Behavioral Complexity as a Computational Material Strategy

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This paper presents the concept of behavioral complexity as a computational material strategy. The materiality of the designed interaction is a relatively new perspective on interaction design. From this perspective, the behavioral complexity should be understood as the underlying algorithms in the computational code. Complexity in the code enables multiple unique material qualities of computational materials to adapt and come to life through interaction. We propose that behavioral complexity contributes to creating expressive complexity and then present strategies of behavioral complexity as annotations in an annotated portfolio of design examples. For each annotation, simple computational programming patterns are included to illustrate practical implementations. The strategies are to create: reactiveness, multiple modes, non-linearity, multiple layers and alive connotations. Finally, we point towards the potential of mixing the strategies to expand the complexity of alive and adaptive expressions and discuss strategies for preserving coupling.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Design
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)39-53
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Behavioral Complexity
  • Interaction Design
  • Material Expressions

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