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An introduction to interaction design
An introduction to interaction design

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This free course, An introduction to interaction design, has introduced you to interaction design in a broad sense – from the scope and importance of interaction design, to core concepts such as a user-centred approach, usability and user experience. It has provided an overview of the interaction design process and its four key activities:

  1. establishing requirements
  2. designing alternatives
  3. prototyping
  4. evaluating.

The course should have enabled you to achieve the following learning outcomes:

Having acquired knowledge and understanding of:

  1. What interaction design is about and the importance of user-centred design; and methods that take into account activities and tasks, context of use and user experiences.

    The sections and activities throughout this course have introduced you to examples of interactive products and to the importance of user-centred design. Section 2 in particular focused on user-centred design; it discussed usability and user experience goals, as well as fundamental design principles. Section 3 focused on specific aspects that characterise the design context: the characteristics of the user, the nature of the activity in which users engage, and the environment in which the interaction takes place.

  2. The sensory, cognitive and physical capabilities of users and how these inform the design of interactive products.

    Through the hands-on activity in Section 1 you were made aware of the importance of taking the user’s physical capabilities into account. This topic was discussed in more depth in Section 3, with a focus on users’ capabilities and how these need to be taken into account when designing interactive products. Section 3 explored this further, addressing not just physical, sensory and cognitive capabilities, but also background and experience. Further, Section 3 discussed user characteristics as part of a larger design context that also includes activities and environment.

  3. The process of interaction design, including requirements elicitation, prototyping, evaluation and the need for iteration.

    Section 1 introduced the core activities of the interaction design process: establishing requirements, designing alternatives, prototyping designs and evaluating prototypes. Section 4 discussed how it is only by involving the user in this process and iterating its activities that designers can really come to understand the user, their context and their needs, and therefore design a usable and useful interaction.

Having acquired the following cognitive skills:

  1. At least, to some extent, analyse and critique the design of interactive products.

    Section 1 introduced activities that encouraged you to develop your ability to analyse and critique the design of interactive products from different perspectives by putting yourself in ‘different shoes’. Section 2 introduced design goals and principles and described a case study that illustrated the sorts of problems that arise when those are ignored, giving you a chance to reflect on the goals and principles. Section 3 asked you to reflect on user needs, as well as the effect of activities and environment on the interaction, using a case study contrasting two users.

  2. At least, to some extent, select, adapt and apply suitable interaction design approaches and techniques towards the design of an interactive product.

    During the course activities, you have begun to apply some simple methods (e.g. asking users, sketching, rough prototyping) towards the design of an interactive product.