28 November 2006

Book review: Designing Interactions by Bill Moggridge

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Designing Interactions
According to Andrew Otwell (a Seattle, WA based information architect and interaction designer), Bill Moggridge’s new book Designing Interactions is “an important book, the first attempt at a real cultural history of the field of interaction design, from its beginnings with Douglas Englebart and Xerox PARC, through current work designing for ubiquitous computing.”

“Unfortunately,” he says, it “suffers from some very serious flaws,” and he hopes “that all readers will bring an especially critical eye to it.”

In his review, he focuses on a few things in particular that bother him about the book and Moggridge’s approach to the material.

“First, he overuses (and misuses) the interview format, without providing authenticating evidence for the stories told by his subjects. Long stretches of the book feel like little more than mindless design-star fan journalism about the authors pals and their companies.”

“Finally, Moggridge never misses an opportunity to use his own company, IDEO, in a case study, or one of its employees in an interview. But by failing to make that vested interest clear, Moggridge turns the book into a marketing project. Bruce Sterling’s jacket blurb describes Designing Interactions as “a labor of love.” In this case, love is, if not blind, than pretty nearsighted. The book really should at the very least have the word “IDEO” in its title.”

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