Summary of Interaction Design

1. What is design?

Design is a planned and standard creative process for the purpose of building products, systems and services, seeking the greatest value intersection in the fields of technology, humanity and business, and achieving sustainable growth of individual, social and economic benefits.

To put it bluntly, it is to use certain technologies to make products, make the products cool to some people, and make money at the same time, and it is best to have a higher level of social influence.

If you have the technology and skill to make a product, and no one uses it, it is 0.999, which cannot reach 1; if you make a product but you can’t make money and have no social impact, that is a 1, and you can’t achieve 10,000+.

Therefore, from these dimensions, although the user volume and economic volume of multiple different types of products are equivalent, the bottlenecks and upper limits of their development will be very different.

For example, the porn industry has always been in demand, and it is easy to make money, but its social benefits and influence have reached the ceiling early.

The majority of product managers and designers were all those who wanted to use products to change the world in their student days or when they first started working, and they always remembered that "design is people-oriented".

Human value refers to the behavior mode (lifestyle) and the judgment standard of the ultimate living state that we as human beings have in different social and cultural environments and development levels.

Our human value system consists of a universal frame of reference within which we seek to judge and compare specific things and situations that shape our attitudes and actions.

The value appeal of human nature is endless. The realization of human nature value by design is not limited to the satisfaction of material desires. Excellent design often reflects the deep-level human value appeal, such as social responsibility, rationality and self-realization.

Technology and human value complement each other. Human value can guide the innovation and evolution of technology, and new technology triggers new pursuit of human value. Seemingly saturated products, through redesign, can trigger people's new desires.

The first generation iPhone released in 2007 is a complex of telephone, iPod and Internet, but it is not a simple integration, but a higher-dimensional interaction concept and new experience.


2. What is Interaction design?

Design is a broad category from a disciplinary point of view, including our common industrial design, visual communication design, interface design, interaction design and so on.

Many small companies don't have interaction design posts. Most of them are concurrently held by product designers or UI designers. In the view of the boss, product designers can directly make wireframes while completing requirements and feature analysis, and then hand them over to UI designers for coloring, which can quickly solve problems and reduce labor costs.

In fact, product designers and UI designers sometimes don't have the same understanding of products. The work of both sides directly lead to the emergence of a gap. It seems that the labor cost has been reduced, but the hidden communication cost and modification cost have risen sharply. At this time, interaction designers need to connect the product designers to the UI.

At present, many big companies basically set up their own interaction design team or user experience team.

So what is the interaction design that an interaction designer is responsible for?

1. Interaction design

Interaction design, literally speaking, interaction is mutual influence, and design is understanding and communication.

For Internet products, interaction design is to define the behavior of information exchange between products and users according to the needs of the scene.

For example, when buying clothes, customer of the traditional brick-and-mortar stores mainly decides to buy them by trying them on in person. In the shopping app, customer will consider clicking into the comment area to view others' wearing photos and videos. In the cutting-edge AR / VR technology, customer can easily click to realize remote simulation and try on. The product information such as clothes has not changed, but the behavior of users to obtain information has changed many times.

Therefore, interaction design can also be called behavioral design, focusing on how interactive systems change people's behaviors and lifestyles at the macro and micro levels.

Interaction designers need to understand users' expectations, motivations, needs, and usage scenarios, understand opportunities and constraints in business, technology, and industry, and use the above knowledge as a planning basis to create products, so that the form, content, and behavior of products are usable and attractive, which is economically and technically feasible

Interaction design innovation requires the understanding of technology, but the insight into human nature is more important. This is people-oriented design thinking, which expands the application possibility of technology from the perspective of people.

Some problems in design cannot be judged by intuition alone. Even some very perceptual factors require a certain amount of user research to be determined.

"Interaction designers shouldn't design a vase, but a way of appreciating flowers, a process of experience, which must be integrated with people's lifestyles."

2. Three viewpoints and commonalities of interaction design

Many early scholars and practitioners have different views on the core objects of interaction design: 

A technology-centric perspective: making technology, especially digital, useful, accessible, and enjoyable to use.

"Interaction design is about the design of people, behaviors, and actions. The design of product usage behavior, task flow, and information architecture to enable usability, readability, and enjoyment of technology." 

Behavioral Viewpoint: Emphasizes functionality and feedback, how the product works when people use it, and how it responds.

"Interaction design is all about defining the behavior of artifacts, environments, and systems (such as products)."

"Interaction design is designed for the process. In order to ensure that people have smooth logic when contacting with things and comply with action habits, it is necessary to guide behavior and design behavior process through interaction design. At the same time, interaction design is also designed for feedback action. When after we come into contact with something, we need reasonable feedback to tell us the results of our actions and give us instructions for our next actions, which is also a cyclical process.”

