What is interaction design?

Interaction design is essentially the art of truly putting the user (or user types) at the heart of a given design process. Historically, many products that require users to interact with them to carry out their tasks (e.g. buying a ticket online from a website, making a trade on a foreign exchange (FX) trading platform, photocopying an article, pre-recording a TV program) have not necessarily been designed with the users in mind. Typically, they have been engineered as systems to perform set functions. While they may work effectively from an engineering/development perspective, it is often at the expense of how the system will be used by real people, the systems end users.

Interaction design aims to redress this concern by bringing usability into the design process. In essence, it is about developing interactive products or services that deliver real value and at the same time are easy, effective, and enjoyable to use from the users? perspective.

Interaction designers tend to utilise core aspects of the UX toolkit of methodologies and skills such as personas and user journeys, usability best practice and UI design. As with many terms within the UX arena there is still plenty of crossover between the roles and different organisitions position the roles in different ways (see What is UX design for more on this).

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Updated: 26 Aug 2015
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