Interaction Design User Experience (UX) topic overview/definition

Interaction Design: Concept Definition

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

The 5 dimensions, created by Gillian Crampton Smith and 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 like images, typography and icons that aid in user interaction. Physical object / space (3D) is about 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. Behaviour (5D) is about how the previous 4 dimensions define the interactions a product affords—for instance, how users can perform actions on a website, or how users can operate a car. Behaviour is also about how the product reacts to the users’ inputs and provides feedback.

Together, the 5 dimensions allow interaction designers to holistically consider the interaction between a user and a product / service. This allows the designer to convey meaningful information, in the right amounts and at the right time, to optimise the user experience of using the product / service.

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