Early stages of design usually occur in “low tech” modes, sketching, drawing and rough designing and idea notations. This phase of designing helps to identify the problem or idea that is being addressed or solved through the design itself.
As the design progresses, so do the tools which are used to aid in developing and refine the design itself. During the design process it is important to put the design or prototype of the design into the hands of the user; regular people who can test the designs interactive components, testing their interaction with and understanding of the final product.
The diagram above maps out the process of designing an interactive interface or projects, as split into eleven distinct categories.
When designing an interaction it is vital to consider:
- What people are trying to do
- How they may try to do it
- What helps or hinders them
- Where they may do it
It is vital of the designer to consider and question the following:
What is the situation or setting/environment in which the interface will be used?
Where will the interactive design be used? Is it something that will be used privately or can it be used in public? Will the user feel comfortable using it in either setting?
Who will use the interface?
What is the target audience for the design? Will it be used individually or will it utilise a shared usage, if so, how will it be shared?
How long will the device/interface need to be used?
Can the user interact with and use the design in a short amount of time to receive the end result or information they desire? Will it take a long time for the user to reach whatever part of the design they wish to access? Will tasks using the design take a long time to be completed satisfactorily, or will it only be a short process?
Will the experience be complex or simple?
Will the users need to engage in complex designs and navigation/task to reach their goal in using the design? If the design is complex, can it be simplified at all? Will the complexity of the design affect user ability to understand the design?
Why will people be using the interface?
What are the goals or reasons users will have to use the design? Will using the design solve a problem for them? Will the design cater to the users needs and desires? Why will users choose to you your design?