Reading Response: Interaction Design Sketchbook

Reading Bill Verplank’s “Interaction Design Sketchbook” has really made me reflect on the prevalance and importance that computers have taken on in our lives today. I found his section on paradigms particularly interesting in the way that he provides an in-depth exploration to the many different roles and uses that human beings attribute to computer devices. From brains to tools to fashion, it just goes to show the major impact that technology plays in our everyday lives, not only by taking on deep-rooted significance, but by infiltrating almost every aspect/need. From Verplank’s reading, one can gain a sense of how incredibly pervasive computers have become– just as McLuhan rightly said, they have literally become extensions of us. Which might bring up an alarming question: After having relied so heavily on computers for so long, what would we be without them now? Verplank points how computers have evolved to meet our needs–from utility to transportation to expression–but have we become so dependent on technology to fulfill these desires that today’s society can not do so without the help of an electronic device? If stripped bare of technology, would we be able to cope?

Verplank claims that it is computer technology’s increasing and integrative presence in society that poses challenges to interaction design. Having said that though, it should be asked that instead of being obstacles, perhaps the fact that computers are becoming more and more ubiquitous and embedded can be used as a propelling force to make the process of interaction design better and that much more compelling? Instead of looking at the rampancy and dependency of computers as roadblocks that must be worked around, perhaps designers should use these to their advantage as foundation to build upon, in which their designs can feed off of.

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