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.



Now Serving Interactive Information Units   (PDF)

Interactive information units (IIUs) are online, interactive HTML documents that modify their content based on user input. You can use IIUs to document tasks that are not performed frequently enough to merit a wizard and are too complex for traditional documentation. Content is essential in IIUs and appearance varies. You can provide interactive function with a variety of languages. HTML makes production faster and cost efficient. The Internet makes updating transparent. IIUs are just another example of a great idea brought about by new technology.

Cromarty, Valerie Christensen. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design


Now You See Me

Showing and hiding content using JavaScript-based page manipulations for tabbed interfaces, collapsible elements, and accordion widgets is a common development pattern. Learn how your choice of hiding mechanism can influence content accessibility in assistive technologies like screen readers in an excerpt from Adaptive Web Design.

Gustafson, Aaron. List Apart, A (2011). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Interaction Design


Of Mice and iPods, or The Death of the Designer

Computing technologies are becoming so familiar it can feel as if they have always been here. It is strange to think that the mouse, for instance, was invented by Doug Englebart in the seventies. He must encounter a degree of incredulity when he mentions this to people. “You invented the mouse? Really? How nice. Did you also invent the pen?”

Blythe, Mark. uiGarden (2008). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Centered Design>Usability


One-Handed Thumb Use on Smart Phones by Semi-literate and Illiterate Users in India   (PDF)

There is tremendous potential for developing mobile-based occupational productivity tools for semi-literate and illiterate users in India. One-handed thumb use on the touchscreen of smart phone or touch phone is considered as an effective alternative than the use of stylus or index finger, to free the other hand for supporting occupational activity. In this context, usability research and experimental tests are conducted to understand the role of fine motor control, usability of thumb as the tool for interaction and the ergonomic needs of users. The paper touches upon cultural, racial and anthropometric needs related with the topic, which also need due consideration while designing the mobile interface. Design recommendations are evolved to improve overall effectiveness of one-handed thumb use on smart phone, especially for the benefit of semi-literate and illiterate users.

Katre, Dinesh. HCeye (2010). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Ergonomics>User Centered Design


Opportunity India: Interaction Design Market Potential

The Indian community of Interaction Designers and Usability Professionals is growing by rate of 20% annually which is far too less. Around 6 to 8 new design institutes have suddenly opened up in past couple of years (to name a few- Symbiosis Institute of Design, MAEER MIT’s Institute of Design and Creative-I College, Pune, Raffles Design International, Mumbai, IILM School of Design, Gurgaon, Wigan & Leigh College, New Delhi) But all these are indirect contributors to interaction design, as they do not offer education in that area.

Katre, Dinesh S. Journal of HCI Vistas (2006). Articles>User Experience>Interaction Design


Organizational Culture 101: A Practical How-To For Interaction Designers

It’s happened to all of us. We walk into what we think is a Web redesign project, only to find we have unwittingly ignited the fires of WW III in our client’s organization. What begins as a simple design project descends – quickly – into an intra-organizational battle, with the unprepared interaction designer caught in the crossfire. What is it about design projects that seem to attract such power struggles? Contrary to what you might think, being stuck in the middle of an internecine battle is actually an opportunity to effect meaningful change on your client’s organization. But it requires a set of practical tools to negotiate these battles and a more sophisticated language and knowledge to exploit these events to create meaningful change.

Ladner, Sam. Johnny Holland (2009). Articles>Project Management>Interaction Design>Workplace


OVID: Object, View and Interaction Design

OVID (Objects, Views, and Interaction Design) is a formal methodology for designing the user experience based on the analysis of users' goals and tasks. Drawn from the disciplines of engineering, it is ideally suited to interface and component-based development. The method is applied after user goals, tasks and objects have been identified, through other means. The output of the method is an abstract diagram that describes the architecture of the desired design, from the users' point of view. The diagram is used in conjunction with the visual specifications to enable implementation of the final diagram.

