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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.



Getting Social with the New MySTC Network

Rick Sapir, STC Carolina webmaster and designer of the newsletter web site, introduces you to the MySTC social network, which helps you connect with other technical writing professionals

Sapir, Rick. Carolina Communique (2011). Articles>Technology>Social Networking>Interaction Design


Giving the Human Touch to Software

Making too many assumptions about users’ expectations and levels of competence can get software developers into a lot of trouble. Here, Yogita Sahoo tells her own story about designing an application for an industry she was deeply familiar with—but that industry knowledge didn’t keep her from making some big usability blunders.

Sahoo, Yogita. StickyMinds (2003). Design>Human Computer Interaction>Software


Good Interaction Designers Borrow, Great Ones Steal...

When you’re knee-deep in wireframes or CSS it’s all too easy to end up in a bubble of IxD books and blogs. One option is to take inspiration from vintage art and nature, but what about what other smart people are doing in their respective disciplines? In other words, why not steal from them? Here are my picks of a few other fields with ideas worth appropriating, or at least glancing at.

Telnaki, Vicky. Johnny Holland (2009). Articles>Information Design>Interaction Design



This site is meant to be an online museum of graphical interfaces, especially those old, obscure and in desperate need of preservation. For those interested in seeing how the GUIs evolved throughout the decades.

GUIdebook (2004). Design>User Interface>Human Computer Interaction


HCD harmful? A Clarification

HCD has developed as a limited view of design. Instead of looking at a person’s entire activity, it has primarily focused upon page-by-page analysis, screen-by-screen. As a result, sequences, interruptions, ill-defined goals – all the aspects of real activities, have been ignored. And error messages – there should not be any error messages. All messages should contain explanations and offer alternative ways of proceeding from the message itself.

Norman, Donald A. uiGarden (2006). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>User Centered Design


HCI Design for Network and System Management

All too often the people responsible for the care and feeding of the information technology infrastructure are poorly supported by the very technology they must manage, even as the popularity and use of networks (such as for the World Wide Web) grows. Corporate MIS staffs spend billions of dollars just on managing their computing infrastructures, and still they must continually cope with ineffectual products that do not support them in their work. A $2,000 PC may cost $5,000 to $10,000 a year to support.(1) This Special Interest Group (SIG) provided an opportunity for over 30 HCI practitioners and researchers in the domain of network and system management to share information about the problems faced by operators, system managers, administrators, and end users, and to explore new techniques in user interface design that might provide better support in the future. The group spent the majority of its time sharing information about design problems in a structured brain-storming exercise. Candidate areas for solutions were considered in response to the defined problem.

Graefe, Thomas M. and Dennis Wixon. SIGCHI Bulletin (1997). Design>Human Computer Interaction>Management


HCI Solutions for Managing the IT Infra-structure

In a kick-off Special Interest Group (SIG) at CHI 97, participants focused on key design challenges in the domain of network and system management. At the conclusion of the CHI 97 SIG the group decided it would be helpful to continue to meet and to provide a forum for exploring solutions to these key design challenges. The CHI 98 SIG provided an opportunity for over 30 HCI practitioners and researchers in the management domain to share information about work in several key areas.

Graefe, Thomas M. and Dennis Wixon. SIGCHI Bulletin (1998). Design>Human Computer Interaction>Management


Help Strategies and Their Effect on Graphical Icon Usage

An increasingly popular component of modern graphical human-computer interfaces are graphical command buttons. Studies have shown that graphical command buttons can enhance user productivity. However, two factors, the time required to acquire a working knowledge of the graphical command set and the need for frequent use to maintain the knowledge limit the effectiveness of graphical command buttons as a user interface strategy. This study attempts to quantify the effects of four types of help (balloon style, a mouse documentation line at the bottom of the screen, a help browser, and hardcopy documentation) on the ability of novice users to acquire a working knowledge of a graphical command set. The study did not find any significant difference (based on the anova and manova tests) between the four treatments.

