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10 Most Important Interaction Design Principles

7 minutes, 7 seconds read

The process of interaction design involves studying the behavior and structure of interactive systems and implementing them for developing useful digital products. In other words, interaction design is the relationship between user and product and the services they use.

The purpose of interaction design is to create a great user experience. That’s why most of the UI disciplines require understanding and hands-on experience of interaction design principles. After all, it’s about designing for the entire interconnected system: the device, interface, context, environment, and people. Interaction designers strive to create meaningful relationships between people and the products and services they use. It may include computers, mobile devices, gadgets, appliances, and more.

It is important to understand ux design best practices while developing complex web and mobile applications. These are the key elements that product designers should not neglect while creating an interface for the user. 

The 10 most important interaction design principles are-

  1. UX: Match user experience and expectations
  2. Consistent design: Maintain consistency throughout the application
  3. Functionality: Follow functional minimalism
  4. Cognition: Reduce cognitive loads/mental pressure to understand the application
  5. Engagement: Design interactively such that it keeps the user engaged.
  6. User control: Allow the user to control, trust, and explore
  7. Perceivability: Invite interactions through intuitions and interactive media
  8. Learnability: Make user interactions easy to learn and remember
  9. Error handling: Take care to prevent errors, if they occur make sure to detect and recover them.
  10. Affordability: Simulate actions by taking inspiration from usual and physical world interactions.

10 Important Interaction Design Principles

#1 Match user experience and expectations

By matching the sequence of steps, layout of information, and terminology used with the expectation and prior experiences of the users, designers can reduce the friction and discomfort of learning a new system.

You can match your audience’s prior experiences and expectations by using common conventions or UI patterns, for example, Hitee Chatbot.

#2 Consistency

Along with matching people’s expectations through terminology, layout, and interactions, the design should be consistent throughout the process and between related applications. 

By maintaining consistency, you are helping users learn more quickly. You can re-apply their prior experiences from one part of an application to another to maintain consistency throughout the design. Design consistency is also an aid to intuitive interfaces.

Bonus – you can use the inconsistencies to indicate to users where things might not work the way they expect. Breaking consistency is similar to knowing when to be unconventional.

#3 Functional minimalism

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” 

Albert Einstein

The range of possible actions should be no more than is absolutely necessary. Providing too many options will detract the primary function and reduce usability by overwhelming the user with choices. To achieve the Zen of functional minimalism, you should-

  1. Avoid unnecessary features and functions
  2. Break complex tasks into manageable sub-tasks
  3. Limit functions rather than the user experience.
Key elements of interaction design

#4 Cognitive loads

Cognition refers to the “process of thoughts.” A good user interactive design minimizes the user’s “effort to think” to complete a task. Another way to put this is that a good assistant uses his skills to help the master focus on his skills.

For instance, while designing an interactive interface, we need to understand how much concentration a task requires to complete it. Accordingly, you can design the UI that reduces the cognitive load as much as possible. 

Here’s a technique to reduce users’ “thinking work.” Focus on what the computer is good at and build a system that utilizes its abilities to the fullest. Remember, computers are good at-

  • Maths
  • Remembering things
  • Keeping track of things
  • Comparing things
  • Spell Checking and spotting/correcting errors

The point is – by knowing the attributes of users and products, one can create a design for a better user experience.

#5 Engagement

In terms of user experience, engagement is the measure of the extent to which the user has a positive experience with your product. An engaging experience is not only enjoyable but also easier and productive. Engagement is subjective to the system. I.e. your design must engage with the desired audience. For instance, what appeals to teenagers might be irrelevant to their grandparents. Apart from aligning your design for the appropriate audience, achieving and creating control is the key.

The interaction design principles state that users should always feel like they’re in control of the experience. They must constantly experience a sense of achievement through positive feedback/results or feel like they’ve created something.

In his book “Flow,” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes a state of optimal experience where people are so engaged in the activity that the rest of the world falls away. Flow is what we’re looking to achieve through engaging interactions. We should allow users to concentrate on their work and not on the user interface. In short, stay out of the way!

