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Conceptualizing Interaction

Chapter Introduction


The main goals of this chapter are to accomplish the following:

  • Explain how to conceptualize interaction.

  • Describe what a conceptual model is and how to begin to formulate one.

  • Discuss the use of interface metaphors as part of a conceptual model.

  • Outline the core interaction types for informing the development of a conceptual model.

  • Introduce paradigms, visions, challenges, theories, models, and frameworks informing interaction design.


When coming up with new ideas as part of a design project, it is important to conceptualize them in terms of what the proposed product will do. Sometimes, this is referred to as creating a proof of concept. In relation to the double diamond framework, it can be viewed as an initial pass to help define the area and also when developing responses to the design challenge and then testing different solutions at small scale. One reason for needing to do this is as a reality check where fuzzy ideas and assumptions about the benefits of the proposed product and user experience are scrutinized in terms of their feasibility: How realistic is it to develop what has been suggested, and how desirable and useful will it actually be? Another reason is to enable designers to begin articulating what the basic building blocks will be when developing the product. From a user experience perspective, it can lead to better clarity, forcing designers to explain how users will understand, learn about, and interact with the product.

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