What is Interaction Design? (Ivera)

Going through some research articles I had collected I cam across a nicely written press release from Interaction Design Institute Ivrea. I love the final two paragraphs from this piece:
“Interactive technologies need a new kind of design, a fusion of sound, graphic and product design, and time-based narrative. Developing this new kind of design will lead to a new aesthetic: one of use and experience as well as of form. Function and information (and perhaps entertainment) converge.
In the combination of communication and interaction design the real needs and possibilities to improve human existence are given a central place.”
Lovely. I’ve included the whole page for safe keeping. Full credit goes to the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea.

Read more


Interfaces for Staying in the Flow (acm)

More on flow. I talked about this earlier in a previous entry. Again, reading Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s popular book about what he called “optimal experience” is worth the effort. This particular article discusses design user interfaces that are most conductive to allowing users to get in the flow.
“Psychologists have studied “optimal human experience” for many years, often called “being in the flow”. Through years of study, the basic characteristics of flow have been identified. This paper reviews the literature, and interprets the characteristics of flow within the context of interface design with the goal of understanding what kinds of interfaces are most conducive to supporting users being in the flow. Several examples to demonstrate the connection to flow are given.”
Read: Interfaces for Staying in the Flow


A Definition of Interaction Design (Dan)

“Interaction design is the art of facilitating or instigating interactions between humans (or their agents), mediated by products. By interactions, I mostly mean communication, either one-on-one (a telephone call), one-to-many (blogs), or many-to-many (the stock market). The products an interaction designer creates can be digital or analog, physical or incorporeal or some combination thereof.

Interaction design is concerned with the behavior of products, with how products work. A lot of an interaction designer’s time will be spent defining these behaviors, but the designer should never forget that the goal is to facilitate interactions between humans. To me, it’s not about interaction with a product (that’s industrial design) or interaction with a computer (that’s human-computer interaction). It’s about making connections between people.”

Read the full article. Hat tip xBlog


Balancing visual and structural complexity in interaction design

People will complain about a visually complex page at the sight of it. But they will also complain if the information they need isn’t immediately available to them when they start using the site.

An article dispelling many of the overused misunderstood principles of simplicity that people believe (my self included at one time) would greatly aid the usability of a web site.

But from Edward Tufte:

High density is good: the human eye/brain can select, filter, edit, group, structure, highlight, focus, blend, outline, cluster, itemize, winnow, sort, abstract, smooth, isolate, idealize, summarize, etc. Give people the data so they can exercise their full powers — don’t limit them.

Clutter/confusion are failures of design and not complexity.

Read: Balancing visual and structural complexity in interaction design


The Origin of Personas

“Personas, like all powerful tools, can be grasped in an instant but can take months or years to master. Interaction designers at Cooper spend weeks of study and months of practice before we consider them to be capable of creating and using personas at a professional level. Many practicing designers have used the brief 25-page description of personas in Inmates as a