While I now have a good grasp of what information design is versus interaction design versus sensorial design, I’m not sure I have a good grasp of how the three of them together create the "unifying theory" the title of the article suggests. I do see how all three contribute to the audience experience. However, I would think that if the three designs together are critical to that audience experience, then it would take all three, always, together, to describe all life experiences. However, Shedroff says under interaction design, referring to his "Experience Cube," that "all life experiences (whether mediated by technology or not) fit into this cube," which would be fine if all of the elements in the cube weren't solely from the interaction theory.
I recently watched The Elegant Universe, which talks about String Theory being a unification theory (or the "Theory of Everything," if you will). It is touted as the possible unification theory between Einstein's theory of relativity, which explains how "large things" work (like the universe, for example) as opposed to the theory of quantum mechanics, which explains how very, very small things work (at the subatomic particle level, for instance). Presently, the theory of relativity when applied to very small things, breaks down. Likewise, quantum mechanics breaks down when applied to very large things. String Theory would apply to both very, very large things, and very, very small things, making it a unification theory.
Perhaps I am reading too much into the word "unified" in the title, and quite possibly because of my recent viewing with its scientific vigor with regards to unification, I was expecting too much from this article, but I just don't see the "unification" part. However, though it left me shall we say, "lacking," in some respects, I do feel that there is a plethora of good information in the article to help us analyze or practice information design more effectively. These include:
How This Can Help Us Design
|There is a distinction between data, information, knowledge, and wisdom.||Information is organized data. Do not present data that is not organized.|
|Alphabets, locations, time, continuums, numbers, categories, and randomness are all ways to organize information.||Try changing the type of organization, or a combination of organizations, to uncover patterns of relationships. If possible, let people rearrange things themselves or provide them with alternative organizations.|
|Items that contribute to interactivity are control and feedback, productivity and creation, adaptive, and communicative experiences.||The more of these items we can inject into the design of the product, the more interactive it will be.|
|Each medium has strengths and weaknesses in terms of sensorial experience.||When designing, remember that speakers/hearing, displays/vision, and smell/taste create a richer sensorial experience than cultural factors / cognitive abilities, kinesthetics/gesture, and touch/dexterity.|
In conclusion, the theory of information interaction design, as well as at least two of its elements, information design and interactive design, continues to evolve as it is studied. Shedroff's idea of a unified theory of design has garnered interest in the academic community as evidenced by 17 citations of this article, and by an international audience of articles, one of which is in German, one Italian, and one Portuguese from universities in Germany, Italy, and Brasil, respectively.
The theory is also being considered in a wide variety of applications with such citing article titles as: Filmification of Words and Sentences Towards Teaching and Learning, Interactive Metamorphic Visuals: Exploring Polyhedral Relationships, Computer-Aided Visualization: From Applications to Information Environments and the Implications for Planning and Urban Design, and Levels of Interactivity and Interactivity Maps.