Digital Ground is an architect's response to the design challenge posed by pervasive computing. One century into the electronic age, people have become accustomed to interacting indirectly, mediated through networks. But w as digital techlogy becomes invisibly embedded in everyday things, even more activities become mediated, and networks extend rather than replace architecture. The young field of interaction design reflects t only how people deal with machine interfaces but also how people deal with each other in situations where interactivity has become ambient. It shifts previously utilitarian digital design concerns to a cultural level, adding tions of premise, appropriateness, and appreciation. Malcolm McCullough offers an account of the intersections of architecture and interaction design, arguing that the ubiquitous techlogy does t obviate the human need for place. His concept of digital ground expresses an alternative to anytime-anyplace sameness in computing; he shows that context t only shapes usability but ideally becomes the subject matter of interaction design and that environmental kwing is a process that techlogy may serve and t erode. Drawing on arguments from architecture, psychology, software engineering, and geography, writing for practicing interaction designers, pervasive computing researchers, architects, and the general reader on digital culture, McCullough gives us a theory of place for interaction design. Part I, Expectations, explores our techlogical predispositions -- many of which ( situated interactions ) arise from our embodiment in architectural settings. Part II, Techlogies, discusses hardware, software, and applications, including embedded techlogy ( bashing the desktop ), and building techlogy genres around life situations. Part III, Practices, argues for design as a liberal art, seeing interactivity as a cultural -- t only techlogical -- challenge and a practical tion of place as essential. Part IV, Epilogue, ackwledges the epochal changes occurring today, and argues for the role of digital ground in the necessary adaptation.
Malcolm McCullough is Professor of Architecture at Taubman College, the University of Michigan. He is the author of Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand and Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing, both published by the MIT Press.