Digital products are usually designed to draw us in. First they get our attention, then they keep us engaged and make us come back for more. When designing experiences that is what we aim for as designers, right?
But we also know that technology has considerably altered the way we interact with each other and this has become a problem. Take teaching for example: Governments and schools are pushing teachers to use digital tools in their classrooms but when looking closer we can observe that those “tools” are more often a distraction. Technology isn’t always a positive addition and the full-immersive type of experience doesn’t always fit.
Maybe it is time to reconsider the way we use technology in social situations where human interaction shouldn’t be interrupted. One approach is the so-called shallow interaction design. Jes Koepfler and Kieran Evans held a great talk on the topic at this year’s IxDA in Helsinki and define shallow interaction design as follows:
“Shallow interaction design is a new way of thinking about human-computer interaction. We define shallow interaction design as the patterns and features of a user experience that promote surface-level, or shallow, interactions with technology devices, to minimize distraction. Shallow interaction design focuses on getting technology out of the way in order to support positive social interactions, like paying attention to the people and environment around you. Using shallow interaction design to reinforce human-to-human interactions is critical for activities that involve collaboration and cooperation among physical groups.”
This is a very interesting angle to look at human-computer interaction and definitely worth looking into. Here is their talk from IxDA 2016:
Here you can find all relevant links to the topic: http://shallowixd.com/
Click here for Evans’ and Koepfler’s article on shallow interaction design on Smashing Magazine.