McAlister, Britt and Chavi Greengart. SHORE (1997). Design>Documentation>Human Computer Interaction>Help


How to Make a Smooth Animated Menu with jQuery

Ever seen some excellent jQuery navigation that left you wanting to make one of your own? Today we’ll aim to do just that by building a menu and animate it with some smooth effects.

Dunn, Zach. BuildInternet.com (2009). Design>Web Design>Interaction Design>JavaScript


Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

Human-computer interaction (HCI) is an area of research and practice that emerged in the early 1980s, initially as a specialty area in computer science. HCI has expanded rapidly and steadily for three decades, attracting professionals from many other disciplines and incorporating diverse concepts and approaches. To a considerable extent, HCI now aggregates a collection of semi-distinct fields of research and practice in human-centered informatics. However, the continuing synthesis of disparate conceptions and approaches to science and practice in HCI has produced a dramatic example of how different epistemologies and paradigms can be reconciled and integrated.

Carroll, John M. Interaction-Design.org. Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Interaction Design>History


Human Error and the Design of Computer Systems

People err. That is a fact of life. People are not precision machinery designed for accuracy. In fact, we humans are a different kind of device entirely. Creativity, adaptability, and flexibility are our strengths. Continual alertness and precision in action or memory are our weaknesses. We are amazingly error tolerant, even when physically damaged. We are extremely flexible, robust, and creative, superb at finding explanations and meanings from partial and noisy evidence. The same properties that lead to such robustness and creativity also produce errors. The natural tendency to interpret partial information -- although often our prime virtue -- can cause operators to misinterpret system behavior in such a plausible way that the misinterpretation can be difficult to discover.

Norman, Donald A. JND.org (1999). Design>Human Computer Interaction>Usability


Human Factors

Human Factors is often used interchangeably with User Interface Design or Human-Computer Interface. There is a lot of overlap in these disciplines; however, Human Factors generally refers to hardware design while HCI generally refers to software design.

Usernomics. Design>Human Computer Interaction>User Interface


Human Factors for Web Page Design   (PDF)

Knowing the purpose of your web page is the most important step to applying human factors principles to your design. By understanding the special chahnges related to presenting information on a web page, in addition to understanding the way human-9 use their eyes, prioritize the information they process, and react to sound, you can apply principles of information design and interface design to create effective web pages. Numerous sources of information about what to do and what not to do on a web page are available from the World Wide Web.

Billard, Trish. STC Proceedings (1997). Design>Web Design>Human Computer Interaction


Human Factors in Software Development: Models, Techniques, and Outcomes

We present the results of a survey designed to identify ways that human factors engineers have been successfully involved in software projects. Surveys describing successful and unsuccessful outcomes were returned by 14 human factors engineers and 21 software and documentation engineers at Hewlett Packard. In addition to describing the type of involvement and techniques used, respondents were also asked to define what they considered to be a successful outcome and give their views on what factors contribute to success or failure. The results of this study suggest ways in which the human factors/R&D partnership can be more effective in current development scenarios.

Lundell, Jay and Mark Notess. ACM SIGCHI (1991). Design>Human Computer Interaction>Software


The Human Interface

The phrase 'human error' is taken to mean 'operator error', but more often than not the disaster is inherent in the design or installation of the human interface. Bad interfaces are slow or error prone to use. Bad interfaces cost money and cost lives.

Dix, Alan. uiGarden (2005). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Usability>User Centered Design


Human Interface Design Principles

This section provides a theoretical base for the wealth of practical information on implementing the Aqua interface elements presented in the rest of this book. You’ll undoubtedly find that you can’t design in accordance with all of the principles all the time. In those situations, you’ll have to make decisions based on which principle or set of principles is most important in the context of the task you’re solving. User testing is often an excellent way to decide between conflicting principles in a particular context.

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


Human-Computer Interaction and Your Site

Ever wondered what makes some websites easier to use than others, or why some people seem to master new navigation systems quickly while others struggle to learn? Do you know why users get lost in electronic space or find it difficult to communicate with others through the medium of technology? These questions are just some of the driving forces behind research in the developing field of Human Computer Interaction.

