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Design for Software: A Playbook for Developers by Erik Klimczak

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Chapter 11: Interaction Design Principles

“It has to be simple, stupid”

WHEN USING A product or service that just works, you don’t consciously think, “Wow, that was really easy, and all of the interaction mechanisms helped me complete my task with minimal effort.” In contrast, when using a poorly designed product, we tend to notice everything that’s wrong with it. In fact your mental dialogue probably goes something like this: “How did I get here? What should I do next? Okay, I think I’ve figured it out. Wait . . . that didn’t do what I expected. How do I get back? Ugh! This is complicated.”

Interaction design (IxD) is all about the ease and intuitiveness of interacting with a product, and when done correctly, it results in products that just work. In my opinion, the mark of a well-designed product is when nothing is perceived as broken. This may seem rudimentary, but if more software designers focused on what’s right rather than what’s cool, we’d all have less suck-tastic software. The bad news is that creating software that just works isn’t simple. The good news is that this type of design doesn’t require much traditional “design skill,” only your ability to be aware of the people using the product and the context in which it’s being used.

The previous two parts of this book explored the fundamentals of design thinking and visual design and focused on real-world scenarios and tactics that you can use to add structure and direction to your applications. IxD is a bit more subjective ...

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