A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Interaction Design

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Interaction Design is a field and approach to designing interactive experiences. These could be in any medium, not only digital media. Interactive experiences, necessarily, require time as an organizing principle (though not exclusively) and Interactive Design is concerned with a user, customer, audience, or participant's experience flow through time. Interactivity should not be confused with animation in which objects may move on a screen; interactivity is concerned with being part of the action of a system or performance and not merely watching the action passively.



jQuery-Based Popout Ad: Part 2

We're going to take the ad we built last week and animate it, as well as provide the user with a means to open and close the ad. We’ll be using jQuery for most of what we do, so you’ll need to include the jQuery library script at the top of your document for this to work (see the source of the example page to see how this is done).

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design>Ajax


A JSON tutorial in JavaScript and jQuery for Beginners

JavaScript has grown from a way to add interactivity on your page, to a language that lets you perform tasks that once belonged to servers. JSON provides for an easy way to create and store data structures within JavaScript. It’s super popular and a great alternative to XML. JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation…it’s called that because storing data with JSON creates a JavaScript object. The JavaScript object can be easily parsed and manipulated with JavaScript.

Villalobos, Ray. View Source (2012). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design>JavaScript


Just How Far Beyond HCI is Interaction Design?

A recent book captures a larger movement within the academic field of human-computer interaction away from its traditions of behavioral science and engineering towards 'interaction design.' But re-labeling isn't enough, it also requires a shift in philosophical foundations as well as professional practice, and the language of HCI is not the best place to look for inspiration.

Lowgren, Jonas. Boxes and Arrows (2002). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Interaction Design


Keeping it Small in Flash

If your Flash efforts need to go on some sort of weight loss program, here's a good place to start.

Green, Tom. Community MX (2006). Design>Web Design>Interaction Design>Flash


The Lack of Interactivity and Hypertextuality in Online Media   (peer-reviewed)

The main focus of this article is related to the forms of mediated content that are offered in online space. Two specific aspects of new cyber-textuality are discussed--the notion of hypertextuality and the potential of interactivity. Both characteristics are understood as new challenges that reflect specific communication potentials of the internet. In an empirical sense, the article tries to show the extent these significant forms of mediation are used in online media news. For this reason a comparison between media content in print and online media has been made. The findings reveal the lack of interactivity in practice and explore its diversity as a communication form between media producers and reader. Regarding the hypertextuality, the analysis shows the complexity of this concept, which in the realm of news media online is still maturing.

Oblak, Tanja. International Communication Gazette (2005). Articles>Web Design>Hypertext>Interaction Design


Leadership in Collaboration: Filmmaking and Interaction Design

For projects of importance, you need divergent skills to succeed. It is not possible to find an individual with all of the skill sets needed, nor would you want to. To create a first rate website or software product, you need many tasks to be done in parallel, which means that more than one person has to be working at them. As soon as two or more people are involved, the dynamic for how decisions are made, and how work gets done, becomes important. Any group of people can do work together, but it takes the right approach and team philosophy for that group to produce good work. Collaboration is critical in any creative pursuit involving groups of people, from filmmaking, to urban architecture or even web and software development.

Berkun, Scott. ScottBerkun.com (2002). Careers>Management>Collaboration>Interaction Design


Lean Interaction Design and Implementation

Lean UI development in Feature Driven Development is achieved through right-first-time implementation of the interaction designer's intent using David Harel's Statechart notation to model the interaction design.

Anderson, David J. UIdesign (2003). Design>Web Design>Project Management>Interaction Design


Learning From Museums: Kate Talks with the SFMOMA Interactive Educational Technologies Team

What can the User Experience field learn from the world of museums? Peter Samis and Tana Johnson of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) Interactive Technologies Team can help answer the question. The issues that they grapple with (and solve through inventive design) are firmly grounded in the goal of providing exceptional and inspiring museum experiences.

