Scales of Interaction Design: a follow-up

Steve in Helsinki

I was fortunate to be able to present a talk at Interaction 16 in Helsinki on 2nd March.

You can watch a video of my talk and find talks from other IxD16 presenters on the Interaction Design Association Vimeo channel.

My talk looked at interaction design and how the object of design, and our skills and perspectives, change as we ‘scale up’ from the design of microinteractions through to interconnected, open systems.

One of the key points of the talk is that the very best designers are able to maintain a balance between multiple scales of design simultaneously:

  • The conceptual scale of the design itself – the app, the device, the service, etc,
  • One level down to allow them to get into the details,
  • One level up to provide context and constraints.

During the Q&A Chris Noessel asked me how we hire for the ability of designers to move fluidly between these three focal scales and generally be able to design at multiple scales.

What is it we look for during interviews?

At Meld Studios we look for designers who can demonstrate and articulate the following:

  • portfolio examples that demonstrate different scales of focus. Examples of fine details; of entire apps or services; of connections between different objects.
  • an ability to speak to the work examples in a manner that demonstrates an awareness of the broader context of the work; as well as an attention to the details
  • a desire to work at different scales, particularly in broader or more connected way.

Given that graduates will include in their portfolio examples driven by the program in which they were enrolled, we’d like to see academics give students the opportunity to design at different scales, and teach them to be able to articulate the rationale for their designs at each.

If you’re a recent graduate or career-changer and you’d like to find out more about the practice of design across scales, you might be interested in taking a Design internship at Meld Studios. 

Have you found some great tools that help you design across different scales?  Let me know in the comments or continue the conversation on twitter

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