The first edition of
described a discipline called software design and equated it with another discipline called user interface design. Of these two terms,
However, it seems clear to the authors that what is discussed in this book is a discipline larger than the design of user interfaces. The word interface denotes a surface, and much of the design issues that this book addresses go far deeper than the surface of a CRT screen: They go right to the heart of what a digital product is and what it does .
The idea of designing
is also a bit
We can't, as designers, truthfully claim to be able to design a user's
of an artifact or system, but we can design the mechanisms for
with an artifact to
the user's experience of it. Because we believe that experience occurs in the interaction between the human and the artifact, we have
Simply put, interaction design is the definition and design of the behavior of artifacts, environments, and systems , as well as the formal elements that communicate that behavior. Unlike traditional design disciplines, whose focus has historically been on form and, more recently, on content and meaning, interaction design seeks first to plan and describe how things behave and then, as necessary, to describe the most effective form to communicate those behaviors (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Three dimensions of design. Design has traditionally focused on form and, more recently, on meaning and content. The newest dimension of design is behavior , how complex systems interact with
Interaction design borrows theory and technique from traditional design, usability, and engineering disciplines. It is a synthesis, however—more than a sum of its
In particular, interaction design is a discipline
Defining the form of products as they relate to their behaviors and uses
Anticipating how the use of products will affect human relationships and understanding
Exploring the dialogue between products, people, and contexts (physical, cultural, historical) (Reimann and Forlizzi, 2001)
Interaction design approaches the design of products with a Goal-Directed perspective:
From an understanding of how and why people
As an advocate for the users and their goals
As gestalts, not simply as sets of features and attributes
By looking to the future—seeing things as they might be, not
Because the behaviors of complex systems are often not a matter of aesthetics, but rather one of cognitive factors and logical processes, interaction design is both amenable to and greatly aided by a systematic approach.
Interaction designers need, first and foremost, to understand the goals, motivations, and expectations (the mental models) of the people for whom they hope to design. These can best be
In response to these narratives, designed artifacts must exhibit behavioral narratives of their own that mesh successfully with those of the
Some designers, entrenched in the design traditions of form (visual, audible, and tactile themes, patterns, styles, and idioms), argue that interactive elements should be treated as streams of sense data that change over time, similar to motion pictures, and may thus be fully described by traditional design methods. This argument, however, is seriously flawed: Although the form-oriented aspects of interaction design are obviously important, they are almost useless unless they are organized by effective and appropriate behaviors. Without a logical structure and a flow that facilitate solving the practical problems of users, form-oriented interactive design is, by itself, sensual titillation of questionable value.
To put it differently, sense data means nothing without the narrative that lets us make logical sense of it. Special effects alone do not make a movie; the narrative is also essential. This is even more valid for interactions with digital products because the dialogue is not between fictional creations