Interaction Design (IxD)

Design the most intimate act.

Quick: what do Sumo champions, Ginger Rogers, Jimi Hendrix, and Sweden’s National Health Service have in common? They’re all expert interaction designers.

In this workshop, participants will come to appreciate the four concentric rings of Interaction Design (IxD) and the principles that drive each level, to allow them to design better experiences for your customers, end users and employees.

Helen Keller’s tutor, Anne Sullivan gave the world an historic breakthrough, offering a blind, deaf child the opportunity to understand the world through her sense of touch. Their story is a study in world-changing interaction design.


And went on to touch many lives. And faces.

This workshop illustrates the work of several iconic practitioners of the emerging practice of “interaction design” (IXD – though they would not recognize that label), and asks us:

  • What were their breakthroughs?
  • What were their underlying strategies?
  • What design principles can we infer from their work?

Participants will explore these examples to learn the principles in context. They will subdivide into trios to practice these principles in simple role-plays. And they will ultimately apply IXD principles to an interaction design in their own work, for their own audience.

IxD Principles

  1. Interaction = Connection
  2. Design for the Psyche
  3. Action for Reaction
  4. Use What You’ve Got
  5. Energy /Idea = 9
  6. Study Extremes
  7. Active not Passive
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Concentric Rings of Interaction

Participants will learn from examples and then apply the four stage IXD model to their own design challenges. Like a drop in still water, design knowing that every action you initiate ripples. And waves bounce back.

Your concentric rings drive a thoughtful inquiry into the purpose of the interaction, the context of the user, and the intended action and desired reaction. Design each action with intention.


Human response to stimuli can be as very difficult to predict. (Watch someone over 30 try to use Snapchat for the first time.) We forget how timeless these challenges are, until you find yourself pushing on a door that wants you to push, or when you visit a high-tech hotel room and can’t figure out how to turn on the lights!

Your participants can apply this model at the level of design strategy (ie – what ultimate outcome will we achieve?) all the way down to tactical application (e.g. should that be a button or a swipe?) In all cases we seek to simplify the experience. When it it totally intuitive it should be like an infant with an iPad. Simple, easy, engaging. These lessons apply to every aspect of your business—as much to a service as to a product, to a meeting, to a conversation as to a physical interaction.

One caution: you will never look at doorknobs again without wondering how you might improve the design.