What is Interaction Design (IxD)

Interaction Design IxD

Definition – What does Interaction Design (IxD) mean?

Interaction design (IxD) is the process in which user-focused products and solutions are designed. At its core, designers and developers study how humans interact with a product in order to improve those products for the end-users. IxD is a technology design field that incorporates user interface, user experience and human psychology to improve products. IxD is a mixture of five components: Graphical User Interface (GUI), human behavior, time, physical traits, and text.

IxD – Graphical User Interface (GUI)

A Graphical User Interface (GUI) is what a person interacts with through a computer. Examples of GUIs include: Websites, forms, buttons and links. It is the layout and sequence of actions that leads the user to an end goal.

IxD – Human Behavior and Psychology

Psychology is the study of emotion and behavior. There are three levels of psychological experiences: biological, interpersonal and cultural. Biological experiences are those within ourselves. Interpersonal are those with another person or small groups. Cultural or societal are those in large populations.

There are six primary ways to understand human behavior. Structuralism is related to human thoughts and consciousness. Functionalism is related to our various mental and behavioral tools and how they are used. Psychodynamic is related to our subconscious thoughts and feelings. Behaviorism is related to outward observable behavior. Cognitive is related to mental processes, including perception, thoughts, memory and judgments. Social-cultural is related to how social situations and culture influence thoughts and behavior.

15 Psychological Marketing Studies

1. Endowment Effect

Endowment Effect

Customers give a higher value to things already owned. For example, if a person owned a car, that person would give that car a value of $10,000. If that person were to try to buy that same vehicle at a car dealership, that person would give it a value of $5000. Help increase ownership in a product or brand by encouraging feedback, suggestions and other forms of product engagement.

2. Reciprocity


When you are kind to others, they are often kind to you in return. For example, a waiter can increase tips by making the customers feel more special. Waiters slightly increased tips when diners were given an after-dinner mint. Tips increased significantly when diners were looked in the eye and given a second mint while being told that it was specifically for them. The more you give of yourself to others in a positive way, the more you will gain back in return.

3. Consistency Principle


The consistency principle states that, once you adopt a principle or method, continue to follow it consistently in the future. Only change a principle or method if it improves results. Most major websites are predictable in their behavior. Users know how the work without much thought or effort. Do not stray too far away from what is expected. If you change too many things, your customers may leave out of frustration.

4. Foot-in-the-Door Method

Foot-in-the-Door Technique

According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. In the 1960s, Jonathan Freedman and Scott Faser called homemakers to ask about the household products they use. Three days later, the researchers called again and sent workers to the house to note the cleaning products in the home. The women who responded to the first phone interview were two times more likely to respond to the second request. The more often a customer opens your emails, reads your content or interacts with you on social media, the more likely they are to buy your product or service.

5. Framing Effect

Framing Effect

Framing effect is related to the benefits of having a positive or negative message. A positive message for a politician would say something like, “Vote for me because I can help you.” A negative message for a politician would say something like, “Don’t vote for the other guy because he hurts children.” The core message is that the politician wants your vote. The difference is how potential voters perceive the politicians running for election. The words you use and the way you frame your ideas has a direct impact on how others react.It may take some trial and error to find what works for your core audience.

6. Loss Aversion

Loss Aversion

As an experiment, some teachers received bonuses as part of a loss aversion research study. One group received bonuses based on performance of their students on standardized testing. Another group received bonuses at the beginning of the year and could either keep it or lose it based on the results of their students’ tests. Per results of the study, the bonuses that could have been lost had a bigger impact on teachers.

7. Conformity and Social Influence

Conformity and Social Influence

Conformity is a type of social influence involving a change in belief or behavior in order to fit into a group. Social influence is change in behavior that one person causes in another, intentionally or unintentionally. Celebrities and industry leaders can help your product or service appear more valuable to others by their use and promotion.

8. Acquiescence Effect


Acquiescence Effect is the tendency of a person to answer questions based on what they think others want to hear regardless of their own opinions. For improved accuracy, questionnaires need to account for the acquiescence effect.

9. Mere Exposure Theory

Infinite Reflections Mere Exposure Theory

Mere Exposure Theory means that the more we are exposed to something, the more we like it. Don’t be afraid to repeat your message.

