Semantics of The Elements of UX

23 Jun 2006 - 11:06am
8 years ago
22 replies
773 reads
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

Someone pointed this out earlier:

http://www.jjg.net/elements/pdf/elements.pdf

I've read Garrett's book (The Elements of User Experience), as I'm sure
everyone has, and I find there's a bit of a disconnect between the title and
the content. The book isn't really about the actual user experience, it's
about process. It describes only the elements of a process.

This makes it particularly interesting that the person who mentioned this
was pointing to it as an explanation of what makes a great user experience.
Again, neither the chart nor the book describe UX at all.

Am I the only one who thinks this? (Does it even matter?)

-r-

Comments

23 Jun 2006 - 3:34pm
Jay Morgan
2006

Robert,

I have a similar appetite for elements of the experience, rather than the
process. I favor something fundamental like what the periodic table of
elements accomplished for chemistry, where the organization depicts multiple
dimensions of the basic parts. The physical sciences also have equations.
Mathematical, physical (forces and energies), and chemical equations are
highly abstracted shorthand giving the practitioners a great workspace for
phenomena that are mostly invisible or unapproachable.

You started with semantics, so I'll continue that by suggesting the elements
might not be of the "user experience", but of types of interaction. Of
course, I'm not sure we know the elements of experience or interaction
yet. We don't really know what elements we're looking for, but we have some
suggestions. The periodic table stands on classification and patterns.
Taking from the multiple dimensions in the periodic table, you could say
that interaction elements would have the following (and perhaps other)
dimensions that would help us organize them, predict others, and use them to
construct and design:
- cognitive elements: visual, remembrance, problem solving, etc
- behavioral elements: ergonomic, haptic, tactile, motor, sensory,
- technological: software, hardware, interface type
- task- or usage elements: purpose of system
...

Maybe I'll sketch something like that this afternoon as work winds down.
Thanks for the question.
Jay

On 6/23/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <rhoekmanjr at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Someone pointed this out earlier:
>
> http://www.jjg.net/elements/pdf/elements.pdf
>
> I've read Garrett's book (The Elements of User Experience), as I'm sure
> everyone has, and I find there's a bit of a disconnect between the title
> and
> the content. The book isn't really about the actual user experience, it's
> about process. It describes only the elements of a process.
>
> This makes it particularly interesting that the person who mentioned this
> was pointing to it as an explanation of what makes a great user
> experience.
> Again, neither the chart nor the book describe UX at all.
>
> Am I the only one who thinks this? (Does it even matter?)
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
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> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
_________________________________
Jay A. Morgan
jayamorgan at gmail.com

23 Jun 2006 - 5:31pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

You should check out "Shedroff's Experience Design 1":

http://www.experiencedesignbooks.com/

He offers some great insight into what makes an actual experience worth
having and repeating.

But yeah, that was basically my point. I'm not into the process - processes
change and grow and shift all the time, even though everyone keeps trying to
write books to explain the "one that works" (as though anyone really knows).

Personally, I think we know more about what makes applications great than we
give ourselves credit for. I don't think we need to understand the down-deep
details of all this academic "stuff" to understand how to create a great
application. It's like when Spolsky says that bad office environments are
bad for a thousand different reasons, but good ones are all the same: quiet,
with few interruptions. Application design works the same way. We KNOW what
makes an application good. All we have to do is look at the great examples
out there and figure out what qualities they maintain that make them so
fantastic. We need to strive for those qualities.

Just seemed odd that someone was talking about experiences, and someone else
pointed to a book about process. Process does not now, and never will, be a
sure-fire way to create good experiences.

Good experiences come from knowing what makes an experience good and
reproducing it.

-r-

On 6/23/06, Jay Morgan <jayamorgan at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Robert,
>
> I have a similar appetite for elements of the experience, rather than the
> process. I favor something fundamental like what the periodic table of
> elements accomplished for chemistry, where the organization depicts multiple
> dimensions of the basic parts. The physical sciences also have equations.
> Mathematical, physical (forces and energies), and chemical equations are
> highly abstracted shorthand giving the practitioners a great workspace for
> phenomena that are mostly invisible or unapproachable.
>
> You started with semantics, so I'll continue that by suggesting the
> elements might not be of the "user experience", but of types of
> interaction. Of course, I'm not sure we know the elements of experience or
> interaction yet. We don't really know what elements we're looking for, but
> we have some suggestions. The periodic table stands on classification and
> patterns. Taking from the multiple dimensions in the periodic table, you
> could say that interaction elements would have the following (and perhaps
> other) dimensions that would help us organize them, predict others, and use
> them to construct and design:
> - cognitive elements: visual, remembrance, problem solving, etc
> - behavioral elements: ergonomic, haptic, tactile, motor, sensory,
> - technological: software, hardware, interface type
> - task- or usage elements: purpose of system
> ...
>
> Maybe I'll sketch something like that this afternoon as work winds down.
> Thanks for the question.
> Jay
>
> On 6/23/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <rhoekmanjr at gmail.com > wrote:
> >
> > [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> > material.]
>
>
>
> Someone pointed this out earlier:
>
> http://www.jjg.net/elements/pdf/elements.pdf
>
> I've read Garrett's book (The Elements of User Experience), as I'm sure
> everyone has, and I find there's a bit of a disconnect between the title
> and
> the content. The book isn't really about the actual user experience, it's
> about process. It describes only the elements of a process.
>
> This makes it particularly interesting that the person who mentioned this
> was pointing to it as an explanation of what makes a great user
> experience.
> Again, neither the chart nor the book describe UX at all.
>
> Am I the only one who thinks this? (Does it even matter?)
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
>
>
> --
> _________________________________
> Jay A. Morgan
> jayamorgan at gmail.com
>

24 Jun 2006 - 10:33am
jbellis
2005

Jay,
Let me apologize in advance, but here goes.

