Interaction Design

Designing a smoother experience for everyone.

Interaction Design is a subset of a user's experience with the product. It specifically focuses on the moment of interaction and focuses to improve that moment.

A big subset of a big industry.

What is interaction design?

Interaction Design (IxD) is the design of interactive products and services in which a designer’s focus goes beyond the item in development to include the way users will interact with it. Thus, close scrutiny of users’ needs, limitations and contexts, etc. empowers designers to customize output to suit precise demands.

What Designers Do – with the 5 Dimensions of IxD

For UX designers, “Interaction Design” is the axis on which our work revolves (i.e., the design of human interaction with digital products); however, the term also applies to understanding how people interact with non-digital products.

“Interaction Design is the creation of a dialogue between a person and a product, system, or service. This dialogue is both physical and emotional in nature and is manifested in the interplay between form, function, and technology as experienced over time.”

- John Kolko, Author of Thoughts on Interaction Design (2011)

Designers’ work in IxD involves five dimensions: words (1D), visual representations (2D), physical objects/space (3D), time (4D), and behavior (5D).

The dimensions represent the aspects an interaction designer considers when designing interactions:

  • Words (1D) encompass text, such as button labels, which help give users the right amount of information.
  • Visual representations (2D) are graphical elements such as images, typography and icons that aid in user interaction.
  • Physical objects/space (3D) refers to the medium through which users interact with the product or service—for instance, a laptop via a mouse, or a mobile phone via fingers.
  • Time (4D) relates to media that changes with time, such as animations, videos and sounds.
  • Behavior (5D) is concerned with how the previous four dimensions define the interactions a product affords—for instance, how users can perform actions on a website, or how users can operate a car. Behavior also refers to how the product reacts to the users’ inputs and provides feedback.

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