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Physical Interaction 
Design 
@argoncobalt 
Ariel Cotton 
www.electricstud.io 
@argoncobalt
This talk focuses on... 
● My background in interaction design 
● What interaction design is 
● How interaction design can...
Hullo. I’m Ariel Cotton. 
● Artist who makes comics, interactive & figurative art 
● Toy inventor 
● Interaction designer ...
The quintessential fine artist. 
@argoncobalt
I thought STEM was pointless. 
@argoncobalt
Boy was I ever wrong... 
@argoncobalt
I went to Cooper Union for art. 
@argoncobalt
At Cooper I became intrigued by engineering. 
@argoncobalt
Took a break from art for a while. Eventually ended up 
coming back to it and combining it with engineering. 
@argoncobalt
Now an artist + inventor + interaction designer! 
@argoncobalt
My work 
@argoncobalt
Distance Dolls 
@argoncobalt
Lady Godiva 
@argoncobalt
Les Fleurs du Mal 
@argoncobalt
I’m obsessed with unconventional interfaces. 
@argoncobalt
What is interaction design? 
@argoncobalt
Interaction design is... 
● what defines the behavior of an interactive product 
● shaping digital things for people’s use...
History of 
interaction design 
@argoncobalt
@argoncobalt 
Mechanical motion
Electrical devices 
@argoncobalt
Big computers 
@argoncobalt
@argoncobalt 
Personal computers
Xerox PARC 
@argoncobalt
Household digital devices & ubiquitous computing 
@argoncobalt
How do you… (a) do; (b) feel; (c) know? 
@argoncobalt
Isn’t interaction design more or less the same thing as 
user interface design, user experience design, human-computer 
in...
Yes and no. 
@argoncobalt
User experience design. 
@argoncobalt
User interface design. 
@argoncobalt
Human-computer interaction. 
@argoncobalt
Web design. 
@argoncobalt
Industrial design. 
@argoncobalt
Visual design. 
@argoncobalt
Product design. 
@argoncobalt
Interaction design concepts 
@argoncobalt
Why do we need interaction design? 
@argoncobalt
Hello there... 
@argoncobalt
Goal-driven design 
Figuring out what users want and need 
@argoncobalt
“Interface as magic” 
The interactions should be so seamless that the users 
don’t even notice the design 
@argoncobalt
Amazon’s mega dropdown! 
@argoncobalt
Most dropdowns have a bit of a delay. 
@argoncobalt
If they didn’t, then the sub-menu would disappear. 
@argoncobalt
No, it’s not voodoo. It’s merely a triangle. 
@argoncobalt
Usability 
The user interface should be usable and easy to 
understand. (Well no, duh...) 
@argoncobalt
Being intuitive 
Even if the user has never seen a product like yours 
before, navigating the user interface should still ...
Learnability 
In cases where the solution to your design problem calls 
for an extremely unique interface, the user should...
10 Principles of Good Design 
@argoncobalt
Know when to innovate and when to 
stick to paradigms that have already 
been established. 
@argoncobalt
Be willing to learn, accept 
constructive criticism, and know 
that you will make mistakes. 
@argoncobalt
@argoncobalt
A couple more points about 
interaction design... 
@argoncobalt
Being interdisciplinary 
● Many art, design and tech fields are more 
interconnected than people think, and they use 
simi...
Design as a way of life 
● I see everything in life as a design problem waiting to 
be solved. 
● I scrutinize all my surr...
Everywhere you look you’ll see examples of 
interface, layout, and color decision-making. 
@argoncobalt
I take walks through Gowanus and get inspired by 
the old-school typography on all the signs. 
@argoncobalt
Techniques that I use in my work 
@argoncobalt
@argoncobalt
I never go anywhere without a sketchbook. 
@argoncobalt
The Arduino microcontroller platform. 
@argoncobalt
A microcontroller is a very small computer. 
@argoncobalt
The Teensy microcontroller platform. 
@argoncobalt
DEMO: Turning an Arduino into a 
mouse input 
@argoncobalt
Q&A 
@argoncobalt
Farewell 
If you have any questions about Arduino, interaction 
design or anything else I’ve discussed, or you’re interest...
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Physical interaction design

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This talk delves into principles of physical interaction design.

