Interaction design in an age of AJAX

Sep 2008: Web Directions South 2008. Sydney, Australia

AJAX, Flash and other rich internet application technologies have changed the way we design interaction on the web – all for the better. Before, we had static pages with a few interactive pieces – form elements, hyperlinks and submit buttons. Now, we have the ability to update part of a page, provide in-page editing, and allow users to interact with a wider range of elements on the screen. Designing for new interaction styles require a combination of our old skills plus a new set.

This workshop will provide skills and practice that will help you design effective, usable interactive interfaces. We will discuss:

  • A recap of the ‘old way’ and the ‘new way’
  • Cognition: We’ll discuss key aspects of human cognition that affect how people react to interactive interfaces, such as visual
  • perception, memory, intuition and error.
  • Components: We’ll examine new components we could be using (single select, multi-select, sliders etc) and how to design them from scratch Interacting with the screen: We’ll spend a lot of time looking at examples of different types of interactions such as part-page updates, in-page editing, exposing hidden data and more. We’ll discuss what works and doesn’t (and why).
  • Documentation: how to explain interactions with sketches, wireframes, prototypes and pattern libraries.
  • Project processes: We’ll discuss other changes, such as the need for more usability and technical testing

The workshop will combine discussion of principles and hands-on, relevant activities. It will include a detailed set of notes and resources for you to follow up.

Note: this workshop will not cover technical aspects of developing interactive interfaces, nor will it cover the technical aspects of making them accessible. It will touch on many aspects of traditional interaction design (user research, page layout, designing forms, designing task flows) but not in depth.

Who is this workshop for?

This workshop is most suitable for designers and developers moving to, or already designing, more interactive interfaces. It is suitable for less experienced people as well, but they will need to follow up some of the more traditional aspects for a full picture.

What will you learn?

By the end of the day you will:

  • understand humans better and be able to use that understanding to design more confidently
  • have practiced designing components from the ground up
  • have seen and discussed loads of good and bad examples
  • be able to think through the pros and cons of particular design solutions
    have a range of documentation methods ready to try on your next project
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