A Quick Introduction to Interaction Design [IxD]
User Xperience

A Quick Introduction to Interaction Design [IxD]

4 minutes read

Habil Emmanuail Sep 17 2019

Introduction

While
creating a project that needs audience’s attention, for instance, a web, mobile
or desktop application, the major point that needs to be considered is how they
will be interacting with it. When designing such a product, human computer interaction,
user experience design and human psychology should be understood carefully. No
person would want to spend their time on such an application that lacks an
interesting, and an easy, clear interface. This is where the Interaction
Designs come into the spotlight.

Interaction design, abbreviated as IxD, can be defined in simple words as, “the
design of interaction between a product and its users”.

It is the tool by which the designers
are able to create engaging application interfaces. Expert IxD designers keep
all the possible ways in mind in which the users could interact with the
application while fulfilling their requirements. The design can contain all the
elements that would be helping the users to interact with the interface, for
example, aesthetics, space, motion and sound, etc.

The main goal
of an interaction design is to generate products that allows the user to
achieve their objectives in the most effective and efficient way possible via
the product. Thus, a reliable interaction design has to use modern technology along
with the basic values of good communication to produce desired user
experiences.

Interaction design and the User
Experience design

Most people confuse interaction
design and UX design as the same thing, which is not always the case. UX design
is a broad concept that includes the modelling of the user experience of a
product, which is understood to be mostly involving the interactions between
the user and the product, hence the similarity.

But UX
design is more than just that. It also involves the analysis of the audience
group, (such as what type of product would they want to see, and why they would
be using the respective product), and the user and usability testing, etc.

The dimensions of Interaction design

The concept
of the dimensions of Interaction Design were first introduced by Gillian
Crampton Smith, and were further added to, by Kevin Silver. They are described
below:

(1D) Words

The words providing the instructions (like button and
navigation labels). They should deliver clear yet precise information to users.

(2D) Visual representation

This includes the graphical elements, e.g. images, icons and
the typography, used in the application. These attract the users and act as an add-on
for the words that are delivering the information to them.

(3D) Physical objects or space

The physical objects or devices that the users use to
interact with the application (such as a mouse, touchpad; or in the case of touch-sensitive
smartphones, their fingers) in addition to the environment within which the
user is present (such as their office, home, or some kind of public place) all have
an impact over the interaction between the user and the product.

(4D) Time

This refers to the animations, videos and sounds that change
over some time or on certain kind of operation by the user. It also includes
the time period that a user spends interacting with the product.

(5D) Behavior

This includes the overall functionality of the product, such
as the user’s action on the application, and the resulting response of it back
to them. It also includes the input of the users, such as their feedback.

Concepts to be acknowledged

The above dimensions leads us to view some considerations
that should be remembered while creating design interactions. These are usually
categorized in six groups that are as follows:

  • What can a user do with their input
    device to directly interact with the interface? This helps define the possible
    interactions the user can make with the application.

  • What does the graphical appearance
    tell the user about the product’s function? This hints about what behaviors are
    possible by the application.

  • Do the error alerts explain the error
    along with allowing the user to correct the problem? This simplifies and lessens
    the errors.

  • What is the feedback provided to users
    after they perform an action? This guarantees that the project delivers
    feedback in a reasonable time.

  • Are the interface elements
    constructed in such size and shape by which the users can interact easily? This
    assists in constructing a strategy about each element present in the product.

  • Are common or familiar formats used
    in the application? These are used to make things easier for the user and improve
    the learnability of the product.

Conclusion

Users are expected to interact with
an application only if it is easy to use along with being built in a modern,
efficient, as well as an eye-catching way. These kind of designs not only makes
the user want to revisit and reuse the application again, but are also proven
to attract new users more effectively.

Also, it is important for one to get
the services of a professional IxD designer who can create and monitor these
designs, resulting in the production of a user-friendly interface for their IT
related applications.

Habil Emmanuail

Habil Emmanuail

Habil is an IBM certified Design Thinking practitioner and a member of the Interaction Design Foundation. He has been working as a UX consultant and User Centered designer across web and mobile applications for almost four years. His area of expertise include UI/UX Design, UX Research, Visual UI Design, Prototyping, Information Architecture, Agile Scrum, Branding as well as HTML/CSS, UX Writing, Research and Analytics and Strategy and Planning.