Posts Tagged interaction design

Interaction Design – A rose by any other name…

IxDAUntil recently, I’d had essentially no contact with the concept of Interaction Design (IxD) since it became a new discipline only about 5 years ago. From what I’ve seen, it is really about creating a brand experience, but to get the inside scoop, I decided to crash the Interaction09 Redux Conference on Saturday, an event sponsored by the SF chapter of the national Interaction Design Association or IxDA).


So what did I learn? It seems that everyone has a slightly different definition of what IxD is. I tend to lean toward the way Wikipedia defines it: “Interaction Design is the discipline of defining the behavior of products and systems that a user can interact with. It defines the behavior (the “interaction”) of an artifact or system in response to its users.” My perception is that the interaction design experience should take place at every customer touch point – from the tangible product, package and literature to intangible website and promotions.

But it seems that the purists at IxDA say “Interaction Design defines the structure and behavior of interactive products and services. Interaction Designers create compelling relationships between people and the interactive systems they use, from computers to mobile devices to appliances; Interaction Designers lay the groundwork for intangible experiences.” This sounds like it only relates to interactive products like websites, games and such.

And how is this all different from experience design? Our friends at Wikipedia say it “is the practice of designing products, processes, services, events, and environments with a focus placed on the quality of the user experience and culturally relevant solutions, with less emphasis placed on increasing and improving functionality of the design.”

I can’t say I’m any clearer on exactly what IxD is after having shared the same space with about 100 people who have it on their business cards. However, the group did have a sense of solidarity grounded in the belief that what they are doing is a critical and often omitted component in the design process. Even though the exact definition is a bit hazy, I realize that this is a discipline I need to dig into more deeply because IxD uniquely focuses on that critical moment a consumer forms her opinion – whether sweet or not.

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