To work effectively with other people we need terms that define abstract things so we don’t get stuck on them, such as Grok and User Interface.
Let’s define two more: Object and Model.
Any interaction consists of a one or more systems of thought. In cognitive psychology such systems (or representational models of the real world) are called cognitive models.
When we interact with something we use a lot of these models. But the term isn’t fleshed out enough for daily use in interaction design.
An Interaction Object is the entire interaction process with a thing or a process. Using a pair of scissors (holding them correctly, using them to cut and understanding in what way they cut) consists of many cognitive models but only one Interaction Object.
But every process or new function is a new object. A Swiss army knife has as many objects as it has tools.
A Interaction Model is one set of possible interaction methods. Much like the cognitive model a Interaction Model consists of only a single thought process about something. A pair of scissors can be held by the handles, one model. A pair of scissors has cutting surfaces that are sharp, another model. Etc etc.
Using these terms we can discuss interaction design for abstract products such as games and web apps with much greater efficiency.
Example 1: A menu on a web page is an Interaction Object. And if it has more than one or two Interaction Models you’re making it to complicated.
Example 2: A game avatar has several Interaction Objects. To be able to understand them they must have very few Interaction Models.
Example 3: Facebook has a lot of Interaction Objects, but most Objects only has a single Interaction Model. Does this make Facebook easy to use or harder to Grok?
Can you use these terms or are they still to complicated or undefined? Let me know what you think.