Before reading Bret Victor’s “A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design” and Chris Crawford’s The Art of Interactive Design, I thought I had a good generic definition of interactivity. In my mind it was when an action occurred between two objects and caused a reaction. I think this goes along with Crawford’s idea of listening, thinking, and speaking. Although, I think I might be missing a clarifying statement about the listening of the second object. According to Crawford, it appears that in order for a true interaction to happen, both “actors” need to listen to an action, think about it, and then thoughtfully speak about it. The analogy of actors makes me realize that it is important to add communication into the definition when discussing technology. In addition, I really liked the idea of varying degrees of interactivity. It’s something I have never thought about until now. It makes me curious if there would be a way to quantify the interactivity of something. I think this is an important part that can be added to the definition. Finally, a key component of Victor’s piece was that interactivity isn’t just about finger touching a screen. Victor points out that our hands are a one of a kind tool that we fail to use. This could be taken even further to bring in all senses.
In general, I think I am now less clear on what is considered interactivity because I realized how broad it can be while still being narrow.
For the sake of this post, I will say that a possible definition of interactivity is a human creating a various level of reaction from a piece of technology by using one of the five senses, with a focus on touch, sight, and/or sound. The only possible example I could come up with for digital technology without interaction is a digital billboard. You can see the information displayed but you can’t change them as the average person.