Interaction Design for the Fourth Dimension

Session Title

Interaction Design for the Fourth Dimension


Maria Cordell, Macquarium

Session Type: Presentation

We spend a great deal of time thinking about and documenting design in
two dimensions via sketches, flows, and wireframes, often for designs
that are also rendered in two dimensions. We very often consider and
incorporate three dimensional use and environmental information
obtained via ethnography, contextual inquiry, and user studies. But we
seldom evaluate or fold in the very real effects of a user’s
relationship with design over time.

As important as any other dimension, time is a key design ingredient
in an interactor’s relationship with a product, service, or system.
Temporal considerations enable us to explore how a design’s usability
may vary or degrade over time–especially as changes inevitably occur
in a user’s context, point of view, and experience level. Taking a
long term, temporal view lets us plan not only for known, near-term
needs, but for a natural evolution that must be supported.

Science and various technical disciplines have been wrestling with
time for, well, a long time, and a rich set of concepts and techniques
await exploration, adaptation, and perhaps outright appropriation.
This presentation will consider temporal concepts from physics,
mathematics, business, and even landscape design to seek insights that
enable us to deliver designs that meaningfully and usefully evolve
with their users.


Maria Cordell is Principal User Experience Architect at Macquarium in
Atlanta. In a career that dates way back, Maria has led and produced
numerous successful enterprise software and Web design projects–from
corporate Web sites to enterprise-class rich Internet applications and
desktop apps–for companies in telecommunications, industrial wireless
data transmission, retail sales, terminal server optimization, and
optical physics. Maria holds an MS in Information Design and a BS in
Physics, both from Georgia Tech. She’s an avid photographer, auto
racer, gardener, and amateur radio operator, and the main instigator
behind IxDA Atlanta.