Accessibility and Interaction Design
In a world where we use digital devices more than ever, the importance of being able to use such devices with ease is often an overlooked piece of information in the technology industry. It is pretty easy to open a door by moving the door handle. Turning on a piece of technology should be as easy as opening that door. This is where the interaction design comes into play.
I have always been an admirer of simple yet convenient things. As a software designer and developer myself, I have realized that with the proper use of words, shapes, images, icons, and space, we can make an interactive and easy-to-use product.
What can be done on a laptop might be difficult on a phone, and vice-versa. For example, writing documents is much easier on a laptop than it is on a phone, while instant connection to the internet is easier on a phone. This is where usability kicks in, what users can do with the physical device they have. Even on phones, some areas are relatively easier to reach than other areas. An interactive design has buttons in those areas that are easier to reach for a thumb. For example, Facebook changed its accessible icons (home, groups, videos, etc.) section from top to bottom, where it was easier to access.
An understanding of the psychology of fonts and colors is another asset in designing a proper interaction system. For example, the use of different shades of colors helps differentiate between disabled and usable buttons.
Another important aspect of interaction design is the feedback provided by the system. In case of errors made by the user, the error messages should be displayed in such a way that it provides a proper solution to the error, rather than being an endpoint and confusing. For example, if a user enters six characters in place of eight characters at least for a password, a proper error message along with the solution should be prompted. If that isn’t the case, the user is hesitant to use the system again and is frustrated by it.
As a user, we always have our opinion beforehand on how a system should behave. This psychology is developed from the experiences we have had using similar systems in the past. For example, we all know the standard icons for pause and play buttons. If we design a system and decide to change the looks of it, it is obvious for the system to be less interactive and create confusion among users.
Thus, with proper design strategy, knowledge of user psychology, behavior, and analysis, along with proper wireframing and prototyping, we can build an interactive system that is as easy to use as a door handle.