Temporal Form in Interaction Design

By Vallgarda, Anna; Winther, Morten et al. | International Journal of Design, December 2015 | Go to article overview

Temporal Form in Interaction Design


Vallgarda, Anna, Winther, Morten, Mørch, Nina, Vizer, Edit E., International Journal of Design


Introduction

Interaction design is distinguished from most other design disciplines through its temporal form. Temporal form is the computational structure that enables and demands a temporal expression in the resulting design. When programming computers we create a temporal form that then comes to expression through an output of actuators and other materials. Indeed, it is these material manifestations of temporal forms that enable our interactions with computational things, as digital computations in themselves are inaccessible. Thus, temporal form gives interaction design a kinship with temporal arts like music, dance, and film. While several interaction design researchers have already articulated this aspect, we have still to grasp the details of what it entails (cf. Hallnäs & Redström, 2001; Hallnäs & Redström, 2006; Mazé & Redström, 2005; Vallgårda, 2014). How do we experience temporal form in computational things? What significance does the temporal form hold for the overall experience? What is the relation between temporal form and the other form-elements in interaction design? What relations can we find between the expressions of computational things and our experience of them when it comes to temporal forms?

Temporal form is what enables poetry. In music, temporal form is the composition of tones, pauses, and timbre, arranged into harmonies and rhythms. In movies, it is the composition of actions and backgrounds moving stories forward. In poetry, it is the composition of meanings and rhythms. Temporal form holds functional as well as aesthetic power in the composition of the overall design--just as physical form does. The traditional view on temporal form in relation to computational things has been that of speed. It has been a matter of removing delays from hardware and software to enable instantaneous representation on graphical displays; it has been about speeding up computations to achieve faster results, etc. Certainly, the execution speed in a computational thing is important and will affect what we do with it, but there are more aspects of temporal form to be explored than speed. Material and tangible computing have changed what forms of interaction we design for and the materials we use. They have entailed that the contexts in which we use computational things have multiplied and that not all of those contexts are suited for speed as the only temporal expression. Indeed, it has become crucial to pay attention to the underexplored notions of timbre and pauses as well as the relations between materials and state changes. From what can we design our rhythms and harmonies?

Vallgårda (2014) has proposed to see temporal form as part of a trinity of forms that would constitute the form-giving concerns in the practice of interaction design, with the other forms being physical form and interaction gestalt. We have long understood physical form and its relation to materials. In industrial design schools, for instance, students are taught how any physical form can be broken down into cubes and cylinders, and that every other form comes out of the transitions between them (cf. Itten, 1975; Ching, 2010). We know about materials and their influence on form and expression (cf. Manzini, 1989), and we know about style of physical objects (cf. Semper, 2004). We also have an understanding of the interaction gestalt where concepts like affordances (Gibson, 1986) or signifiers (Norman, 2011) help us understand how physical form is linked to the interaction gestalt. Additionally, Dourish (2001) has succeeded in establishing all interaction as social as well as embodied. Indeed, what we lack most is an understanding of temporal form's role in all this.

In the first part of this paper we underline the importance of working explicitly with temporal form in the design of computational things. We give a nuanced account of what temporal form is in interaction design. We then look at related work synthesizing what we already know of the temporal concerns in interaction design and human-computer interaction (HCI). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Temporal Form in Interaction Design
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.