View of social communication design: It is social in nature, and uses products to promote communication between people.

"First of all, interaction design is human-centered design, and everything that is related to people and has contact can be incorporated into the object of interaction design."

"The design that we are exposed to on the surface may be objects, software, and products, but the ultimate goal of interaction design should be to make the interaction between people and objects as natural, real and emotional as the interaction between people."

Although there are different understandings of the core objects, they all have one thing in common, namely:

Interaction design is an open-ended applied art, not a formulaic engineering science that studies how things work. It depicts how things might look, and produces reliable and correct rules. It is inherently situational and can be solved in a specific environment. specific problem.

3. Interaction design and multidisciplinary connection

Interaction design is a multi-disciplinary and highly integrated design, such as information architecture, industrial design, visual design, human-computer interaction, human factors, sound design, architecture and user experience design. Therefore, in design practice, we should also master and combine multi-disciplinary knowledge for design and consideration, so as to truly combine technology and art.

General classification of disciplines:

  • Ergonomics: focus on the productivity and safety of workers and determine the best way to perform tasks.
  • Cognitive Psychology: Focus on human learning and problem solving. Cognitive psychology provides many basic design principles for interaction design, including mental models, perception/reality mapping, metaphors, and actionable cues.
  • Information Architecture: Information architecture refers to the structure and manner in which information content is organized. In interaction design, an effective information architecture organizes and tags content so that users can find the information they need logically and step-by-step.
  • Visual Design: Utilize visual language to communicate content.
  • Industrial Design: The main research form is the design of real entities.
  • Human Factors: Human factors studies how people, machines, and environments coordinate in a specific environment, so that products meet some of the restrictive requirements of the human body, including physical and psychological.
  • Human-Computer Interaction: closely related to interaction design, but with a more quantitative approach, with an emphasis on engineering disciplines and computer science.
  • Architecture: Mainly concerned with physical space, form and application.

4. Four design theories of interaction design

User-centered design

Simply put: users know what is best

The concept of UCD comes from industrial design and ergonomics, which refers to a design method oriented by user needs and goals in the design process, which is a theoretical and logical interaction design method.

Goals are very important in UCD: the designer focuses on what the user ultimately wants to accomplish, the designer defines the tasks and ways of accomplishing the goal, always keeping the user's needs and preferences in mind.

In UCD method, users are introduced in each stage of the project. At the beginning of the project, users are consulted whether the project meets the needs, and comprehensive research is carried out to clarify the user needs under the current situation. Then users are introduced in the conception stage to help generate concepts (participatory design). Finally, users are used to evaluate and test prototypes. User data runs through the whole project, which is the decisive factor of design decision-making.

But UCD is not a panacea, all design insights depend on the user, sometimes resulting in a narrow vision of products and services, UCD is valuable but it is only one of the design methods.

Activity centered design

ACD, derived from activity theory (a mental framework that posits that people create tools through "representational" thought processes), refers to an approach to designing for behavior around a specific task in the design process. (Activity: A series of decisions and actions to accomplish an intent)

ACD does not focus on user needs and goals, no longer-emphasis on individual decisions and inner workings, but on what people do, activities and the tools (not users) that support them become the center of the design process.

ACD's insights are also based on user research, observing and interviewing users to find insights into their behavior. List user activities and tasks first, and design solutions that help accomplish the task, not the goal itself.

This method is suitable for products with complex activities or large and diverse user groups, but ACD can face ethical dilemmas, some tasks require certain skills to complete, and another risk is too focused on the task, not from a global perspective Problems look for solutions, leading to "seeing the tree but not the forest".

This method is applicable to products with complex activities or a large number of different user groups, but ACD may face moral dilemma. The completion of some tasks requires certain skills, and another risk is that it is too focused on the task and will not find solutions to the problem from the overall perspective, resulting in "Can't see the forest for the trees".

Systems design

SD comes from cybernetics, which refers to the design method of creating a solution by using a certain set arrangement of components. SD does not ignore user goals and needs, which can be set as the goals of the system, but more emphasis is placed on scenarios and environments. rather than users.

SD is structured to be able to observe the overall research project in a panoramic view, very effective for solving complex problems, providing a holistic analysis for the design.

Genius design 

GD is also known as "rapid expert design". It refers to the design method that relies on the wisdom and experience of designers to make design decisions and judge user needs.

Designers use personal knowledge to determine what users want, need, and expect. But can lead to some mistakes, its success depends on the talent of the designer.

5. The end

It is hoped that everyone who participates in the social division of labor can participate in the design of all aspects of society. In this way, everyone is a product manager and designer in the society, and everyone is a real user.

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