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Video as a shared language

Video is a incredibly powerful medium; it harbors the ability to evoke emotion, weave narrative and unravel complex information. Via formats such as mini-documentaries and exploratory product visions, video has risen to prominence on the web as a popular way to communicate immaterial design concepts to mass audiences.

As interaction designers at SVA, we are conscious of our mixed backgrounds and divergent futures. For instance, the graphic designers among us have a different set of craft skills to the industrial designers, which makes for great collaborations and conversations about why, but varying outputs when focusing on the what. We often summarize our discipline as ‘designing products, services or systems that focus on human behavior and evolve over time.’ In other words, we work to establish the right emotional tone and focus on the experience people will have when they are in contact with the things we create, whatever medium they may be. As design continues to evolve from creating things toward ecosystems of things, designers face the increasingly difficult challenge of articulating how and why these components fit together and why these are important to a potential user.

Filmmaking presents a craft that ties our disparate toolkits together, enabling the foundation of a shared language for articulating interaction design. The focus toward time and storytelling provide the necessary hooks to articulate the outcome from any design process, whether that’s a brainstorm, user research, business strategy, or cybernetic modelling.

I’m not proposing we all become filmmakers, but I hope that a basic grasp of video fundamentals and thinking about things from a timeline-centric perspective will provide a framework enabling consistent communication of our ideas for things that are very difficult to convey through word and image alone.

Tom Harman

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