Reaction to Crawford’s Interaction

The field of interactivity is conceptually new and yet to be explored. And, as usual, hand in hand with everything new comes a lot of disagreement too. However, Crawford gracefully, with a lot of humour, manages to draw some crucial distinctions and definitions to help us understand what interactivity actually is and why is it important. He brings up and redefines different situations in the way I never thought of before: a falling branch, book, fridge or theatre play are examples used to demonstrate the difference between reaction and interaction and how these terms get very mixed up and misused.

Right when I was strongly disagreeing with what he was arguing in terms of the interactivity of the fridge, he brought up a sensible idea of levels of interactivity. Crawford made a dialogue analogy as an example in which all of the elements have to work 100% in order to make it successfully work, and through which he managed to convince me that the dialogue itself is the core essence of interactivity. This really made me shift my way of thinking about interaction. Yet, to be fair, there was not much theoretical foundation to begin with, as I often take the art of interaction for granted and only question it when it fails (automatic doors all around the campus, I’m looking at you).

What also draw my attention was the recognition of graphic design and the role it plays in the dialogue of interaction. I really agreed with what Crawford said about graphic design and interaction design NOT being two separate steps. I feel like that both sides fail to adapt to the pace the world is evolving in, and sticking to the old categorisation prevents them from recognising that the field of graphic design and interactive design is inevitably merging.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading Crawford’s witty piece, thanks to which I’m getting more and more excited to explore the field of interaction from the practical, creator’s side of it.


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