Saffer, Chapter 8, “Prototyping, Testing, and Development”

I found Saffer’s definition of interface design–as (it) is distinct from interaction design–quite helpful: “the experienced representation of the interaction design, not the interaction design itself. The interface is what people see, hear, or feel, and while it is immensely important, it is only a part of interaction design” (p. 170).

Once again, Saffer provides a guide–this time though the prototyping, testing, and development process(es)–that is at once concise and thorough.  His point about the great importance of prototyping is also well taken, and something I hadn’t really known/thought about before. (I guess that’s why I’m in school for this stuff….) It was also good and interesting to read a point I’ve encountered variations of in a number of other classes/reading–that “the ‘end’ of the design process is seldom the end” (p. 191).


Saffer, Chapter 6, “Ideation and Design Principles”

I found many of Saffer’s arguments on the vitalness of, and recommendations for, ideation processes to be  genuintely stimulating and useful. Now that I think back on it, I’m fairly certain that the vast majority of the time I’ve been in any kind of brainstorming–or other kind of ideation–session, the I’ve been in has done it quite wrong. Reminders like “At this point in the design process, quantity–not quality–is what matters the most” (p. 114) are more than necessary. There’s only so much one can resist being concerned about being judged for offering up crazy- or stupid-sounding ideas off the top of one’s head, of course, but I guess it just takes the right group/kind of people (perhaps those who’ve established a good amount of trust with one another first) to do this kind of concept creation well. Reading this chapter actually reminded me of the first time I ever heard the term “brainstorming”–by a “Gifted and Talented” (i.e. smart-or-otherwise-talented-kid class I had for one class period a day) teacher in 6th grade who had our small group. I think that might have been my purest experience with the practice. I also really liked the notion of “How would it work if it was magic?” (p. 119).

I found Saffer’s interview with Larry Tesler pretty interesting, too. Tesler’s positions sound almost like zen (or at least more zen then I’d been imagining the field to be)–humble, embracing a healthy amount of selflessness, a kind of compassionate, verbally economical.