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The Rhythm of Interaction

by Designer at Cisco on Feb 12, 2011

  • 11,642 views

From Interaction 11 (IxD11), Feb. 10, 2011, Boulder CO. Speaker: Peter Stahl...

From Interaction 11 (IxD11), Feb. 10, 2011, Boulder CO. Speaker: Peter Stahl

Most interactions have an underlying rhythm. For example, an application may ask a user to scan a list of items, then click to select one, leading to another list to scan and click. Scan, click, scan, click. The best such experiences induce a state of flow, in Csikszentmihalyi's sense, during which users get into such a groove that the mechanics of operating the program disappear, allowing users to focus entirely on meaning. Flow is associated with increased learning and positive feelings. Great flows can even cause users to regard the interaction itself as intrinsically rewarding. (Wouldn't that be awesome?)

As guardians of dynamic behavior, interaction designers own rhythm. Yet our work practice lacks appropriate tools and vocabulary. How do you portray a groove in a wireframe, flow chart, or PowerPoint deck? This is becoming critically important as things like animation, hover responses and video make their way into more and more interactive experiences. This is in your future.

This session will dive into how we can design pacing, tempo and rhythm into our interfaces, with examples from the presenter and (even better!) the audience. This could include adapting techniques from animation and movies, game systems, audio interfaces, music and choreography.

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