Designing successful and meaningful interactive technologies begins with an understanding of user human experience. I believe this understanding starts at the notion that people do things for their own reasons, not necessarily the reasons you as a designer give them.
Let's take a quick glance at a consumer-based example given by John McCarthy and Peter Wright. In the book titled Technology as Experience, the authors argue that "people develop their own paths around supermarkets, tactically resisting the architecture and advertisements designed to shape their shopping behavior."
The authors go on to say that people are not just passive consumers. In fact, "consumers appropriate the physical and conceptual space created by producers for their own interest and needs...consumers complete the experience for themselves(page 11)."
People do things for their own reasons, not the reasons you give them. These reasons are often connected their emotional state. As McCarthy and Wright put it, "interaction with technology is now as much about what people feel as it is about what people do."
People's actions actually carry deeper meaning--more meaning than what can be conveyed through a quantitative evaluation. A design's "usability" is great to consider but doesn't solely determine the value and experience delivered. This understanding was absent in the traditionally scientific approach of the first wave of HCI, which focused primarily on the quantifiable parameters of a system's usability.
Some aspects of human experience are studied and partially understood by other fields such as psychology, sociology, and anthropology to name a few. The HCI field is seeking to draw upon the aforementioned fields and its own research in contributing to a relatively new topic/sub-field known as User Experience.
I discuss more about User Experience in the next blog post.