While graphic designers have long had a consistent kit of parts to work with (typography, grids, images, etc.), we risk losing a major opportunity going forward if we don’t develop an expressive interaction vocabulary as well. To date, the field hasn’t developed a formal vocabulary that takes advantage of the affordances of digital interactions. We are left with our intuition. But within Human Computer Interaction (HCI) literature, it has long been theorized that people attribute certain emotions with the way interactive systems react to input. When all of the elements of an interface combine to create a larger experience than the individual components it’s called an interaction gestalt. Through user tests, these researchers demonstrated their theories, although in neutral, lab-based experiments. The interactive studies that I developed built upon these HCI tests and confirmed that, in practice, manipulating the components of an interface does in fact produce experiences that elicit certain types of emotions and feelings.In short, through manipulating simple combinations of user interface behaviors, I could make an interaction feel heavy or light, soft or hard, and complicated or simple. I started building my own interactive emotional system by selecting four basic elements and adding them together to create emotion. The idea of a gestalt remains the most important principle in my understanding of interactions. Every choice influences the overall experience. So now with added complexity to interactions in physical spaces, the question remains the same: What does each design decision do to affect meaning for a person? Explorations into formalizing the vocabulary of user experience and technology are certainly warranted, but designers do not need to wait for this research to begin asking important questions of meaning to the user in every detail of their work.
https://siqiyang.com/interactiongestaltexploration/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/cynthia-yang-1b62061ba/