The Best Of The Best: The IxDA Selects The Best Interaction Design Of 2012

The winners solve a number of problems in new ways, from Ford’s smart dashboards to Sifteo’s novel games to a system to help make cell phones easier for the elderly.

A dashboard that encourages eco-friendly driving, a tiny music sequencer, and a cell phone geared toward old folks count among the winners of the Interaction Design Association’s (IxDA) first annual Interaction Awards.

The awards tip a hat to the best interaction design of 2012—to the work of designers who "create meaningful relationships between people and the products and services that they use," as the press materials say. The jury, led by V.P. of Creative at Frog and Co.Design expert blogger Robert Fabricant, selected 27 projects from an international pool of 300. Winning projects included mobile apps, web programs, car displays, and electronics, and spanned clients both big (Ford, Pepsi) and small (a science museum in Brazil).

The grand-prize winner was a tiny music player for the Sifteo Cubes.

Interaction design often involves using technology in novel ways to solve old problems. That’s exemplified neatly by the winner of the Best Concept category. Vitamins’s Out of the Box is a cell phone embedded in a large hardback book that doubles as an instruction manual. It’s conceived as an intuitive way for the elderly—and really, anyone tech-shy—to set up a new phone.

Many of this year’s winners went beyond just polishing the user-product experience to modify how consumers actually behave. Take ReadyForZero, a free program that empowers people to check their spending—and take charge of their personal finances—via simple-to-navigate, online tracking tools:

Or Smart Design’s dashboard for Ford’s 2010 hybrid sedans:

The SmartGauge with EcoGuide promotes fuel-efficient driving by using digital leaves to reveal how quickly your lead foot empties the gas tank (without being so distracting, you veer straight into a tree). The message: Good IxD shapes how people interact with individual products. But great interaction design can shape how people interact with the world.

The full list of winners:

  • Appie, IceMobile, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Best in Category, Optimizing)
  • B-Cycle, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Boulder, USA (Optimizing)
  • FoodHub: a digital community where local food people, ISITE Design, Portland, USA (Connecting)
  • Ford SmartGauge, Smart Design, San Francisco, USA (Best in Category, Disrupting)
  • Google Art Project, Possible Worldwide, New York, USA (Empowering)
  • HBO GO Mobile Applications, HUGE, New York, USA (Engaging)
  • I want ToBe… Course, ToBe Worldwide, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (Empowering)
  • Interaction Cubes, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz/Museu da Vida, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Best in Category, Engaging)
  • LoopLoop, Stimulant/Sifteo, San Francisco, USA (Best in Category, Expressing; Best in Show)
  • Out of Box Experience - Accu-Chek Aviva,, Dublin, Ireland (Optimizing)
  • Out of the Box, Vitamins, London, England (Best Concept)
  • Pas a Pas, CIID/Ishac Bertran, Copenhagen, Denmark (Expressing, Best Student)
  • Peel, Peel, Mountain View, USA (Disrupting)
  • Pepsi Refresh Project, HUGE, New York, USA (Best in Category, Connecting)
  • Plug-In-Play, Rockwell Group, New York, USA (Connecting)
  • ReadyForZero, ReadyForZero, San Francisco, USA (Optimizing)
  • Spotify Box, Umea Institute of Design, Umea, Sweden (Disrupting)
  • Steps, Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, USA (Connecting)
  • SWYP: See What You Print, Artefact, Seattle, USA (Disrupting) (Pictured up top)
  • Teaching Channel, Method, Inc., San Francisco, USA (Empowering)
  • The Film Room, R/GA, New York, USA (Expressing)
  • The Waste Land, Touch Press LLP, London, England (Disrupting)
  • University of Oregon Ford Alumni Center, Second Story Interactive Studios, Portland, USA (Engaging)
  • We Remember/ Explore 9/11, Local Projects LLC, New York, USA (Engaging)
  • Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango), Microsoft, Seattle, USA (Connecting)
  • Xero, Xero, Wellington, New Zealand (Optimizing)

Click here for more details. Videos directed by Christian Svanes Kolding.

Add New Comment


  • Grant Robinson

    Congrats to Xero - pushing out great design to the world from little wee New Zealand.

  • Bob

    The videos are fine.. some people just like to rant for no reason. The only issue I have is with the comment  about 'design schools' 'sometimes putting aesthetics ahead of usability' - NOT - not sure what product design schools he's referring to - industrial design is all about form follows function.. if you don't get that you don't succeed.

  • Erik Westerdahl

    Dunno if it's just me, but the pictures in this blogpost doesn't work on my iPad2... (yes I tried updating several times).

  • Damien O Malley

    Four 'unusable' videos - they did not tell me about the product in question but what some total stranger thought of the product (and why do they all try and sound like Jonathon Ive?). And why did you have a really slow focus fade up at the start? How frustrating!! An article trumpeting good design that is in itself poorly 'designed''. This is one irony I could have done without. Suzanne, next time please have someone proof the thing before you put it out. 

  • csk

    the videos in question were used at the awards ceremony that was held in dublin last night, and were created for the audience that was in attendance. 

    of course, there's no way for you to know that, but the winning projects themselves were talked about in greater detail at the event, while the "strangers" in the video were part of the jury that selected the awards (and were also in attendance last night).