Class Introduction


Interaction Design


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

This class, what it's going to do, is, it's going to teach you how to produce digital products, that behave more like people. And, at the beginning of this course, this may sound kind of strange, right? But, by the end of the course, it will make perfect sense. Okay, so why is this important? Some very smart people, from Stanford, did some science in the 90's, and found out that, humans have some instincts in our brain, that tell us how to behave around other sentient beings. And, as soon as an object exhibits certain levels of interactivity, in the way that, you know, your phone exhibits interactivity, when you press something and it does something back. Those instincts are activated. So, that's a fancy way of saying that, people already assign human traits to their software products. You know, even though they're clearly not human. Your phone is not mad at you, your laptop did not crash on purpose, while you were working on that file. But, we still assign those human traits to it. So...

, if humans are doing it anyway, might as well design for what people are doing anyway. And, you know, if we don't do it, because we assign these human traits, if software behaves in a way that we, wouldn't behave in a natural setting, it feels kind of weird, right? Like, in this example here, Google Assistant can't stop sending the weather forecast. Even if you type "stop", it's like, "Got it, here's your daily weather forecast." Or, in this example, of the Department of Psychology, in Southern Illinois University, is asking if you have any more comments or feedback. But, if you look at this little form down here, that little rectangle, is the form for people to put in feedbacks. So, it's kind of sub-communicating that, you don't really want to hear from them. A lot of times, digital products will require humans to do the heavy lifting for them, right? So, here someone put in date of birth, in the format, that's recognized all across the US, as the standard format, the computer's like, "Sorry, only numbers can be used here." So, why can't the software recognize how you put it in, and then do that heavy lifting for you? That's what computers are good at. Here's another example from Google Assistant, this time again, it's expecting people to think, the way the computer thinks. So, here it's asking, "Remind me to download, Edge of Tomorrow at 10pm," and assistant is like, "Ok, I will send you the reminder, download Edge of Tomorrow at" So, you know, the computer doesn't have enough understanding there to understand how, in order for software to do, what the person wanted it to do, the person would have to act in a way that, the software understands. And, that's not, that's not the right approach. Technology should work for us, and not the other way around. One of my favorite examples of this, is the old Facebook Event Invites, they've since changed it, but for a long time, like, up until maybe two years ago, it used to, when you got an event invite, the options were, join, maybe, decline. And if you hit decline, the person that set up the event, would actually get a notification saying, "Jamal just declined your invite." And that's like, that's just so weird, right? Like, that never happened in real life, that, you invite someone to a party and they come back and say, "I'm sorry, I'm declining your invite right now." So, that's the thought process there. And, there's a lot of cases, in which, bad interaction design, just causes minor frustrations. And maybe some smirks. But, there's also cases, where things can go seriously wrong. This is medical software. A young woman had been undergoing chemotherapy, and she needed to get re-hydrated after a chemo, and the nurses on duty knew that, she needed to be re-hydrated, but, because they were unable to, navigate the user interface of their software, the patient ended up dying. So, the nurses understood the treatment, but the software was too complicated to use. So, there are cases, where good design, is a matter of life and death. Now, I've got some bad news for you, I can't teach you everything there is to know, about interaction design today, in this course. This book over here, is sort of the, Magnum Opus on interaction design, and it's 700 pages, and it's just, as you can see on the cover, it is just the essentials. (laughter) And, it's a fantastic book by the way, and, even if you read the entire book, a lot of this stuff just, you get better after you practice. And you're looking at a lot of interfaces, and doing it on your own. Furthermore, interaction design, is only part of one broader field, called User Experience. So, it has overlap with other types, with other things, right, so the behavior of an app, of course, has a connection to the information structure, or to the text, or to the animations, but we can't cover that here today. It's just too much. Of course, it has a connection to the graphics, right? But for here, for this course, we're only focusing on, the essentials of the behavior, and then, we're going to show you where to look next, after we give you this foundation here. If you are interested in some of the other things, other parts that we have covered here, around the visual, around architecture, I would recommend checking out the Art and Design, the Web and UX design section, at Creative Live, they have a lot of great courses. This fast and effective UX design course taught here, is really great, the icon design course is fantastic. I recommend checking some of those out. But, the objective for this course, is to understand, first and foremost, how the best designers think, about interaction design, right? So, because I think it's really important, 'cos there's a lot of rules, in interaction design, a lot of things that you can follow. But, I'm really bad at remembering things, so, what works for me is to, look at the mindset of the best designers. How they approach problems, what are some of the key principles that they follow. And then, when I'm presented with a particular problem, I can look at those principles, and solve the problem, based on those principles. So, we're gonna talk a lot about the key principles of, interaction design today, and then, towards the end, we're gonna create a plan of how to improve as an interaction designer. So, again, this is a great approach for people who aren't good at rote memorization, because then, you can, you have, as you go through this, as you get better at interaction design, you, you know, once you start looking at all these interfaces, and having all of this material to draw from, you can compare it to principles, and make solutions, based on that. So, in order to accomplish the objective, first we're going to talk about what interaction design is, we're going to talk about the five main principles, of interaction design, then in the second segment, we're going to show some examples of what makes an interaction good. And then, in the third segment, we're going to do a step by step process, you know, what are the steps that we need to do, in order to get to a great end result. And then, the bonus material, we're going to talk about a plan of how to get better, at interaction design, because, as I said, we can only cover the basics here. This course, is for new designers, looking to improve, primarily, but I think it's also a really useful course to have for non-designers, project managers, product managers, people, engineers, people who work with designers and want to get more of a glimpse into how the design process works. And also, I think that experienced designers can get something from this too. Just, simply, because you're getting a different, way of expressing those things, that you already know. I still read a ton of design books, even though I know most of the stuff that's in there. Because every author, brings a new perspective. And, you'll read a topic, that you've already been familiar with, for a long time, but you're like, "Oh wow, they really phrased that in an amazing way, I'm gonna take that.". I took some of it for this course, so, you know, you always stand on the shoulders of the people, that came before you. Finally, interaction design is really, really important. You know, we live here in the valley, so you have this, and you're surrounded by good design, but in the real world, a lot of people still don't understand design, the way that we understand design here. So, for the first three years of my career, I think, I, you know, I was one of those designers, that got overly hung up on how it looked. I wanted it to look cool, I wanted to get my idea pushed through, I didn't really care much about users at all, it was all about me. But, when I started letting go of that, when I started detaching from my ego, focusing on solving problems, with these principles that we're learning here today. That's when my career really started taking off, right. That's, when I started going from, like, those little contracts, to the big contracts.

