Interaction Design and UX in 3 Easy Parts

Interaction Design and UX in 3 Easy Parts logo

Implementing good interaction design and UX (user experience) is critical when 88% of internet users won’t return to websites with bad UX. Interaction design is the development and composition of the reactions between users using the products and products’ user interface. It is how page layouts, menus, buttons, and other elements of websites and apps are designed with how the user interacts with them in mind. There are 3 parts of understanding the relationship between Interaction Design and UX:

  • What is interaction design?
  • Benefits of interaction design.
  • Differences between interaction design and UX.

UX and its Benefits

What is UX?

User Experience (UX) is a field of design and functionality that focuses on how the user of an item interacts and experiences that item or element of the item. This item can be anything from a website, a document, an app, or any physical object that is offered to consumers. The item should be easy-to-use and work well with little to no errors. No one wants to use a broken website; thus users will avoid them. You don’t use what you don’t like. Next, the item should be designed so that users find it nice to look at and appealing to use. If a room looks pretty, people will want to go into them. The same is true of websites.

Finally, the elements of the site should be finable and accessible to consumers. Users should be able to locate the item easily and without help. If users can’t find a page or button, they definitely won’t read or use it. People with disabilities should be remembered for this: will this page read well for the deaf? Is this text readable to the colorblind? Don’t forget mobile users either! All of the above (and beyond) are consumers that need to be planned for.

Benefits of UX

There are many benefits of UX. The main ones are user engagement, user retention, usability, design backed by research, and lower support and development costs.

Design that is based on UX research is designed with users in mind, leading to greater user engagement and enjoyment with the content and elements due to being easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. (Having things that change upon interaction also brings user delight.) This leads to gaining customer trust in the brand and raises their credibility. 

girl with laptop and four people looking over her shoulder

Websites with good UX lead users to what they’re looking for and convince them that that product or service is what they need based on good descriptions of benefits and features. This leads to better user/customer conversion and customer retention – if users found what they were looking for easily before, they will likely be back again for something else. UX leads to having an intuitive and usable design that delight customers and is easier to maintain (particularly if it is minimal in design). This will lead to more loyal customers and more profit.

Do you ever look back and wonder why you did something the way you did? UX design is backed by user research, so you know why you designed things the way you did. It also makes it so you aren’t basing critical design or product decisions on a guess or hunch. You’ve got the data to support your design decisions (or change them if they differ) so you can design with confidence knowing your design is for the customer in mind.

A well implemented UX design will lower both support and development costs. User research will lead developers to necessary elements and desired features, so the developers only make what is really needed (or close to it) and don’t waste weeks or months of development of something that won’t even bring the company any money or customers. A smooth, intuitive design will allow many customers to find/get the product and use it as intended, leading to fewer angry customers calling customer support or returning products due to bad design or confusion over features.

Interaction Design and UX

What is Interaction Design?

Interaction design is the development and composition of the reactions between users using the products and products’ user interface. Interaction design first starts with user research. This includes user personas, user testing, user journey maps, red route matrixes, and other forms of user research. Based on this research, web and app designers design their products and their elements based on how to make them easy and fun (as possible) for the users/customers to use/interact with. Website and app elements that are affected by interaction design include the layout and navigate to and between:

  • Text content, including the font, size, color, etc.
  • Images, pictures, icons, graphics, etc.
  • White space.
  • Animations, including size, function, implementation, timing, etc.
cursor clicking a web page

Benefits of Interaction Design

Cartoon with man standing near phone with credit card inside it

Interaction Design makes elements and projects easy to find and use by users, employees, and business partners. This increases efficiency, learnability, attractiveness, versatility, and usability.

You are prepared for multiple types of users. These include those of different ages, different demographics, different cultures, and those that are handicapped. It is illegal to be discriminatory to most of these different backgrounds, (particularly demographics and handicapped) so interaction design and UX both cover making sure the project is ready for them.

The website, app, or other project can be used from multiple platforms. Most people browse the internet from their phone but not all of them. Some people use tablets due to security concerns over phones or mobile availability with a larger screen. Some people still use computers due to favoring classics and tradition. 

Differences Between Interaction Design and UX

The main difference between interaction design and UX is that almost all interaction design is a type of UX design but a good portion of ux design is not a type of interaction design. UX design includes marketing, information architecture, visual design, and informatics. The part of interaction design that is not considered UX is mainly some human-computer interactions and some human factors; however, some experts consider all interaction design to be part of ux but still think some ux is not integration design. 

In other words, interaction design is a specific part of ux design that focuses on human experience and human factors and how they will interact with elements and content of a product and is based on some user research. UX design is based heavily on (and includes) user research and the content strategy of the brand.

Summary

Interaction design is the development and composition of the reactions between users using the products and products’ user interface. It is how page layouts, menus, buttons, and other elements of websites and apps are designed with how the user interacts with them in mind. There are 4 parts of understanding the relationship between Interaction Design and UX:

  • What is interaction design?
  • Benefits of interaction design.
  • Differences between interaction design and UX.

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