Defining and Redefining Interaction Design

What we are reminded of in both Chris Crawford and Bret Victor's writings is how relatively innate interactivity is and yet conversely how new the design of interactive experiences is. Unfortunately, lazy interaction design tends to, in the words of Victor,  "extrapolate yesterday's technology and then cram people into it." We live in a tactile world yet the digital tools we imagine to define interactivity in the future (according to Microsoft) are far from tactile. They are unexpressive and cold. Design can't be a showcase for technology. We are already inundated with screen time, so the slight alteration of gestures for creating digital experiences isn't the cure. Chris Crawford defines interactivity as " a cyclic process in which two actors alternately listen, think, and speak." It is from this action vs. reaction paradigm that he highlights dancing with a partner. The interactivity is defined by its exchange only while engaged with another. Above all, Crawford writes that, "good interactivity design integrates form with function." This is vital when we consider Victor's "Rant on the Future of Interaction Design." Are we operating in what Victor defines as "Pictures Under Glass" because it fits our needs best? Victor argues that, "Pictures Under Glass sacrifice all the tactile richness of working with our hands, offering instead a hokey visual facade." I couldn't agree more. Nonetheless, Victor's suggestions for more expressive interactivity is too limited in scope. There are far more expansive and compelling conversations that we can and should be having via our digital tools.