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Jen Cardello <[log in to unmask]>
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Jen Cardello <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 24 Aug 1998 13:17:01 -0400
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>Interesting discussion....
>Can someone offer a definition of interaction design, and an explanation of
>how it differs from interface design?
>    --SET

I apologize in advance for the length of this message:
Very abbreviated, short answer - I usually refer to interface design as the
development of visual language systems to support the information
architecture and interaction design. Whereas interaction design in
collaboration with information architecture defines how the user interacts
with the environment and how it is organized.

More depth below:
I've been reading this exchange and I've got to say that I am excited just
to find a group of people who seem to be thinking and doing similar things.
Defining some standard terms would be fantastic. I think it would be useful
to describe the disciplines (i.e. Product design  strategist, Information
architect, Information designer, Interaction designer, Visual/interface
designer, Usability Engineer) by what they define and the deliverables they
create during a project. This, of course, will vary from company to company
depending on their process.

I'll take a stab at defining a few roles below (Product strategist,
Information architect, Interaction designer, Visual designer). Please note:
I believe it is far more important to define the process than the specific
activities of each player.

Edits and comments encouraged :)

Product strategist in collaboration with the Client, Information architect,
Interaction designer and Visual designer define the following:
The users of the product/environment
The goals for each of those users from the businesss' perspective
The user's needs and intentions
The content, features and functionality required to meet the goals

They will create the following:
A complete description and diagrams of the product features and
functionality -- this would describe what the product is, who it serves,
how it works and what it includes.

Interaction designer and Information architect jointly define the following:
The global organization of the environment
The interactions each user-type will have with the environment
The navigation system required to support use (browsing, searching,
How interactions will be accomplished through organization of information
per screen
The messages required on each screen to encourage the user to complete
What widgets will be utilized to accomplish interactions
The guidelines for creating interactive sequences (to accommodate expansion)
The guidelines for organizing information (globally and per screen) (to
accommodate expansion)

They will create the following:
- site maps (hierarchical representations of the site)
- use cases (linear paths for each user's interactions with the site)
- page schematics (to detail the messages, navigation, information, content
and priority of elements on each screen)
- prototypes
- test plan

Visual /Interface designer will define the following:
The visual language system to be utilized throughout the site including
typography, color palette, page layout, use of imagery.
HTML styles to distinguish different types of content, data, information
and priority (this involves close collaboration with the Information
architect and Interaction designer)

They will create/accomplish the following:
- style guide to define visual language system and HTML styles
- application of styles and visual language to page schematics
Jen Cardello
Gomez Advisors, Inc.
97 Lowell Road
Concord, MA 01742
V 978.402.4299
F 978.287.0086