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Interaction Award winners: examples of engaging interface design

The recipients of top honors at the first-ever Interaction Awards may surprise you: they're not just apps, sites, and gadgets. Some are quite analog. All offer imaginative interfaces, in many fields.
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Written by Reena Jana on

What does "excellent interaction design" mean in 2012? To the jurors of the first-ever Interaction Awards, an initiative of the Interaction Design Association and sponsored by Google, it is defined by user interfaces that connect, disrupt, empower, engage, express, and optimize exceptionally well. These words and actions, in fact, reflect the names of the categories in judges awarded 26 total prizes at a ceremony in Dublin, Ireland on February 3.

Here's a video that describes the new, global competition, and how it was judged:

The top honor, the "Best in Show" award, went to design agency Stimulant for LoopLoop, a music app for Sifteo game cubes, which transforms the small interactive pieces into music-makers that can be shuffled around to create original tunes.

The "Best Concept" title went to Out of the Box, from Vitamins Design, which offers a clever, accessible way to teach elderly people who have never used a mobile phone to use one: by placing a device physically within the pages of a paper manual to make it less intimidating.

Ishac Bertran from the Copenhagen Institute for Interaction Design won the "Best Student" award for Pas a Pas, a tool that helps young children learn about various abstract subjects from math to art via stop-motion video animation.

And the "People's Choice" winner went to a physical museum installation called Interaction Cubes, from Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz/Museu da Vida in Brazil, which uses video and objects to bring new life to the periodic table of elements and help make the subject of chemistry exciting to students new to it.

The full list of 26 winners across all categories can be found here. What's striking about the list--as exemplified by the standouts, above--is how diversified they are. With so much hype around specific gadgets and Web sites in the popular media, it can be hard for consumers and business people alike to remember that the term "interaction design" really applies to everything around us, from cars to toys, from classroom materials to gallery exhibits (all reflected in the Interaction Awards winners' roster). Great interaction design, as these awards make clear, is less about the exciting technologies behind many of today's interactive media or digital devices, and more about effective human communication.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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