The six layers of interaction design

These are the “materials” that I think are used in interaction design. All of these are necessary.

Conceptual model

All software is built on a conceptual model. It is a designer’s mental model of how the software works, translated into code and interface. e.g. “This noun has these verbs attached”.

Navigation structure

The various areas of the software are connected by navigation, and that navigation follows a structure. e.g. a hub and spoke structure.


Content is what a person uses the software to see. Text, imagery, icons, video, etc.

Interactive elements

In order for a person to be able to interact, there must be interactive elements. e.g. buttons.

Meaningful visual design

Visual design elements are meaningful if they help a person to understand and use the software.

Interaction feedback

When a person interacts with software, the software should react. These reactions help the person make their next interaction.