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Physical interaction design

  1. 1. Physical Interaction Design @argoncobalt Ariel Cotton www.electricstud.io @argoncobalt
  2. 2. This talk focuses on... ● My background in interaction design ● What interaction design is ● How interaction design can be applied to physical interfaces, not just software ones ● Teensy microcontroller demo that uses a pressure sensor to control mouse movements on the computer screen @argoncobalt
  3. 3. Hullo. I’m Ariel Cotton. ● Artist who makes comics, interactive & figurative art ● Toy inventor ● Interaction designer ● Merges art, design & technology to create emotionally engaging and novel experiences ● Lives and dies by being interdisciplinary @argoncobalt
  4. 4. The quintessential fine artist. @argoncobalt
  5. 5. I thought STEM was pointless. @argoncobalt
  6. 6. Boy was I ever wrong... @argoncobalt
  7. 7. I went to Cooper Union for art. @argoncobalt
  8. 8. At Cooper I became intrigued by engineering. @argoncobalt
  9. 9. Took a break from art for a while. Eventually ended up coming back to it and combining it with engineering. @argoncobalt
  10. 10. Now an artist + inventor + interaction designer! @argoncobalt
  11. 11. My work @argoncobalt
  12. 12. Distance Dolls @argoncobalt
  13. 13. Lady Godiva @argoncobalt
  14. 14. Les Fleurs du Mal @argoncobalt
  15. 15. I’m obsessed with unconventional interfaces. @argoncobalt
  16. 16. What is interaction design? @argoncobalt
  17. 17. Interaction design is... ● what defines the behavior of an interactive product ● shaping digital things for people’s use ● designing the experience of how users interact with an object or device, especially in the digital world. ● making digital things as user-friendly as possible ● a relatively new discipline @argoncobalt
  18. 18. History of interaction design @argoncobalt
  19. 19. @argoncobalt Mechanical motion
  20. 20. Electrical devices @argoncobalt
  21. 21. Big computers @argoncobalt
  22. 22. @argoncobalt Personal computers
  23. 23. Xerox PARC @argoncobalt
  24. 24. Household digital devices & ubiquitous computing @argoncobalt
  25. 25. How do you… (a) do; (b) feel; (c) know? @argoncobalt
  26. 26. Isn’t interaction design more or less the same thing as user interface design, user experience design, human-computer interaction, web design, product design, industrial design or visual design? @argoncobalt
  27. 27. Yes and no. @argoncobalt
  28. 28. User experience design. @argoncobalt
  29. 29. User interface design. @argoncobalt
  30. 30. Human-computer interaction. @argoncobalt
  31. 31. Web design. @argoncobalt
  32. 32. Industrial design. @argoncobalt
  33. 33. Visual design. @argoncobalt
  34. 34. Product design. @argoncobalt
  35. 35. Interaction design concepts @argoncobalt
  36. 36. Why do we need interaction design? @argoncobalt
  37. 37. Hello there... @argoncobalt
  38. 38. Goal-driven design Figuring out what users want and need @argoncobalt
  39. 39. “Interface as magic” The interactions should be so seamless that the users don’t even notice the design @argoncobalt
  40. 40. Amazon’s mega dropdown! @argoncobalt
  41. 41. Most dropdowns have a bit of a delay. @argoncobalt
  42. 42. If they didn’t, then the sub-menu would disappear. @argoncobalt
  43. 43. No, it’s not voodoo. It’s merely a triangle. @argoncobalt
  44. 44. Usability The user interface should be usable and easy to understand. (Well no, duh...) @argoncobalt
  45. 45. Being intuitive Even if the user has never seen a product like yours before, navigating the user interface should still come fairly naturally to him or her. @argoncobalt
  46. 46. Learnability In cases where the solution to your design problem calls for an extremely unique interface, the user should still be able to internalize it with relative ease. @argoncobalt
  47. 47. 10 Principles of Good Design @argoncobalt
  48. 48. Know when to innovate and when to stick to paradigms that have already been established. @argoncobalt
  49. 49. Be willing to learn, accept constructive criticism, and know that you will make mistakes. @argoncobalt
  50. 50. @argoncobalt
  51. 51. A couple more points about interaction design... @argoncobalt
  52. 52. Being interdisciplinary ● Many art, design and tech fields are more interconnected than people think, and they use similar principles. ● I use principles of interaction design in almost all my work, be it art, inventing or web design. ● Ultimately anything that follows the principles I mentioned is a piece of interaction design. @argoncobalt
  53. 53. Design as a way of life ● I see everything in life as a design problem waiting to be solved. ● I scrutinize all my surroundings with the same critical eye I use when I’m designing something or critiquing another person’s design. ● Interaction design deals primarily with software interfaces, but in order to be a good interaction designer, you need to notice how everybody interacts with everything. @argoncobalt
  54. 54. Everywhere you look you’ll see examples of interface, layout, and color decision-making. @argoncobalt
  55. 55. I take walks through Gowanus and get inspired by the old-school typography on all the signs. @argoncobalt
  56. 56. Techniques that I use in my work @argoncobalt
  57. 57. @argoncobalt
  58. 58. I never go anywhere without a sketchbook. @argoncobalt
  59. 59. The Arduino microcontroller platform. @argoncobalt
  60. 60. A microcontroller is a very small computer. @argoncobalt
  61. 61. The Teensy microcontroller platform. @argoncobalt
  62. 62. DEMO: Turning an Arduino into a mouse input @argoncobalt
  63. 63. Q&A @argoncobalt
  64. 64. Farewell If you have any questions about Arduino, interaction design or anything else I’ve discussed, or you’re interested in keeping up with my work, feel free to find me on Twitter @argoncobalt or look up my website, www.electricstud.io. @argoncobalt

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