Designing Interactions (with A. Dix and R. Wakkary)

Seminar title: Designing Interaction
PhD Program in Computer Science and Technology
Department of Informatics

Date: March 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 2010
Time: 9:00-14:00
Place: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Avda de la Universidad 30. Leganés. Sabatini Building. Aula Sun (2.1.C10)

The participation is free.

The seminar will be tought in two tracks:

Track 1: "Designing for Physicality"
Prof. Alan Dix Professor, School of Computing and Communications, Lancaster University, UK.

Track 2: "Sustainable Interaction Design"
Prof. Ron Wakkary, School of Interactive Arts & Technology, Simon Fraser University, Canada.

Each track has associated a mandatory work for PhD students.

Track 1 (Designing for Physicality)
Although we live in an increasingly digital world, our bodies and minds are designed to interact with the physical. When designing purely physical artefacts we do not need to understand how their physicality makes them work - they simply have it. However, as we design hybrid physical/digital products, we must now understand what we lose or confuse by the added digitality. With two and half millennia of philosophical ponderings since Plato and Aristotle, several hundred years of modern science, and perhaps one hundred and fifty years of near modern engineering - surely we know sufficient about the physical for ordinary product design? While this may be true of the physical properties themselves, it is not the fact for the way people interact with and rely on those properties. It is only when the nature of physicality is perturbed by the unusual and, in particular the digital, that it becomes clear what is and is not central to our understanding of the world. This tutorial will discuss some of the obvious and not so obvious properties that make physical objects different from digital ones and attendees are invited to bring along physical objects and mechanical or digital devices to contribute to this discussion. The tutorial will introduce ways to model the physical aspects of devices and how these interact with digital functionality and, in a hands-on session, attendees will work in groups using semi-formal notations to describe with interaction with either a plain physical items (such as a pair of scissors), or a digital device (such as an MP3 player).

Track 2 (Sustainable Interaction Design)
Sustainability in interaction design (SID) is a new concern in design that complements sustainable or ecological design by understanding the role and impact that the design of digital artifacts have in supporting people’s actions in respect to environmental sustainability. In relation to design practice, SID explores how the design of digital artifacts is impacted when considering issues of recycling, reuse, and renewal. The aims of the course are to develop an understanding of the role of interaction design in respect to sustainability with particular attention given to design concepts, research problems, and practice. The seminar will explore three interrelated themes: Cradle to Cradle, Sustainable Identity of Users, Sustainable Interaction Design Framework.

The seminar schedule is:

  • Monday, March 1st: Track 1: 09:00-12:00 Track 2: 12:00-14:00
  • Tuesday, March 2nd: Track 1: 9:00-11:00 Track 2: 11:00-14:00
  • Wednesday, March 3rd: Track 1: 9:00-12:00 Track 2: 12:00-14:00
  • Thursday, March 4th: Track 1: 9:00-11:00 Track 2: 11:00-14:00

Contact us

The Digital Living Initiative

Instituto de Cultura y Tecnología
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Calle Madrid 126
28903 Getafe, Spain

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: +34 91 624 9456
Fax: +34 91 624 9129