Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Tools and techniques used by interaction designers

From: Interaction Design Fundamentals

Video: Tools and techniques used by interaction designers

Interaction designers use many tools, and we have a vast array of techniques to help us generate and identify potential solutions. We are pragmatic. We apply our skills, and select our tools, based on the problems we need to solve, the solutions we need to communicate, and the people with whom we are working. We often start very low-tech, with pencil and paper, sketchbooks, sticky notes, note cards, and even whiteboards to help us understand, define, and frame the problem. Early visualizations with diagrams, models, and flows help us identify potential directions, missing information, and the most appropriate next steps.

Tools and techniques used by interaction designers

Interaction designers use many tools, and we have a vast array of techniques to help us generate and identify potential solutions. We are pragmatic. We apply our skills, and select our tools, based on the problems we need to solve, the solutions we need to communicate, and the people with whom we are working. We often start very low-tech, with pencil and paper, sketchbooks, sticky notes, note cards, and even whiteboards to help us understand, define, and frame the problem. Early visualizations with diagrams, models, and flows help us identify potential directions, missing information, and the most appropriate next steps.

And these early sketches can also help develop consensus about what problems we are solving, and what goals we are trying to achieve. As our designs progress, we typically need an increasing level of detail and fidelity. Pen and paper sketches can capture the concept, but eventually we need to put pixels on screens. There are many design and diagramming tools available, and a growing number of Web-based tools may be used. Choose tools that allow you to work effectively and efficiently. You should spend your time thinking about solving problems.

As long as you're able to capture, represent, and communicate your ideas and design intentions effectively, almost any tool can be valid. Our problems and design challenges are becoming increasingly complex, because technology and people's expectations are changing rapidly. We need to go beyond to simply drawing our solutions, and create interactive prototypes to validate our ideas. We need to see our designs in use, and whenever possible, we should put prototypes in the hands of the people who will be using the interface or device.

There are many tools to help us bring the pixels to life, so choose those that help you best capture the intent and the experience of the design and the prototype. Remember, you are evaluating the design solution; not launching the product yet. When we talked about interaction design as an iterative process, we also said that research and data gathering are ongoing through design and prototyping. There are many techniques for gathering information to help us generate ideas, and make design decisions. We study existing products, we observe people, ask questions based on these observations, and finally, we test prototypes.

Some of the ideas and information come from our own teams as we work together. We brainstorm, we create personas to better understand people, we conduct task analyses to understand what they're doing and how they work, we write scenarios to better understand their situations, and we uncover usability problems with cognitive walkthroughs. Additional information comes from the people who will actually use the interface or device. We need to learn from real people, with real needs, in real situations.

Watch what they're doing, and ask them questions about it. There are various methods of doing this, from ethnography, to surveys, and focus groups. Finally, we can gather information in laboratory like settings, where we are able to simulate realistic situations. We can use paper, or interactive prototypes, to test a design for usefulness and usability. If an interface or device has already launched, we can use data from the Web analytics to evaluate the performance of the current design. We can even compare different design options with AB, or multivariate testing.

This quantitative information can be combined with the more qualitative observations and conversations to help us generate ideas for new solutions, and choose the best designs. Possible design solutions may be discovered at any time. Although we often begin with lower fidelity methods, we don't need to start with sketches, proceed to pixels, then test prototypes. We might start with reviewing Web analytics data on an existing interface or device, and we're often sketching ideas while observing people who are working with prototypes.

Our tools and techniques can be mixed and matched as needed to help us solve the problems at hand. When we expect to move in a linear sequence through the design process, we only restrict ourselves, and make it less likely that we'll find the best solution. So be flexible, choose your tools, and adapt your techniques to help you generate the best ideas, and achieve the optimal design.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Interaction Design Fundamentals
Interaction Design Fundamentals

49 video lessons · 22047 viewers

David Hogue
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 47s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. Who is this course for?
      1m 30s
  2. 15m 51s
    1. What is interaction design?
      2m 11s
    2. The origins of interaction design
      8m 47s
    3. What interaction designers contribute
      1m 5s
    4. Understanding the interaction design process
      3m 48s
  3. 10m 16s
    1. Tools and techniques used by interaction designers
      4m 15s
    2. Documents created and used by interaction designers
      2m 12s
    3. Professional resources
      1m 33s
    4. Fields of study that underlie the work of interaction designers
      2m 16s
  4. 9m 38s
    1. Consistency
      1m 52s
    2. Perceivability
      2m 16s
    3. Learnability
      1m 5s
    4. Predictability
      1m 43s
    5. Feedback
      1m 21s
    6. How the principles form a system
      1m 21s
  5. 14m 53s
    1. Understanding the context of experience
      2m 21s
    2. Understanding need and motivation
      4m 15s
    3. Designing to meet needs
      5m 53s
    4. Persuasive design
      2m 24s
  6. 20m 36s
    1. Gestalt principles
      5m 0s
    2. Designing with grids
      4m 18s
    3. Guiding visitors with sequence, steps, and structure
      4m 19s
    4. Understanding design patterns
      6m 59s
  7. 26m 29s
    1. Effective navigation
      8m 37s
    2. Searching and filtering
      8m 10s
    3. Contextual relevance
      5m 25s
    4. Sense of place
      4m 17s
  8. 20m 16s
    1. Defining sensation and perception
      7m 10s
    2. How people respond to color
      5m 14s
    3. How people respond to motion
      6m 3s
    4. Establishing visual hierarchy
      1m 49s
  9. 30m 48s
    1. Defining cognition
      5m 35s
    2. Cognitive biases
      2m 45s
    3. Communicating with labels and icons
      4m 40s
    4. Framing choices
      3m 20s
    5. Mental models
      5m 17s
    6. Understanding cognitive load
      9m 11s
  10. 25m 31s
    1. Defining behavior for interaction design
      2m 7s
    2. Perceived affordances
      6m 26s
    3. Inputs and sensors
      5m 9s
    4. Designing for clicks and taps
      7m 33s
    5. Providing opportunity for direct action
      4m 16s
  11. 19m 58s
    1. Defining feedback for interaction design
      3m 31s
    2. Deciding on a feedback format
      5m 34s
    3. Place, time, and meaning
      5m 25s
    4. Error handling and messages
      4m 30s
    5. Feedback cycle
      58s
  12. 1m 51s
    1. Reviewing the big picture
      1m 51s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Interaction Design Fundamentals.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.