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Interaction design

Interaction design defines the structure and content of communication between two or more interactive “beings” to understand each other. (source: Wikipedia)

My Interaction12 Recap: As long as it’s gotta be

IxDA 2012 as a thriven, inspiring and interesting event.

“The Interaction conference platform is the most visible and energetic of all the organization’s endeavors thus far, even though just a tiny percentage of IxDA members are able to attend in person. This year, even as IxD12 attendance grew to 750 people, that percentage diminishes because the organization now counts somewhere around 35,000 members in its digital forums, with over 100 local groups operating in cities around the globe. Only about 40% of the attendees came from North America this year, with over 32 countries represented.”

(Elisabeth Bacon a.k.a. @ebacon ~ Devise)

State of Interaction Design: Diverging

Like any other practice, through time professionals gravitate towards different epicentres of expertise.

“Interaction Design is reaching a critical point in its history. We have spent the better part of the last half century converging. We have built our entire identity by bringing in other disciplines and practices into our fold. We are often decried as ‘land grabbers’, but I say it is more about shoring up our knowledge base and practice so that we can be ready for the ever-increasing complexity of the tasks set before us through our acknowledged focus on human behavior as it relates broadly to the interaction of systems.”

(David Malouf a.k.a. @daveixd ~ Core77)

Defining an Interaction Model: The Cornerstone of Application Design

Or, on the value of working with models. Of any kind.

“An interaction model is a design model that binds an application together in a way that supports the conceptual models of its target users. It is the glue that holds an application together. It defines how all of the objects and actions that are part of an application interrelate, in ways that mirror and support real-life user interactions. It ensures that users always stay oriented and understand how to move from place to place to find information or perform tasks. It provides a common vision for an application. It enables designers, developers, and stakeholders to understand and explain how users move from objects to actions within a system. It is like a cypher or secret decoder ring: Once you understand the interaction model, once you see the pattern, everything makes sense. Defining the right interaction model is a foundational requirement for any digital system and contributes to a cohesive, overall UX architecture.”

(Jim Nieters ~ UXmatters)

Affective Computing, Affective Interaction and Technology as Experience

Technology moving into the fibers of our emotions.

“As Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Interaction Design moved from designing and evaluating work-oriented applications towards dealing with leisure-oriented applications, such as games, social computing, art, and tools for creativity, we have had to consider e.g. what constitutes an experience, how to deal with users’ emotions, and understanding aesthetic practices and experiences. Here I will provide a short account of why in particular emotion became one such important strand of work in our field.”

(Kristina Höök a.k.a. @ProfessorHook ~

Service Design, Interaction Design & Design Thinking

DTDT no. N.

“If design be seen as the integration of art and science, or applied arts, it can be broken into several distinct, but closely-integrated components. One of these is craft, and the tangibility of design – as a means of both exploring and communicating a concept.”

(Steve Baty a.k.a. @docbaty)

Does Culture Matter for Product Design?

This is not a variant of Catholic math, Buddhist chemistry or Protestant engineering.

“Note that the arguments of this essay are specifically relevant to industrial and interaction designers. So even were one to accept that the impact of culture upon mass-produced products is minimal, other areas of design are apt to be far more sensitive to culture. Because social interaction is still the major source of cultural variation, I would expect service design to vary considerably from culture to culture. As social networks pervade the communication and internet space, they too will vary with culture. Other areas of design will have their own special sensitivities to culture.”

(Donald A. Norman a.k.a. @jnd1er ~ Core 77)

Philosophy of Interaction and the Interactive User Experience

Finally, a piece on interaction design with more deep thoughts than normal.

“I will approach the question of interactivity from a number of angles, in the belief that a multi-paradigmatic analysis is necessary to give justice to the complexity of the phenomenon. I will start by defining the scope through some examples of interactive products and services. Next, I will analyse interactivity and the interactive user experience from a number of perspectives, including formal logic, cognitive science, phenomenology, and media and art studies. A number of other perspectives, e.g. ethnomethodology, semiotics, and activity theory, are highly relevant, but are not included here.”

(Dag Svanaes ~

The upper bounds to quality

AAPL seems to falsify this. People willing to pay high prices for superb quality.

“The digital age changes our notions of quality, and in particular, our notions of the limits to quality. Generally, there are two limits to quality: The first limit is your imagination. If you are innovative, you can increase quality in many creative ways. The second limit to quality is what the customer will pay for. If your product is priced too high, even if it is of super high quality, you won’t be able to sell many.”

(Alan Cooper a.k.a. @MrAlanCooper ~ Cooper Journal)

The Design and Display of Simple Interactions on Mobile Devices

Are we re-inventing everything now it’s mobile?

“Users visit mobile sites not only to consume content, but to get things done. Let’s take air travel as an example: tasks that users often find themselves performing on an airline company’s mobile site include checking flight status, checking in for a particular flight, and searching for and booking a flight. How does mobile user interface design support task completion? What are the optimal ways of communicating and displaying interactions on mobile sites? With the aim of discovering optimal ways of designing simple interactions on mobile devices, I examined the task of checking flight status. I’m hoping that my analysis sheds some light on this topic.”

(Shanshan Ma a.k.a. @shanshanma ~ UXmatters)

Goal Driven Design Decisions

Goals are achieved when certain events occur. But what are the events? In all other cases, it’s not a goal but an intention, motivation or just a task.

“There are a lot of theories about what drives people and how they move through life. It’s my belief that on a subconscious level we are goal driven creatures. There is nothing people do that can not be defined as a goal. From this starting point I designed a simple model that can help us as designers make the decisions where to focus on in the design process.”

