Interaction design

From Academic Kids

Interaction design is a sub-discipline of design which examines the role of embedded behaviors and intelligence in physical and virtual spaces as well as the convergence of physical and digital products. Sometimes referred to by the acronyms "IxD" or "iD," interaction design has recently developed as a field of study in a growing number of universities throughout the world.

(Working definition below taken from Interaction Designers mailing list.)[1] (

Interaction design (IxD) is the branch of user experience design that illuminates the relationship between people and the machines they use. While interaction design has a firm foundation in the theory, practice, and methodology of traditional user interface design, its focus is on defining the complex dialogues that occur between people and interactive devices of many types-from computers to mobile communications devices to appliances.

Historically the term interaction design has its roots in GUI-design. Interaction design has become more and more concerned about other interactions than the ones happening between a single user and a digital device. As professor Irene McAra-McWilliam notes ( "interaction design used to be primarily about the aesthetics of the interactive experience - how it makes the user feel - whereas now it is increasingly concerned with the social and political implications of new technologies". One can ask if interaction design is tied only to situations where digital devices are involved or could for example the design of party games and social events be seen as interaction design.

Interaction designers strive to create useful and usable products and services. Following the fundamental tenets of user-centered design, the practice of interaction design is grounded in an understanding of real users-their goals, tasks, experiences, needs, and wants. Approaching design from a user-centered perspective, while endeavoring to balance users' needs with business goals and technological capabilities, interaction designers provide solutions to complex design challenges, and define new and evolving interactive products and services.

The success of products in the marketplace depends on the design of high-quality, engaging interactive experiences. Good interaction design

  • effectively communicates a system's interactivity and functionality
  • defines behaviors that communicate a system's responses to user interactions
  • reveals both simple and complex workflows
  • informs users about system state changes
  • prevents user error by using techniques such as behavior shaping constraints

While interaction designers often work closely with specialists in visual design, information architecture, industrial design, user research, or usability, and may even provide some of these services themselves, their primary focus is on defining interactivity.

The discipline of interaction design produces products and services that satisfy specific user needs, business goals, and technical constraints. Interaction designers advance their discipline by exploring innovative design paradigms and technological opportunities. As the capabilities of interactive devices evolve and their complexity increases, practitioners of the discipline of interaction design will play an increasingly important role in ensuring that technology serves people's needs.

In summary, interaction design defines

  • the structure and behaviors of interactive products and services
  • user interactions with those products and services

External links

Related concepts

pt:Design de interao zh:交互设计


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