Interactive Design

Interactive design, what is this you may ask?

It is the process of designing interactive products which support human communication and interaction in their everyday lives. The aim is to create user experiences while taking into account context of the products use, types of activities the product will be involved in, different user groups and their cultural differences.

So an important question to ask here is, what makes a good design?

Good design makes a product useful. A product is bought to be used after all. The products design has to meet certain criteria, not only functional but also psychological and aesthetic. The aesthetic quality of a product is vital to its usefulness because products we use every day affect us more than we realise. Good design makes a product understandable. This quote from Dieter Rams explains this perfectly “It (good design) clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.” And good design should be thorough, nothing should be left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process must be taken to give the user what they need and deserve.

And equally as important, what makes a bad design?

Well naturally a bad design is one which ignores many, if not all of the above factors. Interactive designs should always be made with the user at the foremost part of the designers mind. If this is not the case, you can be sure your design will fall into this latter category.

There are two types of affordances. Number one, Perceived affordances. Number two, actual affordances. Actual affordances are considered the actual actionable properties of a product, while perceived affordances mean the design invites people to take any possible actions. So how are these different and why does it matter? Well when these are not the same, problems occur. If people’s perceptions are not what the designer expects, then you can guarantee the item designed will not be being used as intended. Let’s look at the door in the stairwell of A block. There are handles on both sides, and as we all know you don’t need a door handle to push the door open. So why have one on both sides? It just causes confusion and people try to pull a door which can only be pushed. Why not take it away and eliminate that problem? Take away the perceived affordance and only allow for the actual affordance.

My Story Board:

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