ID to Interaction Design

Can anyone tell me what skills you need to know to transition from ID to Interaction Design? thanks.

Why don’t you invest some time in researching more about the field by looking through the boards and visiting university websites that offer interaction design majors?

(wow, two star person told three star person where to go. sweet. :laughing: )

Seriously though, that’s a very broad question. Both fields have many offshoots, and many ways to get there. I’d argue there is not a “transition track”. I think looking at case studies, reading about how firms/IxD’ers did their work, what their process is, and forming your own vision of best practices. Most of the interaction people I know and work with didn’t have any formal training. They just started doing. Now there are schools offering a formal education in IxD, which may be better than learning on the job, but maybe not.

I really wasn’t trying to be facetious there. Like slippyfish said, it’s a really broad question so I think you’d be better off looking at websites more catered towards IxD like the forums on (there are actually multiple discussions on how to switch into IxD from other fields).

P.S compare my join date next time :stuck_out_tongue:

I am being lazy I know - No offense taken. What does 3 star signify anyway?

I have searched Interaction Design before - lots of info on it from an esoteric p.ov. - looking for the broadstrokes, an IDer’s point of view on the subject, maybe that does it. Tough market right now, I see jobs in it and wondering alot about transitioning out of ID. I know Int. Design was invented by an IDer at IDEO I think in the 90’s. I take it to be creating the visual interface, so it involves graphics, cognitive ergonomics and uses virtual product design, but I don’t know how they “prototype” and what they mean by wireframing (is this a logic flow-chart)?

Weren’t you the same person who wanted to switch into architectural design as well?

IxD is a whole different field with a it’s own culture and specializations. Even though it overlaps with ID constantly, there’s a load of new skillsets and technology to learn if you want to get into it. Prototyping/wireframing for IxD involves laying out the flow of interaction and information in a given system, minus the finalized images. This can happen through pencil/paper, adobe flash, keynote, html/javascript, etc.

Stars correlate with your post count.

It’s an easy transition if you go into a good program. Difficult if you’re trying to figure it out yourself. The general process of research > insights > concepts > iterations > implementation, etc. is similar. I also don’t think you should view it as just a digital field. Interaction design encompasses interactions in the physical and digital realms (although physical is more generally referred to as tangible interaction, but I view that as a bit more artsy/explorative/conceptual), for example knobs and switches on a control panel on a construction vehicle.

But the chance you’re going to end up doing digital interaction if you go into IxD is very high.

Just thinking about options.

I don’t know, good design is good design. ID deals a lot with human interaction too. Good ID education also trains you to figure out what the problems are, what the goals are before designing so your solutions are on target. I see ID as being very close to IxD but the tools and mechanics to communicate the concepts are much different as well as the jargon. But I guess you’ve got to know the latter if you want to design in that sandbox, seems like a lot of very technical tools and every changing architecture to know. thanks for the input.

I made that transition about 15 years ago. Back then, there were only a few schools that taught Human Computer Interaction (or whatever they called it) and almost all my colleagues had a degree in something else, such as ID, psychology, graphic design, human factors engineering, etc. I think it may be harder to break in to the field now that there are so many UX specific degrees out there.

I found the skills-set almost identical but I think it depends on the design school and experience you had. If you training was style without substance, you won’t make a good Interaction designer. Here’s some thoughts off the top of my head:

  • User centered design - Some schools teach this, others are too far to the style side. In Interaction Design, you need to consider this utmost while designing. Designing for human abilities, not computer processing abilities.
    Basic design principles - Most ID people have a good sense of visual balance aesthetics. If you are good at graphic design this is a plus as you will be working mostly in 2D.
    Research skills - As an Industrial designer, I would research and use products before designing my own. From benchmarking to usability testing, this is not a 1:1 correlation, but the skills are easy enough to learn.
    Ability to draw and conceptualize multiple iterations - on computer screen or on paper
    Problem solving skills - 'nuff said.
    Organization of complexity into a simpler model - I can’t point to an ID principal for this one but I think it’s there.

I’m sure there are more but perhaps others can add to the list or tell me where I’m wrong.

FYI, wire-frames are simply skeletal sketches of a screen without lots of detail. Google it.

Two good books:
Garrett ‘the elements of user interaction’
Buxton ‘sketching user experiences’

As the interaction design field expanded, some of the methodologies trickled into industrial design as did some of the terminology. Therefore we now discuss “experiences” as a starting point for ID projects, which wasn’t the case, say, ten years ago.

The above books are thus relevant to both fields, but probably more toward the website/on-screen experience side.

I used to think all an ID’er really needed was Flash competency in order to tackle IxD problems. Flash prototyping skills would help, but a methodical way of thinking is more important.

Yes, there are jobs posted in Interaction Design, and some of them might even be interesting. :laughing: But I’ve found in my work experiences that the average level of mundane projects in IxD greatly outweighs that of ID. The majority of projects are not blank-white-board, 30,000 foot assessments of the Ideal Way to Do New Things Digitally. Nearly every product or project has multiple ‘flows’, all which have to be mapped, planned, proto’d, built, and debugged (if you are working in a production environment). The methodical process needed to produce quality work can be exhausting, judging from the looks on my co-worker’s faces.

(ps - my join date is incorrect - the original one got shuffled when Core changed forum formats or something - its way earlier :smiley: )

Well put on all points Slippy.