In this highly-competitive digital age, creating meaningful connections between products and users have become essential to success. And the main component in achieving this is by improving interaction design.
This article discusses the concept of interaction design, its elements, and provides tips on how to implement it for better user experience.
Table of contents:
Defining Interaction Design and Why it Matters in 2019
Interaction design (IxD) can be defined as the process wherein technological products and solutions are designed to focus on human behavior and interaction in relation to its use. So when it comes to websites and apps, it is essentially designing to make products not only highly usable, but perhaps more importantly, highly enjoyable.
And with user experience being such a crucial part of business success in 2019, having great IxD is integral to providing the best possible experience to your customers. In the highly-competitive digital space, you need all the advantages you ca0,n get. So whether it’s coming up with a gesture that makes accomplishing tasks on mobile much simpler and easier, or providing subtle, yet clear user feedback to limit errors – having the right approach to IxD can be a game changer for your products and services.
5 Dimensions of Interaction Design
To better understand the concept of IxD, let’s take a look at its five basic dimensions:
It may seem simple enough, but if overlooked by UX designers, it could very easily lead to confusion. This could refer to the basic text on your website that provides information. It could also be the CTA buttons—all of which should be concise, clear and easy to understand.
This refers to aesthetic elements like content layout, colors, and images – as well as any icons or buttons that users can interact with. A great use of visuals, for example, would be when an icon perfectly complements the text provided, combining to communicate messages clearly and enjoyably.
3D: Physical Objects and Space
This dimension refers to a few things. Which device are they using to connect to your store? Are users on a laptop using a trackpad to interact with your website, or are they using gestures to swipe on a smartphone?
It also refers to what users are doing while using your product. Are they listening to music on Spotify while browsing your ecommerce app?
Lastly, it also takes into consideration the environments users are in while interacting with your product. For example, for Waze, designers have to work around the fact that users are driving while using the navigation app.
There are a few different ways you can look at this dimension. One way is time spent on a website / app – the more time is spent on it can be a measure of success. Conversely, success can also be measured by how much time users are able to save by using your product.
How do users get to your product? Do they usually conduct a Google search? Do they respond to push notifications?
What happens when they’re directed to your product? How do they feel as they’re interacting with it?
Principles of Interaction Design
While there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to IxD, there are a few basic principles that continually hold true.
In its most basic sense, this law posits that the bigger the object, the faster and more accurately you can point to it. Check out the suggestion a Reddit user made that was eventually implemented.
Not only does this make the interaction faster, it reduces potential errors.
The law’s basic premise is that the greater the number of choices afforded, the longer it takes to make a decision. Amazon’s vast catalogue of products may be one of its strengths, but it doesn’t bombard people with an extensive listing on its homepage, opting instead to limit the number of choices users have. This encourages them to act instead of encountering paralysis of choice.
This law basically suggests moving complexities to the back-end processes, away from the user. You can see this as the foundation for a lot of the minimalist interfaces that pervade the web.
Airbnb is a good example of this, presenting users with the simple task of inputting their desired location and dates on their homepage, with more complicated processes left for the end of the process.
Tips for Implementing Interaction Design for Better User Experience
Tip #1. Make it discoverable
It’s imperative that you let users know what they can do on your platform. Whether it’s the ability to easily search your website’s contents, social media sharing options or if your website has an offline viewing capability – make sure that important features are easily discovered. You can do this by directing users’ attention and by clearly labeling your CTA buttons and icons.
Tip #2. Educate users
Users tend to enjoy products that are intuitive, but it also helps if you can point them in the right direction. With the use of signifiers, you can educate your users, reduce errors, and help provide better user experience. For example, providing quick tips to first time users/visitors as they go along is great for educating them on-the-go.
Tip #3. See it through the eyes of users
You might have everything aligned with all the sound theories, but you still need to conduct interaction design analysis by allowing real users to play around with your product. Look at what actions they’re doing and what’s leading them to those interactions. Is it the typography? Icons? Images? What elements are they having difficulty with?
Testing your platform with real users gives you invaluable insights that can help bolster UX.
Tip #4. Evoke emotion
Emotions drive most web decisions. People don’t always buy because they want a product, but because of how products make them feel. You can play to this by focusing on how your product/service can improve users’ lives instead of highlighting product features.
Maybe it saves them time, perhaps it ensures security and privacy—whatever it may be, make sure you make it all about them and how they feel.
These days, it’s all about improving user experience. People want products that are not only beneficial to them, they also need them to be easy to use. That’s why if you start and continue working on your products’ interaction design, improved UX will inevitably follow.
Which app’s interaction design do you enjoy the most? Let us know in the comments below.
Aaron Chichioco is the content editorial manager of designdoxa.com. His expertise includes not only limited to the topics about Web/mobile design and development, but social media marketing, branding and eCommerce Strategies as well. You can follow Aaron on twitter at @Aaron_Chichioco