interface | interact

15 Nov 2006 - 1:53pm
8 years ago
2 replies
495 reads
Mark Schraad
2006

>And not to diverge, but I am often asked what the difference
>is between "interface" and "interaction" design. The above
>seems to imply that an interface might be a widget, but an
>interaction is a collection of widgets (or interface designs?)
>applied to satisfy a specific goal.
>
>Would others agree with this?

I don't think of either being machine, application or computer specific.

Interface seems to emply that only one of two entities act and the other simply records or is static.

Interactions (to me) emplies a series of actions between at least two individuals (people, animals or machines - is that to limited?)

Mark

Comments

15 Nov 2006 - 2:12pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Mark Schraad wrote:
> Interface seems to emply that only one of two entities act and the other simply records or is static.
>
> Interactions (to me) emplies a series of actions between at least two individuals (people, animals or machines - is that to limited?)
>
Well, lets be a bit more literal about this.

an interface is the point of contact between two actors.
an interaction is what happens when using that interface.

I was hesitant to write the line for interaction using interface, but it
does seem to make sense.

To make this more tangible.
An interface can be as simple as a "button".
the interaction is what happens when that button is "depressed".
Button changes look so as to look more physically depressed
Sound is heard (like a click)
Section of screen changes visibility quality (becoming either visible or
invisible) or data previously entered into form is transmitted over
network to system which sends back a reply, but only after a "working
..." in progress animation is displayed while displayed results are
compiled in the background.

I agree that there is nothing specific about computers in either definition.

-- dave

ps. Wow! this reminds me of the Yahoo Group days of this list in the
Summer of '03; which I was just perusing the archives of. Nice!

--

David Malouf
Vice President
dave(at)ixda(dot)org
http://ixda.org/
http://synapticburn.com/

AIM: bolinhanyc // Y!: dave_ux //
MSN: hippiefunk(at)hotmail.com // Gtalk: dave.ixd(at)gmail.com

17 Nov 2006 - 5:55pm
fred.welden at ...
2006

>From: Mark Schraad <mschraad at mac.com>
>To: "Wilson, Russell" <Russell.Wilson at netqos.com>
>Cc: discuss at ixda.org
>Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 2:53:57 PM
>Subject: [IxDA Discuss] interface | interact

>>And not to diverge, but I am often asked what the difference
>>is between "interface" and "interaction" design. The above
>>seems to imply that an interface might be a widget, but an
>>interaction is a collection of widgets (or interface designs?)
>>applied to satisfy a specific goal.
>>
>>Would others agree with this?

>I don't think of either being machine, application or computer specific.

>Interface seems to emply that only one of two entities act and the other simply records or is static.

>Interactions (to me) emplies a series of actions between at least two individuals (people, animals or >machines - is that to limited?)

>Mark

To me, an interface is the location where two or more entities communicate. In software systems, that ends up being the shared protocol that is used by all participants in the communication.

An interaction is an instance of using the interface.

So, to the widget question, an interface would present a widget or collection of widgets with semantics associated with them that all parties are aware of (e.g. this widget is a text field, 35 characters in length, labelled "First Name," in which the user is supposed to type his first name). On one side of the interface the values of some widgets can be set by one of the entities and the values of others only observed. On the other side of the interface, it is usual that the values of at least some of the "set' widgets on the first side become observe-only, and the values of some of the "observe" widgets on the first side become settable.

An interaction would occur when someone set the values of (clicked on, filled in, scrolled, etc) the widgets in one or more interfaces in order to communicate something to an entity or entities on the other side of the interface(s).

Interactions seem to me to be inherently bigger--they may require more than one interface to carry out--and more nuanced--for example, if the user selects the "Bill Me Later" radiobox, the "Billing Start Date" widget gets ungrayed. The "BSD" widget is always part of the interface design, but the interaction design determines when it is actually available for use.

Hope that makes sense, and helps someone!

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