Interaction models are ready-made program modules that content creators can custom-configure quickly and easily with new content. Interaction models are also known as interaction templates.
A simple interaction template for a web site could be a visitor poll. In a presentation, a drill-down pie-chart could be a useful interaction. In e-learning, a learning quiz show game can be a good interaction template, with customizable questions.
Planning your template library
Good templates result in meaningful, rather than superficial interactions. Here are some tips on designing a good interaction template library.
- Think of templates that add value (not just jazz) to the content
- Consider where the interactions would play - a browser, a presentation or otherwise.
- Consider the end-use and its impact on the selection of templates
- Organize templates in logical categories
- Tag templates with meaningful keywords to enable easy search
- Considerations implications for systems integration - will the templates have to import / export data to other applications?
Designing individual templates
Each individual template needs careful design considerations. Here are a few.
- Determine customizable parameters: What will change from one interactivity to next?
- Clearly identify the stages of customization: Are there parameters that can be customized in a wizard pretty much using form-filling? Are there other parameters that require a graphic input while customizing?
- Set sensible defaults
- Allow import and export of content: An interactive graph can be built by importing Excel. An interactive discussion can be summarized in a PDF export.
- Address multiple rendering options at run time: Depending on what device the interaction will be played on.
When are templates appropriate?
When you have a repetitive use of an interaction with changing content, templates are essential. If you are building a unique interaction that you will hardly need to modify ever, there is no point bothering with templates.