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Eduardo Ramos
Eduardo Ramos

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What Makes a Good Interaction Design?

Good interaction is made of many areas which overlap because: "interactions are moments of contextual gestalt and one element has a direct impact on the others".

In the same way, to create a good interaction, a designer has to consider five dimensions: words (1D), visual representations (2D), physical objects/space (3D), time (4D), and behavior (5D).

The five dimensions of Interaction Design

These five dimensions were first defined by a professor at London’s Royal College of Art, Gillian Crampton Smith, and a senior interaction designer, Kevin Silver.

The dimensions represent the features an interaction designer considers when they create interactions. Here’s a bit more information about each of them:

  • (1D) words:
    Encompasses text—such as button labels—which help convey the right amount of information to users.

  • (2D) visual representations:
    The graphical elements which aid in user interaction, such as images, typography and icons.

  • (3D) physical objects/space:
    Involves the medium through which users interact with the product or service—for instance, a laptop via a mouse, or a mobile phone via fingers.

  • (4D) time:
    This relates to media that changes with time, such as animations, videos, and sounds.

  • (5D) behavior:
    Concerned with how the previous four dimensions define the interactions a product affords—for instance, how users can perform actions on a website, or how users can operate a car. Behavior also refers to how the product reacts to the users’ inputs and provides feedback.

If you as a designer account for the five dimensions stated above, you can rest assured you'll hit all the characteristics of good interaction design.

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