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What is IxDL?

“Interaction Design Language” is a language which describes complex and abstract interactive logic in a simplified visual form. It helps interaction designers think through diverse forms and details, improve communication efficiency with other designers and front-end developers.

This website is a concentration of all interaction design language contents, which is convenient to consult at any time. For more information, please check the 《Interaction Design Language: Designing the Beauty of Interactions》 published by Tsinghua university press.


The Meaning of IxDL

When natural language expresses meaning, it tends to describe it qualitatively. Its meaning is affected by the specific context, which often leads to semantic ambiguity and inaccurate interpretations. Many interactions are complex and subtle. When people communicate in natural language, they can easily have different understandings, which will affect the final output.

Language is not only a tool for thinking but also a strong influence and constraint on thoughts. The language we use has a profound effect on the way we think. Each different domain has its unique language that influences the way people look at things. The design is no exception. Designers need to make decisions through their sense of design trait, which also needs to be expressed in a complete language system. The design language here is the most fundamental language of a design branch. It is the “language” in a more strict sense, rather than the so-called “specification” or “guidelines”.

As a branch of design, interaction design also needs its unique design language to arrange, express and communicate the details of interactive creativity. A complete interaction design language system can not only improve the details when people communicate with their interactive ideas, but also enable people to understand and analyze the interaction from the essential level.

The Basic Perspective of IxDL

The fundamental perspective of interaction design language is the “Control Force” perspective. “Control Force” refers to a user’s control over a particular object. The interactive design language is a language that thoroughly describes the structure and details of “Control Force”.

A printed picture is on the table, we can move and rotate the picture with our hands, and if we whip it, it will slide out over a distance and stops gradually because of the friction, this is the physical limit that we have to follow to manipulate the actual photo. We cannot control the size of real photos by the distance between two fingers, but that physical limit is broken on touchscreen devices. The “Control Force” of virtual photos does not match people’s experience of working with real photos, so people who use them for the first time will be amazed.

From the perspective of “Control Force”, we can define interaction design as “the design of the ‘control relationship’ between the user and an object (matter, energy information)”.

Latest Development: IxDL Engine (Prototyping Toolkit)

IxDL Engine is a prototyping engine developed on Origami Studio platform based on the theory of Interaction Design Language, which enalbes powerful and intuitive prototyping. Expressions in IxDL can be directly converted to interactive prototyping. Check more.

For more information, please refer to 《Interaction Design Language: Designing the Beauty of Interactions》

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