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About the Interaction Design Foundation
The Interaction Design Foundation – the IDF - is a ten year old transformative non-profit enterprise focused on educating, informing and stimulating the global design community. The organization has created a powerful cloud based publishing model, blending free courses and textbooks with an immersive web site and social media presence for thought leaders, students, authors, academia, design professionals, futurists and tech-challenged consumers.
As vertical market focused MOOC ("massive open online courses"), IDF provides anytime/anywhere "absolutely free" access to original courseware developed in collaboration with top tier Universities, Companies, Authors and Thought Leaders from Stanford, Cambridge, Harvard, MIT, SAP Labs, IBM Research, and such noted authors as: Clayton Christensen, Don Norman, Alan Dix, Steve Mann, Eric von Hippel and Tom Erickson.
Each day tens of thousands of students and professional designers of all kinds (product design, User Experience, software development, visual design, graphics) access and engage with IDF’s curated content in the form of courses, interactive text and video, TV channel, membership forums and global design events. The high-growth ten year old non-profit has been self-financed from day one, recently supported by a corporate sponsorship from SAP.
What do we do?
You deserve free access to educational materials - worth thousands of dollars - whether you are from New York or New Delhi. That's our mission!
In short, we do it as a labour of love and hope you will help us or join us !
The Executive Board and the founders
Some of the news outlets who have mentioned us
World’s Tech Elite Named to Interaction Design Board
A sketch by Bill Buxton inspired the computer touch-screen’s touch. An early copy of Don Norman’s Living with Complexity, a 2010 book about how well-designed devices can tame a complex world, made its way to Al Gore’s cluttered desk.
Today the Interaction Design Foundation, the IDF, has announced its new executive board. The executive board includes Norman; Buxton, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research; Ken Friedman, professor and formerly dean of the Faculty of Design at Swinburne University, Australia; Michael Arent, vice president of user experience at SAP Business Objects; Olof Schybergson, founder and CEO of Fjord, a digital service design consultancy; Jonas Lowgren, a professor of interaction design at Sweden’s Malmo University; and Dan Rosenberg, a user experience executive, consultant and professor. All executive board members are serving gratis.
The foundation’s keystone project is Interaction-Design.org, a website that publishes free and open educational materials for students, industry leaders and individual tech designers. The present centerpiece of the IDF is the ever-expanding Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction written by 100+ leading designers, Ivy League professors, CEOs, futurists and bestselling authors from across the high-tech universe. Currently the encyclopedia numbers 35 short textbooks or chapters which students, professors and professionals can assemble in any way they want in order to make their own individualized compendium.
Don Norman has also contributed to a chapter. Three other contributing authors are Clayton Christensen, the Harvard professor praised as “brilliant” by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as Steve Mann, known as the father of wearable computing and the inspiration for Google’s high-profile “Project Glass”, and Stu Card, a senior research fellow at Xerox PARC and leading pioneer in human-computer interaction. Other contributing authors are from MIT, Stanford University, Google, IBM, SAP, Microsoft, Cambridge University, Stockholm University, Yahoo, Carnegie Mellon University, and many more companies and universities.
The website also includes a TV station with educational videos and interviews filmed around the world by the team behind Interaction-Design.org.
The goal is nothing less than making technology more user-friendly by giving designers free educational material at the highest quality. For everyone, everywhere. From New York or New Delhi. Rich and poor.
“We’re leading a battle against frustrating and time-consuming technology — poor designs that drain our productivity, our dignity and sometimes our sanity,” says Founder of the IDF Mads Soegaard. “Too many PCs, mobile devices, household appliances and software applications are designed with engineers in mind, not consumers. In fact, study after study shows that computers are the leading cause of lost productivity. One survey revealed that crashes, printer jams and network problems cost the average UK employee 48 minutes per day. That’s one reason why we’re reaching out to the next generation of tech designers with free, world-class educational materials.”
Don Norman has been called a peerless critic in his quest to expose the flaws of ill-designed machines. He is a cognitive scientist who worked for Apple, has written half a dozen books on technology and design, and taught at USC San Diego and Northwestern University. His book, The Design of Everyday Things, published in 1986 and reissued in 2002, became a best-seller and, according to Harold Thimbleby of Middlesex University, “defined the field of human computer interaction.” He is a co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, a consulting and research firm specializing in user interfaces.
