Chapter 17. The Visible and Invisible Parts of an Interface

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The Visible and Invisible Parts of an Interface

For any system, ask yourself: “How does the end user interact with the product?” Do they call in? Send an email? Browse a website? Mail in a form? Talk with an associate?

When you ask how an end user interacts with your product, the answer is an interface. The interface is the one object many organizations think about more than any other. Interfaces are concrete, the last bit of the experience that the experience machine controls. But interfaces are so much more.

In this chapter, we’ll learn about the visible and invisible parts of the interface. When you focus on the visible elements of an interface, like the screen, it’s easy to overlook the invisible elements, the scene. Every interface screen is just one step in an overall scene, one step in the user’s journey (Figure 17-1).

Figure 17-1

An interface is just one step in the user’s overall journey toward a goal.

Actual Interfaces

You can talk about the actual interface, or a model of the interface.

When you browse a website and notice hard-to-use widgets and unclear instructions, you’re Checking the actual interface. Analytics measure how customers interact with the actual interface (Figure 17-2).

Interface Models

Each design profession focuses on a different kind of interface. Architects design buildings. Interior ...

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