Phrases

22 Oct 2005 - 6:44pm
9 years ago
7 replies
1125 reads
Taneem Talukdar
2005

Hello,

I am curious as to what you perceive to be the differences between the
following phrases:

Interaction Design
User Experience Design
Information Architecture (Design?)

There must be a lot of overlap in what these 3 phrases describe. But what
are some of the differences between them?

Many thanks,

Taneem

Comments

22 Oct 2005 - 7:33pm
Dave Malouf
2005

> I am curious as to what you perceive to be the differences between the
> following phrases:
>
> Interaction Design
> User Experience Design
> Information Architecture (Design?)

To some these might be complete synonyms. To others there is significant
overlap. And to others there are clear and distinct lines to be drawn that
minimizes the overlap considerably.

I was interviewed for a podcast a little while back on this topic which you
can find here: http://synapticburn.com/comments.php?id=85_0_1_0_C

I also gave a presentation at the IA Summit that attempts to draw some lines
especially between the relationships of these three phrases which you can
find here: http://synapticburn.com/comments.php?id=50_0_1_0_C

To summarize my own personal views here's how I break it down.

User Experience Design is an umbrella of UCD related disciplines that when
combined in total create a product or service. The goal here is to do so by
deriving the greatest total value to both owner of product or service and
those consuming/using that product or service. There are many different ways
of breaking this down. Most use a 3-circle ven-diagram where in a triangle
of equal convergence you have information/structure, interaction/behavior,
and presentation.

Almost all information systems contain all 3 triangles. Some systems focus
on one circle more than another depending on the the total context and goals
of that system.

Information Architecture focuses on the structure of information so that it
makes sense to a user.
Interaction Design focuses on the behavior between system and user so that
it fits their context of use and workflow.

Yes, there can be great overlap between these, but it is good to for
definitional purposes to focus on their cores.

For more information about definitions of these things, I'd suggest looking
at these sites:

IA Institute - http://iainstitute.org/pg/about_us.php (there is a definition
of IA on that page)
IxDA - http://www.ixda.org/en/about_ixdg/what_is_interaction_design.shtml
UXNet - http://uxnet.org/ (very small definition on home page)

Enjoy!

-- dave

22 Oct 2005 - 8:00pm
penguinstorm
2005

On Oct-22-2005, at 5:44 PM, Taneem Talukdar wrote:

> There must be a lot of overlap in what these 3 phrases describe.
> But what
> are some of the differences between them?
>

Quite a bit. I typically find the most interesting people in our
field have varied skill sets that work around all of these
disciplines, and are able (and comfortable) treating their job as a
highly variable role, rather than a strictly defined thing.

This is my highly abbreviated 2 cents worth: I generally think that
most people who could do any one of these "jobs" could do the other,
with perhaps slightly different team compositions.

> Interaction Design
>

More focused on Visual Design; actually responsible for Visual Design
Implementation
More concerned with production process of the final product.

> User Experience Design
>

I think there's a pretty tight crossover here with Interaction
Design. I'd be inclined to think that a User Experience Designer may
not be responsible for visual design, but this may be the only
distinction I make.

Perhaps a more likely title for Software than for "Information
Applications"

> Information Architecture (Design?)
>

IA - more typically web focused and information software focused;
delivering and gathering information from end users (an IA, for
example, would not IMHO design the Photoshop Interface.
- less likely to involve Visual Design - probably a dedicated
designer on team
- more likely to involve content creation
- somewhat "Production Tool Agnostic"; the final product's shape is
what matters, not the material used to build it

--
Scott Nelson
skot at penguinstorm.com
http://www.penguinstorm.com/

23 Oct 2005 - 5:55am
Peter Boersma
2003

Taneem Talukdar said:
> I am curious as to what you perceive to be the differences between the
> following phrases:
>
> Interaction Design
> User Experience Design
> Information Architecture (Design?)

When I've had a few beers and there's lots of noise in the background, I try
to explain it to people like this:

- Information Architecture efforts determine how you get somewhere, and how
you get away once you're done.
- Interaction Design efforts determine what you do once you're there
- User Experience design efforts determine whether it is worth the trip.

The "there" in all this is usually a web page, but it may be a functionality
in an interactive application too.

Peter
--
Peter Boersma | Consultant User Experience | www.UserIntelligence.com
Vlaardingenlaan 9 | 1059 GL | Amsterdam | The Netherlands
p:+31(0)204084296 | f:+31(0)204084298 | m:+31(0)615072747
mailto:peter at peterboersma.com | http://www.peterboersma.com/blog/

23 Oct 2005 - 9:25am
Dan Saffer
2003

And I was just thinking to myself yesterday how nice it was that we
didn't have these discussions anymore on this list... :)

In brief and broadly speaking:

User experience design is concerned with all the elements that
together make up a user's involvement with a product or service so
that they make a unified whole. It involves design strategy and
creative direction to coordinate the sub-disciplines that work to
achieve that. Those disciplines can be visual design, sound design,
industrial design, information architecture, and interaction design.
Example: Rides at Disneyland.