That's a bunch of high-falutin' mumbo jumbo... it perpetuates perceptions of
our contributions as frivolous, posturing, and self-important. We've known
for a long time, since the command line gave way to the Win/Mac-Englbart,
point-and-click interface, most of the elements of our domain...
explicitness, communication, timeliness, accuracy, tolerance, forgiveness,
reversibility.

The problem is implied in Robert's recent post, in the phrase, "Good
experiences come from ... and reproducing it." Windows 3.1 took UI 10 steps
forward and we've been taking big steps backwards ever since 1994. We could
argue about the faults of that 12-year-old menu paradigm and random access
interfaces, but that's not the point. The point is that every (web) project
starts over with a blank page rather than pre-solving the 1001 elemental
behaviors and artifacts on which users depend. Today's "patterns" are a
meager first (?) step to recover lost ground, but at least they're a start.

Let me cite one example so as not to be too theoretical... the double-submit
problem in which a user clicks Submit a second time while waiting for the
"round trip" of data to the server. Good sites now provide an immedate,
un-interruptable message before the round trip starts. Yet every high-school
student has to find and implement this solution anew. Using the challenge
presented in another thread, how can we expect a travel site to be "simple"
yet somehow support queries such as "I want to go anywhere in England or
anywhere in Europe for cheap and then take a puddle jumper to my real
destination" ... if we haven't nailed the infrastructure???

At the very least, if the writing of code must start over again from a blank
slate, perhaps the element of the Ux could be an industry-wide, persistent
spec. And businesses, too are at fault for not separating out their
business logic in documents that can be grown and reused every time we come
out with the Next Final Coding Language.

The web has given us a wonderful gift, but (so quickly that) we Ux folks are
slow to get our influence insinuated into the thread used to weave it.

- www.jackBellis.com,

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jay Morgan" <jayamorgan at gmail.com>
To: "Robert Hoekman, Jr." <rhoekmanjr at gmail.com>
Cc: <discuss at ixda.org>
Sent: Friday, June 23, 2006 4:34 PM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Semantics of The Elements of UX

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Robert,
>
> might not be of the "user experience", but of types of interaction. Of
> course, I'm not sure we know the elements of experience or interaction
> yet. We don't really know what elements we're looking for, but we have
> some
> suggestions. The periodic table stands on classification and patterns.

24 Jun 2006 - 10:52am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jun 24, 2006, at 8:33 AM, jackbellis.com wrote:

> Windows 3.1 took UI 10 steps
> forward and we've been taking big steps backwards ever since 1994.

Wow. I can honestly say I have never heard anyone say that. Windows
3.1? Really? I've used Windows 3.1 on several occasions as an example
of an awkward, clunky, and frankly bad design in the past. An
inelegant attempt to redo the Macintosh UI, which Microsoft finally
got right (sort of) in Windows 95.

Care to defend your statement a bit more?

Dan

24 Jun 2006 - 11:06am
Jay Morgan
2006

No need for apologies. I don't share or support the perception you
mention. I think we're speaking on different levels.

Major clarification on the definition of element:
Element as I use it here is more like the chemical elements, rather than the
UI elements of a specific widget, menu, or code. My interest is more in the
history and philosophy of a science/practice, rather than the specific
executions in a platform.

Maybe you can reconsider what I said knowing that I look forward
to seeing these fundamental elements of interaction organized. That would
be a signal that some parts of the converging fields we work in have reached
a critical point where we understand them so well that we can communicate
them that concisely. Communicate them to outsiders, insiders, and
students.

Getting specific:
*explicitness, communication, timeliness, accuracy, tolerance, forgiveness,
reversibility *Elements would probably be more fundamental than the terms
in this list. All the items you list have more basic things in common, so
they could be expressed in terms of simpler elements. Explicitness can be
reduced further to elements of language, memory, comprehension, visual
strain, et cetera. Communication similarly. Accuracy could be reduced to
accuracy in terminology, spatial tolerance, or maybe more like precision in
parts of the interaction. You know you've got fundamental elements when
they can't be reduced any further without losing their defining properties.

Thanks for the comments.
Jay

On 6/24/06, jackbellis.com <jackbellis at hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Jay,
> Let me apologize in advance, but here goes.
>
> That's a bunch of high-falutin' mumbo jumbo... it perpetuates perceptions
> of
> our contributions as frivolous, posturing, and self-important. We've known
> for a long time, since the command line gave way to the Win/Mac-Englbart,
> point-and-click interface, most of the elements of our domain...
> explicitness, communication, timeliness, accuracy, tolerance, forgiveness,
> reversibility.
>
> The problem is implied in Robert's recent post, in the phrase, "Good
> experiences come from ... and reproducing it." Windows 3.1 took UI 10
> steps
> forward and we've been taking big steps backwards ever since 1994. We
> could
> argue about the faults of that 12-year-old menu paradigm and random access
> interfaces, but that's not the point. The point is that every (web)
> project
> starts over with a blank page rather than pre-solving the 1001 elemental
> behaviors and artifacts on which users depend. Today's "patterns" are a
> meager first (?) step to recover lost ground, but at least they're a
> start.
>
> Let me cite one example so as not to be too theoretical... the
> double-submit
> problem in which a user clicks Submit a second time while waiting for the
> "round trip" of data to the server. Good sites now provide an immedate,
> un-interruptable message before the round trip starts. Yet every
> high-school
> student has to find and implement this solution anew. Using the challenge
> presented in another thread, how can we expect a travel site to be
> "simple"
> yet somehow support queries such as "I want to go anywhere in England or
> anywhere in Europe for cheap and then take a puddle jumper to my real
> destination" ... if we haven't nailed the infrastructure???
>
> At the very least, if the writing of code must start over again from a
> blank
> slate, perhaps the element of the Ux could be an industry-wide, persistent
> spec. And businesses, too are at fault for not separating out their
> business logic in documents that can be grown and reused every time we
> come
> out with the Next Final Coding Language.
>
> The web has given us a wonderful gift, but (so quickly that) we Ux folks
> are
> slow to get our influence insinuated into the thread used to weave it.
>
> - www.jackBellis.com,
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jay Morgan" <jayamorgan at gmail.com>
> To: "Robert Hoekman, Jr." <rhoekmanjr at gmail.com>
> Cc: <discuss at ixda.org>
> Sent: Friday, June 23, 2006 4:34 PM
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Semantics of The Elements of UX
>
>
> > [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> > material.]
> >
> > Robert,
> >
> > might not be of the "user experience", but of types of interaction. Of
> > course, I'm not sure we know the elements of experience or interaction
> > yet. We don't really know what elements we're looking for, but we have
> > some
> > suggestions. The periodic table stands on classification and patterns.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
_________________________________
Jay A. Morgan
jayamorgan at gmail.com