Rutter, Kate. Adaptive Path (2008). Articles>Interviewing>User Experience>Interaction Design


Learning from the Success of Computer Games

I have long been struck by the power of the computer game to mesmerize, to hold the attention of otherwise restless children for hours and even days. I have watched otherwise unruly children focus, study, collaborate, and problem-solve. They read hint books, save checkpoints, the better to be able to try 'what-if' scenarios. They consult, the create. They solve. They do all the activities we wish them to do in pursuit of an education: What a shame that what is being learned is so trivial, so worthless. Now imagine a time when we transform education. When we can craft educational problems as cleverly as the game creators create theirs, allowing students to delve into the complexity of topics as deeply and as thoroughly as they delve into the games. Excite them to dive into the task, voluntarily working hard to learn the skills necessary to succeed. Only this time, the skills learned will be the ones necessary to be successful, well-educated citizens of society: mathematics, history, writing, science, art, and so on.

Norman, Donald A. JND.org (2000). Design>Usability>Interaction Design>Games


Learning to Love the Pixel: Exploring the Craft of Icon Design

Designing web-based enterprise software involves creating complex artifacts like architecture wireframes, object models, screen flows, and clickable prototypes in order to articulate aspects of the online experience for product stakeholders. But what does “craft” mean for interaction designers?

Gajendar, Uday. Boxes and Arrows (2003). Design>Graphic Design>Interaction Design


Living Multiple Lives — The New Technical Communicator

In this podcast, Noz Urbina talks about how Web 2.0 is changing the role of the technical communicator into one who drives product R&D and interaction design. The interview covers how the role of the technical communicator has evolved into a diversity of roles; how awareness of user needs and requirements allows technical communicators to get involved in product R&D and user interaction design; and how implementing a backwards flow of data from hundreds of internal and external users changes the role of a technical writer to one who aggregates, synthesizes, and ensures quality rather than one who merely writes.

Urbina, Noz and Tom H. Johnson. Tech Writer Voices (2008). Articles>Interviews>Web Design>Interaction Design


Macintosh OS 8 Human Interface Guidelines

This document describes the additions and changes to Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines related to the release of Mac OS 8. Specifically, it presents guidelines for taking advantage of the Mac OS platinum appearance and the Appearance Manager. This document does not replace Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines.

Apple Inc. (1997). Design>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface


Macintosh OS X: Aqua Human Interface Guidelines

This document, which covers features up to Mac OS X version 10.2, describes what you need to do to design your application for Aqua. Primarily intended for Carbon and Cocoa developers who want their applications to look right and behave correctly in Mac OS X, these guidelines provide examples of how to use Aqua interface elements. Java application developers will also find these guidelines useful.

Apple Inc. (2003). Design>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface


Madcap Flare’s Extensibility: Adding jQuery to Flare

I like Flare for much of the same reasons as Alistair. I haven’t integrated jQuery scripts into Flare yet. But knowing that I can do it if I wanted to is encouraging.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Documentation>Interaction Design>Madcap Flare


Make Internal Links Scroll Smoothly with JavaScript

When they’re navigating through a long document, users often are confused or disoriented when they click a link that jumps to another location in that same document.

Langridge, Stuart. SitePoint (2003). Design>Web Design>Interaction Design>JavaScript


Making the Most of Interactivity Online Version 2.0   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Examines new developments in interactivity for online authors and developers. Suggests the metaphor of procedural architecture for authoring strongly interactive technical documents. Considers rich internet applications and gaming as emerging forms of interactive technical communication.

