A long time ago, what brought us the tools we now take for granted - the mighty mouse, the flat screens, the software and hardware - was the desire to design interactions with technology. Those stories are told in Designing Interactions by Bill Moggridge.
The focus of design is the end user. The enjoyment that individuals - we - gain from using well-conceived products is the hallmark of good design. We design story, an experience, and then how that transfers and translates into our lives. The meaning we derive from it.
Digital technologies designed for interaction with simple interfaces - Twitter, IM, LinkedIn questions and answers, FriendFeed, email, text messaging, even Digg and StumbleUpon to a certain degree - allow us to shorten the distance between ideas and feedback. An outcome of that is in some cases a connection. Do interactions help shape business, too?
Maybe we can ask this one differently - why wouldn't they?
There was another book that was seminal in my thinking around Designing Business, written by Clement Mok. I had the pleasure of meeting Mok at a Fast Company Real Time event in Phoenix back in 2000. Funny how things we pick up along the way are like seeds that start growing us in new directions when properly nourished.
Many of the notions in Mok's book are starting to take hold today. Throw away the org chart and put in an information architecture - what do you see? What are the interdependencies? We all understand what identity design means. It is not the domain of logos and style guides in corporate environments alone anymore. We go back to the relevance of micro interactions to feed what that is and means from the outside in.
The word "interactivity" has become a computing buzz word, but it has a meaning that illuminates and ultimate goal: to create a totally immersive experience. I would add that it infers a correlation between things and carries the ultimate goal of human communication.
If interactions are designed to be transformative experiences, then the business where the interactions occur, will be transformed.
[image adapted from a 1991 HBS report diagram in Mok's book.]