10. Informational Social Influence

Everyone Looking Up

Informational social influence is a psychological phenomenon where people copy the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. People are more willing to buy from places that are busy rather than from places that are slow or empty. Make more sales by making your product or service more popular.

11. Decoy Effect

Decoy Effect

The decoy effect (or asymmetric dominance effect) is the phenomenon whereby consumers have a change in preference between two options when a third unequal option is offered. Use a pricing strategy that includes an option that makes other options more appealing.

12. Availability Heuristic

Availability Heuristic

The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples in a person’s mind when making decisions. What is obvious to one person may not be to another for both are making decisions on different sets of information. Make your product or service easy to understand, and make the sales process as easy as possible.

13. Buffer Effect of Social Support

People Exercising Together

People who feel support from others in their social circle of friends feel less stress. They feel encouraged and less stressed when they feel they are not alone. Great customer support is an important aspect of any successful business. The client needs to feel that that people who understand their issues are available and that issues get resolved within a reasonable time span.

14. Ben Franklin Effect

Ben Franklin Effect

The Ben Franklin effect is a psychological concept. When we do a person a favor, we tend to like them more. Conversely, when we are angry toward others, we tend to like them less. Do not be afraid to ask favors of clients, such as answering surveys, taking polls, or sharing positive stories or useful information on social media.

15. Propinquity Effect

Propinquity Effect

Propinquity Effect states that the more we interact with people, the more likely we are to become friends with them. Be consistent and engaged with your customers. Remember their birthdays. Find out more about who they are. People are more likely to buy from who they like. When you develop strong relationships with your clients, they will be much more loyal toward you and the products or services you offer.

IxD – Time

If there is one constant, it is things change over time. What is popular or useful today is old and outdated tomorrow. Always be aware of current trends, methodologies, technologies, etc. To have a good product, you must remain relevant. To be a great product, you must be the one who sets the trends. Think about Apple, Facebook or Google. They are not trying to catch up to other people. Other companies are trying to copy them. Also remember that it takes time to develop a great marketing system and a great company. As the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a night.” Develop great systems. Develop great products. Develop great customer service. Focus on those things and the rest will fall into place.

IxD – Physical Traits

The physical traits of a brand or product are those components that people can touch and feel, such as plush leather seats or fluffy down pillows. Modern televisions are thin. Older TVs are box-shaped. Shape and texture reflect purpose. It also reflects a level of quality. A plain bookshelf with straight edges has less value than a bookshelf with a lot of design and deep rich colors. Identify who your potential clients are and design your products accordingly.

IxD – Text

The words you choose, and how you put them together, greatly influence your brand’s message. Users might interact with visual graphics on a computer screen, but words are themselves interactions. It’s critical to ensure that the written word is present and used to its fullest extent. Words and text complement all features of user experience, rather than compete with them. Text helps frame our experience with the other elements of interaction design. There are five main purposes of website copy.

1. Introduction

An introduction is much more than a friendly “Hello” or “Welcome.” It draws in the user, explains purpose, and recommends the next step. Words should should be treated as part of a conversation.

2. Navigation

Text describes where a user is at and makes suggestions on where to go next. Great navigation is a critical component of any great website. A user should never get lost, and navigation should make it easy to find what he / she is looking for. Below are the home pages of two city government websites: Chicago IL and Jacksonville FL. Which has better navigation?

Chicago IL Home Page

Jacksonville FL Home Page

It should be obvious from these two examples how important text is to user interaction, and how important user interaction is to user experience. The Chicago website is useful and inviting. The Jacksonville website is not.

3. Action

Words in menus, on buttons, and within instructions are all necessary to improve usability. Without proper use, the user gets frustrated in figuring out how things are supposed to work. Effective writing saves time and increases the chances of a sale. Users are coming to your website to do something or to find something, so create great copy that encourages effective interaction.

4. Service

Word choice plays a vital role in clearly explaining a problem and its solution. It also influences the users’ mood. The video below provides a contrast between poor word choice and great word choice.

5. Context

Copywriting and word choice are subjective, but context should always be fixed. The first step to any writing endeavor is to know your audience, medium and purpose. Below are some helpful questions to identify these things:

– Who will read it?
– What do they need to know?
– When will they read it?
– What is the next step?
– What is the format?
– What is the best tone?

Interaction design succeeds or fails based on how well your automated systems communicate with your users.