Interaction Design WikiInter-Action Design

Inter-Action Design 2020

Instructor: Prof. Dr. Karmen Franinovic

Inter-Action Design seminar is an introduction into the field of interaction design, its history, concepts and future perspectives, from user-centred to life-centred design. We also discuss a specific IAD approach grounded on the notion of Inter-Action and its foundation in relational and activity-based thinking and making. This seminar will provide a base for the upcoming semesters courses and your projects in which we will interweave theory and practice.

Note: As some of the readings are not freely accessible, all the readings will be provided at Paul learning platform course Theorie 1.2 VIAD Inter-Action Design BDE-BDE-T-VS-1002.20H.001

Coop Himmelb(l)au in Basel, 1971


Session 1: Human-Centred Design

21. September 2020.

time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
location: Zoom

Topics: history of interaction design, user-centred design, tangible design, critical design…

Session 2: Diversity beyond Human

23. September 2020.

time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
location: Zoom

Guest: Prof. Dr. Sascha Roesler

Topics: atmosphere, spatial diversity, bio diversity…

Session 3: Design Symposium (cancelled)

Session 3: Attunement : Theory in the Field

28. September 2020.

time: 9.00am - 12.00pm
location: Zurich outdoors

Topics : attunement, situated knowledge, situated interaction…  

Take a walk through the city of Zurich and develop new ways of observation. A set of sensing and sketching exercises can provide an in-depth understanding of urban space, its infrastructures and interactions, and thus is the basis for a multisensory and people-centered design.

Exercise 1. Sound Postcards

The groups of four to five participants walk to an urban area chosen by the group. At the location, they close their eyes and listen to their surroundings for five minutes. The leader of the group keeps the time and the security of the others in the group. After the silent and blinded observation, each person creates a visual representation of sounds and soundscape they heard in an A5 format (or a notebook page). After approximately five to ten minutes, the participants share their visual annotations and describe what they have perceived.

Exercise 2. Awareness

Focus visually on one thing in the environment and stay with it for 5 minutes. Don’t move your eyes to other things in your surroundings. Sketch and write down what you saw and felt.

Exercise 3. Relations

Look at all the other things in the environment and see how they related to your thing from the previous exercise. Draw at least 3-5 relations and describe how they relate to the thing you were focusing on.

Session 4: Ecological Thinking / Interaction : Theory in the Field

28. September 2020.

time: 13.00am - 17.00pm
location: Zurich outdoors

Topics : affordances, embodiment, enactive interaction…

Exercise 4. Sensorial Ecologies

Move through an urban area and observe how its elements interact between each other.

Sketch and describe sensorial ecologies :

Describe how you (or another single person) interact with those ecologies.

Exercise 5. Social Ecologies

Observe an area and how people interact with their surroundings and each other.

Develop and describe its social ecologies through:

  1. Flow map (movement of people in space, grouping, body positions).

  2. Attractor map: Describe and sketch social attractors (where/how people can isolate? where/how do people gather? for how long? why?) Describe and sketch spatial attractors (what attracts people and what rejects them?)

Session 5: Inter-Action

5. October 2020.

time: 10.30 - 12.30
location: Zoom

Topics : digital, analog, digitalisation, inter-action

Session 6: What is the meaning of „active“ in living beings and materials?

9. October 2020.

time: 11.00am - 13:30
location: Zoom

Panel: Khashayar Rhazghandi, Michael Hirschbichler, Karmen Franinovic, Andreas Gehrlach

Coworking Materials conference, Linz

Topics : action, active materials, intentionality, meshwork

Session 7: Otherness

12. October 2020.

time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
location: Zoom

Questions: posthuman, gender, intra-action, new materialism, active materials 

Session 8: Complexity

19. October 2020.

time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
location: Zoom

Topics: acting, leveraging, ecosystems, biosphere, sustainability

Session 9: Life-Centred Design

9. November 2020.

time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
location: Zoom

Topics: Life-Centred Design, Transitional Design, Planet-Centred Design

Session 10: Essay  topic / motivation / structure  

16. November 2020.

time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
location: Zoom

Essay topic: What is interaction design?

Through the course, we have seen many topics and approaches to designing interactions, both digital and analogue. Pick up one of these approaches or topics and develop it through your own questions and ideas. Chose at least one project that exemplifies the approach or topic you have chosen and discuss how theoretical positions and questions have been developed in further through practice.

Essay writing (3-5 Pages)


Session 11: What is Interaction Design? Essay presentations

7. December 2020.

time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
location: Zoom

Session 12: Exam / Feedback

14. December 2020.

time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
location: Zoom

Individual discussion and feedback


Grades will be based on the oral and written presentations and on class participation. Contributing to constructive group feedback is an essential aspect of class participation. Regular attendance is required. Two or more unexcused absences will affect the final grade. Arriving late on more than one occasion will also affect the grade.

Class participation 40% 

Essay / Exam 60%

Any assignment that remains unfulfilled receives a failing grade.