IBM (2001). Design>Information Design>Interaction Design


Page Preloading Effect

A tutorial on how to re-create the page preloading effect seen on the website of Fontface Ninja. We are going to use CSS animations, 3D transforms and SVGs.

Lou, Mary. Codrops (2014). Design>Web Design>Interaction Design


Parse JSON with jQuery and JavaScript

While exploring the options for traversing JSON, I discovered that there is no official W3C documentation, or even a draft. As a subset of the ECMAScript language specification, it will probably remain under the governance of ECMA International. So unlike XPath, which is a commonly accepted language for traversing XML, JSON must rely on JavaScript’s object notation.

Reindel, Brian. d'bug (2008). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design>Ajax


Peter Merholz: The Want Interview

Here’s the secret to a great interview: find a savvy subject, ask him or her the right questions, and stay out of the way. Lob in your pitches and let that person across from you swing for the fences.

Grobe, Ken and Peter Merholz. Want Magazine (2010). Articles>Interviews>Interaction Design


Photos for Interaction

Software companies and other parties involved begin to use the power of a distinct visual design to express both their brand identity and custom interactive design solutions to the users. While this implies a new freedom for designers working in the field of interactive software products, it strengthens the importance of visual design for the design of user interfaces. Designers working on concrete graphic solutions for a specific interface are breaking away from established standards defined by a software vendor. It is now the responsibility of those user interface designers to choose graphical elements wisely to make a product’s interaction principles visible and usable.

Guenther, Milan. Boxes and Arrows (2009). Design>Graphic Design>Photography>Interaction Design


Physical, Cognitive, and Affective: A Three-part Framework for Information Design   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article first explores limitations of the prevailing concept of document design. Next, it offers a definition of information design—a framework meant to broaden the popular perspective on design in our field. The article then describes in detail the three types of design activities involved in technical communication: physical design, cognitive design, and affective design. Last, this article suggests the strengths and limitations of this framework. Appendixes describe implications of this framework to the teaching of technical communication to majors in the field, to the practice of technical communication in industry, and to research in the field.

Carliner, Saul. Technical Communication Online (2000). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Information Design


The Place for Standards in Interaction Design (IxD) and UI Design (UID)

'Standards': the word strikes fear in designers around the globe, and makes engineers lives so much easier that they bow at its alter. (Yes, this is an exaggeration for affect, but an important one.) But before we can dig a big deeper into standards for designers, we need to do some definition work.

Malouf, David Heller. uiGarden (2006). Design>User Interface>Standards>Interaction Design


The Post Disciplinary Revolution: Industrial Design and Human Factors—Heal Yourselves

The fault lies with the separation of powers. There are four legs to product development. Four equal legs are required for good product design, all sitting on the foundation of the business case.

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


Premium Rate Culture: The New Business of Mobile Interactivity   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article considers a neglected but crucial aspect of the new business of mobile interactivity: the premium rate data services industry. It provides an international anatomy of this industry model and the ways in which it has been used to capitalize upon the surprising success of short message service (SMS) to provide a basis for the development of consumer markets for mobile data services. It situates this analysis within a wider consideration of the role of premium rate culture in the social shaping of interactivity in convergent media. Specifically, it looks at how premium rate services are being constructed in relation to telecommunications, television and the internet. The article concludes that although premium rate culture has rejuvenated innovation in broadcast television, potentially it may constrain the interactive potential of the mobile internet.

Goggin, Gerard and Christina Spurgeon. New Media and Society (2007). Articles>Business Communication>Mobile>Interaction Design


Presentation Shui

Have you ever been in a room that felt strangely uncomfortable? Most presenters have, making comments afterwards about a forebodingly long executive table, a sterile design that put a chill in the air or a frenetic disorganized feeling that seemed to bounce around the room during the talk. It's reactions like these that corporate room designers and architects seek to avoid, striving to use technology and interior design to create a professional yet welcoming atmosphere. That quest has opened the door to fresh ideas, including the Chinese art of feng shui.