24 Jun 2006 - 2:15pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> That's a bunch of high-falutin' mumbo jumbo... it perpetuates perceptions of
> our contributions as frivolous, posturing, and self-important.

On a more general level, I agree with this point. The IxD and
Usability worlds do tend to be comprised of a lot of academic
posturing. And it's sad, because none of it really helps anyone. It
justy proves we all went to college.

Reminds me of that scene in Good Will Hunting, where the snobbish
college boy is trying to prove Will doesn't kow anything about
economic theory. He quotes books and rehashes old $2 theories, and
Will rips him apart with a short discourse comprised of much more
tangible and cutting logic. (And, of course, he gets the girl.)

All the posturing in the world doesn't help anyone. We need to be real
here. Real apps have real design problems with real design solutions.
Nothing we say will help us arrive at those solutions unless we shut
up and get to work.

I mean no offense to anyone here with this rant - seriously - but Jack
has a mighty fine point, and we'd be wise to listen to him.

-r-

24 Jun 2006 - 2:05pm
Steven Pautz
2006

I think a big part of this debate/misunderstanding comes from the
presence of multiple view of UX. From what I've seen, there seem to be
two separate-but-related definitions:
- User Experience Design (the process; generally more design-oriented)
- The User Experience (the metric; generally more evaluation-oriented)

JJG's book and diagrams and whatnot deal with User Experience Design
-- particularly with mapping and categorizing the problem space where
all the design considerations, problems, and decisions which relate to
UX reside. From that perspective, UX is about understanding and
consciously addressing the entire problem space -- by way of
understanding/addressing the dance between problem framing and problem
solving -- in a cohesive, appropriate manner.

Other diagrams (such as "The Importance of User Experience" at
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryce/106972762/) deal more with the
actual embodiment of The User Experience, with emphasis on the causes,
effects, and greater context surrounding a human's experience using
something. From that perspective, UX is about the things which result
from the human use of the system (thoughts, feelings, value, etc), as
well as the reasons why such things result, and the mechanisms which
tie them together.

Within these two different viewpoints, terms like "elements" can mean
vastly different things. In User Experience Design, "elements" would
likely refer to a specific step or responsibility of problem framing
and problem solving. In The User Experience, "elements" would likely
refer to the specific items which cause, occur during, or result from
a human's use or experience with something.

Because all of these things, from both perspectives, can be viewed
either categorically or atomically (since the patterns which occur
among the 'atoms' repeat themselves among the categories) I think the
decision about whether or not the term "elements" ought to only refer
to fundamental/indivisible items is a bit moot, or, at minimum, a
matter of personal preference. (After all, the things one IxD sees as
atomic might appear categorical to someone with different experience,
different interests, different job responsibilities, or a different
background -- just like atoms in the real world.)

Just my $0.02. =)
~Steven Pautz

On 6/24/06, Jay Morgan <jayamorgan at gmail.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> No need for apologies. I don't share or support the perception you
> mention. I think we're speaking on different levels.
>
> Major clarification on the definition of element:
> Element as I use it here is more like the chemical elements, rather than the
> UI elements of a specific widget, menu, or code. My interest is more in the
> history and philosophy of a science/practice, rather than the specific
> executions in a platform.
>
> Maybe you can reconsider what I said knowing that I look forward
> to seeing these fundamental elements of interaction organized. That would
> be a signal that some parts of the converging fields we work in have reached
> a critical point where we understand them so well that we can communicate
> them that concisely. Communicate them to outsiders, insiders, and
> students.
>
> Getting specific:
> *explicitness, communication, timeliness, accuracy, tolerance, forgiveness,
> reversibility *Elements would probably be more fundamental than the terms
> in this list. All the items you list have more basic things in common, so
> they could be expressed in terms of simpler elements. Explicitness can be
> reduced further to elements of language, memory, comprehension, visual
> strain, et cetera. Communication similarly. Accuracy could be reduced to
> accuracy in terminology, spatial tolerance, or maybe more like precision in
> parts of the interaction. You know you've got fundamental elements when
> they can't be reduced any further without losing their defining properties.
>
>
> Thanks for the comments.
> Jay
>
>
> On 6/24/06, jackbellis.com <jackbellis at hotmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> > material.]
> >
> > Jay,
> > Let me apologize in advance, but here goes.
> >
> > That's a bunch of high-falutin' mumbo jumbo... it perpetuates perceptions
> > of
> > our contributions as frivolous, posturing, and self-important. We've known
> > for a long time, since the command line gave way to the Win/Mac-Englbart,
> > point-and-click interface, most of the elements of our domain...
> > explicitness, communication, timeliness, accuracy, tolerance, forgiveness,
> > reversibility.
> >
> > The problem is implied in Robert's recent post, in the phrase, "Good
> > experiences come from ... and reproducing it." Windows 3.1 took UI 10
> > steps
> > forward and we've been taking big steps backwards ever since 1994. We
> > could
> > argue about the faults of that 12-year-old menu paradigm and random access
> > interfaces, but that's not the point. The point is that every (web)
> > project
> > starts over with a blank page rather than pre-solving the 1001 elemental
> > behaviors and artifacts on which users depend. Today's "patterns" are a
> > meager first (?) step to recover lost ground, but at least they're a
> > start.
> >
> > Let me cite one example so as not to be too theoretical... the
> > double-submit
> > problem in which a user clicks Submit a second time while waiting for the
> > "round trip" of data to the server. Good sites now provide an immedate,
> > un-interruptable message before the round trip starts. Yet every
> > high-school
> > student has to find and implement this solution anew. Using the challenge
> > presented in another thread, how can we expect a travel site to be
> > "simple"
> > yet somehow support queries such as "I want to go anywhere in England or
> > anywhere in Europe for cheap and then take a puddle jumper to my real
> > destination" ... if we haven't nailed the infrastructure???
> >
> > At the very least, if the writing of code must start over again from a
> > blank
> > slate, perhaps the element of the Ux could be an industry-wide, persistent
> > spec. And businesses, too are at fault for not separating out their
> > business logic in documents that can be grown and reused every time we
> > come
> > out with the Next Final Coding Language.
> >
> > The web has given us a wonderful gift, but (so quickly that) we Ux folks
> > are
> > slow to get our influence insinuated into the thread used to weave it.
> >
> > - www.jackBellis.com,
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Jay Morgan" <jayamorgan at gmail.com>
> > To: "Robert Hoekman, Jr." <rhoekmanjr at gmail.com>
> > Cc: <discuss at ixda.org>
> > Sent: Friday, June 23, 2006 4:34 PM
> > Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Semantics of The Elements of UX
> >
> >
> > > [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> > > material.]
> > >
> > > Robert,
> > >
> > > might not be of the "user experience", but of types of interaction. Of
> > > course, I'm not sure we know the elements of experience or interaction
> > > yet. We don't really know what elements we're looking for, but we have
> > > some
> > > suggestions. The periodic table stands on classification and patterns.
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
>
>
>
> --
> _________________________________
> Jay A. Morgan
> jayamorgan at gmail.com
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

