Interaction Design


Intro to UX Design


Lesson Info

Interaction Design

So there's a lot of ways that you can explain interaction design. Most of them that I've seen online are really strange and don't really get to the point of what it is. The way I like to explain it is, so imagine you're going to a supermarket. You're going shopping. And then as you walk up to the entrance of the supermarket, someone stops you and says, "Thank you for coming to Trader Joes, "before you can come in can I please have your name, "address, email, and permission "to send you notifications on your phone?" (audience laughing) How would you feel right? That would be kind of awkward right? And yet, this is what we see online over and over again. We see apps that do things in an order that you would not have if you're in a conversation with a real person. So if you look up interaction design, interaction, the word interaction in the dictionary. Is the definition is reciprocal action or influence, right. So there's an ongoing interaction between the parties. I talked to Daniel. Da...

niel talks back to me, right. And then through that back and forth, you know, a relationship is formed over time. So it's this reciprocal influence. And through interactions we go to relationships. But it goes further than just with individuals. You can have this type of relationship with your pets. With your favorite stuffed animal, or like your favorite blanket like in Charlie Brown that Linus blanket. Or even with abstract objects like a rectangular screen that you carry in your pocket all the time, right? So through these interactions we build relationships. So what this means is that these products you're designing, they're having a conversation with the people you are designing for. Because there's this back and forth. They tap something on there and it does something back. There is this back and forth. So what interaction design is at its core, like if you take everything else away, you're creating a conversation. That a product or system has with its users. And you know, what's one of the main principles of conversation with people? Don't be awkward, right? So make it feel like a natural conversation. And I think this is really important to take away. This is the key principle of interaction design. All of the other stuff, when you go to like some of these design blogs they're always talking about interfaces and blah blah blah. And all of that is part of interaction design for sure, but all of that is it's all informed by this principle. You're using these interface elements in the context of creating a conversation that makes sense to people. The reason I like thinking about it like this, is because I have really bad memory, and I have to remember like large scale concepts and then if I'm confronted with a particular problem when I'm designing something, I always go back and be like hm, does this feel like a natural conversation? And if it doesn't, if it feel kind of like eh, you just make adjustments until it feels like ah, okay. This is not just my opinion. Even though I came up with it without reading the book, but then I read the book and I was like oh cool the people who wrote the definitive book on interaction design see it this way too, this is awesome. Right, they're asking themselves, you know they say what would a helpful human do? What would a thoughtful considerate interaction look like? So interaction design is this discipline of creating products that behave like people. Okay. Why is this important? Some people in Stanford did some research in the '90s where they found out that humans, we have these instincts in our brains that tell us how to behave around other sentient beings. So as soon as an object exhibits enough interactivity like a software product or when you tap something something happens and it happens something back, those instincts that tell you that this is a person are activated. That's why you get so frustrated with your, right. Your printer doesn't hate you, right. Your Mac didn't crash on purpose. And yet you're assigning these human traits to software products. And a lot of companies don't understand this. Like in this example here. Like a lot of digital products are rude. They're just flat out like if these were real people, you'd be like, you're rude. You might say something else. Like in this example here, Google Assistant keeps sending this person the weather forecast. And after they're like stop, Google Assistant is like got it, here is your daily weather forecast. Sends it to him again. Or in this example of the Department of Psychology at a university, they say hey do you have any comments that you would like to share? And this little rectangular box down here, that's the box where you can share your comments. Like, does this give you an impression that they actually want to hear from you? Sounds like yeah tell me what you think, and then you walk off. (audience laughing) So products are rude. A lot of digital products because they're made by technologists, they require people to think like computers. So right here someone enters their date of birth in the standard month, day, year format. And they get an error message saying that only numbers can be used in this field. That's like such a technology thing. Here again is an example of how software products a lot of times aren't smart enough yet. Here someone is like Okay Google remind me to download Edge of Tomorrow at 10 p.m. And Google Assistant is like okay I will send you the reminder download Edge of, tomorrow at 10 p.m. So it's like, you would have to phrase it in a way that the system understands it, and that forces you to change your behavior. The system is not adjusting to your behavior. And like one of the key principles, another thing that again Apple understands really well like Tim Cook did an interview like a couple weeks ago where he was like no, technology should be working for us. We shouldn't be serving the technology. So the point is people already assign these human traits that are software products. There's like whole internet forums are making fun of software that behaves weirdly. Go to Reddit slash software gore. So many good examples. But if that's what people are doing, you may as well design for it. So interaction design is one of my favorite topics. It's the thing that I build most of my career on. And you know if that's something that interests you more, there is another course on interaction design. It really goes in-depth on nothing but interaction design. And it's like a five hour course. There's a lot of great value in there. So I'd recommend checking that out.

Class Description

User Experience or UX is one of the fastest growing and highest paying professions around. Whether you’re a seasoned designer, or just looking to speak the language of your colleagues or clients, the principles of UX design help you better connect with the users of your product or service. In this beginner class, industry expert Jamal Nichols will explain what UX 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 UX design is and why it’s important
  • Core principles and methods of UX design
  • The traits of a good UX designer

Don’t be intimidated when you see the term UX! By the end of this class you’ll feel confident and empowered to decide if UX is the right career choice for you.



One of the best "Intro to UX" classes I've ever taken. I love how Jamal makes it pretty easy to understand — even for those with no background in design whatsoever. It’s a good starting point for folks who are interested in learning about UX but might be frightened by all the buzzwords and technical terms. So this class is totally recommended, as well as his Interaction Design class. Thank you so much, Jamal, and hope we could learn more from you in the future classes!

Simon Sotelo

This is a great class that is easy to understand and digest. Jamal is witty, personable, and uses amazing analogies to connect the viewer to the process of UX design and its fundamental principles. I'm confident that more classes with Jamal would excelerate anyone's understanding in the field. *****

Debbie E.

Great into class to UX! Turns out my obsession with detail makes me right for a job in the industry (which is a good thing, because that's kind of what I already do :)