What is Interaction Design?

Interaction design is concerned with the behaviors and experiences that we can embed into everyday objects using digital materials such as software, electronics, and telecommunications. Because these digital materials can respond dynamically to people's actions, integrating them into a designed product introduces interactivity.

Why is interaction design important? Bill Moggridge, the designer of the first laptop, describes in Designing Interactions how, after painstaking work perfecting the machine's physical form, he was almost immediately "sucked in" to his interaction with its software during his first encounter with the prototype. Less concerned with the physical appearance of the device, he became completely absorbed in what he could do with it. Good interaction design sucks people in and makes them come back for more; it meets people's needs and brings them pleasure.

When we do interaction design, we focus on what someone can do with our device (or space, or service), how it should behave when it is used, and how it should fit into its ecology. This almost always means that carefully crafted digital materials will play an important role in our designs. At the same time, these digital materials are embedded in objects, places, and social practices. They will be used by real people.

So in order to create a compelling interaction design, we must also be able to listen to people, and we must be literate in graphic, product and spatial design. Adding competencies in software engineering, hardware prototyping, and evaluation, we integrate all the skills necessary to imagine, produce, and confirm excellent interaction design.