Thoughts on Interaction Design An essay series by Boris Müller

Reflections on the role of design in technology, data visualisation and knowledge production.

The Urban Complexity Lab is a research space between the Design Department and the Urban Futures Institute for Applied Research. While our main topic is data visualization, the lab positions itself at the intersection of design, technology and the humanities. Our aim is not only to conduct research into interactive data visualisation but also to reflect on the research process and the context of their creation.

Boris Müller – co-director of the uclab – has started to write a series of essays under the general theme of »Thoughts on Interaction Design«. The essays are consciously written from a design perspective. They deal with questions that we engage on a daily basis in our design process and in our research. Many of these questions and discussions are highly relevant for our work, but they seldom find their way into formal publications.

So the essay series »Thoughts on Interaction Design« is an informal collection of observations and reflections on the role of design in the context of technology, data visualisation and knowledge production.

The Essays

Thoughts on Interaction Design (Introduction)

Interaction design is a weird discipline. It shapes our perception of digital technology. It makes complex digital systems understandable and manageable. It provides access to huge information systems. It allows people to participate in all kinds of online social activities. It defines the look and feel of soft- and hardware. It is a truly global design. And yet – it is not a popular subject of public debate. {Continue}


In Defence of Intuition

As design becomes more methodological and scientific, it is important to acknowledge that the core ability of designers is intuition. {Continue}


Design in Four Revolutions

In order to understand interface and interaction design, it is useful to look at the history of design – and at the history of industrial revolutions. Every single one of these revolutions had its characteristic technologies that changed social, economic and environmental conditions. And each revolution had its specific design. {Continue}


Type Casting – or: The Comic Sans of Errors

Typefaces resemble actors. So which font is which performer? And who is Comic Sans? {Continue}


Picture, Depiction and Deception – Why Data Visualisations are Cultural Images

Data visualisations are usually created by computers – but they are not technical images. Every visualisations is an interpretation of data and as such a cultural image. {Continue}



Calligraphy by Stefanie Weigele.