Growth as a Designer

**reblog…I wrote this entry as part of a reflective journal in my first-semester graduate interaction design class at Indiana University‘s SOIC**

Bill Moggridge’s book Designing Interactions was waiting on my desk when I got home tonight.

After taking care of a few lingering project 4 tasks from the day — and after eating a late dinner — I tore open the plastic and ran my fingers over the cover, the spine, and the pages (while closed).

Running my fingers along the closed pages stirred memories of sitting in classrooms from middle school to high school during the first week of school on the day textbooks were passed out. Reminded me of being in used bookstores browsing the shelves. Reminded me of being in the Seminary Co-op in Hyde Park, staring back at the densely packed shelves of theory and criticism. Unique experiences, each.

There’s a certain smoothness to the surface formed when hundreds and hundreds of pages are pressed firmly together. There’s nothing quite like it, actually. You feel a surface and yet you’re keenly aware of each page. Beautiful, really. It’s reminiscent of a wood floor. Perhaps a sign of the pages’ forebears.

It’s interesting to think about what a book might look like if it didn’t look like a book. Ebooks look like books. Why? Does a book mean two covers and pages between? Would you read a book if it didn’t have those features (physical or digital)? Would you call a thing without those features a book? If so, why? If not, why not? How does a book feel? How does it sound?

Why am I asking all these questions about books? I’ll explain…

Another habit of mine is flipping through books before reading them…looking for pictures, judging chapter length, gauging vocabulary, sensing tone, and looking for quotes.

Near the very end of Designing Interactions on page 733, I zeroed in on a passage where Moggridge explains the brainstorming process at IDEO:

Brainstorming can give a fast start to ideation and is often the most useful early on, as the constraints are being shaken out. A typical brainstorm at IDEO has eight to ten participants, with one or two experienced recorders, dubbed, scribes, who record the ideas as they flow from the group. Each session lasts about an hour and 50 to 100 ideas are recorded…Ideas can come at any time, often from unexpected directions.

50 to 100 ideas! In about an hour! Fifty. to. One hundred. Ideas! Unbelievable! And wonderful.

So then why all the questions about books? Because I feel like I should be asking those questions about everything — and today it happened to be a book — in order to grow as a designer.

If as an interaction designer I’m going to shape others’ lives with interactive artifacts,  then shouldn’t I be constantly/consciously evaluating and re-evaluating my own interactions and how they shape my life? So that when I’m on a team, I can contribute my share of the 50-100 ideas generated during that first brainstorming session?

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