Watch Frederick van Amstel’s “Vernacular Interaction Design” talk at Interaction’12 | IxDA Conference
Interaction Design is a young field dedicated to how people interact with technology, but people used to interact without technology way long before it. Kid’s street games are one example of what we call Vernacular Interaction Design. Those games have interaction structures that were designed by players themselves across many generations, accumulating a history of successive adaptations for local cultures. By playing those games, children learn how to behave across different social dynamics and, at the same time, update game’s representation of those dynamics by according new rules. But this tradition is under threat. Children are spending more time playing videogames than playing street games. That wouldn’t be a threat if they could adapt videogame rules by themselves, but currently most videogames don’t offer this possibility. Game companies do their best to update their titles, but because they need to operate under mass market rules, they can’t innovate much. This cultural stagnation is happening in many other areas of life, tough. Think about social networking, dating, working.
But Interaction Design can do something about it. Systems can be designed to allow emergent vernacular forms of interactions. Also, old vernacular forms can be revitalized by using them as inspiration for new forms, like Graphic Design did successfully with vernacular typography. This talk will present student works from Faber-Ludens Interaction Design Institute that used children’s games as inspiration for designing enjoyable work interactions.
Frederick van Amstel is cofounder of the first Brazilian Interaction Design Institute. At Faber-Ludens, he conducted research on designing for social interactions, co-creation and collaborative design. He lead consultancy teams for clients like Electrolux, O Globo, Coca-Cola. Frederick is currently doing a PhD on Participatory Design at the University of Twente, Netherlands.