Sunday, 3 July 2016
6 Interaction Design principles for great design
Interaction design, also known as IxD, is the process of creating a user-friendly, digital product that will delight users and lead to creating a loyal user base for the product. An interaction designer has to ensure that the layout of a digital product be it on web, mobile, wearbales or whatever comes next helps a user easily navigate and interact with a product without confusing or frustrating him. The idea is to help them achieve their goals with minimal difficulty.
Here are 6 interaction design principles that will help you design easy-to-use, functional and valuable products.
1. Maintain Consistency in Interaction Patterns
A product design that confuses the user is never a good one.
Sometimes, while designing a product interface, you may find the urge to break stereotypes and do something different. This may work if you’re offering a new, unconventional service but not in the case of established interaction patterns. Your users shouldn’t be questioning functions rather they should be able to easily interact with the interface. Use designs and patterns that the user expects, and can easily understand, across all your services and products.
2. Don’t Overly Complicate Or Simplify
When you’re designing an interaction, it’s important to bear in mind that too many functions will confuse the user. Keep the design clutter-free and focus more on the primary functions that will help the user access key functionality and features. On the other hand, if you take an extremely minimalistic approach, you might not include some vital functions in the interface.
The key to a good design is to create an engaging interface that’s not overly complicated or too simplistic.
3. Don’t Make The User Think
Steve Krug, a user experience professional, states in his book “Don’t Make Me Think” that a user shouldn’t be left to predict how a function works. As a designer, you should ensure that a user can understand the interface like the back of his hand. Use icons, layouts, and designs that they are familiar with, and can easily comprehend. This way, you will be able to keep your users engaged with your product.
4. Prioritize Based on Product Functionality
In the case of interaction design, the Pareto principle (or the 80-20 rule) lays emphasis on “20% of the functions that are used 80% of the time.”
This means your interactions should focus on those functionalities that are more likely to be used than the advanced ones. Design the interaction in a way that it allows beginners to easily navigate to advanced functions and not overwhelm them in the first instance.
5. Design for Easy Affordance
The affordance of an object is its ability to hint at how it should be used. A simple example would be the ‘Add to cart’ button that you click on when you’re shopping online, which clearly defines for a user what the expected action is.
When building affordance for a digital product, you have to make sure that a user can easily understand how different functions work. They shouldn’t be hovering over an icon, wondering what it will entail. Instead, they should be able to immediately understand what the function will do, and how they should use it.
6. Always Start with Information Architecture
Information Architecture (IA) is crucial when you’re designing any kind of digital product. It involves creating site maps, hierarchies, navigations, categories and nomenclature. An interaction designer creates the IA for a digital product so that he can define how users will navigate across the product and where the functions should be placed. Since this is the most important base of your design, you should start with information architecture before going ahead with other design strategies.
These are some of the basic principles that will help you design well structured and user-friendly interactions. To sum it up, first, have the information architecture in place and then ensure that you maintain consistency in your design patterns. Keep the design engaging but not too complicated and never make the user think unnecessarily about how the interface works. Lastly, make sure that the core functions are given the most importance and the interface has good affordance built into it.