(Jeroen van Geel a.k.a. @jeroenvangeel ~ Johnny Holland Magazine)

A Brief Rant on The Future of Interaction Design

Couldn’t deny the proper framing of ‘Pictures Under Glass’.

“As it happens, designing Future Interfaces For The Future used to be my line of work. I had the opportunity to design with real working prototypes, not green screens and After Effects, so there certainly are some interactions in the video which I’m a little skeptical of, given that I’ve actually tried them and the animators presumably haven’t. But that’s not my problem with the video. My problem is the opposite, really — this vision, from an interaction perspective, is not visionary. It’s a timid increment from the status quo, and the status quo, from an interaction perspective, is actually rather terrible. This matters, because visions matter. Visions give people a direction and inspire people to act, and a group of inspired people is the most powerful force in the world. If you’re a young person setting off to realize a vision, or an old person setting off to fund one, I really want it to be something worthwhile. Something that genuinely improves how we interact. This little rant isn’t going to lay out any grand vision or anything. I just hope to suggest some places to look.”

(Bret Victor a.k.a. @worrydream ~ WorryDream)


Know your computer design materials in and out: content, code, connectivity, and computation.

“(…) craftsmanship comes through intimate understanding of medium and material. The medium of painting is fairly obvious, as is the material of clay. But both the medium and materiality of service design, interaction design, and public policy are vague, abstract, and seemingly invisible. They are, however, not without definition. (…) one of the most fundamental failings of design thinking education is the lack of craftsmanship.”

(Jon Kolko)

The Ten Principles of Interaction Design

Devs get their principles on (interaction) design.

“I got my start as an interaction designer during the first internet bubble. Since then I’ve worked on interactive marketing and products for everything including finance, automotive, electronics, packaged consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. In that time and experience I have come to know that there are a few key things that make good interaction designs and designers. Here are 10 of them.”

(Chad Vavra a.k.a. @chadvavra ~ .net magazine)

Designing to overcome behaviour barriers

Always doubt if behaviour is the real thing, except buying something. Thoughts are more important.

“People are creatures of habit and this can introduce challenges should you want them to adopt a new behaviour. We all start forming and evolving our behaviours from the time we are born, and each of us will respond to different stimuli in our own unique way. Some of us can’t start their day without our morning coffee whereas others will reach for a cigarette as a first port of call. Some can’t fall asleep without a book in their hands and others like to leave their T.V. switched on. These behavioural differences are a big part of what makes us human.”

(Caroline Jones a.k.a. @caroline_maree ~ Optimal Usability)

What I Bring to UX From… Architecture

Sounds more like information architecture, projects and clients to me.

“To do well in either architecture or user experience design, the ability to communicate well is key, and the most important part of communicating is listening. As designers, we need to listen to our clients and their customers to understand their needs and requirements. We need to communicate our designs to both our clients and our development teams in a way that they will understand. Our ideas need to be translated into designs and made concrete, through user scenarios, workflow diagrams, mock-ups or wireframes so that they can be discussed, understood, tested and improved upon. Communication becomes even more important once those designs start being built. As I already stated, nothing ever gets built as planned. Therefore, communication is key in working with the development team to evolve and refine the design as it gets built, and to manage the expectations of the client throughout the development process as those changes are occurring. And, a lot of that communicating is listening.”

(Jennifer Fraser a.k.a. @jlfraser ~ Johnny Holland Magazine)

Videos from Device Design Day 2011

After two instantiations, it looks like it’s going to be a tradition.

“Kicker Studio marked our 3rd Anniversary on August 8, 2011. To celebrate, we hosted the Second Annual Device Design Day at the San Francisco Art Institute, Jody’s alma matter. It was a great success thanks to inspiring speakers and involved attendees. Couldn’t make it? Don’t worry, we’ve posted videos of the talks for you to share and enjoy. And be sure to join us next year for our 3rd Device Design Day.”

(Kicker Studio)

Interaction Design Tactics For Visual Designers

It keeps coming back to the idea of ‘know the material you work with’.

“Interaction design is a multi-faceted discipline that links static communications together to form an experience. Understanding the basic principles of this discipline is core to designing websites that are not only aesthetically pleasing but that actually solve business problems and bring delight to their users. This article just scratches the surface of interaction design. For Web designers of any kind, considering these fundamentals when designing any transaction or interaction is imperative.”

(Jeff Gothelf a.k.a. @jboogie ~ Smashing Magazine)

The Interaction Design of APIs

Great to see UX disciplines applied to geek technology.

“Alex Payne explores the interaction design of APIs, particularly through the lens of the speaker’s experience evolving the popular Twitter API. The speaker argues for the notion of a “humane” API”, one derived from simplicity, “explorability” and consistency. Alex Payne is API Lead at Twitter, Inc., a communications service used by millions to share short messages.”

(Stanford University)

Lost in translation: Bridging the gap between interaction and visual design

Interaction design deals with the behavorial dimension; visual design with the perceptual dimension of the user.

“Interaction designers and visual designers bring something different yet complementary to the table. If you can combine these in a pragmatic way it will enhance the final result and perhaps drive better innovation.”

(Adeline Salkeld-Blears a.k.a. @webdesigngirl ~ OptimalUsability)
courtesy of fredbeecher

Five Essential Principles of Interaction Design

Adobe now moves into interaction design. Can’t wait for their classes on UX, IA or CS.

“Understand what interaction design is and how the five essential principals of interaction design could help you make better interaction design decisions. This quick introduction will help you get started thinking about how to design your interfaces in the most effective way with the behavior of the user in mind.”

(Adobe TV)