What is Ixd?

This post was written for Molly Steenson’s Seminar I: Interaction & Service Design Concepts 2016, CMU School of Design.

Interaction design for me is all about engagement. It is about the creation of modes of expression for humans.

As a designer, I have heard the term ‘ interaction design’ be used to define as a form of a design process for new age digital media. I believe interaction design began with a need to understand audiences. When humans began interacting with each other, they sought out expressions of communication that were simple, versatile and in some ways universal. IxD is, I believe, this centuries language. It deals with creation of dialogue between two or more entities in the simplest form possible, with an emphasis on the users experience. The two entities can be broadly defined — humans and objects, technology and users, or even systems and stakeholders. There lies a power with interaction design as being open-ended to the interpretation of the user, in search for viable solutions to complex problems.

In “The Design Of Everyday Things”, norman explains that two of the most important characteristics of good design are discoverability and understanding. Discoverability: what all actions are possible and how can we perform them? Understanding: What does it all mean? How is the product supposed to be used? What do all the different controls and settings mean? (1)

Interaction design should be that conversation that leaves you happy. It should be intuitive and simple, ironing out the complexities and confusions that might leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. Conversation that leaves you irritated and unsatisfied, creates a unwanted experience, and interaction design inherently wants you to have successful experiences.

What bad interactions feel like. Source: Imgur

For me, IxD is the past, present and future language of effective communication.

Today, interaction design can be understood as a tool to design for services, systems, products or artifacts.

As an end note, I came across a short and brilliant lecture on interaction design, which explains it to its simplest form. It talks about Interaction design as design for human use. You can view it here.

(1)The Design Of Everyday Things: Don Norman