Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Interactivity [Screenshot]. Retrieved from


In this weeks lecture it focuses on the difference between what an interaction and what an interactive design is from a broad perspective.

Interaction design as a field began the day the first screen was designed to hold more than static copy. Everything from a button, link or form field is part of interaction design.

To further develop our understanding of what an interaction designer does, the lecture refers us to watch a clip of Bill Verplank. In the video Verplank is interviewed by Bill Moggridge about interaction Design. He does this through an illustrative description that clarify the pioneering interaction design work of Bill Atkinson and Larry Tesler.


Bill V.png

Image: Valere, A. (2014). Bill Verplank Interactions [Screenshot]. Retrieved


In the video clip Verplank start with a definition of interactive design, focusing on design for people and how an individual can gain feedback and interact with the world.

Verplank believes that interaction designers should always have 3 questions to answer that begin with “How do you…”

1)  How do you do? How do you affect the world?


1st Question.png

Image: Valere, A. (2014). Interactions People 1st Question [Screenshot].
Retrieved from


Here, Verplank metaphorically draws handles and buttons. The buttons meaning the designer can deal with the world by pushing. And by handles meaning the designer can hold of the world and manipulate it, grabbing a hold of a product and turning or twisting it. Verplank believes that using handles allows the world to have control in comparison to buttons who have discrete control.

2) How do you feel? How do we get feedback from the world?


2nd Question.png

Image: Valere, A. (2014). Interactions People 2nd Question [Screenshot].
Retrieved from


Here, Verplank connects this with differentiating the fuzzy distinctions between cool medium vs. hot or distinct. Conveying that early forms of television were considered a cool medium that drew audiences in. In comparison to a hot medium such as a book with careful printing were changes cannot be done.


3) How do you know?


3rd Question.png

Image: Valere, A. (2014). Interactions People 3rd Question [Screenshot].
Retrieved from


Here, Verplank states the complications of using computers to design interactions can often lead to users not knowing what to do to products. Therefore it is essential to decide whether the user needs to use a map to see how everything works or a path to follow in momentarily situations.

Verplank concludes by stating that a person we’re designing for does something we provide affordable. Designers create in a way that machine gives feedback and questions such as what kinds of knowledge we expect from our users needs to be assessed.


“ As an aspiring designer, I consider Verplank “3 question definition” to be the most important aspect of the lecture pod because I think it carefully distinguishes the broad thinking that needs to be applied when interaction design is taking place. That simple things such as buttons and handles can have a different impact towards users on whether it will be engaging or not. Verplank’s illustrative diagram is also an important aspect of the lecture pod, which many of us can refer to while conducting our assessment tasks. “


The lecture then continues towards the explanation of where interaction designers sit within the spectrum of design roles and process. A diagram from Clement Mok is often used towards navigating the relation to other roles.

Clement Mok Diagram.png

Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Clement Mok Diagram [Screenshot]. Retrieved


It is also mentioned that various disciplines and design practices contribute to interaction design. Cognitive is an example of a discipline that focuses on how humans process information and how they perceive the world. This is a key aspect, which many designers need to assess.

Interaction Design Chart.png

Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Interactive Design Chart [Screenshot]. Retrieved


Interactivity is form of relating to a program that responds to user activity. This is one of the few various definitions the lecture pod provides. In this section it focuses on the everyday interactions we have with one another and objects.

It is also essential for designer to be aware that the level of engagement and interaction can vary. In the diagram demonstrated, it is shown that often, good conversations can be more engaging than interacting with a vending machine.

Engaging Interactivity.png

Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Engaging Interactivity [Screenshot]. Retrieved


Interactivity can include the amount of control the audience has over the tools, place or ability to use the product. Thus the lecture refers us to watch a clip of Gill Crampton Smith to better understand Interactivity.


Gill Crampton Smith Interview.png

Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Gill Crampton Smith Interview [Screenshot].
Retrieved from


In the interview, Smith states her definition of interaction design is an idea of shaping our everyday life through digital artefacts. Smith believes we need a clear module of what it is we are interacting with.

Smith also states that it’s important to assess not only the look of a design, but the functionality, quality and how it behaves. She believes that interactive design needs a fusion of not only visual but a mix of things that will happen over time visual, sonic and moving images.

Experience Diagram.png

Image: Waterson, S. (2016). Experience Diagram [Screenshot].
Retrieved from


Data can be a powerful aspect when organised. Brenda Laurel states that often, interactive media is not about the information but about it’s experience. Although this is a true statement, it is recommended that in order for users to experience, designers must understand and properly structure information and data

Therefore, the lecture concludes with 5 key design areas that contribute towards the design of interactive products. Such of which includes interactivity, information architecture, time and motion, narrative and interface.

Overall the lecture gave insightful information that allows aspiring designers, such as myself to better understand the importance and meaning between interactivity and interaction.


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