#6 Control, trust, and explorability

Good interaction design should incorporate control, trust, and explorability to any system. If users feel in control of the process, they’ll be more comfortable using the system. If the user is comfortable and in control, they’ll trust the system and believe that the application will prevent them from making an unrecoverable error or from feeling stupid. Trust inspires confidence and with confidence, the user is free to explore further. Intuitive interfaces are extremely good at stimulating users to navigate and explore the app.

#7 Perceivability

People are aware of the opportunity to interact with interactive media. As interface designers, we must avoid developing hidden interactions, which decrease the usability, efficiency, and user experiences. In other words, people should not have to guess or look for opportunities to interact.

When developing interactive media, users should have the ability to review an interface and identify where they can interact. We must remember that not everyone experiences and interacts with interface in the same way others do. In the process of interaction design, make it a habit to provide hints and indicators like buttons, icons, textures, textiles, etc. Let the user see that these visual cues can be clicked or tapped with their fingers. Always consider the usability and accessibility of the interactive media and how the user sees and perceives the objects in the interface.

How users perceive the opportunity to interact with a digital media

#8 Learnability

Another important interaction design principle is inducing the ability to learn to use the interface easily. In other words, users should be able to learn to use the interface in the first attempt and should not face issues using it again. Please note that engaging interfaces allow users to easily learn and remember the interactions.

Even though simple interfaces may require a certain amount of experience to learn, learnability makes interaction intuitive. People tend to interact with an interface similar to other interfaces. This is the reason why we must understand the process of interaction design thoroughly and the importance of design patterns and consistency. 

Intuitive interface design allows users to learn to use the interface without much effort and gives them a sense of achievement. They feel smart and capable of grasping and utilizing newer interfaces. In a nutshell, product designers should let the user feel confident while navigating through the interface.

#9 Error prevention, detection, and recovery

The best way to reduce the number of errors a user makes is to anticipate possible mistakes and prevent them from happening in the first place. If the errors are unavoidable, we need to make them easy to spot and help the user to recover from them quickly and without unnecessary friction.

Error prevention techniques-

  • Disabling functions that aren’t relevant to the user
  • Using appropriate controls to constrain inputs (e.g. radio buttons, dropdowns, etc.)
  • Providing clear instructions and preemptive help
  • As a last resort, provide clear warning messages.

How to handle application errors through design?

Anticipate possible errors and provide feedback that helps users verify that-

  1. They’ve done what they intended to do.
  2. What they intended to do was correct.

Please note that providing feedback by changing the visuals of the object is more noticeable than a written message.

Error recovery techniques – 

If the error is unavoidable, provide direction to the user to recover from it. For example, you can provide “back,” “undo,” or “cancel” buttons.

If a specific action is irreversible, you should flag it “critical” and make the user confirm first to prevent slip-ups. Alternatively, you can create a system that naturally defaults to a less harmful state. For example, closing a document without saving it should be intelligent enough to know the unlikely behavior of the user. It can either auto-save or display a warning.

The spectrum of user interface : interaction design principles

#10 Affordance

Affordance is the quality of an object that allows an individual to perform an action. For example, a standard household light switch appears innately clickable. 

The point is – users should get a clue about how to use an abject through its physical appearance. While designing user interfaces, you can achieve affordance either by simulating ‘physical world’ affordances (e.g. buttons or switches) or keeping consistency with web standards and interface design elements (e.g. underlined links or default button styles). The thing is, in an intuitive interface, users are able to navigate and use the functionalities of the application without any formal training.

Interaction design is not always about creating a better interface for the users; it is also about using technology in the way people want. It is necessary to know the target users to design a desirable product for them. Interactive design is the basis for the success of any product. These 10 interaction design principles are based on the study and experiences of our team in designing mobile and web apps for a broad product portfolio and on multiple mobile and web platforms.

Drop us a word at hello@mantralabsglobal.com to learn more about our interaction design projects and services.

