first interaction designer: success or failure

18 May 2006 - 3:44pm
7 years ago
2 replies
444 reads
Simon Asselbergs
2005

H! usabilty like-minded people,

I reported earlier that I am the very first interaction designer at a company of 300 employees and I more or less had all the freedom to define my own function. As predicted by many of you the "empowered" designer stuff pops up. And there is another thing about having much freedom, it is noticed by others as well... (feel free to think far fetched thoughts). My bosses have not yet been open to let me show them any graphic stuff yet.

Now they have some troubles understanding that usability and interface design (especially the graphic part) are related somehow. And they more or less restricted me for going into the interface & graphic part area (as they see it as such). Even more Marketing related (you know, software suites, design representing a brand) thoughts are also not so allowed, which is strange because I got a very interesting conversation with the head of Marketing. It seems a sudden wind got blowing those thoughts away... And they even said I was not allowed to use Photoshop nor flash(can you imagine???)... For that kind of stuff they said they would prefer to use PowerPoint.... I wanted to do some demo's

Anyway. I am now supposed to write a function description for my interaction designer job. As I did some comparitive study, most of them ofcourse mention interface design, conceptualisation and the usage of photoshop or flash (I can litteraly dream actionscript 2). The setting up of a usability lab got moved furter away in time (long term... sounds grimm to me).

I thought it started with asking for some coorporate video (which is pretty much available to almost everyone, no NDA's there I guess ;-) from some graphic designer (also one of a kind in this company) which is also happened to be at the Marketing department.

What could be happened, and how to deal with that?
I am now working there for just for 3 weeks.

Cheers

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Comments

19 May 2006 - 12:00am
Larry Tesler
2004

Some ideas, FWIW...

I suggest you focus your job description on what you can uniquely
contribute. Mention other activities that Marketing people also do
that you'll need to do to accomplish your job, but stress that you'll
partner with Marketing on these activities.

What do they have against a usability lab? Is it the cost to equip a
dedicated lab or is it doubts about the methodology?

If they're concerned about lab cost, design a bare bones lab with
cheap and scrounged parts. Forget the one-way mirror. Cheap web cams
and old monitors can do wonders. Invite the product team to the
studies. Download Techsmith's Morae for a 30-day trial when you know
you are going to be running 2-3 studies that month. Take the time to
prepare very short but compelling video clips that highlight
unanticipated problems and show them to the management. After the
implications have sunk in, propose to purchase a Morae license. Next
year, put lab upgrades (still at reasonable cost) into your budget
request.

If they object to the whole usability study methodology, dispel
whatever misconceptions they may have (about cost, time, sample size,
etc.) by proposing a specific study, and going to the trouble of
addressing all of these issues quite explicitly. Or invite an outside
speaker from a non-competitor in an analogous business who can
explain how usability studies helped them.

Larry Tesler

At 3:44 PM -0500 5/18/06, Simon Asselbergs wrote:
>I reported earlier that I am the very first interaction designer at
>a company of 300 employees and I more or less had all the freedom to
>define my own function. ...
>
>Now they have some troubles understanding that usability and
>interface design (especially the graphic part) are related somehow.
>And they more or less restricted me for going into the interface &
>graphic part area (as they see it as such). Even more Marketing
>related (you know, software suites, design representing a brand)
>thoughts are also not so allowed, which is strange because I got a
>very interesting conversation with the head of Marketing....
>
>Anyway. I am now supposed to write a function description for my
>interaction designer job. As I did some comparitive study, most of
>them ofcourse mention interface design, conceptualisation and the
>usage of photoshop or flash (I can litteraly dream actionscript 2).
>The setting up of a usability lab got moved furter away in time
>(long term... sounds grimm to me).
>
>...
>
>What could be happened, and how to deal with that?
>I am now working there for just for 3 weeks.
>

19 May 2006 - 12:33am
russwilson
2005

Re: what do they have against a usability lab?

I have faced what I would call "learned skepticism"
from previous costly usability efforts that pointed out
problems, but gave no solutions (that's where the design
function comes in).

As for Morae, I've had it for a couple of weeks now, and
have already had success. It's a great, cost-effective
product (although they could improve the storyboarding).

------------------------------------
NetQoS, Inc.
Russell Wilson
Director of Product Design
russell.wilson at netqos.com
5001 Plaza On The Lake
Austin, TX 78746
tel: 512-334-3725
mobile: 512-422-4155
------------------------------------

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Larry Tesler
Sent: Friday, May 19, 2006 12:01 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] first interaction designer: success or
failure

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]

Some ideas, FWIW...

I suggest you focus your job description on what you can uniquely
contribute. Mention other activities that Marketing people also do that
you'll need to do to accomplish your job, but stress that you'll partner
with Marketing on these activities.

What do they have against a usability lab? Is it the cost to equip a
dedicated lab or is it doubts about the methodology?

If they're concerned about lab cost, design a bare bones lab with cheap
and scrounged parts. Forget the one-way mirror. Cheap web cams and old
monitors can do wonders. Invite the product team to the studies.
Download Techsmith's Morae for a 30-day trial when you know you are
going to be running 2-3 studies that month. Take the time to prepare
very short but compelling video clips that highlight unanticipated
problems and show them to the management. After the implications have
sunk in, propose to purchase a Morae license. Next year, put lab
upgrades (still at reasonable cost) into your budget request.

If they object to the whole usability study methodology, dispel whatever
misconceptions they may have (about cost, time, sample size,
etc.) by proposing a specific study, and going to the trouble of
addressing all of these issues quite explicitly. Or invite an outside
speaker from a non-competitor in an analogous business who can explain
how usability studies helped them.

Larry Tesler

At 3:44 PM -0500 5/18/06, Simon Asselbergs wrote:
>I reported earlier that I am the very first interaction designer at a
>company of 300 employees and I more or less had all the freedom to
>define my own function. ...
>
>Now they have some troubles understanding that usability and interface
>design (especially the graphic part) are related somehow.
>And they more or less restricted me for going into the interface &
>graphic part area (as they see it as such). Even more Marketing related

>(you know, software suites, design representing a brand) thoughts are
>also not so allowed, which is strange because I got a very interesting
>conversation with the head of Marketing....
>
>Anyway. I am now supposed to write a function description for my
>interaction designer job. As I did some comparitive study, most of them

>ofcourse mention interface design, conceptualisation and the usage of
>photoshop or flash (I can litteraly dream actionscript 2).
>The setting up of a usability lab got moved furter away in time (long
>term... sounds grimm to me).
>
>...
>
>What could be happened, and how to deal with that?
>I am now working there for just for 3 weeks.
>

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