Frames: Notes on Improvisation and Design


Liz Danzico/Bobulate

Session Type: Presentation

Social spaces, private spaces, unfamiliar spaces—no matter where, people can detect even subtle frameworks and etiquettes. As our relationship to products, services, and to one another has been transformed over the past few years, entirely new frameworks have emerged.

These conditions signal a shift. People are being asked to improvise, to frame their own experiences. The designer merely sets out opportunities for people to use—to perceive connections and take advantage (or not) of a framework. But how do people know how to improvise?

Drawing on improvised models from urban planning to jazz, we investigate improvisation at work and illustrate directions interactions designers might take in understanding how frameworks take hold.


Liz Danzico is equal parts designer, educator, and editor. She has organized information across a variety of industries, including retail, publishing, media and entertainment, nonprofit, and financial services. She co-founded (with Steven Heller) and is Chair of the MFA in Interaction Design Program at the School of Visual Arts. She is an independent consultant in New York and user experience consultant for Happy Cog, on the editorial board for Rosenfeld Media, and columnist for Interactions Magazine.

Liz has taught design at the New School University, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and Columbia University. She’s been editor-in-chief for A Brief Message, editor-in-chief for Boxes and Arrows, and an advisory board member of the Information Architecture Institute. In the past, Liz directed experience strategy for AIGA, where she was responsible for the national web presence and all online and New Riders publications. Before that, she directed the information architecture teams at Barnes & and Razorfish New York.