Bill Buxton, a Toronto-based computer scientist, designer, writer and lecturer, has spent 30 years studying the human aspects of technology. He is a principal researcher for Microsoft and taught at several universities worldwide. He pioneered multi-touch interfaces and music composition tools in the 1970s and in 2010 BusinessWeek named him among the World’s Most Influential Designers. He is the author of the 2007 book, Sketching User Experience: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design.
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To Make Technology More User-Friendly,
Non-Profit Gives Designers Free Educational Materials
DENMARK, June 20th, 2012 — If you feel like a dunce whenever you try to decipher the instructions to a new microwave, format a paragraph in the latest version of Word, or coax a wireless printer into talking to a computer, Mads Soegaard has a message for you: “It’s not your fault. It’s the technology that’s dumb, not you.”
The 37-year-old former IT worker is so convinced that better tech design will improve everyone’s quality of life that he and his wife Rikke sold their car, mortgaged their home and lived on a semi-deserted island for a time in order to re-launch www.interaction-design.org — a nonprofit organization dedicated to distributing educational materials to industry, academia and individuals across the globe — free of charge.
Interaction-Design.org wants to democratize knowledge by distributing free materials produced by the world’s leading technology designers, professors, futurists and bestselling authors. Two contributing authors are Clayton Christensen, the Harvard professor praised as “brilliant” by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, as well as Steve Mann, known as the father of wearable computing and the inspiration for Google’s high-profile “Project Glass.” Unlike nonprofits such as the Khan Academy, however, Interaction-Design.org also aims to democratize the usability of technology through improved product designs.
“We’re leading a battle against frustrating and time-consuming technology — poor designs that drain our productivity, our dignity and sometimes our sanity,” says Soegaard. “Too many PCs, mobile devices, household appliances and software applications are designed with engineers in mind, not consumers. In fact, study after study shows that computers are the leading cause of lost productivity. One survey revealed that crashes, printer jams and network problems cost the average UK employee 48 minutes per day. That’s one reason why we’re reaching out to the next generation of tech designers with free, world-class educational materials.”
Interaction-Design.org currently distributes (and constantly updates) The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, a magnum opus featuring 30 chapters on topics ranging from “User Experience and Experience Design” to “Wearable Computing,” “Visual Aesthetics” and “Semiotics.”
Since its founding in 2002, the organization has helped to modernize the publishing industry by:
- Freeing readers from restrictive copyrights that prohibit re-use of materials for commercial purposes. “We’ve designed our copyright strategy for the author and the reader, not the publisher and the profit,” says Mads. “As long as you credit the author, you’re free to use our materials — even for commercial purposes.”
- Reinventing educational materials as a genre, mixing HD video interviews, interactive illustrations, online integration of basic research and regular text, and focusing on tablets and ebook-readers over printed materials.
- Providing aid for educational institutions and companies in developing countries, giving them free access to materials that would otherwise be unaffordable. Twenty percent of readers hail from developing countries.
For more information, contact Mads Soegaard at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.Interaction-Design.org.
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About The Interaction Design Foundation
Headquartered in Arhus, Denmark, the primary goals of Interaction-Design.org are to:
- Create and publish free and open educational materials for industry, academia and individual technology designers — materials written and produced by leading designers, professors, futurists and bestselling authors from around the globe.
- Enhance the design, function and usability of technology by helping to educate the next generation of user interface designers, user experience managers and product designers.
Says Interaction-Design.org founder Mads Soegaard: “Every day, I hear people say, ‘I’m not tech-savvy. I should take a course to learn this. I must not have read the manual properly.’ People should know that their frustrations with technology are not symptoms of their own intellectual inadequacy, but symptoms of badly designed technology. Technology shouldn’t need a manual. If you need to include a manual, you haven’t designed the product properly. One of our goals is to create a more people-oriented generation of designers and programmers. We want them to reimagine high-tech products that are intuitive and easy to use.”
