo identificó los factores que estaban forjando el nuevo diseño y contribuyó con una visión analítica y certera acuñando el término “diseño interactivo”. Es también cofundador de la mítica compañía de diseño y consultoría IDEO que cambió el mundo como lo vemos, así de fácil. Hoy pasamos gran parte de la jornada enfrente de computadoras y pantallas que controlan nuestro trabajo, entorno e inclusive nuestro entretenimiento, muchos de los principios e invenciones que hacen posible nuestro diálogo con estos aparatos nacieron de conceptos de Bill y su equipo de trabajo.
“Designing Interactions” es sin duda la biblia del diseño moderno. Con más de 40 entrevistas este gran libro nos cuenta la historia del nacimiento del mundo interactivo, son sencillamente increíbles las historias de los protagonistas que crearon cosas como el mouse o las interfaces gráficas como el “Desktop”, los íconos o los punteros en la pantalla.
La necesidad de crear elementos que permitieran hacer accesible el mundo del cómputo para todo público replanteó la manera en la que las personas se aproximan a los objetos. Estas nuevas necesidades abrieron los ojos de Moggridge quien entendió que aún el objeto más cotidiano podía ser estudiado desde una nueva perspectiva. Es precisamente por esto que el entendimiento del cómo las computadoras cambiaron nuestro mundo es clave, porque si algo cambiaron fue el diseño y este volumen narra la historia e ideas detrás de esta transformación.
Profile Image for Iris.
59 reviews
February 4, 2015
The book is more about history and case studies rather than an instructional book as I expected.

Regardless, I found the book really interesting as it told the stories about the development of functions my generation probably takes for granted: copy and paste, the mouse, drop-down menus, etc. When it goes towards the more recent case studies, my favorite was the section about TUI, tangible user interfaces.

My biggest gripe was that it's heavily biased towards Apple. I was also peeved at Electronic Arts interviewee's categories of gamers being all male and him dissing my Nintendo. :P

tl;dr: It was really interesting and informative about interactive design history and various case studies, even though it was totally different from what I expectation of an instructional book.
19 reviews
February 20, 2010
I bought this book thinking it would give examples and insight into product and interaction designs. Instead, it is a bunch of very biased case studies. While interesting, it did not meet my expectations. The author is very Apple biased, and much of the content uses them as role models, and praises things such as the iPod, overlooking the deficiencies and predecessors. It also enforces design elements such as simplicity and eliminating the need to inclusion of more advanced operations. While this is suitable for general users of the products, it alienates the entire demographic of users that try to do more and push technology to its limits.
Profile Image for Sean Howard.
Author 1 book5 followers
January 3, 2008
This is a tome of a book. An unparalleled work that took Bill Moggridge many years. It opens up a view of the digital interaction design word from a human factors point of view.

For people looking for a "how to" book, this is likely not of interest.

For someone looking to gain insight into the vision, models and approach of some of the greatest designers of our era, this is a wonderful keepsake.
Profile Image for Amy.
22 reviews5 followers
August 7, 2010
This book was not what I expected. I hoped for how-to guidelines and novel interaction techniques. Instead, I got a detailed history of interaction design, mostly from the perspective of IDEO and Apple. While quite good as an historical text, Designing Interactions isn't quite what the title advertises.
Profile Image for J.
61 reviews4 followers
January 5, 2011
A wonderful book that expanded my thinking horizons. If you are an experienced interaction designer who wants to understand the historical underpinnings of the most commonplace interaction metaphors of today, this is the book of you. A great case study too on good design covering various "interaction design" domains.... This book is just A+
Profile Image for MK.
72 reviews1 follower
November 8, 2010
A beautiful book, and very interesting if you want a look at how some of our common technological tools (the computer mouse, iPod/iTunes, the desktop metaphor) came to be. As someone with practically zero design background, I really enjoyed this book as a look into the process of user-centered design in a variety of fields.
Profile Image for Ryan Parman.
47 reviews33 followers
February 10, 2012
This book covers interaction design very broadly, and is not specific to any particular medium. It's ~500 pages long, but there are lots of illustrations and it's more about understanding the core concepts of interaction design than it is about reading every single word in the book.
3 reviews2 followers
Currently reading
March 26, 2007
If you want to know what I get geeked about) and the kinds of things I want to get into).
Profile Image for K.
331 reviews2 followers
September 2, 2009
Pretty jargony and opaque... not what I was expecting from Moggridge's funny, human, open, and warm appearance in Objectified. Oh well, I still want to live in his house.
18 reviews
November 10, 2009
This book talks about designing interactions but only touches on the surface, no real depth to the topic of knowledge but a good starting point or overview of Interactions.
16 reviews
March 25, 2010
Kind of boring, and not really useful to anyone looking for practical knowledge. Ok as a pure history book, I guess.
Profile Image for Alice.
55 reviews
July 7, 2010
A very interesting history of design through the 80's/90's and into the 21st century. Well designed book, but maybe a little over-ambitious. It sort of peters out toward the end.
34 reviews1 follower
April 25, 2011
Good book about the design process, but some of the stuff they spotlight at the end is really creepy, and kind of illustrates how designers can make some dumb shit. Like the poop bags for kids.
Profile Image for Michel.
402 reviews133 followers
September 27, 2011
My new iMac doesn't even have a Cd-rom reader.
A 7-year old mostly obsolete book! Things are just too fast, "I'm too old for this shit…"
Profile Image for Reese.
59 reviews
March 11, 2012
Great look at the history of interaction design... but nothing there for the learning and application of it.

Would be a great personal library addition for design geeks though.
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