following discussion was conducted over a six-week period late in 2002.
We invited members of Loop’s advisory board and several distinguished
guests to address the question of how we, as an emerging community of
interest, might begin to address the critical question of preserving the
history of our field. Participants include Loop board members, Hugh Dubberly,
Jodi Forlizzi, Challis Hodge and Nathan Shedroff; Brenda Laurel, Chair
of the graduate Media Design Program at the Art Center College of Design;
Peter Lyman, Professor and Associate Dean of the School of Information
Management and Systems at UC Berkeley; Philip Meggs, design historian
and School of the Arts Research Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University;
and Peter Morville, president and founder of Semantic Studios.
The article represents a virtual
roundtable in that none of the panelists met in the same place or
conversed simultaneously, but communicated exclusively by e-mail. However,
as in a real roundtable, questions were posed separately to
the panelists, and each had the opportunity to respond before moving on
to the next question. All panelists were given the opportunity to respond
to others comments in addition to answering the question. Each
had permission to pass on any question. Seven questions were cycled through all eight
panelists in a steadily paced and intricate schedule dutifully maintained
by Loops intern, Kim Fleischman. We are indebted to her for stewarding
Our questions regarding preserving
the history of interaction and experience design appear below. We were
very impressed by the thoughtfulness and common sense of purpose revealed
in the discussion that ensued. We feel that this is an important issue
and hope to continue addressing it in future issues. We encourage you
to add your thoughts via the commenting feature that accompanies the article.
A final question was
asked after the completion of the roundtable. It asked for nominations
of items for an as of yet uncreated collection of experience
design artifacts. The responses are personal and diverse in their
approach, but provide an interesting perspective on what
might characterize an archive of interaction and experience design.
It is with great sadness that we
announce in this introduction the passing away of one of our panelists,
Professor Philip B. Meggs. In the second week of our roundtable, Phil
reluctantly excused himself from participation as he began treatment for
a recurrence of leukemia. He had intended to continue, if able, from his
hospital bed, but sadly, he passed away within weeks of beginning his
treatment. While his input is noticeably minimal, we feel it is important
and significant to include his voice. Phil was a very generous colleague
to us at Virginia Commonwealth University and a highly accomplished educator
and design historian. We dedicate this article, and our work on Loop
as a whole to his memory in hopes of building upon his important
legacy in design history.
Do you see value in explicitly addressing the history of Experience / Interaction Design? What role does history and
precedent play in your work today?
What requirements should be placed on creating a credible representation
of an Experience/Interaction design project? What is your current approach
to archiving your work, or the work of your institution? How effective
has this approach been?
If what we claim to design is experience as well as artifacts, how can
we represent the historical record of this expanded notion of the significance
of a design?
How can the design of a website be effectively captured from the Internet—a
dynamic and unstable environment? What is a sufficient and appropriate
representation of a dynamically generated and possibly tailor-made publication
How adequate is the case-study model for capturing and archiving work
in interactive products and services? What are the benefits of such an
approach? What might be lost?
Who should be responsible for framing and maintaining the history of Interaction/Experience
design? Is this the responsibility of individual designers and design
offices, academic historians or organizations like the AIGA? Should an
archive be established for maintaining and disseminating experience design?
If so, what form should it take?
Much of the past history of design has centered on the work of individuals.
Does the collaborative and technical nature of Experience / Interaction
design make this model obsolete? What is the appropriate organizing principle
of a history in these fields?
A Final Question: Items for an Archive of Experience Design
After completion of the virtual roundtable, we asked our participants to
imagine themselves curators of a collection of experience design history
and to tell us what they would choose to include in it.