Through multimedia materials such as The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, the organization’s authors, editorial team and advisory board are working to create a publishing venue tailored to authors and readers instead of profits.
Already, Interaction-Design.org’s free online approach to publishing has helped authors reach 20,000% more readers than their previous records, which is quite an achievement when you consider that only best-selling technology and design authors have submitted materials.
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Stories from readers
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Rinku from India uses our educational materials to advance her career in IT. She wanted to take a picture of herself with a printout of our logo. However, she can't afford a printer so she took a picture of herself with her laptop displaying our logo and emailed us her picture.
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Lu is from China and currently studies in the US: For a girl from China, I fully understand the pain of buying a legal copy of a U.S. textbook."
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Idyawati is a Doctoral candidate at the International Islamic University of Malaysia. Using our site, she gets world-class educational materials for free. She can spend her money on buying an extra semester instead.
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Olga is associate professor in at Moscow University, Russia, and uses our materials because they are "of higher quality, faster to access, easier to reference, and well...free!"
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Miguel, Sandra, and Xavi are from the creative elite in Barcelona. They sent us their picture because they want to support the democratization of knowledge.
The Executive Board and the Founders
The Interaction Design Foundation was founded in 2002 by Mads Soegaard, formerly an employee of The Danish National Technological Institute; a partner at a web development company and a lecturer at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. In 2010, Mads was joined at Interaction-Design.org by his wife Rikke Friis Dam, an independent consultant, filmmaker and photographer with degrees in philosophy, journalism and teaching.
Mads and Rikke had to sell their car, re-mortgage their house, find a tenant to pay rent, and invest more than $100,000 of their own money in order to launch Interaction-Design.org. In 2010, they moved to Thailand to keep costs to a minimum, living on a semi-deserted island so they could focus 100% on the work. They brought plenty of extra laptop batteries, since their only source of power was a diesel generator that supplied power five hours a day. Here are some photos
Today, Interaction-Design.org is helping to reinvent learning materials as a genre, mixing HD video interviews, interactive illustrations, online integration of basic research and regular text, and focusing on tablets and ebook-readers. It also provides aid for educational institutions and companies in developing countries, giving them free access to materials they otherwise could not afford. Currently, 20% of Interaction-Design.org’s readers are from developing countries, and that percentage is climbing rapidly.
Every day, Mads and Rikke receive dozens of emails from around the world — many of which tell touching stories about the positive impact that their free materials are having on readers.
The Interaction Design Foundation's Mission
We produce free, top-grade educational materials by the world's technology elite. Through free and open access to top-grade educational materials on how to design technology, we educate millions of technology designers on how to make more people-oriented and easy-to-use technology - like websites, household appliances, software applications, and mobile devices.
For us, it's a battle against frustrating, time-consuming, and poorly designed technology that drains our productivity, dignity, and sometimes our sanity. Better design of technology will improve everyone's quality of life.
We foster synergy between academia and high-tech companies. We mix top professors from Stanford, MIT, Cambridge, etc. with elite designers from Google Research, Apple, IBM Research, etc. And together we produce top-grade, open, and free online learning materials to the benefit of both industry and academia all over the world.
We continually improve and reinvent learning materials as a genre by, for example, producing HD video interviews and including interactive elements. All the educational institutions we visit express need for innovation in this field. At Cambridge University, for example, they closed a museum in order that we could make a video with a professor.
We provide aid for educational institutions and companies in developing countries by giving them free access to materials that otherwise would be out of their financial reach. 20 % of our readers are from developing countries, and the number is increasing exponentially.
We modernize the publishing industry by building a conceptual, legal, editorial, and technical platform for the publication of first-rate online material in a world where 1) people prefer free content over paid content for reasons of both time and money 2) the physical book is being outmanoeuvred by the e-book 3) authors prefer that publishers use technology to maximize readership and not use it to limit readership as in the case of paywalls.
We lay out our results in total openness so they can be used within any other area – from astronomy to psychology.
We contribute to the creation of a better world – in agreement with the UNESCO statement, "Universal access to high quality education is key to the building of peace, sustainable social and economic development, and intercultural dialogue."
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