Matt Webb on making things

Matt Webb expands on some of the themes of his We Love Technology presentation, talking about how actually making things provides an expanded field for interaction design innovation, but also how bloody hard it is:

“The grain of a thing is usually hidden, and I use the term in reference to Manuel de Landa at Tate Modern in 2004, on carpenters: not sanding against the grain is not a social construction. you can, but it’ll look terrible. you’re in a partnership with the microstructure of the wood.

What is the grain? We don’t know! How should we respond to it? We don’t even know that we should know!

Thinking through making is about revealing the unknown unknowns.

Sometimes revealing the unknown unknowns points to opportunities, and that’s where innovation comes in.”

Amen to all that. It feels like we’ve been talking about interaction design for ages, without realising that we’re only using a tiny fraction of the letters of the alphabet. Interaction design so far has been one long Oulipo experiment – interesting, occassionally beautiful, but deliberately constrained.

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