Press On: Principles of Interaction Programming

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Typically, this is provided by a user researcher. In turn, an interaction designer will assess the goals and develop a design strategy, either independently or with help from other designers on the team. A design strategy will help team members have a common understanding of what interactions need to take place to facilitate user goals. After the interaction designer has a good idea of the strategy motivating a design, they can begin to sketch the interfaces that will facilitate the necessary interactions. Some professionals will create these interfaces collaboratively while others will create them alone.

It all depends on the interaction designer and their particular workflow.

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Depending on the project, the next logical step for an interaction designer might involve the creation of prototypes. One of the hardest parts about being a practicing interaction designer is the speed of change in the industry.

Every day, new designers are taking the medium in a different direction. Consequently, users are expecting these new kinds of interactions to appear on your website. Interaction designers also stay current by following thought leaders like the notable designers below on Twitter, and pushing the medium forward themselves. The field overlaps with UX design, UI design, development, and visual design, and as a result not all the designers listed here even refer to themselves as interaction designers.

Interaction designers use a number of different tools to get their jobs done. Above all else, interaction designers need to communicate well. The list below is a sampling of tools used to facilitate conversations. Keep in mind that the web interfaces that are created are typically done so with user-facing front-end technologies such as JavaScript or CSS. Balsamiq Mockups is an Adobe Air app that makes wireframing an interaction easy. The team at Balsamiq has done a superb job, providing users with a number of interaction design patterns that are ubiquitous to contemporary application design.

Think of it as an online version of paper prototyping! Learn more about Balsamiq Mockups. InVision is a free web and mobile prototyping tool for Mac and Windows. InVision is designed to facilitate communication and does so by integrating with Photoshop, Sketch, Slack, Jira, and other applications. Designers can upload wireframes and string them together via hotspots into a 2D navigable experience. LucidChart is a flexible diagramming software for everything from Android and iOS experiences to flowcharts, journey maps, wireframes and site mockups.

This tool manages to be incredibly complex, but intuitive and flexible at the same time. No one wants to waste time reinventing the wheel. A good interaction library saves time and energy designing or coding a common interaction, and ensures consistency across designs.

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Patternry is a tool that allows teams of interaction designers to share and store their design and code assets in one central location i. Sketch is a design tool Mac only , best used for icons or medium-to-high fidelity mockups. A lightweight alternative to Adobe Photoshop, Sketch offers layers, grids, and artboards; in short, everything an interaction designer requires to create wireframes and mockups with some visual additions.

Want to get more out of Sketch? Consider Zeplin, the Sketch plugin currently in Beta to allow for team collaboration. Axure RP is arguably the best interaction design tool on the market. Boasting far more robust functionality than Balsamiq, built-in collaboration and sharing, and the ability to easily convert a wireframe to a prototype, Axure seems to offer everything. The one downside is that it perhaps offers too much, which means it has a slow learning curve.

Principle for Mac is an open source platform that focuses on functionality and transitions. It works from Sketch artboards in an animation-style layout and offers a huge variety of movements. The coolest part is that as you build your artboards into a moving, cohesive thing, Principle gives you a working prototype to play with in a separate window that has a built-in screen recorder, too!

An interaction designer is still an IxD whether or not they belong to any particular group. Still, finding other designers is a great way to network and learn from others in the field. All of these associations are available across the United States, and some exist internationally as well.

In their own words: the IxDA network provides an online forum for the discussion of interaction design issues as well as other platforms for people who are passionate about interaction design to gather and advance the discipline. Although the AIGA American Institute of Graphic Arts was initially founded for graphic designers, the organization itself realizes that graphic designers are more frequently designing compositions for new media, in which interaction design plays a major part.

Hosted around the US, for the last 13 years, An Event Apart has gathered the premiere web and interaction design voices under one roof. This conference is delivered in an intensive, three-day, single-track format with up to 18 separate speakers. They cover topics relevant to developers, designers, UX and UI specialists, account managers, project managers, and more in a clear, digestible way. To be fair, there is no one Meetup group.

The right approach may be to create computer-based design and upgrading metasystems, within which improvers and designers would work under constant monitoring, with as much emphasis on recording intentions and goals as on devising the means for achieving them. Note that this notion, if not developed with sensitivity to privacy issues, could lead to serious ethical problems.

