Interaction Design in Today’s Web and Mobile Application Development

Let’s take a minute and think about how much time each day we spend using our mobile phone for various daily tasks. The mobile phone has become an essential item in our everyday life. We use it to unwind and scroll through Social Media, pay the bills, quickly look something up, review that new car wash we tried out yesterday… you name it.

The well-crafted mobile application allows the user to achieve one’s goals in the best possible way. As the users, we have the need of not only wanting a beautiful interface, but the simplicity, ease, and pleasure of interaction on the device. That’s where interaction design comes into play. The Interaction Design goes deeper than User Experience (UX) design as it predicts and guides user interaction with the application.

When working on an app design it is good to take a step back and look at the overall picture of the app. What is its purpose? What is the target audience? What kind of device is it intended to be utilized on? Most importantly, how will the end user engage in its use? The ultimate goal is to create a pleasing experience with an easy transition from one step to another.

When we talk about mobile application concept development and design, we should always remember that user interaction experience comes in many shapes and forms:

What device is the user intending to use the application on? Will it be a phone, a tablet, a reading device, a portable gaming console, a sales kiosk, a restaurant?

It is good to consider the location where the device would be used. Will it be a quick coupon lookup for that ice cream parlor that you spotted on a hot summer day while taking a stroll on the boardwalk, or, will it be surfing the web during the lunch break while swiveling in the user’s chair? Knowing or predicting the location and setting for use of the application gives us better tools to create a meaningful interface. In the first case, we want to make sure that it’s incredibly simple and fast to find a coupon. We need to give the user tools to quickly find a coupon, identify the conditions of the deal, the images, the text, etc. In this case, even the action controls need to be a bit bigger compared to the application that would be used in more relaxed and quieter environment.

Visual Representation.
This includes all graphical elements in the application such as typography, color combinations, icons (do they convey the meaning without the use of the words?), graphics and pictures. Visual representation is driven by many factors and some of them depend on other elements in interaction design. Knowing who, how and where the application is intended to be used, we can suggest the best visual options. We should carefully consider the placements and the look at the menu, the navigation items, and create meaningful icons that could be easily understood without additional explanation. We choose the color scheme based on the emotion we are looking for from the user. For example, while a music app would benefit from vibrant colors, a payment processing application needs to stay neutral with clear identification of the controls presented on the screen.

This includes the dimensions of the sound and time. Motion and sound play a vital role in user interaction with the application. It is very important to send not only a visual but also a sound response to the user. Over the past several decades of technological advancement, we have trained our brain to respond to the audio clues a lot faster. An unpleasant beep will give us a quick clue that we have made a mistake and the previous action needs to be revised, rather than an alert message alone where you have to pause for a moment, read the message, analyze it and proceed with the next step. Say we are completing a transaction in an online store. Once we tap on the “submit” button and hear a pleasant bell audio effect, we know the transaction was completed successfully, even before we read the confirmation message that is usually displayed for your convenience.

Interface design is greatly important in the overall application design of a web or mobile software solution. Nowadays the crucial part of the successful web or mobile application is interaction design that provides a well thought out, complex and multi-layered design that will allow the user to easily navigate and engage with the application.

To learn more about interaction design and how it can help accelerate your web and mobile platform, give our team a shout. We’d be glad to help!

~ Natalia