24 Jun 2006 - 3:51pm
jbellis
2005

> Care to defend your statement a bit more?
Dan,
I'm not insensitive to your consternation, given all the stuff I too hate in
Program Manager and its ilk. I'm just insensitive. (But I still want the
dual-pane File Manager back. After giving up on PowerDesk, I was surprised
to find my power-user coworkers using Servant Salamander, a dual-pane tool.)

I defend not Windows 3.x but what Windows 3.x added to the collective user
experience. This is not a discussion of, or comparison between Gates and
Jobs (or JJG, JN, etc.) . The designer in us all knows who made the "better"
design but to the billions who use Windows, "better" is as relative as
drinking water in the desert.

It is completly inapplicable to now load Win31 and critique it. In
proportional terms, it advanced the cause of user friendliness more than
might ever be equaled. Disparaging it would be equivalent to saying Henry
Ford made shitty cars. On the same level, Microsoft VB in its first
incarnation delivered more programming democracy than ever before and
possibly might ever in the future. Thus Bill Gates's fortune, despite
our- - - and my- - - jealous trashing of him. My arguments have nothing to
do with Ux, but rather, with the promulgation of Ux.

'know what I mean?

www.jackBellis.com,
www.UsabilityInstitute.com
www.WorkAtHomeWednesday.com
www.OfficeSwap.com
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dan Saffer" <dan at odannyboy.com>
To: "ixda" <discuss at ixda.org>
Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2006 11:52 AM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Semantics of The Elements of UX

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
>
> On Jun 24, 2006, at 8:33 AM, jackbellis.com wrote:
>
>> Windows 3.1 took UI 10 steps
>> forward and we've been taking big steps backwards ever since 1994.
>
> Wow. I can honestly say I have never heard anyone say that. Windows
> 3.1? Really? I've used Windows 3.1 on several occasions as an example
> of an awkward, clunky, and frankly bad design in the past. An
> inelegant attempt to redo the Macintosh UI, which Microsoft finally
> got right (sort of) in Windows 95.
>
> Care to defend your statement a bit more?
>
>
> Dan
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

26 Jun 2006 - 6:57am
Mark Schraad
2006

If this was an eye to eye conversation, I might agree with this
extremely simplistic analogy. But given that we are restricted to
plain text, you could not be more wrong. The use of specific or
technical words for clarification and specificity is crucial in a
forum or email format. Even the most elementary of psych classes - or
just the observation of life's exchanges, shows that the majority of
communication comes form subtext (everything else that goes along
with the words: voice inflection, facial expression, physical
posture, font size, capitalization, etc. Granted, simple writing of
complex ideas is a gift and a pleasure to read (Malcon Gladwell is
particularly good at this), but the rest of us are most likely just
trying to get our point across in this forum, just a little more
accurately.

On Jun 24, 2006, at 2:15 PM, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
>> That's a bunch of high-falutin' mumbo jumbo... it perpetuates
>> perceptions of
>> our contributions as frivolous, posturing, and self-important.
>
> On a more general level, I agree with this point. The IxD and
> Usability worlds do tend to be comprised of a lot of academic
> posturing. And it's sad, because none of it really helps anyone. It
> justy proves we all went to college.
>
> Reminds me of that scene in Good Will Hunting, where the snobbish
> college boy is trying to prove Will doesn't kow anything about
> economic theory. He quotes books and rehashes old $2 theories, and
> Will rips him apart with a short discourse comprised of much more
> tangible and cutting logic. (And, of course, he gets the girl.)
>
> All the posturing in the world doesn't help anyone. We need to be real
> here. Real apps have real design problems with real design solutions.
> Nothing we say will help us arrive at those solutions unless we shut
> up and get to work.
>
> I mean no offense to anyone here with this rant - seriously - but Jack
> has a mighty fine point, and we'd be wise to listen to him.
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
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> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

26 Jun 2006 - 11:08am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

I wasn't referring to the use of 50-cent words.

