Challenges In Interaction Design Computer Science Essay

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It is very challenging when designer design any product especially high expectation from user or customer. Designing the user interface right is becoming critical to the success of products, and everyone knows that designing and implementing human-computer interfaces is difficult and time-consuming. On top of that several of considerations are required when the artifact targeted to multi type of users such as children, teenager, adults or senior citizen. This paper aims to explore challenges in human-computer interaction designing applications in both hardware and software.

Keywords: Human computer interaction, interaction design, challenges, design phase


Human-computer interaction (HCI) is the discipline study of the interaction between people and computers where interaction design is mainly develop and focus at the user interface [1]. The biggest concern and issues of professional designers in HCI discipline was the design of interactive and effective artifacts functions for human usage. Basically the main objective of HCI practitioners, to ensure the artifact can be use by people with effective and efficient. Therefore it is very important the design more usable and responsive to user's need.

There were significant growth area for computers is especially in mobile electronic devices where mobile manufacturer devices such as Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC etc getting aggressively involve into the smart hand phone market. As for the users of following devices, ease-of-use has become main prime factor in their decisions which one to buy.

Therefore HCI designers of any computer devices need to provide the best possible interface within given limitations and they are required to analyze and develop systems that can minimize the barrier between the human's cognitive model of what users want to accomplish and the computer's understanding of the users' task [1].


Comparing to research of academic family, interaction design was quite unique and becoming independent research field. With many years of experiences and development, interaction design has matured and able to differentiate with other disciplines.

The differences between Interaction Design with other disciplines such as:

(A) Human-Computer Interaction.

HCI research field normally focusing more to technical aspects with reason that most HCI expertise are more to computer science savvy and lacking in background of subjective and qualitative aspects. But like other kinds of design, Interaction Design, pay more attention and re-engineering to process of innovation and creation. Therefore designers will able to identify interesting opportunities where they able to design the product according to the people, and incorporate with latest technologies into finished products.

(B) Usability Engineering.

Many concepts in Interaction Design were taken from usability engineering. In the other hand, Interaction Design purely focus to are of concern such as users' aesthetic needs, human emotional and value identification.

(C) Human Factor

Each of engineering or design activity has its trade-offs. Trade-offs is very often quantifiable in classic engineering science, but not in design science since the rationality for designers is consisted of human needs, desires and values. This is even truer for Interaction Design.


Basically, in user's mind, they already have the imagination where able to describe describes the functionalities or task the artifact. This imagination product was build from combination and mixture of their real-world experiences, experience with other hardware and software, and with technologies in general. For example, users have real-world have experience with basic hand phone where dialing another phone, writing short message system (SMS) and mailing letters. Basing on this, a user has an experience on conceptual model of this task that includes certain expectations.

Following characteristic must be incorporate in order to support user's imagination model [5]:

Familiarity - Basically users experience play important roles in the user's mental model. User interface able to reflect the user perception and conception when display labels that use model are conceptual. Familiar user interface components able to offer standardization especially in searching and movement for menu to sub-menu or navigating between pages.

Simplicity - Everybody is looking on simplicity where it able to simply and streamlines their task and more focused to fundamental of components of the task. Even though there will be optional choices associated with given task, the basic components should not conflict or compete with other detail in attracting user attention.

Availability - Arranging the user interface making it more organized is very important and essential. Providing must have key features to the users is equally important. The design should not hiding or placing the basic component into unknown area such as putting in second page but to place it to area where user can see and use it frequently.

Discoverability - Providing a clues so user able to explore or discover the interface elements. The elements must be able to attract users attention, otherwise they will not explore by themselves.


There are challenges when we design user interface for any artifact devices that required many human-computer interaction. The challenges especially in hardware-related and software-related and relationship with HCI design.

Hardware challenges - The designers facing the challenges when it relate to the weight and size of the artifact devices. There many factors need to be considered especially when it is about mobility and portability purpose. Taking example of the user interface design for smart phone, faces with more hardware challenges when we compare to other normal sized devices such as personal computer or laser jet printers; All these challenges are including the limitation of input facilities, limited output facilities, and designing for mobility and portability.

