Process and Context

Lecture pod 2 explores the process of creating an interaction and how important it is to understand the context in which users will use the interaction.


When creating an interaction it is important to start with low tech methods e.g. pen and paper. By sketching out ideas, writing out descriptions and creating flow charts it is easy to completely understand the activity or problem that you are designing an interaction for. Once you have completely understood the issue and explored ideas through pen and paper then it is necessary to use more high tech methods to fill in all the details and work towards creating the final product.

Bill Verplank’s 8 step process

Bill Verplank approaches an interaction design process within 8 steps as illustrated below.


[Bill Verplank’s interaction design process]. (n.d.). Retrieved from


To design successful interactions it is important to fully understand the context of which they will be used in. To gain this knowledge many questions should be asked and scenarios in which people will use the interaction should be created. There are many different questions a designer should be asking, such questions include:

  • What are people trying to do?
  • How are they trying to do it?
  • What gets in the way or helps?
  • Where they might be doing it?

Most important idea from this pod

When designing an interaction it is important to follow a good process that involves a lot of planning, thinking, researching, looking at precedents and exploring the context of an interaction. Without these things an interaction will not be as successful as the designer would not have put in the proper time to learn and explore their ideas to their full potential.




What is Interaction Design?

Lecture pod 1 introduces interaction design and explores the basics of interaction and interactivity. This pod defines the term interaction and covers aspects of interaction design from what designers need to consider when designing interactions and how important interaction design is. The pod explores some of these aspects with interviews from well known designers, Bill Verplank and Gillian Crampton Smith.

What is Interaction and Interaction Design?

Interaction design crosses over with a wide range of disciplines including graphic design therefore as designers it is important to gain a good understanding on the role interaction design plays and what interaction design is. To completely understand what interaction design is, it is important to first understand what interaction is. Interaction is anything that we engage with, this can include people, books, technology and basically any form of media. Essentially interaction design is the design of interactive products that support people in their everyday lives. According to Gillian Crampton Smith interview in Bill Moggridge’s ‘Designing Interactions’ (2007) “Interaction design involves designing the behaviour and quality of something that is interactive”.

What to consider when designing interactions

According to Bill Verplank you should always ask three questions when you are designing interactions:

  • How do you feel?
  • How do you do?
  • How do you know?

These questions allow the designer to step into the users position and therefore gain a better understanding of how to design for the user e.g. how does the user do a certain action? Do they need to press a particular button? Do they need to tap somewhere on the screen? Concluding from Bill Verplank’s interview and the lecture pod as a whole, to design interactions a designer must focus on designing for people and design interactions for the experience of others.

Image right – S, C. (n.d.). [Bill draws as he talks for his interview in 2001. Photo Craig Syverson]. Retrieved February 24, 2017, from

Image left – [Bill Verplank’s explanation of interaction design]. (2015, March 4). Retrieved February 26, 2017, from

Most important idea from this pod

Interaction design is infused into our everyday lives so it is important for designers to understand interaction design as a whole and most importantly a designer must understand people and their experiences to create effective designs.