I'm saying that, most of the time, it seems like we try to overcomplicate
things that are in reality very simple. This stuff isn't hard. Yes, we need
to constantly learn and grow and learn some more, but for the most part, the
ability to design an effective application is so insanely easy, I can't
believe they pay me so much to do it. Moreover, I can't believe it's so
difficult for developers and the like to do it themselves.

The best use for this list is for designers to bounce ideas off of each
other, and when that happens, it's great. But we spend a lot of time
floating around in the thin air of speculation and theory when we don't need
to. It's part of the reason design takes such a back seat in most projects
and companies. Developers don't have this problem. They solve a problem and
move on to the next one. Then they get involved with us IxDers and think, "I
don't have time for this crap - I have a tree view control to build."

I understand the need to theorize and swim around in the deep end (sorry
about the mixed metaphors here), but in my experience, this is what turns
developers off, and developers are the people who ultimately build out what
we recommend. We need to appeal to them by making the tough decisions
without flinching and saying "It depends". Granted, they are not on this
list, so we don't need to worry about it much here, but you know what I
mean.

-r-

On 6/26/06, Mark Schraad <mschraad at mac.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> If this was an eye to eye conversation, I might agree with this
> extremely simplistic analogy. But given that we are restricted to
> plain text, you could not be more wrong. The use of specific or
> technical words for clarification and specificity is crucial in a
> forum or email format. Even the most elementary of psych classes - or
> just the observation of life's exchanges, shows that the majority of
> communication comes form subtext (everything else that goes along
> with the words: voice inflection, facial expression, physical
> posture, font size, capitalization, etc. Granted, simple writing of
> complex ideas is a gift and a pleasure to read (Malcon Gladwell is
> particularly good at this), but the rest of us are most likely just
> trying to get our point across in this forum, just a little more
> accurately.
>

26 Jun 2006 - 11:34am
Mark Schraad
2006

Robert,

You make some great points. I think that if you (not specifically
you) are on this list you are amongst the choir. But I do think half
the battle for good design is a sober look at our own myopic and ego
centric vision. Maybe this is not an issue for you, but for most of
the designers I have worked with, that have worked for me, and
particularly those coming out of school this is a challenge.

I consider myself an evangelist for user testing and user centered
development. I realize that it slows things down a bit, but not that
much. But I believe it easily pays for itself if problems are found
up front. I also think the larger part of why design takes a back
seat is that we typically shy away from spending time with
nondesigners, and as a rule have not been schooled in business or
engineer speak. And if we can't communicate effectively, we can not
convince and are readily dismissed... and appropriately so.

I see this as a forum for discussion of all things theoretical and
the directly applicable to the IxDA. I would like to think that
increasing our influence for better products is within both of those
categories. "it depends" is often a way of avoiding a knee jerk
reaction to a problem I do not fully understand. There is no fault in
avoiding a wrong decision by further researching or defining the
problem.

Incidentally, I think it is pretty easy do do average UE work by
winging it or using heuristic knowledge. I think it can be an
extraordinarily hard job to do it really well in a deadline driven
corporate environment.

Mark

On Jun 26, 2006, at 11:08 AM, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:

> I wasn't referring to the use of 50-cent words.
>
> I'm saying that, most of the time, it seems like we try to
> overcomplicate things that are in reality very simple. This stuff
> isn't hard. Yes, we need to constantly learn and grow and learn
> some more, but for the most part, the ability to design an
> effective application is so insanely easy, I can't believe they pay
> me so much to do it. Moreover, I can't believe it's so difficult
> for developers and the like to do it themselves.
>
> The best use for this list is for designers to bounce ideas off of
> each other, and when that happens, it's great. But we spend a lot
> of time floating around in the thin air of speculation and theory
> when we don't need to. It's part of the reason design takes such a
> back seat in most projects and companies. Developers don't have
> this problem. They solve a problem and move on to the next one.
> Then they get involved with us IxDers and think, "I don't have time
> for this crap - I have a tree view control to build."
>
> I understand the need to theorize and swim around in the deep end
> (sorry about the mixed metaphors here), but in my experience, this
> is what turns developers off, and developers are the people who
> ultimately build out what we recommend. We need to appeal to them
> by making the tough decisions without flinching and saying "It
> depends". Granted, they are not on this list, so we don't need to
> worry about it much here, but you know what I mean.
>
> -r-
>
>
>
> On 6/26/06, Mark Schraad <mschraad at mac.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> If this was an eye to eye conversation, I might agree with this
> extremely simplistic analogy. But given that we are restricted to
> plain text, you could not be more wrong. The use of specific or
> technical words for clarification and specificity is crucial in a
> forum or email format. Even the most elementary of psych classes - or
> just the observation of life's exchanges, shows that the majority of
> communication comes form subtext (everything else that goes along
> with the words: voice inflection, facial expression, physical
> posture, font size, capitalization, etc. Granted, simple writing of
> complex ideas is a gift and a pleasure to read (Malcon Gladwell is
> particularly good at this), but the rest of us are most likely just
> trying to get our point across in this forum, just a little more
> accurately.
>

26 Jun 2006 - 12:44pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> You make some great points. I think that if you (not specifically
> you) are on this list you are amongst the choir. But I do think half
> the battle for good design is a sober look at our own myopic and ego
> centric vision. Maybe this is not an issue for you, but for most of
> the designers I have worked with, that have worked for me, and
> particularly those coming out of school this is a challenge.

Definitely - but you know, you have to have an ego to think you can design
an application that works well for half a million people. Almost every
application I touch is used by a HUGE number of people. And since I'm in
exactly the "deadline driven corporate environment" you refer to, I have to
be able to say, with great confidence, all the time, "This is how it must be
done". Of course, I also have to be *right* as often as possible.

To prove what's working and what isn't, we do usability testing, we talk to
customers, we track stats and click paths and all that, and we refine and
iterate constantly.

