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Digital Design Agency

In Online marketing op 30-11-2014

From rather modest beginnings web design has had a relatively long journey in quite a short time. The term web designer was originally used to describe a person who provided a service very similar to that of a graphic designer. They are not the same thing however they are both primarily concerned with the presentation of text and pictures.

Now that the majority of websites and online applications are interactive, it has called for a new breed of design which is known as Interactive Design (IxD). The digital design agencies of today are governed and guided by principles which are vastly different than those of the traditional graphic designers, although the basics are essentially the same.

Interaction Design

The Interaction Design Association (IxDA) explains the role of interaction designers by the following:

Interaction designers strive to create useful and usable products and services. Following the fundamental tenets of user-centred design, the practice of interaction design is grounded in an understanding of real users—their goals, tasks, experiences, needs, and wants.

Approaching design from a user-centred perspective, while endeavouring to balance users’ needs with business goals and technological capabilities, interaction designers provide solutions to complex design challenges, and define new and evolving interactive products and services.

Interaction design has evolved along with user experience design (UxD) to facilitate the interaction between people and their environment. While UxD accounts for all the user-facing aspects of a design, interaction designers are normally only concerned with the interaction that takes place between a user and their computer, a niche referred to as human-computer interaction.

Interaction design should have a specific goal in mind. Although conducting user research is not a requirement it does make it easier to establish what goals your users may have for visiting your site. Whatever the primary goal of your site is, you should make sure that it does this one thing well, whether it is online transactions or a database of some kind. This will enable the successful melding of both form and function. Keep it simple though, give users exactly what they need, no more and no less.

Usability design

The usability of your design will be a major factor in whether or not users will keep using your site to achieve their goals. If you design an interface that is easy to use and does not require much understanding on the part of the user then you have successfully designed an inherently usable interface.
The affordances of your site should be simple and clear cut.

For example no matter what a door handle looks like it is clear that is how to go about getting into the room behind the door. We use them correctly every single day without even thinking about it. Their function speaks for themselves and so it should be with Interactive Design. A link should look like a link, a search box should clearly be just that, a button should appear and behave like a button, and so forth.

A usable interface is most often comprised of familiar components. When a user is accustomed to clicking on a word with an imbedded link to another site or page when navigating their way around a site, then this is what they will expect to happen when they see what looks like a link on your site.

They are not going to scroll to the bottom of the page in search of a ‘Glossary’ of links which take them to where they want to go. If your design calls for something completely unique then it should be one that is easily learned and does not require a 100 page manual.

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