Interaction Design User Experience (UX) topic overview/definition

Interaction Design: Concept Definition

Interaction design (IxD), the design of interactive products and services, particularly concerns the way people interact with products and services. While primarily applied to digital products such as smartphone apps, IxD is also used to optimize physical spaces. IxD can be examined through five dimensions: words (1D), visual representations (2D), physical objects/space (3D), time (4D), and behavior (5D).

The five dimensions, created by Professor and Head of Department of Computer-related Design Gillian Crampton Smith and senior interaction designer Kevin Silver, represent the ways in which a person can interact with a product or service. Words (1D) encompass text, such as button labels, that help convey the right amount of information to users. Visual representations (2D) are graphical elements such as images, typography, and icons that aid in user interaction. Physical objects/space (3D) involves the medium through which users interact with the product or service—for instance, a laptop via a mouse, or a mobile phone via fingers. Time (4D) relates to media that changes with time, such as animations, videos, and sounds. Behavior (5D) is concerned with how the previous four dimensions define the interactions a product affords—for instance, how users can perform actions on a website, or how users can operate a car. Behavior is also about how the product reacts to the users’ inputs and provides feedback.

Together, the five dimensions allow interaction designers to consider the interaction holistically between a user and a product/service. This allows the designer to convey meaningful information—in the right amounts and at the right time—so as to optimize the user experience of using the product/service. Good interaction design results in items that mirror users’ expectations and enable ease of use towards action goals—designed works that are intuitive to grasp and that only fail at frustrating users.

For your convenience, we’ve collected all UX literature that deals with Interaction Design. Here’s the full list: