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Aims of Chapter 1

  • Explain the difference between good and poor interaction design
  • Describe what interaction design is and how it relates to human-computer interaction and other fields
  • Explain what is meant by the user experience and usability


Good and Poor Interaction Design

The following examples were used to illustrate good and poor design.

  1. Voicemail system
  2. Remote control

A key question for interaction design is how do you optimize the user’s interactions with a system, environment, or product. One way is to make choices based on an understanding of the users. This would include:

  • Taking into account what people are good and bad at
  • Considering what might help people with the way they currently do things
  • Thinking through what might provide quality user experiences
  • Listening to what people want and getting them involved in the design
  • Using ‘tried and tested’ user-based techniques during the design process

What is Interaction Design?

Interaction design means…

Designing interactive products to support the way people communicate and interact in their everyday working lives

Interaction design uses several different components including some of the following academic disciplines…



It also implements the following Design Practices…




Is Interaction Design beyond HCI?

The main difference between ID and HCI is one of scope. ID has a much wider net in terms of theory, research, and practice of designing user experiences. HCI has a much narrower focus being concerned with the design, evaluation and implementation of interactive computing systems.

The process of Interaction Design

The process involves four basic activities…

  1. Identifying needs and establishing requirements for the user experience
  2. Developing alternative designs that meet those requirements
  3. Building interactive versions of the designs so that they can be communicated and assessed
  4. Evaluating what is being built throughout the process and the user experience it offers

Interaction Design and the User Experience

6 Usability Goals

  • Effective to use (effectiveness) – how good is a product at doing what it is supposed to do
  • Efficient to use (efficiency) – once a user has learned how to use a product, can they sustain a high level of productivity
  • Safe to use (safety) – protecting a user from dangerous conditions and undesirable situations
  • Having good utility (utility) – Does it allow the user to carry out all their tasks in the way they would want to do them
  • Easy to learn (learnability) – Can the user work out how to use the product easily
  • Easy to remember how to use (memorability) – How easy is it for the user to remember how to use the product

Positive User Experience Goals

  • Satisfying
  • Enjoyable
  • Engaging
  • Pleasurable
  • Exciting
  • Entertaining
  • etc.

5 Design Principles

  • Visibility – The more visible functions are, the more likely users are to use them
  • Feedback – Send feedback when an action is performed
  • Constraints – restricting the kinds of user interaction that can be performed at a given moment – i.e. deactivating menu buttons
  • Consistency – Interfaces that have similar operations look similar
  • Affordance – Indicates to a user how to use the operation – i.e. a dial that one turns to wind up a clock
Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 2:16 PM UNISA INF 3720 | Back to top

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