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[Interview] Mr. Horacio Sanchez- Granel – Latin American Insurance Industry amidst COVID-19

7 minutes, 50 seconds read

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the global economy is expected to shrink by over 3 percent in 2020 – the steepest slowdown since the Great Depression of the 1930s. To understand the impact of the COVID crisis in the Latin American Insurance Industry, we interviewed Mr. Horacio Sanchez- Granel from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Insurance & Reinsurance Consultant.

Mr. Horacio has been Chairman and CEO of Boston Seguros, P&C and Life Insurance company for 21 years. Previously, he held senior executive positions in three insurance companies and has several years of experience managing financial service institutions. He has also held other executive positions in an Argentinian oil company and a tractor and industrial machinery international company. Currently, he is a Board Member and part of the Executive Committee in Nacion Seguros, the state-owned insurance company. He also works as an insurance and reinsurance consultant for Argentine and Latin American markets.

Connect with Mr. Horacio – LinkedIn

The excerpt from the interview:

Customer Relationship during the pandemic

Insurance companies play a pivotal role during times of economic stress by helping companies and individuals manage risks and cushion against losses. How should Insurers respond to their customer’s needs, especially since there will be scrutiny about how they respond during this critical time — and it will dictate public perception for many years to come?

Mr. Horacio: Insurers must safeguard the interests of their clients and advise them on the scope of the coverage. They must communicate that the coverage is not infinite but rather has limits in terms of the risks covered, amount insured, and the origin of the claim. There are doubtful cases but insurers should be flexible enough and protect their client from damages. It was not possible to predict COVID-19. Both Life and P&Cs have been affected and have huge arrears to be paid. 

On the other hand, claims processes need to be more transparent. They should adhere to the compliances of the insurance companies. In these times, selling agents and insurance brokers should be more flexible and build close relationships with the clients. They should explain to them the possibility of the claim they are trying to reimburse. In Latin America, we don’t have many claims related to business interruption. That coverage is not very common here. 

Especially in Argentina, businesses have slowed down due to lockdowns. The claims ratio in this area is going down but claims in life insurance policies have increased a bit. However, the impact here is not as big as the USA or Europe.  

Business Continuity in the time of Pandemics

What are some new business models that Insurance Carriers are considering to meet the expectations of life in ‘The New Normal’? More specifically, where is the new business going to come from, for Insurance, over the next two years?

Mr. Horacio: The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamics of work culture, human relationships, and daily routines. Many companies including insurers are adopting digital solutions within their operations. Organizations are reimagining their business models to adapt to new paradigms to be more sustainable and profitable. 

The New Normal has given rise to new coverages in various insurance lines to cover risks originated by this pandemic or any possible future pandemics. 

For example, new clauses such as Loss of Profit due to business interruption and pandemics in Life and Health insurance, and worker’s compensation will now be included in the respective policies. Interruption of business processes entails new set-up and investment. Some other new coverages will also be introduced such as the cost of maintenance due to the non-use of offices, premises, or industrial facilities. Cyber Insurance will now be a must as most of the workforce is working remotely. The rate of cybercrimes was much higher in developed countries before the pandemic, but now even the developing countries are at risk. This will accelerate the need for Cyber Insurance in developing countries. 

Road to recovery

Many General Insurance lines are hit- Travel, Motor, Home – what will be the road to recovery for these Insurance lines?

Mr. Horacio: Since people are avoiding travel altogether, the travel and motor insurance industry are hit badly. Many customers in Argentina are asking Insurance companies to give some discount on the premiums. We will see some big changes in these insurance lines. Going forward, on-demand or pay-as-you-use policies will prevail more in these insurance lines. 

Role of AI in pandemic crisis management

Before the Pandemic crisis began, technologies like AI have been instrumental in modernizing the business of insurance and advancing their digital transformation. Where are some of the biggest gaps being exposed to insurance organizations, and How is technology going to solve these problems?

