Introductory Blog for Physical Interactivity

How would you define physical interaction? What makes for good physical interaction? Are there works from others that you would say are good examples of digital technology that are not interactive?

Chris Crawford’s definition of interactivity in his book “The Art of Interactive Design” is a cyclic process in which two actors alternately listen, think, and speak. In my opinion, physical interactivity handles the relationship between users, media, and the environment; the media can be a screen or a switch.

For some digital technology that is not interactive, such as the LED advertisements on the big screens of Times Square, the traditional earphones (not the ones with volume or play control like earPods), the audio guide in museums, etc. Users are only participating but not interacting and thus giving feedbacks.

Inspired by Chris’s three principles of good interaction design, I have personal criteria towards physical interactivity. First, designers should listen to the users or audience, figure out the core behavior we want the product to interact with another person. What time is it in general? Then, think about the design of media on time and space scale, to help users complete a task efficiently and happily. For the speaking part, getting feedback in time is necessary to know what users’ real demands are.

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