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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.

This is my first post here, I'll try to publish regularly on design and UX, so let me know what you think of this post. Do you agree with me?

If you want to learn more about interaction design, I’d recommend the IDF’s interaction design topic overview page. It contains videos, articles and even book chapters to help you delve further into the topic!

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