Mr. Horacio: Going forward, AI along with IoT and other technologies will play a crucial role in the Insurance industry as a whole. They will rely on statistical analysis of large databases to predict future behaviors. The new challenge is how to incorporate unknown risks into the existing models to be able to properly underwrite and price risks, anticipate client behavior, facilitate complex operating processes, manage complex claims and detect possible frauds.

Financial assets are the main asset of an insurance company. They are under the influence of the volatility of financial markets. Technology here can help by analyzing different scenarios but the ultimate decision is in the hands of the banks. 

Challenges & opportunities in adoption of AI

Why Insurers hesitate to invest in AI?

Mr. Horacio:  Companies were investing in technology earlier, but now it has accelerated due to the unprecedented change brought about by COVID-19 pandemic. Not just the developed countries but in developing countries such as Latin America, I see a big wave of new investments in technology. Technology companies are also looking forward to this change. Insurers will eventually overcome their hesitation and invest more in AI and other technologies. 

[Related: 5 Challenges in AI implementation for Insurers]

Which area will see max Investment in AI- claims, underwriting, fraud detection, marketing in Argentina, and Latin American Insurance markets?

Mr. Horacio: Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, investment in AI was more targeted towards claims, fraud, underwriting, back-office operations, etc. Going forward, predicting future scenarios will be a challenge. Historical data might not be useful here. Therefore, in the New Normal, all aspects of an Insurance company will have to be developed under the umbrella of AI.

Product Innovation

Consumers, now more than ever are seeking value-added experiences with the products & services they buy. How will these expectations amidst this Pandemic backdrop impact new product innovation within insurance? 

Mr. Horacio: Customers want a more palpable relationship with their insurers. Customer Experience is going to be a fundamental aspect during the purchase of insurance coverage. In addition to being simple, the purchase and subscription process will have to be perceived as a service that accompanies the client at every moment they need it. These additions will help insurers gain more information on their customer’s actions and behavior. Based on this data, they can dynamically adapt the coverage and pricing of the product. I call it — Dynamic-on-demand coverage. 

Challenges in Latin American Insurance industry

What are some of the technological challenges faced by Insurers in Argentina and Latin American markets operating in the New Normal? 

Mr. Horacio: Insurance industry for many years has been static but now is moving forward in many ways. The world including the Latin American Insurance is witnessing rapid development in terms of technology. The InsurTech industry is parallel to the Insurance industry. It aids in the development of the insurance companies. The whole world of insurance is making advances in technology. Different economics have different buying patterns for insurance products. One such insurance product that should develop is Microinsurance

Microinsurance needs technology, without which it is very difficult to manage. In a sense, the outbreak of COVID-19 was beneficial in accelerating these technological developments.   

[Related – AI can help bridge customer gaps for microinsurers]

Insurance buying behavior in the post-pandemic world

In a post-pandemic World, will insurance ever be bought offline? Or have we crossed the threshold for now buying policies purely online? 

Mr. Horacio:  Personal line insurances such as car, accident, personal, travel, microinsurance are mostly purchased online. In Argentina, 60% of the insurance policies are sold by traditional marketing and sales through brokers. However, in commercial, industrial, energy, transport, and large companies in general, the marketing and sales will continue the traditional ways but through electronic means. The use of IoT, sensors, drones dynamically monitoring the facilities and processes in different industries is increasing. Argentina, which is an agro-based country already has technologies such as drones and IoT which monitor the crops in place. AI will surely be crucial here to analyze the data and enable quick decisions in case of a fire or an accident.  

Wrapping up

Summing up — Mr. Horacio Sanchez-Granel shared valuable insights on the challenges in the Latin American Insurance Industry, how AI technologies can aid in policymaking and rise in dynamic-on-demand policies in the post-pandemic world.

AI is going to be essential for Insurers to gain that competitive edge in the post-pandemic world. Check out Hitee — an Insurance specific chatbot for driving customer engagement. For your specific requirements, please feel free to write to us at hello@mantralabsglobal.com.

More InsurTech insights from the industry stalwarts:

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