Helen Waters was one of the jurors for the Interaction Design Awards 2012. During the reviewing process she discovered what actually defines a great user experience. It’s something that leaves tech behind and address larger systems of interaction. In an article for Co.Design she defines four elements: building platforms, moving beyond the screen, seamlessly integrating data and empowering the user.
As it happens, some clues about the future of the discipline lay among the category winners in the awards program (of which I was a juror). Many of these winners were clearly an integral part of a deeper product strategy. Many also reflected the wider shift away from command-and-control, marketing-driven design projects toward a more symbiotic relationship between design and outcome that’s becoming more common in the world at large. That’s a good thing, though it does make the job of teasing apart and assessing design’s role and impact infinitely tricky. And while “gamification” is such a horrid word that anyone saying it out loud should immediately subtract five points from their personal life score, it’s clear that fun and play are now serious business.