Classifying interaction modes

By Andrew on 6th March 2019 — 1 min read

Here’s eight of my favourite examples of interaction modes – and how you could classify them.

Mode Description Create/Consume Focused/Peripheral
Composing When writing an email or a tweet, the interface will often prove a modal view that supports the user’s need to focus on their composition Create Focused
Editing When editing or changing data, the interface will often take users to a separate controlled space (because changes can be risky!) before returning them safely to the read-only world Create Focused
Reading When reading content, the user welcomes the removal of distractions (e.g. Safari’s reading mode) Consume Focused
Driving When driving the user will welcome large controls that can be targeted without looking at them directly e.g. Audible / Spotify’s driving modes Consume Peripheral
Listening When listening to music or a podcast or radio the user needs cover art, play/pause, next/previous buttons only Consume Peripheral
Cooking! When cooking users are likely to value an interface that shows them stepped instructions one-by-one e.g. see Mealtime. Create Peripheral
Visiting When visiting a museum/landmark/shop, users will welcome an interface that surfaces local content e.g. maps to content of interest / local events e.g. see the Walmart App / National Trust app Create Peripheral

I wonder if the experience is better the closer you get to the left and right edges of the diagram above? Interactions that work well when brought into extreme focus, or (the opposite) when pushed to being peripheral… are just really really great. They seem to respect the human.

The stuff in the middle (neither in total focus, nor in the periphery) is best when it leads to the edges? E.g. when evaluating leads to reading, or when choosing leads to listening.

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