“Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.”Steve Jobs

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Interaction design, often abbreviated as IxD. Interaction design is an important component within the bunch of topics in user experience (UX) design. Interaction design can be understood in simple terms: it is the design of the interaction between users and products. The goal of interaction design is to create products that enable the user to achieve their objective(s) in the best way possible.

UX design is about shaping the experience of using a product, and most part of that experience involves some interaction between the user and the product. User experience design accounts for all user-facing aspects of a product or system. UX design and interaction design are connected but it’s nearly impossible to create good interaction design in isolation of UX. Well-executed interaction design plays a huge role in the implementation of great UX. Technically, an interaction designer and a user experience designer could work on the same areas of a design. A user experience designer (UXD) focuses on the entire experience between a user and the product, not just the interactions.

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According to John Kolko, Author of Thoughts on Interaction Design, says that “Interaction Design is the creation of a dialogue between a person and a product, system, or service. This dialogue is both physical and emotional in nature and is manifested in the interplay between form, function, and technology as experienced over time.”

Understanding how users and technology communicate with each other is fundamental to this field.

The concept of dimensions of interaction design were introduced in Moggridge’s book Designing Interactions. The 5 dimensions of interaction design is a useful model to understand what interaction design involves.

IxD involves words (1D), visual representations (2D), physical objects/space (3D), time (4D), and behavior (5D).

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1D: Words

words are the element that users interact with. like button labels — should be meaningful and simple to understand. They should communicate information to users, but not too much information to overwhelm the user.

2D: Visual representations

Visual representations are the elements of an interface that the user perceives including typography, icons, and other graphics with which users interact.

3D: Physical objects or space.

This dimension defines the objects or space “with which or within which users interact” As an example, a user interacts with computers and a mouse while sitting on a desk in an office space. For instance, is the user standing in a crowded train while using the app on a smartphone, or sitting on a desk in the office surfing the website? These all affect the interaction between the user and the product.

4D: Time

The time during which the user interacts with the interface. It mostly refers to media that changes with time (animation, videos, sounds). Time helps users understand visual changes in a UI. Motion and sounds play a crucial role in giving visual and audio feedback to users’ interactions.

5D: Behavior

Behavior includes both action and reaction. Behavior defines how users respond to the interface. Users may have different reactions in this interface. for instance emotional responses or feedback — of users and the product.

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Interaction designers should utilize all five dimensions to consider the interactions between a user and a product.


· Goal-oriented design

· Usability

· Cognitive dimensions

· Personas

· Affective interaction design

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Successful interactive design uses technology and principles of good communication to create desired user experiences. an interaction designer would be more focused on how the system and user interact with each other.

Written by

Hey there, I’m undergraduate of University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka and passionate about UI/UX designing and to give meaningful solutions to everyday life.

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