Suguru Ishizaki's Improvisational Design: Continuous Responsive Digital Communication
Digital communication is interactive, dynamic and continuous. People working with digital communication (visual designers, human-computer interaction professionals, and software engineers) need a unique set of communicative methods that equal this dynamic flow of digital communication expressions. Ishizaki explores the development of a theoretical framework of an iterative process that meets this need and suggests how designers might use the framework. The concept Ishizaki terms improvisational design is illustrated with five brief case studies in this slim nine-chapter book.
Ishizaki, a Senior Staff Engineer at QUALCOMM Incorporated, became interested in this topic over twenty years ago, developed his dissertation on the topic and presents it here in a sleek and easy to read volume. Drawing upon the concept of improvisation in music, theater, and dance, Ishizaki proposes that designers of the systems we use in everyday digital communication might follow the same patterns where multiple agents coordinate with one another, achieving a collaborative product while dynamically adjusting to the environment. The adjustments take into consideration the inherent qualities of the medium, the audience to which it is "played," and the ever-changing nature and flow of the communication. Rather than proposing a normative design solution or a positive theory of design, this volume introduces an analytical tool as an "ice breaker" to provoke discussion among designers that may lead to "good" design processes and certainly, improvisational design extends our thinking about expressive digital communication.
Drawing upon the literature in performing arts and visual design, observations of traditional design constraints, and models of cooperative-situated agents (Hickman and Shiels, 1991) and Singh's model of group ability (1991, 1994), Ishizaki discovers that the complex temporal forms are required in the production of improvisational designs. The notion of temporal form can be expressed in the design through visual, auditory,...