Interaction Mode types

By Andrew on 8th January 2019 — 1 min read

I’ve been thinking of Interaction Modes as something that software can provide. Ways a computer might behave. Polite ways – considerate of the user’s (stated or implied) interests.

If they want to read, activate a ‘reading mode’ for them (or when requested by them). I.e. Show them text-only – in a lovely font.

If they want to evaluate, activate the ‘evaluation mode’. I.e. Show them meta-data to support comparison, reviews, etc.

Some modes provide different views of the same content, in different circumstances. E.g. audible’s driving mode (that strips away features and makes target areas of controls very large).

Other modes might provide different views depending only on the nature of the content. E.g. a template that’s used for a particular type of article.

Some modes suggest a behaviour for the user to adopt. E.g. A well designed ‘Clarifying mode’, might walk through important terms and conditions.

Other modes are better suggested by the user themselves. E.g. A focused ‘writing mode’, when composing an email

Widening the definition of Interaction Modes?

Perhaps most people view modes as being

different views of the same object

– viewing vs editing
– composing vs reviewing
– evaluating vs reading
– non-focused vs focused

I think its useful to widen this out though, to include

different interaction styles (not just viewing) relevant to differing circumstance, content and tasks

This is because the way we like / need to interact varies according to our human circumstances, the nature of the material in question and what we are trying to accomplish. As such we end up with a potential endless variety of Interaction Mode types?

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