““We went through so many changes in the definition of design in the 20th century with all the clichés about form following function, and the addition of meaning in the 1960s with post-structuralism, but what is really important right now is communication,” Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at MoMA, said by telephone. (…) “Because of that designers can’t just think in terms of form, function and meaning when they develop new objects, they have to learn a bit of script writing too.”
Though the same same microchips that enable things as small as smart phones to fulfill hundreds of different functions also make them more opaque. In the industrial era when form generally followed function, you could guess how to use an electronic product from its appearance. You can’t do that with a tiny digital device, which is why designers face the new challenge that Ms. Antonelli calls “script writing,” in other words, ensuring that the object can tell us how to use it.
“There is still an imbalance between the aesthetic value of some projects and their functional value, and designers need to make much more effort to explain what they are doing,” Ms. Antonelli said. “This field is moving so fast, but we are still dealing with the old clichés and still adding new ones.”“
Why do I blog this? It’s interesting to see how the curator puts things into perspective (wrt to interaction design). From an STS standpoint, the notion of “script writing” can be understood in two sense: (1) the code writing aspect that underpins interaction design of course, (2) the very idea that designers/engineers embed a vision of users in the technical objects they create… what Actor-Network Theory describes as script-building (among which certain clichés about users’ attitudes, expectations and needs). It’s therefore intriguing that Antonelli uses this “script” term.