Maybe it's a matter of context. In my deadline driven world, I occasionally
have enough time to do what I need to do, and I rarely have time to even
consider applying GDD or UCD into my process. For me, it's ACD or death. I
can learn the ins and outs of an activity very quickly and design for it on
a dime. That fits my schedule. You, and many other people here, may be in
different situations, where there IS time for more thorough research. If so,
I envy you a bit. But at the same time, I don't think all the theorizing and
debate is necessary, because this stuff is just so ... easy.

Sure, I love the academic side of all this, but the real-world side of me
fights it because it gets in the way. The world keeps moving on whether I
know about Fitts' Law or not. I do my best to keep up on every report, every
survey, every theory, but the deadlines always come first.

I consider myself an evangelist for user testing and user centered
> development. I realize that it slows things down a bit, but not that
> much. But I believe it easily pays for itself if problems are found
> up front.

I agree with this as well. In my two-person team, I do all the design work
and the other guy does all the testing. We do both. But I have far more to
design than he can possibly test at the same rate. So even though I agree
with it in principle, it doesn't usually work out to my advantage either.
It'll get better. I'm still only a few months into this position and there's
a long way to go towards defining our process and turning this company's
apps into more effective versions of themselves.

Incidentally, I think it is pretty easy do do average UE work by
> winging it or using heuristic knowledge. I think it can be an
> extraordinarily hard job to do it really well in a deadline driven
> corporate environment.

Thanks for the sympathy. :) But you know, I keep telling my boss when he
thinks I'm getting overloaded that "I haven't done anything hard yet."

I used to be a programmer. That was hard.

-r-

26 Jun 2006 - 12:53pm
Mark Schraad
2006

Believe me - I do feel your pain. The pace will only get faster, more
hectic and we will see more live alpha testing. I am OK with that as
long as we track, learn and iterate.
Mark

On Jun 26, 2006, at 12:44 PM, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:

>
> You make some great points. I think that if you (not specifically
> you) are on this list you are amongst the choir. But I do think half
> the battle for good design is a sober look at our own myopic and ego
> centric vision. Maybe this is not an issue for you, but for most of
> the designers I have worked with, that have worked for me, and
> particularly those coming out of school this is a challenge.
>
> Definitely - but you know, you have to have an ego to think you can
> design an application that works well for half a million people.
> Almost every application I touch is used by a HUGE number of
> people. And since I'm in exactly the "deadline driven corporate
> environment" you refer to, I have to be able to say, with great
> confidence, all the time, "This is how it must be done". Of course,
> I also have to be *right* as often as possible.
>
> To prove what's working and what isn't, we do usability testing, we
> talk to customers, we track stats and click paths and all that, and
> we refine and iterate constantly.
>
> Maybe it's a matter of context. In my deadline driven world, I
> occasionally have enough time to do what I need to do, and I rarely
> have time to even consider applying GDD or UCD into my process. For
> me, it's ACD or death. I can learn the ins and outs of an activity
> very quickly and design for it on a dime. That fits my schedule.
> You, and many other people here, may be in different situations,
> where there IS time for more thorough research. If so, I envy you a
> bit. But at the same time, I don't think all the theorizing and
> debate is necessary, because this stuff is just so ... easy.
>
> Sure, I love the academic side of all this, but the real-world side
> of me fights it because it gets in the way. The world keeps moving
> on whether I know about Fitts' Law or not. I do my best to keep up
> on every report, every survey, every theory, but the deadlines
> always come first.
>
> I consider myself an evangelist for user testing and user centered
> development. I realize that it slows things down a bit, but not that
> much. But I believe it easily pays for itself if problems are found
> up front.
>
> I agree with this as well. In my two-person team, I do all the
> design work and the other guy does all the testing. We do both. But
> I have far more to design than he can possibly test at the same
> rate. So even though I agree with it in principle, it doesn't
> usually work out to my advantage either. It'll get better. I'm
> still only a few months into this position and there's a long way
> to go towards defining our process and turning this company's apps
> into more effective versions of themselves.
>
> Incidentally, I think it is pretty easy do do average UE work by
> winging it or using heuristic knowledge. I think it can be an
> extraordinarily hard job to do it really well in a deadline driven
> corporate environment.
>
> Thanks for the sympathy. :) But you know, I keep telling my boss
> when he thinks I'm getting overloaded that "I haven't done anything
> hard yet."
>
> I used to be a programmer. That was hard.
>
> -r-

26 Jun 2006 - 2:11pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

I'm with you on that one!

Thanks for the great debate. Nice to be challenged sometimes. :)

-r-

On 6/26/06, Mark Schraad <mschraad at mac.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Believe me - I do feel your pain. The pace will only get faster, more
> hectic and we will see more live alpha testing. I am OK with that as
> long as we track, learn and iterate.
> Mark
>
> On Jun 26, 2006, at 12:44 PM, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:
>
> >
> > You make some great points. I think that if you (not specifically
> > you) are on this list you are amongst the choir. But I do think half
> > the battle for good design is a sober look at our own myopic and ego
> > centric vision. Maybe this is not an issue for you, but for most of
> > the designers I have worked with, that have worked for me, and
> > particularly those coming out of school this is a challenge.
> >
> > Definitely - but you know, you have to have an ego to think you can
> > design an application that works well for half a million people.
> > Almost every application I touch is used by a HUGE number of
> > people. And since I'm in exactly the "deadline driven corporate
> > environment" you refer to, I have to be able to say, with great
> > confidence, all the time, "This is how it must be done". Of course,
> > I also have to be *right* as often as possible.
> >
> > To prove what's working and what isn't, we do usability testing, we
> > talk to customers, we track stats and click paths and all that, and
> > we refine and iterate constantly.
> >
> > Maybe it's a matter of context. In my deadline driven world, I
> > occasionally have enough time to do what I need to do, and I rarely
> > have time to even consider applying GDD or UCD into my process. For
> > me, it's ACD or death. I can learn the ins and outs of an activity
> > very quickly and design for it on a dime. That fits my schedule.
> > You, and many other people here, may be in different situations,
> > where there IS time for more thorough research. If so, I envy you a
> > bit. But at the same time, I don't think all the theorizing and
> > debate is necessary, because this stuff is just so ... easy.
> >
> > Sure, I love the academic side of all this, but the real-world side
> > of me fights it because it gets in the way. The world keeps moving
> > on whether I know about Fitts' Law or not. I do my best to keep up
> > on every report, every survey, every theory, but the deadlines
> > always come first.
> >
> > I consider myself an evangelist for user testing and user centered
> > development. I realize that it slows things down a bit, but not that
> > much. But I believe it easily pays for itself if problems are found
> > up front.
> >
> > I agree with this as well. In my two-person team, I do all the
> > design work and the other guy does all the testing. We do both. But
> > I have far more to design than he can possibly test at the same
> > rate. So even though I agree with it in principle, it doesn't
> > usually work out to my advantage either. It'll get better. I'm
> > still only a few months into this position and there's a long way
> > to go towards defining our process and turning this company's apps
> > into more effective versions of themselves.
> >
> > Incidentally, I think it is pretty easy do do average UE work by
> > winging it or using heuristic knowledge. I think it can be an
> > extraordinarily hard job to do it really well in a deadline driven
> > corporate environment.
> >
> > Thanks for the sympathy. :) But you know, I keep telling my boss
> > when he thinks I'm getting overloaded that "I haven't done anything
> > hard yet."
> >
> > I used to be a programmer. That was hard.
> >
> > -r-
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

