Lauralee Alben has written an article called At the Heart of Interaction which claims that human experience–not technology–is the essence of interactive design. It takes heart, passion, truth, common sense, a sense of discovery and vision to create a good experience. For every point she introduces a story which supports her point of view. For example as a story about common sense she writes about a potato peeler and as a story about heart she tells about a garden of the Alzheimer’s Senior Access Center. Other stories involve Macintosh, an electronic garden, a farmer website and a cancer center.
According to Alben, having a heart when designing means summoning up courage, love and empathy and being willing to embrace the people who are being designed for. Passion means expressing own ideas and supporting others’, staying awake to life and the power or work. Truth means recognizing the real people and not reducing them to abstract labels, such as “consumers” or “users”. Common sense means sourcing the design from the people who will use the design in the end. Sense of discovery means being willing to give up being experts and stepping into other people’s lives and understanding what they have to teach us. Vision means to have an ability to imagine experiences that engage minds, senses, and spirits and to see the profound possibilities.
Alben says that we are human beings first and designers second. No amount of professionalism can substitute for our ability to be personally involved. The quality of life can be affected. Through this kind of interaction design there’s also an opportunity to design not only quality experiences but humanity.