What is interaction design?
Interaction design involves applying an understanding of how users think and behave online to the design of a site. This is based on our observations of hundreds of usability test sessions with actual users as well as widely accepted usability design heuristics.
Interaction design is more about how the users interact with the site rather than how it looks. It is different to graphic or visual design which is more about visual aesthetics.
As online user online behaviour tends to be consistent from site to site, design heuristics (or guidelines) have been developed which can successfully applied to design of your site.
What are design heuristics?
Design guidelines are also commonly known as "Heuristics" and are effectively "rules of thumb". The most widely used top 10 heuristics were developed by Jakob Nielsen and are suitable for applications or websites (marked with an asterisk * in the list below).
In addition, to these 10 commonly used heuristics, Peak Usability has developed another 10 heuristics or usability guideline categories which relate specifically to websites.
- Visibility of system status*
- Match between system and the real world*
- User control and freedom*
- Consistency and standards*
- Help users recognise, diagnose, and recover from errors*
- Error prevention*
- Recognition rather than recall*
- Flexibility and efficiency of use*
- Aesthetic and minimalist design*
- Help* and user support
- Navigation and information structure
- Site magnetism and engagement
- User confidence - privacy, security, credibility and branding
- Site performance
- Community and collaboration
- Home page design
In addition to our heuristics we use a number of design tools such as wireframes, paper prototypes, interactive HTML prototypes and interaction design / application flows in combination with usability testing to deliver usable site and application designs.
Depending on our client's requirements, we create high level wireframes showing indicative layout and page real estate allocation (pictured left) to detailed black and white prototypes specifying exact text and location of images. We can use our testing methods to test the effectiveness of our wireframes and prototypes and adjust the design as necessary.
The end result is a highly usable interaction design for your website or application that has been evaluated and designed using industry best practice guidelines and methods. This can then be given to a visual designer to apply appropriate branding and visual treatment.