Danino, Nicky. SitePoint (2002). Design>Web Design>Human Computer Interaction


IA Think

Thoughts on interactive architecture, business and design.

Adkisson, Heidi P. IA Think. Resources>Information Design>Interaction Design>Blogs


Ideas for Subtle Hover Effects

It’s time for some fresh hover effect inspiration! Nowadays we are seeing a lot of delicate designs with fine lines, lots of white space, clean typography and subtle effects. With that beautiful trend in mind we want to share some creative ideas for grid item hover effects. It’s all about being subtle with that little delightful surprise. The techniques we are using for these hover effects involve 3D transforms and some pseudo-element transitions. Note that these will only work in modern browsers.

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


Image Fade Revisited

This episode is revisiting the image cross fade effect, in particular Dragon Interactive has a beautiful little transition for their navigation that some readers have been requesting. Greg Johnson takes it one step further to implement this method using jQuery and the methods shown here.

Sharp, Remy. jQuery for Designers (2008). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design>Ajax


Increase Conversions in Long Web Forms by Resolving the Accidental Back Button Activation Issue

The issue of accidentally activating the browser back button through the keyboard while interacting with a long web form is applicable to users across expertise levels. The time and effort wasted by the user can be said as proportional to the number of input fields filled by the user before accidentally exiting the page. Since no application feedback indicating cause of the error to the user is provided, depending upon user expertise, the user may or may not realize the cause of the error. Realizing what went wrong does not guarantee the possibility of reverting the error either. This leads to unnecessary loss in form conversions despite favorable user intent. A solution to resolve this issue (that the author hopes becomes standard practice) to plug the hole for lost conversion that translates to big numbers in absolute terms for high traffic websites is also provided.

Rautela, Abhay. evolt (2009). Design>Human Computer Interaction>Interaction Design>Forms


Increasing User Engagement with Rewarding Interactions

You can add variable rewards into your website and app design in the form of surprises that elicit joy, inspiration, or enlightenment. By eliciting these positive emotions in your audience, you will make your app more enjoyable to use. In turn, this will better engage your users and help build positive perceptions of your brand.

Machlovi, Husam. UX Magazine (2015). Articles>Web Design>User Experience>Interaction Design


The Influence of Semantics and Syntax on What Readers Remember   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The objectives of the study presented here are to help writers and editors better allocate their efforts, increase the discipline’s knowledge about reader performance with technical documents, and examine many text variables in one study. For this study, participants read and recalled one of two technical texts. Results reveal that readers are more likely to recall more important versus less important information. Additionally, readers are more likely to recall information in clauses, in independent clauses, and in the first paragraphs of documents. The implication of these results for writers and editors is discussed.

Isakson, Carol S. and Jan H. Spyridakis. Technical Communication Online (1999). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Information Design


Information, Interaction and Place   (peer-reviewed)

In the graduate course Interactive Visual Communication and Interface Design students apply course principles by creating an interactive multimedia CD-ROM that integrates images, sound, and motion, founded on strong visual communication design principles. The course provides students with an opportunity to learn about important principles of interface design and the significance of integrating them with effective interaction design. It is also provides students with an adequate background in multimedia authoring and current associated technology. Students address issues concerning innovations in screen-based communication and the challenges associated with realizing them. Design solutions are directed to carefully address the specific requirements and abilities of the user audience; be easy to understand; and support the structure, meaning, and purpose of the information.

Stone, Brian. AIGA (2002). Design>Web Design>Interaction Design


Inspiration for Article Intro Effects

Today we want to share some inspiration for article intro effects with you. You have surely seen some interesting article headers, usually containing a fullscreen image, that have some sort of intro effect, i.e. where some creative transition happens when scrolling or when clicking on a button to continue. We wanted to explore the effect possibilities with fullscreen images and making something happen when continuing to the article body. There are many potentially cool effects and today we want to share just a couple of ideas with you.

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



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