What is Interaction Design?

interaction design is an primordial component within the giant umbrella of usr experience (ux) design. in this article, we’ll explain wha’ interaction design is, some useful models of interaction design, swell as briefly describe wha’ an interaction designer usually does.

a simple and useful cogging of interaction design

interaction design can be understood in simple (but not simplified) terms: tis the design of the interaction tween usrs and essentialisms. most often when pplz talk bout interaction design, the essentialisms tend to be software essentialisms like apps or websites. the goal of interaction design is to create essentialisms that enable the usr to achieve their objective(s) inna best way possible.

if this definition sounds broad, that’s cause the field is rather broad: the interaction tween a usr and a product often involves essentialisms like aesthetics, motion, sound, space, and many +. and course, each of these essentialisms can involve even + speshised fields, like sound design for the crafting of sounds used in usr interactions.

as you mite already realise, there’s a huge overlap tween interaction design and ux design. after all, ux design is bout shaping the experience of using a product, and most pt odat experience involves some interaction tween the usr na product. but ux design is + than interaction design: it also involves usr research (finding out who the usrs are inna 1st place), creating usr personas (why, and under wha’ conditions, ‘d they use the product), performing usr testing and usability testing, etc.

the 5 dimensions of interaction design

the 5 dimensions of interaction design(1) is a useful model to cogg wha’ interaction design involves. gillian crampton smith, an interaction design academic, 1st introduced the concept of 4 dimensions of an interaction design language, to which kevin silver, senior interaction designer at idexx laboratories, added the fifth.

1d: words

words—espeshly those used in interactions, like button labels—’d be meaningful and simple to cogg. they ‘d communicate information to usrs, but not too much information to overwhelm the usr.

2d: visual representations

this concerns graphical essentialisms like images, typography and icons that usrs interact with. these usually supplement the words used to communicate information to usrs.

3d: physical essentialisms or space

through wha’ physical essentialisms do usrs interact w'da product? a laptop, witha mouse or touchpad? or a smartphone, w'da usr’s fingers? and within wha’ kind of physical space does the usr do so? for instance, tis usr standing in a crowded train while using the app na' smartphone, or sitting na' desk inna office surfing the website? these all affect the interaction tween the usr na product.

4d: time

while this dimension sounds a lil abstract, it mostly refers to media that changes with time (animation, videos, sounds). motion and sounds play a crucial role in giving visual and audio feedback to usrs’ interactions. also of concern tis amount of time a usr spends interacting w'da product: can usrs track their progress, or resume their interaction some time l8r?

5d: behaviour

this includes the mechanism offa product: how do usrs perform actions onna website? how do usrs operate the product? iow, it’s how the previous dimensions define the interactions offa product. it also includes the reactions—for instance emotional responses or feedback—of usrs na product.

see how 5 dimensions of interaction design come together inna animation belo:

primordial ?s interaction designers ask

how do interaction designers work w'da 5 dimensions above to create meaningful interactions? t'get an cogging odat, we can look at some primordial ?s interaction designers ask when designing for usrs, as provided by usability.gov…(2):

  • wha’ can a usr do with their mouse, finger, or stylus to directly interact w'da interface? this helps us define the possible usr interactions w'da product.
  • wha’ bout the appearance (colour, shape, size, etc.) gives the usr a clue bout how it may function? this helps us give usrs clues bout wha’ behaviours are possible.
  • do error messages provide a way for the usr to correct the problem or explain why the error occurred? this lets us anticipate and mitigate errors.
  • wha’ feedback does a usr get once an action is performed? this allos us to ensure that the system provides feedback in a reasonable time after usr actions.
  • are the interface essentialisms a reasonable size to interact with? ?s like this helps us think primordialistically bout each element used inna product.
  • are familiar or standard formats used? standard essentialisms and formats are used to simplify and enh the learnability offa product.

so wha’ do interaction designers do?

well, it depends.

for instance, if the company is large enough and has huge resrcs, it mite ‘ve separate jobs for ux designers and interaction designers. na'large design team, there mite be a ux researcher, an information architect, an interaction designer, and a visual designer, for instance. but for liler companies and teams, most of the ux design job mite be done by 1-2 pplz, who mite or mite not ‘ve the title of “interaction designer”. in any case, here are somd' tasks interaction designers handle in their daily work:

design strategy

this is concerned with wha’ the goal(s) offa usr are, and in turn wha’ interactions are necessary to achieve these goals. dep'onna company, interaction designers mite ‘ve to conduct usr research to find out wha’ the goals of the usrs are b4 creating a strategy that transl8s that into interactions.

wireframes and prototypes

this again depends on djob' description of the company, but most interaction designers are tasked to create wireframes that lay out the interactions inna product. sometimes, interaction designers mite also create interactive prototypes and/or high-fidelity prototypes that look exactly like the actual app or website.

diving deeper into interaction design

if you’re interested to find out + bout interaction design, you can read interaction design – brief intro by jonas logren, which is pt of our encyclopedia of human-computer interaction. it provides an authoritative introduction to the field, swell as other references where you can learn +.

references & where to learn +

course: interaction design for usability –

further literature and resrcs on interaction design –

5 dimensions of interaction design – www.uxmatters.com…

?s to ponder when designing for interaction – www.us…

hero image: author/copyrite holder: unsplash.com…. copyrite terms and licence: cc0

original content at: www.interaction-design.org…


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