Class Description

Interaction design defines the relationship between people and the product they use, from computers to mobile apps and beyond. In this introductory class, industry expert Jamal Nichols will explain what Interaction Design is and how to incorporate it into your work to create more meaningful experiences. Designers tend to focus on how things look, when the focus should equally be on how things work.

In this class, Jamal covers:
  • What Interaction design is and how to think about it 
  • Core principles and methods of interaction design 
  • How to master interaction design and create experiences that flow 
 If you work in the digital space and are a new or seasoned designer, this class is for you.



After viewing this course, I have a ton of ideas to bring back to my current projects, and how I can improve my past projects, as well as best prepare for the future. Jamal's extensive experience and real-world comparative examples, helped paint the picture on how to put this course content to good use in my day-to-day design activities. I appreciate Creative Live's layout of limiting 2 questions per segment. This allowed for more time for content and I'm able to write down my questions to address and connect with Jamal offline. I'm also grateful that Jamal/Creative Live organized the course segments in a timely way that the course went fast but stayed memorable and understandable. The bonus materials are such an invaluable source of information! Jamal conveys his knowledge and passion for interaction design easily. You can tell he genuinely cares about paying his experience forward, by how he expresses his design approach and how he really listens when he's asked a question. He takes his time to think before he speaks in order to address the questions clearly so everyone can benefit. Thank you Jamal and THANK YOU CREATIVE LIVE!

Veronica Reyes

I really enjoyed this class. I've had some previous experience and training with interaction design, so this in depth course helped to re-instate core concepts and techniques as well as introducing more examples, tools, scenarios and resources that all in all made me more confident and excited about interaction design. Creative Live organized a seamless event, had delicious food, snacks and refreshments throughout the day and were very nice. Thank you CL!

Daniel Bell

This course was so much fun to watch. Jamal is a very engaging speaker and went into great detail while still being direct and to the point. The bonus videos are great! They feel like a behind the scenes look and he really goes off script to give detailed answers to questions like how to design your portfolio site. Great class!