terça-feira, 18 de março de 2008
What is interaction?
This week we were discussing the definition of interaction in a HCI (Human Computer Interaction) class. Alex Sandro Gomes, PhD Université de Paris V, initiated the class breaking some paradigms. He showed us the reasons why students with not much Social Science background, technicians, are far away from being aware of interaction as something more complex than a GUI (Graphic User Interface). To design a product or a service to users, we must start by observing and understanding the current problem and the context of this task or action. But this appears to be difficult to students who usually define the user behavior with determistic steps. For these professionals, the cognitive process and its relationship with the action are not used to support the solution design, and the result is a poor designed interaction.
After each student has exposed their own understanting about "what is interaction", we had started to agree with an unique definition for everyone, which can be based in these words:
"Simply stated, interactions are reciprocal events that require at least two objects and two actions. Interactions occur when these objects and events mutually influence one another" Wagner (1994)
It's a reciprocal action: two people can interact between themselves, or with an object like a machine. When you interact with this object, it changes you, and you change the object. Pay attention: we don't need to modify physically something to consider that we had really modified it. At the moment that you have a new meaning for the object, it's already modified, in this case in a conceptual way.
In learning context (supported by desktops or mobile devices), we can see several kinds of interaction styles. Here are few of these: learner-learner, learner-instructor and learner-content. In every kind of interaction we must promote the best user experience. But, for that, we need to ask the user to answer these folow questions about each interaction: "what?", "why?" and "how?".
We will be back in this subject soon... probably with these answers. =D