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About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design by David Cronin, Robert Reimann, Alan Cooper

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Chapter 9. Platform and Posture

As you’ll recall from Chapter 7, the first question to answer as you begin to design an interactive product is, “What platform and posture are appropriate?” The platform can be thought of as the combination of hardware and software that enables the product to function, in terms of both user interactions and the internal operations of the product.

You’re undoubtedly familiar with many of the most common platforms for interactive products, including desktop software, Web sites and Web applications, kiosks, in-vehicle systems, handhelds (such as cameras, phones, and PDAs), home entertainment systems (such as game consoles, TV set-top boxes/tuners, and stereo/home theater systems), and professional devices (such as medical and scientific instruments). Looking at this list, you also may notice that “platform” is not an entirely well-defined concept. Rather, it is shorthand to describe a number of important product features, such as the physical form, display size and resolution, input method, network connectivity, operating system, and database capabilities.

All of these factors have a significant impact on the way the product is designed, built, and used. Choosing the right platform is a balancing act, where you must find the sweet spot that best supports the needs and context of your personas and fits within the business constraints, objectives, and technological capabilities.

A product’s posture is its behavioral stance — the way it presents itself to ...

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