No not that Fifth Dimension – the Fifth Dimension of the Language of Interaction Design. (if you’re too young to get the joke, please visit their Wikipedia page immediately)
So Gillian Smith states that we’ve mastered the 4 dimensions of previous creative modes:
- 1D = words
- 2D = painting
- 3D = sculpture
- 4D = film/animation (time)
I’d like to go “up and away” and add a 5th dimension, then apply that dimension also to Interaction Design:
- 5D = interaction with the world
This is to say that the 5th dimensional languages of film, for example, would deal with how it interacts to the world around it. Affects on groups of people who view it. Its interactions with other media forms. The lines of force which emanate from a film as a result of the other 4 dimensional languages. Clearly this 5th dimension is an important one where a film has a dialectical relationship with the world. As a simple example, if a nationally-released film, through the other 4 dimensions strongly communicates that a) it is a “family flick” and that it is b) fun to watch as a group, then this 5th dimensional language would deal with how the film relates to the family unit.
To apply this to Interaction Design, it is clear that 5th dimensional languages would be equally important. For example, in a simple critique of MySpace Interaction Design:
- 1D = The copywriting encourages users to favor quantity over quality of friend connections
- 2D = The visual design has a highly “unfinished” and therefore approachable appearance that may lower the perceived bar of participation
- 3D = (this is a stretch, but..) The information architecture (and therefore the cognitive model it tends to evoke in the user) of the site privileges a user’s most recent friends
- 4D = Over multiple login sessions, MySpace gradually draws the user deeper into creation of a friend network
- 5D = As a result of the first 4 dimensions, members of the MySpace community tend to develop more transitory friendships both online and offline (i don’t necessarily agree with this – just an example of fifth-dimensional language)
Still thinking this through (it’s no dawning of the Age of Aquarius or anything), so critique away, but please be gentle.