User and Agent Interactions

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The Interaction of a human user with any of the various service providers over the internet always involves a User Agent, even if it is simply the rendering engine of a browser on the user's device. This field has been called Interaction Design (aka IxD) by Moggridge[[1]]. The primary goal of IxD is to respond to the user's goals, both personal and objective, in as natural a manner as possible. The system is presumed to be sufficiently complex that the only way to determine the user experience is by deploying the best design imaginable and then asking enough users and iterating on the design to create the greatest good for the greatest number of users.

Interactive Design Tools

As described in "About Face" (see references below) the tools used in Interactive Design are:


  1. Except as otherwise indicated, users are human beings.
  2. User experience rendered by the display on a user agent is the means a user has to access internet based services, which are represented here as a single box (bubble C in the figure below) that might be composed of multiple inter-related entities in the real-world.
  3. The user agent bears a fiduciary responsibility to the user.
    1. A potential alternate is that the human user is operating on behalf of a potentially non-human user and that the agent has a fiduciary responsibility to that other user.

Interaction Points and State Repositories

The interaction described on this page has three entities (A, B, C) where state information is kept and four interface points (1...4) where messages originate. The sum of all of these user based interactions is designed to provide a user experience (UX) that is satisfactory to all parties to the interchange. The entities and ports involved in the creation of a UX are:


A. The user has some understanding of the state of the system (entities B and C) and what that state means for the action he is trying to accomplish and the way that the system is treating the information provided.
B. The user agent maintains digital representations of user credentials, claims provided by identity and attribute providers and of past interactions with relying parties.
C. The service providers contains historical information provided by the user and as a result of the interactions undertaken at the user's behest.
1. The user enters information and intent based on their goals and expectations and guided by the current display in front of them.
2. The user agent displays forms and content to the user on a display device. This is what is commonly called the user interface (UI).
3. The user agent provides claims, user intent and other data to the various service providers. It is expected that the user has agreed to the release of the information before it happens.
4. The service provider sends content to the user agent in an attempt to create an attractive user experience subject to its internal policy and governmental regulation.

It should be understood that the user interaction is comprised of the physical messages passed between points 1 and 2 above while the functional interaction is comprised of electronic messages passed between points 3 and 4.