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Why interaction design?

 
John Wetherbie
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Josh and Cameron,

How did you two start doing interaction design and what prompted you to write a book on the subject?

Thanks.
 
Cameron Banga
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Hey John,

I got started through my own studio I co-founded back in 2009/2010. As we got going, it became quickly clear that I was by no means the best programmer in our small group of two. In fact, I'm lucky to be able to read StackOverflow or a forum like this and follow the Java/Obj-C enough to get what I need done. Programming was just never my forte, unfortunately.

However as we got going, I started to learn about the field of interface and interaction design, and it intrigued me so much. I started to learn that designing an interface wasn't just about creating pretty pixels, but instead about figuring out how and why buttons/text/views should be placed on screen. I've always been a science/math minded person, and it was extremely interesting to learn that there are great principles in play as to why operating systems have design guidelines, and why content should be displayed to a user in a specific way.

The book that kinda inspired me into writing on the field was The Humane Interface by Jef Raskin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Humane_Interface), which was also published by Addison Wesley (imagine my excitement to know we'd have books through the same publisher). For those who don't know, Raskin was considered to be the father of the original Macintosh before Jobs kicked him off of the project. He then went on to work on the Canon Cat, and many of his ideas on interface and interaction have become common place in computing today.

Jef was really my biggest inspiration as to why I should write about this stuff. My background is in economics, everything computing/design has been self-taught. So I had the fortunate circumstance of having gone through a college path where I had to frequently write and explain complex systems, so the idea of writing technical books on interface seemed fun.

But as for why I did interaction/UI work, I've just found it as fun. I've always been into computers, so this has been my way to make a career out of them!
 
John Wetherbie
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Cameron,

Thanks for the response. Being an engineer and programmer it is really cool to see people involved in this area from different backgrounds. I only occasionally get to work on interfaces so I have to make do with taking classes much of the time.

Speaking of inspirational books - I read Norman's The Design of Everyday Things in the mid-90s. Made me see things a new way. I'm currently reading the revised edition.
 
Cameron Banga
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The Design of Everyday Things is an amazing book, recommend it heavily to anyone who comes across it!
 
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