Limited input facility - Now day smart phone becoming an icon where user want all functions reside into it. From phone, camera, text message, chatting, browsing, email etc which required an input are to operate. Imagine the three main input facilities need to place into limited area where user required to use three main input facilities for mobile devices that are on the market: traditional way, the keyboard, the pen stylus operate together with the touch screen, and the scroll wheel. Even using keyboard, will allows a user to hit any key to execute specific task or navigational through the smart phone functionalities; the stylus pen with the touch screen allows a user to click any area of the screen to do the task; user can scroll the scroll wheel and allow user to execute a task and also navigate through the menus and submenus. Due to space limitation of smart phone input especially for keyboard, there are challenges to place all regular keyboard keys. Designers have a choice to make it the keyboard smaller without affecting the erroneous in data entry. Some user does not like when the keyboard becomes smaller which can increase their error in typing. Similar to touch screen, it become more tricky especially combination of graphical user interface (GUI). Taking consideration with fat fingers whether this kind of user will not have any problem with smaller keyboard.

Limited output facility - Not only limited of input facility, there are also challenges when involve output facility. The touch screen smart phone sharing the input and output area. Designers must consider the small-sized screen is normally used in main area and most regularly used output facilities for smart phone devices. By designing the small sized screen for output are is a very challenge task that required to test and scientific studied to list out which is the most efficient and most effective size of the text, icon to be appeared in the screen so that can be used for the different types of mobile devices. For example, smart phone that have larger screen can solve a limited output facilities challenge; however, it will raise other challenges when it related to mobility and portability. Another area of concern the audio output where regularly used by the user. Combination of audio output, together with graphical and text messages will produce good output facility for feedback messages to the user which will be become effective and efficient interaction for human and the devices. The importance of audio is increasing as we are moving towards multimodal user interfaces where audio is one of the major components. In smart phone technologies, audio become more efficiently and intelligently in developing smart phone interfaces. Sound effects are capable of passing information to the user to some extent, but they are more useful in impressing the user and making existing audio feedback sound better [1].


Prototyping during the Interaction Design Process During Interaction Design play important roles where designers not only need to be creative but also willing to learn from other disciplines. Thinking out-of-the-box by exploring different alternative of doing things. Designers must learning from doing and progressively active do experiment by experimenting searching and research on any other possible solution. Cross discipline is better idea for design team so they can learn effective, efficient and appropriate design procedure. This learning process should be established to accommodate future complexity and dynamic process which cross-disciplinary knowledge and experience could be shared among designer and further research can be. With prototyping, design process can considered as iterative prototyping process, and to understand and reconstruct the Interaction Design process from a comprehensive perspective. There are three approaches in this process:

(A) To build up a prototyping for designer to understand their user need and requirement. This process also will allow designer to observe and understand user behavior. First the designers need to understand what are user want and their user experiences. Define the workflow, various usage scenarios and identification of design opportunities. During this phase, it is important to collect information on actual user experiences. Normally Research and Development (RND) section will do this process and often too expensive especially to simulate real environment but will carry weight in collecting data for the designers. At same time, designer will get useful experience.

(B) Build a prototype for exploration and iterative

design. With this approach, the objective of this prototyping is mainly to continuous construct activities. As a result, more solutions will constructed as guidance to the design team to work toward to understanding of user experience as they work with tangible physical prototypes. During phases, exploration and evaluation, and every aspect and characteristic of the product should be taken into account. Designer able to monitor and record the interaction between users and their product so directly notified. With this the design team can evaluate all the ideas for the later iterative design, and ultimately improve the design quality of the interactive prototype.

(3) Build a prototype for communication and evaluation. This final method for prototyping is to encourage third-parties, such as stakeholders, other design teams and end-users to interact with the prototype, and obtain their feedback, such as their understanding of the design solution and evaluative comments. In fact, these three approaches are not Interaction Design techniques, but ways of thinking that facilitate problem-solving in the design process, with an emphasis on open-minded attitude and effective communication language. Through such prototyping activities, the design team would be able to bring technologies from their respective disciplines together, therefore offering an opportunity for designers with different background to supplement each other's skill-set and enrich their design approaches.

Prototyping is a good way to portray the progress and different status in the design process. It is itself an art to choose an appropriate prototype with specific emphasis. This topic is worthy of further discussion. It is found that by emphasizing the basic aspects of Interaction Design, designers would have clearer understanding of each of the purposes of prototyping, and consequently, they would be able to make better decision about which prototype to use.

Summarizing the contents in story-based interaction design method based on metaphor as following the simple interaction flow. [3]

Interaction design flow based on metaphor [3]


Interaction Design is a challenge to the philosophy of product design, and its significance goes beyond the field of computer science and software design [4]. The core of which is to strike a balance between human beings and Technology. In the course of using interactive products human can not only achieve specific objectives, but also get emotional and spiritual pleasure to enjoy. In product design, industrial designers should pursue the user's experience and coordination between the user and environment.