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User Experience

Interaction design beyond the screen

July 29, 2015

Connected devices blur some of the boundaries between hardware and software.

Connectivity enables a product’s functionality and corresponding user interface to exist outside of the device itself. People can remotely access, monitor or even control such products, typically via an app or the web. Think fitness trackers, thermostats and your next car.

What a great opportunity for interaction designers to contribute their skill and experience as product designers?! Yet the vast majority of the interaction designers and other UX practitioners I know, and those that I’ve met at countless events and conferences, have only designed products and services for the desktop, web and mobile devices — for the screen. Based on their definition of interaction design, the Interaction Design Association has bigger aspirations for our discipline:

Interaction Design (IxD) defines the structure and behavior of interactive systems. Interaction Designers strive to create meaningful relationships between people and the products and services that they use, from computers to mobile devices to appliances and beyond.

Designing for screen alone limits our ability to shape how people interact with products and services. This reduces our opportunity to improve lives.

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Sketch of a phone