When using a digital product, who (or what) are you interacting with? The device? The interface? The data? The content? It may seem like a simple question but the answer has a profound effect on how we design digital products.
Most of us are familiar with user-centered design principles. The dominant view of this approach is that you are interacting with the interface, or the computer (hence the term human-computer interaction). But I’d like to talk about a less known approach, which views the interface as a medium of communication, rather than a source.
What difference does this point of view make? I’ll attempt to answer this question using the classic communication and cognition theories, as well as practical examples, case studies, and insights from user testing. I’ll also explain the reasons behind some of the common flaws in our assumptions and design decisions we make.