Interaction Design | How Users Interact with Products

Interaction Design | How Users Interact with Products image

Interaction design (IxD), is a component under the User Experience Design Umbrella. It focuses on the way users interact with physical or digital products, systems, environments and services. IxD is more interested in behavior than form, and synthesizes and imagines how things are likely to be rather than analyzing how they are. Interaction designers seek to understand how users communicate with a certain technology to help them anticipate how those users interact with the system or product, fix any inherent problems early, and find new solutions.

While in the broad understanding Interaction Design covers any conceivable product, people often look at it from a digital perspective where products are understood as generally software, computer applications or websites. The corresponding interactions between the user and the product include; motion, sound, time, space and aesthetics. The elements of interaction often involve more specific fields like sound engineering for creating sounds.

Gillian Crampton Smith introduced a 5-dimensions model that can help us to more easily describe Interaction design.

Gillian Crampton Smith - Interaction Design image
Gillian Crampton Smith - Interaction Designer

Dimensions Of Interaction Design

1D. Words

Words used in interactions should be simple, meaningful and easy to comprehend. They should convey concise information to users in a clear manner.

2D. Visual Representations

The second dimension of interaction design is all the graphical elements; typography, images, color and aesthetics that enhance the first dimension of words. This can be achieved by considering aspects like typography – sticking to modern typeface with good stroke width. Other considerations like scan-ability and function are vital for a smooth interaction.

What Is User Experience Design? image
What Is User Experience Design?

3D. Physical Objects Or Space

The physical object through which users interact with the product and the physical space within which the user interacts with the product form the third dimension of IxD. Physical objects could be computer monitors and CPUs, with a keyboard; laptop with a mouse or touchpad or a smartphone, with the user’s fingers. Physical spaces could be an office where the user is seated browsing a website, a crowded train with the user standing and playing a game in a smartphone app store. These considerations differently affect the interaction between the user and the product.

4D. Time

Time plays an enormous role in how users interact with a product. The product design should consider issues like; whether a user can track his/her progress or suspend their interaction to be resumed afterwards. Examples are videos, animation, audios and all other time-dependent media. Motion and time also affect both audio and visual feedback delivery on users’ interaction with a product.

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5D. Behavior

Behavior covers the mechanisms of interaction between the product and the user. For example: how users navigate a website, how they perform certain actions and operate the products. Behavior depends on the previous four dimensions of interaction design and it also includes the reactions to those dimensions. Emotional responses and user feedback about a product are behaviors that respond to the previous for dimensions of IxD.


User interactions with any kind of product, system or service are an important present aspect of design. Consumers are more inclined to buying products that enable them to perform diverse tasks and give them great experiences with ease more than ever in history. Therefore, designers are presented with the task of coming up with products that meet those expectations through IxD



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