Any interactive medium relies on good design for the user to get the most out of it and nowhere is this more evident than in interface design.

How design and interaction work together

If you haven't done so already, check out part 1.

Interfaces such as DVD menus need to guide the viewer to the content, so designers create prominent buttons at the highest level of the menu to take the user to the most important and relevant areas of the disc. As we have discussed already, the colour and alignment of menu elements also highlights the importance of content, and the direction the viewer should be taking.

Designing for interactivity, or interaction design as it is generally known, is an artistic discipline all of its own. According to its leading exponents, an interface should contain at least four qualities – the viewer should be able to interact with it, its functions should be easy to understand, these functions should work as expected, and the user should receive feedback.

Let’s look at some DVD menus that show design and interaction working together. The DVD menus for O Brother, Where Art Thou (see right) and the two-disc Best of Bowie set, both designed by ARI, have no subpictures and only one option per menu. Instead, they use a type of image swapping where the main image changes in response to user interaction.

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