Week 5 : Interface design review

Summarisation of Lecture:

Definitions of interface:

  1. common boundary
  2. between things (the in-between thing)
  3. a point of interaction
  4. medium across which data is passed

interface and interaction design – conceptualisation and design of devices ( i.e. screens, buttons, navigation, narrative, search engines) between data, information, man and machine.

The success of an interface design is determined by its transparency. It is to be noticed and then forgotten, like a good typeface in a large body of text.

Old media: passive consumption – from 1 creator to many viewers

New media: interactivity – from many to many users (web 2.0), greater user choice

Contemporary interactivity:

  1. Hypertextual navigation – user makes reading choices within a database of information. user constructs individualised text/ hypertext – hyperlinks – extractive experience. This system ‘prophesied’ by Vanneur Bush with his memex http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj6ADC8ezxk
  2. Immersive navigation – representation of space- immersive experience. Immersed/embodied within in interface i.e. first person shooter game. An example of immersive navigation is the synoptic project by Roland Loesslien http://synoptic.weaintplastic.com
  3. Registrational interactivity – multiple users, collaborative- to ‘write back into’ collective information. An example of this is Facebook.
  4. Interactive communications – Based on face to face communication i.e. chat sites.

Fundamentals and Principals:

(to be taken as broad guides, originate from the rules of print)

1. Visual focus:

  • Use contrast to add hierarchy to elements
  • Use animation to signify interaction/function
  • Give contextual and visual cues greater visual distinction
  • Use style sheets to create a visually consistent format

2. Problem solving

  • Highlight potential user pathways
  • Include multiple forms of navigation for users such as navigational toolbars, filters, etc.
  • Consider time in your design
  • example of these techniques being use : The whale hunt by Jonathan Harris http://thewhalehunt.org

3. Contextual

  • Place contextual information in higher hierarchical levels of interactive
  • Provide detailed content in lower levels
  • Place information consistently throughout layout

4. Conceptual/Cognitive

  • Use familiar icons
  • Place graphics in familiar contexts
  • Provide text tags for images
  • Use design metaphors, relate item to the familiar i.e. the trashcan on a desktop

5. Wholeness

  • Group related content
  • Identify relationships between objects
  • Use breadcrumbs to help identify site structure and filter information.

6. Linear or non-linear

  • Does your interactive follow a linear or non-linear path? relate this to the function of the interactive.

Reflection on Lecture content:

This lecture focused on the interface. A clear distinction was made between interface and interaction and points from previous lectures were elaborated on. The fundamentals/principles mentioned were very interesting and I found they resonated well with our previous study of hierarchy and its importance in designing interactions.

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