26 Jun 2006 - 7:27pm
Katie Albers
2005

>[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>> You make some great points. I think that if you (not specifically
>> you) are on this list you are amongst the choir. But I do think half
>> the battle for good design is a sober look at our own myopic and ego
>> centric vision. Maybe this is not an issue for you, but for most of
>> the designers I have worked with, that have worked for me, and
> > particularly those coming out of school this is a challenge.

<snip>
>Thanks for the sympathy. :) But you know, I keep telling my boss when he
>thinks I'm getting overloaded that "I haven't done anything hard yet."

To paraphrase something Stephen J Gould used to say in his talks
"When you find something to do that everyone else thinks is hard and
you can't imagine why, because it's second nature to you, you've
found your calling." For Robert, it seems his calling is UX (clearly
not programming); that may be true of most of the people on this
list. I have known many people to whom programming is the easiest
thing on earth. Still others can do high level math in their heads. I
knew one chemist who was known for the fact that if you brought him
your research plan and hypothesis, he would tell you right away
whether it was even worth pursuing and he was invariably right -- he
couldn't tell if something was true immediately, but if he said it
was false, it was (of course, he had a Nobel prize in Chemistry,
so....).

I don't think disciplines are, of themselves, hard or easy. The
practitioner either suits or doesn't suit the needs of the discipline
(and vice versa). The apptitude for some disciplines is less common
than the apptitude for others.

This is not to say that there is no learning, experience, trial and
error, apprenticeship or other start-up needed for a practitioner of
*any* discipline. Just that the acquisition of that background and
knowledge seems "natural" when you're in pursuit of your calling.

I don't think anyone is well served by the notion that because it is
easy for the practitioner, the discipline itself is intrinsically
simple, and it makes life harder for those who come after you. The
question is not "Is it easy?", the question is "Is my work enhancing
the value of the project I'm working on?"

Katie

27 Jun 2006 - 2:11am
Simon Asselbergs
2005

> To paraphrase something Stephen J Gould used to say in his talks
> "When you find something to do that everyone else thinks is hard and
> you can't imagine why, because it's second nature to you, you've
> found your calling." For Robert, it seems his calling is UX (clearly
> not programming); that may be true of most of the people on this
> list. I [...]

> I don't think disciplines are, of themselves, hard or easy. The
> practitioner either suits or doesn't suit the needs of the discipline
> (and vice versa). The apptitude for some disciplines is less common
> than the apptitude for others

True. It just depends on who you are. I knew someone who did 4 university
studies the same time (all A+ there) and was still bored. Everything was too easy for him,
except being social and himself at the same time.

He was also doing chemistry (like me then) and told me he was programming a lot. Some
day I couldn't find him (we often went to a pub) and it happened to be he got mental
about some bug in his code. This is no joke.

--
_______________________________________________

Search for businesses by name, location, or phone number. -Lycos Yellow Pages

http://r.lycos.com/r/yp_emailfooter/http://yellowpages.lycos.com/default.asp?SRC=lycos10

27 Jun 2006 - 7:50am
Mark Schraad
2006

I am not sure if you are getting the point of Gould. When things
don't make sense to others and your vision brings clarity... then you
have something. The notion of hard or easy seams misplaced here. Are
you going through the motions of a rote process??? Or are you taking
the time and effort to push your personal capabilities or expand the
knowledge base, toolset or conceptual framing of the discipline? In a
field such as IxDA, increasing its importance in the eyes of the
uninformed is a charge that each of us should take on
enthusiastically. If it is not important enough for that sort of
effort... why would you even be on the bus?

Mark

On Jun 27, 2006, at 2:11 AM, Simon Asselbergs wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
>> To paraphrase something Stephen J Gould used to say in his talks
>> "When you find something to do that everyone else thinks is hard and
>> you can't imagine why, because it's second nature to you, you've
>> found your calling." For Robert, it seems his calling is UX (clearly
>> not programming); that may be true of most of the people on this
>> list. I [...]
>
>> I don't think disciplines are, of themselves, hard or easy. The
>> practitioner either suits or doesn't suit the needs of the discipline
>> (and vice versa). The apptitude for some disciplines is less common
>> than the apptitude for others
>
> True. It just depends on who you are. I knew someone who did 4
> university
> studies the same time (all A+ there) and was still bored.
> Everything was too easy for him,
> except being social and himself at the same time.
>
> He was also doing chemistry (like me then) and told me he was
> programming a lot. Some
> day I couldn't find him (we often went to a pub) and it happened to
> be he got mental
> about some bug in his code. This is no joke.
>
> --
> _______________________________________________
>
> Search for businesses by name, location, or phone number. -Lycos
> Yellow Pages
>
> http://r.lycos.com/r/yp_emailfooter/http://yellowpages.lycos.com/
> default.asp?SRC=lycos10
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