Regenold, Stephen. Presentations (2002). Design>Human Computer Interaction>Presentations


A Process for Creating Interactive Instructions   (PDF)

In an undertaking such as the metamorphosis from printed instructions to on-line instructions, it is important to have a process in place. Relying on the process used by the User Interface Design Department at Thomson Consumer Electronics has helped my department remain focused and on schedule with the project. This paper briefly outlines the Consumer Information Design Department’s process for creating an interactive instruction manual prototype, and might serve as a guideline for others who may also be making the leap from paper to interactivity.

Lesandrini, Jay. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Documentation>Interaction Design


Prognostication Digitalis

We stand poised to dive into the new year. What will 2003 hold for the profession known as 'what we do' and its children, information architecture, usability, interaction design, interface design, and graphic design? We asked our authors to hazard a guess.

Wodtke, Christina. Boxes and Arrows (2003). Design>Web Design>Information Design>Interaction Design


Progressive Disclosure: The Best Interaction Design Technique?

Progressive disclosure is an interaction design technique that sequences information and actions across several screens in order to reduce feelings of overwhelm for the user. By disclosing information progressively, you reveal only the essentials and help the user manage the complexity of feature-rich sites or applications. Progressive disclosure follows the typical notion of moving from 'abstract to specific'; only it may mean sequencing interactions and not necessarily level of detail (information). In other words, progressive disclosure is not just about displaying abstract then specific information, but rather about 'ramping up' the user from simple to more complex actions.

Spillers, Frank. Demystifying Usability (2004). Design>Web Design>Personalization>Interaction Design


Prototyping Animation with Keynote

Keynote has been spoken about in the past as a great tool for creating wireframes and prototypes, but not much for animation. I love Keynote because it’s fast, free, easy to learn, and it works. Recently Andrew Haskin of Frog Design recreated Google’s Material Design Video in Keynote. I was impressed with his ability to recreate complex animations in what seemed like a very simple program. Using his Keynote file as a guideline, I dug in to the mechanics and mastered animating in Keynote in roughly an hour.

Cohen, Andrew. Thoughtbot (2015). Articles>User Interface>Interaction Design>Apple Keynote


Prototyping Beyond the Sunshine Scenario

Prototypes often model one flow of interaction--the path that users are most likely to take. But when we create interaction designs with dynamic and complex flows, we often need to include deviations from the sunshine scenarios to see whether they work. In this article, we'll look at how to do this Visio and Axure.

Olsen, Henrik. GUUUI (2006). Articles>User Interface>Interaction Design>Methods


Prototyping Techniques for Interactive Design   (PDF)

Almost all design methodologies call for a prototyping stage, but it can be difficult to decide where to put scarce time and resources for the most impact on the final project. To make a decision, it is important to understand the different types of prototypes and their strengths and weaknesses. Obviously, the larger and more complex a project, the more complete each prototype must be, but even with small projects the right prototype can help ensure that you and your clients have a chance to see and test the design before it is too late to make changes. If you do your work right, each step builds on the previous one, and there are no surprises at the end of the project.

Quesenbery, Whitney. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Usability>Interaction Design


Quick and Easy Flash Prototypes: Bring Your Wireframes to Life

To tackle the classic “how to prototype rich interactions” problem, Alexa Andrzejewski developed a process for translating static screen designs (from wireframes to visual comps) into interactive experiences using Flash. Requiring some fairly basic ActionScript knowledge, these prototypes proved to be a quick yet powerful way to bring interaction designs to life.

Andrzejewski, Alexa. Boxes and Arrows (2008). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design>Flash


Read and Display Server-Side XML with JavaScript

XML is a very important base on which Web Services work, and, in conjunction with a number of client- and server-side languages, can be put to good effect. Let's see how we can use XML and client side JavaScript to display the contents of a XML file, access child elements, manipulate elements, and more!

Pillai, Premshree. SitePoint (2003). Design>Web Design>Interaction Design>Ajax



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