Interaction design, ergonomics and interfaces
After functionality, interaction design and ergonomics of a product are quite essential. It makes or breaks a product. Therefore we pay constant attention to interaction design and ergonomics.Where people use products, control them, communicate with them, interaction takes place. Many aspects are important: ergonomic shape, communication of functionality, how buttons are placed, how is dealt with errors, affordances and constraints.
From human behavior towards interaction designWe start the interaction design process with doing human factors research: observing users, running surveys, experiencing products ourselves for some time, roll-plays or any other methods.
Normally we will try to make video's, preferable video's where the user does not know that he or she is filmed, so that behaviour is as normal as could be. Back at the studio we interpret the behavior with our human factors specialist.
While designing the new interaction we take into account the interaction principles of the mental model, affordances, feedback, flow, sequence of events and other appropriate principles.
Interaction, ergonomics and intended useInteraction design is both important for purely mechanical products as well as for electronic products. This is where the mental model comes in: does the intended operation of the product have a link to a mental model that the user knows, maybe from other products?
Testing with mockups helps to observe if users understand the product and its intended use. When this is not the case, then we make small changes in the design and give new design hints about how the product will work best.
Ergonomic conditions are considered and tested, like service engineers working in extreme conditions in the oil industry, on high platforms, cold weather and with heavy gloves on.
Interaction and interface designOne of the aspects of interaction design is giving feedback to the user. This can be done in many ways, with audible sound, tactile or even with smell. In many cases feedback will be given with light, as it is easy to realize and not very intrusive.
For complex products, when complex feedback is needed, like letting the user know the state of the device, then a display would be an option.
Still then many options can be explored: eInk displays, color TFT displays, with capacitive touch integration, or connected to a smart turning knob, as we find for instance in BMW's car management system.