Chapter 7

Modeling Interaction

A model is a simplification of reality. Consider an architect’s scale model of a building or a physicist’s equation for the trajectory of a tossed ball. Both are reductions or simplifications of more complex phenomena. They are useful because they allow us to explore the phenomena, think about them, make changes, and so on, without actually constructing the building or throwing the ball. A great many problems in HCI are explored in this manner. This chapter is about modeling interaction—building models, testing models, using models, and thinking about interaction through models.

The term model is often used loosely, without a clear and simple definition. A mathematician’s model is probably quite distant from a ...

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