What is Interaction Criticism?

One of CRIT’s contributions to supporting humanistic approaches in HCI is Jeffrey Bardzell’s development of interaction criticism. It is a critical methodology aimed to support the reading of designs as a means to interrogate them and understand what gives rise to their overall effect.

“We understand design criticism as referring to rigorous interpretive interrogations of the complex relationships between (a) designs broadly construed to include both processes and products, including their material and perceptual qualities as well as their broader situatedness in cultural styles and conventions; and (b) user experiences, which include the meanings, behaviors, perceptions, affects, insights, and social sensibilities that arise in the context of interaction and its outcomes.”

  • Bardzell, Jeffrey. “Interaction criticism: An introduction to the practice.” Interacting with computers 23.6 (2011): 604-621.
  • Bardzell, Jeffrey. “Interaction criticism and aesthetics.” Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2009.
  • Bardzell, Jeffrey, and Shaowen Bardzell. “Interaction criticism: a proposal and framework for a new discipline of HCI.” CHI’08 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2008.

Example applications of the method:

  • Bardzell, Jeffrey, Shaowen Bardzell, and Lone Koefoed Hansen. “Immodest proposals: Research through design and knowledge.” Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2015.
  • Smith, Nancy, Shaowen Bardzell, and Jeffrey Bardzell. “Designing for Cohabitation: Naturecultures, Hybrids, and Decentering the Human in Design.” Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2017.