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Do Architects and Designers Think about Interactivity Differently?

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This essay has three parts. In Part 1, I review six biases that frame the way architects and human–computer interaction (HCI) practitioners think about their design problems. These arise from differences between working on procedurally complex tasks in peripersonal space like writing or sketching and being immersed in larger physical spaces where we dwell and engage in body-sized activity like sitting, chatting, and moving about. In Part 2, I explore three types of interface: classical HCI, network interfaces such as context-aware systems, and socio-ecological interfaces. An interface for an architect is a niche that includes the very people who interact with it. In HCI, people are still distinct from the interface. Because of this difference, architectural conceptions may be a fertile playground for HCI. The same holds for interactivity. In Part 3, I discuss why interactivity in HCI is symmetric and transitive. Only in ecological and social interaction is it also reflexive. In ecological interfaces, people co-create bubbles of joint awareness where they share highly situated values, experience, and knowledge.

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