Aesthetics of interaction
In Aesthetics of Interaction – A Literature Synthesis by Lenz, Diefenbach and Hassenzahl they analyze 19 papers describing the aesthetics of interaction to find a common ground and language to be able to critique interactions in a less subjective manner. They find common attributes that can be used to describe broader needs or categories that describe how the interaction feels like security, autonomy and so forth.
I like how texts like these can show things that seem so obvious when you read them. Finding a new language around these things really make me think in different manners and reveal patterns that I didn't see before.
Having theses attributes gives us the opportunity to design something different and consciously try to make our interactions break with our established thought and patterns. Is faster always better? Should we really have so many notifications or should I as a designer try to alleviate the information overload and the constant call for attention. Computers and by extension smartphones are built as tools but when we use them as social devices we might need to design them with different attributes.
I listened to Kara Swisher interview the psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt about bias in tech on Recode Decode the other day. An interesting bit was when Eberhardt talked about a social network for neighborhoods that slowed down it's UI to make people think more when they wanted to report a suspicious person. By doing this they avoided a lot of racism.