Information architecture is concerned with the structuring of
information, how content (broadly speaking) is categorized, labeled,
found, and presented. Example: "Apples go under the Fruit label."

Interaction design is about the behavior of systems: how products and
services respond to human behavior. Example: "When I push this
button, this happens."

The lines between these can be rough and blurry. I did a diagram a
few years ago to explain the intersection of information architecture
and interaction design:

http://www.odannyboy.com/id/ia_id.pdf

Dan

Dan Saffer
Sr. Interaction Designer, Adaptive Path
http://www.adaptivepath.com
http://www.odannyboy.com

23 Oct 2005 - 1:30pm
Juan Lanus
2005

On 10/23/05, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:
> ... we didn't have these discussions anymore on this list...
These kind of threads tend to get very long, as some try to fit the
title to their actual skills set :-)
Two or three years ago groups were plagued by these kind of
discussion, as the terms were minted in the collective mind.

> User experience design ...
> Information architecture ...
> Interaction design ...
Couldn't agree more!
--
Juan Lanus
TECNOSOL
Argentina

23 Oct 2005 - 1:37pm
Anthony Colfelt
2005

The divisions in my mind, go something like this:

* Interaction Design is the act of scripting the narrative between user
and system which enables the two to interact in supporting the tasks
and goals of the user of the system.
* User Experience Design: a holistic approach to design encompassing
many facets that include, but are not limited to: Graphic Design, User
Interface, Brand, Editorial, Content, Usability, Interaction and
Information Architecture.
* Information Architecture: The practice of sorting, labeling and
structuring information to facilitate accessibility by users of that
information.

There is definitely overlap between terms, although one perception (and
one I share) is that 'User Experience Design' is the broader term to
'Interaction Design' and 'Information Architecture'. IA is a field that
employs a great diversity of skills and the boundaries of it remain to
be clearly defined, although the origins of it are based in the
well-established field of Information & Library Science. Like IA,
Interaction Design as a discipline in its own right has been carved out
in relatively recent times with the support of various mavens such as
Don Norman and Alan Cooper (to name a few).

It seems that the professional industry is slower to appreciate these
divisions than perhaps we'd want as a community. Many, if not most
companies in the USA and the UK still describe an Interaction Designer
when advertising for an Information Architect. Few appreciate the need
for a "Big IA" (categorization of information person) at all. Those
advertising for Interaction Designers will usually receive resumes of
Graphic Designers who are handy with Macromedia Flash rather than
someone schooled in the principles of HCI. When I recruit User
Experience professionals, I advertise for IAs, expecting IxDs to apply.
If I need a "Big IA" I'll advertise for a taxonomist or library
scientist.

It's a slow process to permeate these distinctions through the
industry, but we're getting there!

Ant

On Oct 22, 2005, at 5:44 PM, Taneem Talukdar wrote:

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]

Hello,

I am curious as to what you perceive to be the differences between the
following phrases:

Interaction Design
User Experience Design
Information Architecture (Design?)

There must be a lot of overlap in what these 3 phrases describe. But
what
are some of the differences between them?

Many thanks,

Taneem
________________________________________________________________
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Anthony Colfelt
http://www.colfelt.com/

24 Oct 2005 - 6:35am
Stewart Dean
2004

Hi,

First to answer the original post. In my view.

User Experience Design is the overall umbrella for creation of user
experiences, this being limited to things people can use and is a term used
for digital media although there's not hard barrier between experience
design and product design or non digital media such as signage systems for
hospitals.

Information Archiecture should mean the organaisation and strucuturing of
information but, in real life, also covers the designing of functionality
and presentation (up to a variable degree).

Interaction Design over laps with information archiecture but is mostly
about the creation if effective interfaces (in a nut shell). Many IAs also
do the interaction design - although a visual designer can also take on this
task and go beyond just the visual.

David's ven diagram is not far off but overly simplistic as if you move out
side of the new media agency environment roles like Information Architect
overlap with other existing roles that people are familiar with. For example
being an IA is very similair to being a Buisness Analyst in many cases.

In short information architecture changes dependent on the environment that
role is being carried out. Just as real architects will describe their role
differently so information architects do as well. This is, of course, normal
and nothing to worry about. It all fits under the user experience umbrella.

Stewart Dean

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