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What Are the Different Types of Interactive Design?

Benjamin Arie
Benjamin Arie

Interactive design is the art of creating media that requires input from viewers in order to function. There are several different types of interactive design. Some of the most common types are interactive websites and games. This type of media is also used for advertising and interactive art. Interactive design is constantly evolving, and designers continually seek new and unique ways to capture the attention of participants.

All types of interactive media, by definition, are intended to be influenced by the actions of a user. This interaction can be used to provide an intuitive way to educate and communicate, or may be designed for artistic reasons. Not all interactive projects function the same way. Some require a viewer to use a keyboard or other manual control, while more advanced types of design allow a user to interact with body motions and gestures.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Websites are one of the most often used types of interactive design. A website combines graphics and text with navigation functions, and can present different information depending on the requests of a user. Advanced websites sometimes make use of technologies such as Flash and versions of Hyper Text Markup Langage (HTML). These features allow designers to add animation and video to a site, and can be used to create very immersive interactive design projects.

Video games are a type of media that lets players interact with artificial characters using a variety of interfaces. Like websites, many interactive games use standard computer hardware such as a keyboard and mouse. Some games increase the amount of player interactivity by interpreting natural movements. A game may use a camera, for example, and allow the player to control game characters though physical actions.

Interactive design elements are also found in advertising. Interactive features can be used to demonstrate features or promote a brand. Events such as trade shows frequently use this type of advertising to engage visitors. A display kiosk, for instance, might use touch-screen technology to allow viewers to manipulate and explore three-dimensional images of a product.

This type of design is sometimes used for artistic purposes. Unlike traditional art, interactive art pulls spectators into an experience and allows viewers to take an active role in the artistic process. A digital design projected onto a floor or wall is one example of an interactive art experience. These types of interactive displays use technology such as cameras and speakers to modify the artwork based on viewer participation. Interactive artwork might follow viewers with projected images, or create different musical sounds based on the motion of participants.

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