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Although documentation was, in earlier days, primarily print on paper, some documentation has been available in other media, such as recorded speech and movies. The latter offered, at considerable cost, the advantages of kinematic graphics and moving gray-scale and color pictures.

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The computer promises to reduce the cost of. The video disk promises to reduce the cost of storing and playing back all kinds of information, especially pictorial information. Together the computer and the video disk may open up a new era for dynamic graphic documentation. At present the computer can select and present in a few milliseconds any one of the approximately 55, pictures on a video disk. It can run off sequences of continuous frames as a movie or skip around under program control and show fast slide sequences.


What it selects can be conditioned, of course, by the responses of the viewer or viewers. These capabilities present an exciting opportunity to explore and develop new approaches to documentation. Another exciting opportunity is being studied under the rubric of program visualization. The computer is capable, of course, of displaying representations of its own internal operation.

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It can present sequences of symbols representing the program that is being executed and the data on which the program is operating. Alternatively, it can present graphs, diagrams, and pictures to tell the person at the console what the program should be doing and what it is in fact doing. This latter approach to documentation, which requires sophisticated graphic display not widely available in the past, is now economically as well as technically feasible.

The hope is that iconic displays will prove superior to symbolic displays in presenting the broad picture of the behavior of computer programs and systems and in helping people deal with their intrinsic complexity. With the iconic approach, it may be possible to provide something analogous to a zoom lens, through which one would be able to monitor and control the broad picture as long as everything proceeds according to plan, then focus on the offending details as soon as trouble arises.

Conventional documentation takes the forms of natural language text, diagrams, sketches, pictures, and tables of data; it is designed exclusively to be read by eye.

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New forms of documentation are becoming essential: pointer structures, semantic networks, procedural networks, and production rules, documentation designed to be. Such documentation will probably be used first in interactive computer systems to help end users or programmers and maintenance workers, but in due course it will be used also in fully automatic systems sophisticated enough to read their own documentation and restructure themselves to overcome difficulties and maximize performance. Some work has already been done on such documentation in the field of artificial intelligence; much more needs to be done.

It is essential to couple research on documentation closely with other research pertinent to the systems in which it will be used—for example, with work on interactive tutorial systems for end users, interactive maintenance systems, and robotic maufacturing systems. The foregoing emphasis on computer-based documentation expresses our conviction that it is the high-payoff area within the documentation field, but it should not be taken to imply that conventional documentation is dead.

We think that two main foci have the greatest potential payoff for research in conventional documentation: 1 understanding the target group of people that the documentation is intended to help and the tasks in which they will be engaged when they use the documentation and 2 using computer systems, with good editors, formatters, and composers to facilitate creation and production of c onventional documentation. The theme of understanding the users is developed elsewhere in this chapter. Great advances have been made in the last few years in the design of computer-based systems for creating and producing conventional documents, and research in that area has much new technology to work on.

Indeed, research is needed to develop the capability to make the new editors, formatters, and composers easy to use in order to facilitate the preparation of documentation that will make them and other systems easy to use. Kruesi, for example, supported by the Office of Naval Research NR — , is investigating the relationship between the types of documentation provided to programmers and their performance on a wide variety of software-related tasks.

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In summary, research should be emphasized in several areas pertinent to documentation: 1 techniques of. Of these suggestions two primary research needs are to know how and when to use display documentation with graphics and what program visualization techniques are most helpful to users.

The primary research recommendatons in the areas of users, tasks, hardware, software, and documentation include a major emphasis on developing new methodologies to evaluate what is meant by ease of use in human-computer interaction. Does ease of use mean the extent to which it is easy to learn to use a computer; does it imply good design of hardware and software for a variety of naive, casual, and professional users; does it mean that any task can be done quickly and without errors; does it encompass a component of judged satisfaction about use; or does it mean all of these?

We need to know what user characteristics are important determinants of successful human-computer interaction for a specified set of tasks, such as data base inquiries, computation and accounting problems, and editor or word processing functions. In the area of hardware design, more research is needed to evaluate alternatives to keyboard input including voice input , uses of color in displays, the best sizes of displays, and alternatives to CRT displays. Studies in evaluating software are barely beginning to provide data for design use.