McDaniel, Rudy. Technical Communication Online (2010). Articles>User Experience>Interaction Design


Making the Physical Environment Interactive

Microsoft's most innovative product of the 1990s was Interactive Barney: a plush toy containing a computer that lets it interact with kids. When you squeeze Barney's toe, for example, he sings a song; when you cover his eyes, he plays peek-a-boo. Soon, many more physical objects may become interactive, and they're likely to contain much more broadly defined and subtle user interfaces than the primitive toe squeezing that Interactive Barney pioneered.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2002). Design>Human Computer Interaction


Mastering Ajax, Part 1: Introduction to Ajax

Ajax, which consists of HTML, JavaScript™ technology, DHTML, and DOM, is an outstanding approach that helps you transform clunky Web interfaces into interactive Ajax applications. The author, an Ajax expert, demonstrates how these technologies work together -- from an overview to a detailed look -- to make extremely efficient Web development an easy reality. He also unveils the central concepts of Ajax, including the XMLHttpRequest object.

McLaughlin, Brett D. IBM (2006). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design>Ajax


Mastering Ajax, Part 1: Introduction to Ajax

Ajax, which consists of HTML, JavaScript™ technology, DHTML, and DOM, is an outstanding approach that helps you transform clunky Web interfaces into interactive Ajax applications. The author, an Ajax expert, demonstrates how these technologies work together -- from an overview to a detailed look -- to make extremely efficient Web development an easy reality. He also unveils the central concepts of Ajax, including the XMLHttpRequest object.

McLaughlin, Brett D. IBM (2006). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design>Ajax


Mastering Ajax, Part 2: Make Asynchronous Requests with JavaScript and Ajax

Most Web applications use a request/response model that gets an entire HTML page from the server. The result is a back-and-forth that usually involves clicking a button, waiting for the server, clicking another button, and then waiting some more. With Ajax and the XMLHttpRequest object, you can use a request/response model that never leaves users waiting for a server to respond. In this article, Brett McLaughlin shows you how to create XMLHttpRequest instances in a cross-browser way, construct and send requests, and respond to the server.

McLaughlin, Brett D. IBM (2006). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design>Ajax


Modeling the Empowered User   (PDF)

An STC-funded study of computer users in an R & D organization attempts to identify users who reflect a high degree of productive integration of computers into workplace tasks. The study reveals user stratification along the lines of low-strategic and high-strategic users: users who choose to use computers to accomplish information and communication-oriented tasks. The study attempts to confirm this stratification by indicating that users identified in this way also use computers to perform a higher frequency of information-related computer behaviors, such as use of email, electronic information transfer, archiving, and software learning. Identifying users in this way can help writers and documention designers by providing models of integrated computer use.

Barker, Thomas and Patricia Goubil-Gambrell. STC Proceedings (1996). Design>Human Computer Interaction>User Centered Design


Mommy, Where Do Ideas Come From?

We know we need to fold necessary constraints back in to our design solution as we iterate it, but lifting them for a bit can provide inspiration or even just some much-needed levity as we tackle a particularly challenging design problem.

Thompson, Suzy. Cooper Journal (2009). Articles>User Centered Design>Interaction Design


Navigating Information Spaces

Evaluation is a fundamental part of human-computer interaction (HCI). Good HCI practice tells designers to evaluate: evaluate requirements, evaluate designs, evaluate prototypes. The purpose of evaluation is to improve the usability of a software system; that is to make it easy to use, easy to learn, effective and enjoyable. But what is usability and what makes one device easier to use than another? Traditional HCI theory has produced a number of evaluation techniques and guidelines. These are based on some basic psychological assumptions which date back to the sixties.

Benyon, David. ERCIM News (2001). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Information Design


No-One Looks at the Screen

One of the most fundamental factors in designing for screen-based media is: No-one likes looking at a computer screen.

Hunt, Ben. Web Design From Scratch (2006). Design>Web Design>Human Computer Interaction>User Centered Design


Notes on the Role of Project Managers in Interface Design

This describes the role that I played as program manager for IE5.0, and the basic process we used (the essay is derived from an old post to chiweb). It's a good anecdote as to how one team managed the cross discipline work of design and usability, with the engineering and development process.

Berkun, Scott. ScottBerkun.com (2002). Articles>Management>Project Management>Interaction Design



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