There’s no doubt about it, we’re living in the digital era.
Nowadays, we’re surrounded by computers that aid us in almost every aspect of our life. Computers created with very specific interfaces (which is essentially what’s being shown on the screen) designed to make the interaction between humans and computers as smooth and intuitive as possible.
This specific field, which is dedicated to improve the human-to-computer interactions and make them feel as human-to-human as possible, is what we call Interaction Design.
What’s Interactive Design?
The goal of Interactive Design, also called IxD, is to improve user experience by understanding not only what the user needs but also what the user does, and what the user expects, which in turn can make products and interfaces easier to use, which will increase the likelihood of repeated use.
This is important because it gives businesses a competitive advantage over their competition, as users will find using their products far more intuitive and easy.
Take an airline for example: Whether you’re talking about online purchases or machine purchases at the airport, the easier it is for an user to find their flight, locate their preferred seat, introduced their info and make their payment, the better.
If the process has too many steps, the user doesn’t understand how to use the interface or it’s simply too complicated to use, the user won’t continue with the process and will simply log out and visit the competition, hoping to have a more straightforward experience.
Why Does Interactive Design Matters?
As you can see, the importance of interactive design lays in the fact that it turns users into potential customers by turning an action (a transaction, a search, submitting data, etc) into an easy, even pleasing activity that the user won’t mind performing.
While this might sound challenging and limited only to the design of big name products, it’s also a very important part of designing an app or webpage, even if it’s only for a small business or a startup.
There are 5 things you need to keep in mind if you want to improve the Interactive Design of your website, app or original interface. Luckily, they’re quite simple and you’ll be able to implement them right away.
Design Based on a Goal
When designing a webpage or app, it’s very easy to want to show everything there is to your potential consumers, as well as showing off your skills by coming up with flashy animations, complex functions and more.
Users rarely appreciate this showmanship, though, and they prefer a page that helps them achieve their goals as easily as possible.
In order to give your users the experience they expect, you need to understand them, which is why you should do research to understand them better. User personas and user scenarios are a good way of doing this, as it gives you an idea of who your users are and what they expect from your interface.
Usability is defined as how easy it is for your user to use your interface.
The easier it is, the more likely the user is to continue using your product, as they find it easy to understand and easy to use.
Here’s a great example of amazing website usability:
If your product isn’t usable, then the user will feel frustrated and will abandon your interface, often before they even manage to complete their goals.
In order to improve the usability of your webpage or app, you need to keep in mind the following:
- Remove unnecessary steps and make reaching from point A to B as easy as possible.
- Use a visual hierarchy to draw attention to the more important areas of your website/app. Focus on your audience. Do they read from right to left? Do they expect the information to go from top to bottom? Use that!
- Always keep your audience in mind. This will help you determine the size of the fonts, how many images and videos you’ll be able to use, how many fields of data your users are willing to use, etc.
Remember, the goal is to make your product as easy to use as possible.
Use the Right Signifiers
Signifiers are simply conventions we’ve all come to known.
In other words, signifiers are the symbols we understand intuitively thanks to constant use. Such as play and pause buttons, a backwards arrow to show you how to go back, a house to signify home, etc.
The less you deviate from these signifiers the easier it will be for your audience to understand how to move around your interface, thus giving them the ability to understand it much more easily.
Make it Reactive
A small detail that’s easy to overlook but that will make everything much more familiar for users is to give them small indications that something is going on.
A load screen, a small loading circle floating around, a mouseover message, etc. Those things let the user know that the interface is working and, believe it or not, will reduce frustration and minimize the risk of an user clicking several times the same button.
Yes, users expect some sort of feedback after any action, and failing to give them that can be a problem. Think of it this way; If you went to a store and asked something to an employee, you’d be confused if all they did was stand there and stare at you before giving you the answer.
Making your interface show that it’s “thinking” it’s a great steps towards making it more user friendly. As you can see, interactive design can be a crucial aspect of improving the usability of your website or app, as it’s an integral part of how they all work.
Keep in mind these tips when thinking about improving your interface and don’t forget to do a more in-depth reading if you want to take your interactive design to the next level.
Lucy Benton is a specialist in digital marketing and content writing who currently works at BestEssayTips. She focuses mostly on the worlds of technology, gadgets, and the Internet. If you’re interested in working with Lucy, you can find her on FaceBook and Twitter.