27 Jun 2006 - 10:44am
Katie Albers
2005

>[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>I am not sure if you are getting the point of Gould. When things
>don't make sense to others and your vision brings clarity... then you
>have something. The notion of hard or easy seams misplaced here. Are
>you going through the motions of a rote process??? Or are you taking
>the time and effort to push your personal capabilities or expand the
>knowledge base, toolset or conceptual framing of the discipline? In a
>field such as IxDA, increasing its importance in the eyes of the
>uninformed is a charge that each of us should take on
>enthusiastically. If it is not important enough for that sort of
>effort... why would you even be on the bus?
>
>Mark

Well, I'm absolutely certain for a variety of reasons that I
understand what he meant. What I'm not sure of is precisely what you
mean.

The origin of this part of the discussion was framed in terms of hard
vs. easy. In this context, "hard" appears to mean things which the
person in question finds difficult, and or unpleasant to complete. So
far as I can tell, it's been unrelated to complexity, expansiveness,
contribution, personal learning or other factors. From all
appearances "It's hard" has been used as a synonym for "It found it
unpleasant."

Actually, it's been my experience that there is a high positive
correlation between the group of people who pursue a practice by rote
and the group of people who consider it "hard".

Mark is right, though, hard and easy are not particularly useful
concepts here, if for no other reason than that they tend to lead to
confused context.

My point, though, is very simple: As a discipline we are poorly
served if we speak of what we do as "Easy" outside that discipline.
It gives people the impression that anyone can do it...and if that
were true the entire Web would be a much different space. Not to
mention all the other contexts of UX. We do, however, suffer under
the pervasive belief that UX is easy, i.e., anyone can do it.

Expertise and experience tend to be harder and harder to isolate the
further you get in a profession. If I were to say "I haven't done
anything hard" it would mean "I almost unconsciously applied a body
of knowledge gained through 15 years of study, courses, reading,
experience with very similar issues, the collective knowledge and
wisdom of those I've worked with over the years and a variety of
other resources and this is the best response under these
circumstances." What people who aren't well-versed in UX will
probably *hear* is "Oh, it's no big deal. Anyone can do it." I'd much
rather see us think and talk in terms of complexity, new problems,
conceptual thinking, and so forth.

kt

27 Jun 2006 - 11:43am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

I'm pretty sure I've found my calling. And yes, it does seem shocking that
people continue to make the same mistakes over and over again in interfaces,
when all it takes is a little common sense to clear up most of them (the
common mistakes). Honestly, it's amazing to me that not everyone can do
this. But I see it every single day.

It's interesting, though, that the result of this thread - about avoiding
academic posturing and getting some skin in the game - is a post about how
we should talk and think in terms of complexity, coneptual thinking, and so
on. This is exactly waht I've been saying we should avoid.

I think trying to change the way developers think is a suicide mission. I'd
rather appeal to them by working the same way they do - by dealing with
tasks and moving on. The way I work fits well into a developer's mental
model of how work is done, and since I deal with developers most often, I've
been able to make quite a bit of headway taking this approach.

You know, I'm not sure I even remember what this thread was about anymore,
but this is a great discussion. :)

-r-

On 6/27/06, Katie Albers <katie at firstthought.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> >[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
> >
> >I am not sure if you are getting the point of Gould. When things
> >don't make sense to others and your vision brings clarity... then you
> >have something. The notion of hard or easy seams misplaced here. Are
> >you going through the motions of a rote process??? Or are you taking
> >the time and effort to push your personal capabilities or expand the
> >knowledge base, toolset or conceptual framing of the discipline? In a
> >field such as IxDA, increasing its importance in the eyes of the
> >uninformed is a charge that each of us should take on
> >enthusiastically. If it is not important enough for that sort of
> >effort... why would you even be on the bus?
> >
> >Mark
>
> Well, I'm absolutely certain for a variety of reasons that I
> understand what he meant. What I'm not sure of is precisely what you
> mean.
>
> The origin of this part of the discussion was framed in terms of hard
> vs. easy. In this context, "hard" appears to mean things which the
> person in question finds difficult, and or unpleasant to complete. So
> far as I can tell, it's been unrelated to complexity, expansiveness,
> contribution, personal learning or other factors. From all
> appearances "It's hard" has been used as a synonym for "It found it
> unpleasant."
>
> Actually, it's been my experience that there is a high positive
> correlation between the group of people who pursue a practice by rote
> and the group of people who consider it "hard".
>
> Mark is right, though, hard and easy are not particularly useful
> concepts here, if for no other reason than that they tend to lead to
> confused context.
>
> My point, though, is very simple: As a discipline we are poorly
> served if we speak of what we do as "Easy" outside that discipline.
> It gives people the impression that anyone can do it...and if that
> were true the entire Web would be a much different space. Not to
> mention all the other contexts of UX. We do, however, suffer under
> the pervasive belief that UX is easy, i.e., anyone can do it.
>
> Expertise and experience tend to be harder and harder to isolate the
> further you get in a profession. If I were to say "I haven't done
> anything hard" it would mean "I almost unconsciously applied a body
> of knowledge gained through 15 years of study, courses, reading,
> experience with very similar issues, the collective knowledge and
> wisdom of those I've worked with over the years and a variety of
> other resources and this is the best response under these
> circumstances." What people who aren't well-versed in UX will
> probably *hear* is "Oh, it's no big deal. Anyone can do it." I'd much
> rather see us think and talk in terms of complexity, new problems,
> conceptual thinking, and so forth.
>
> kt
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

27 Jun 2006 - 11:51am
Mark Schraad
2006

But is this not exactly why so man interfaces are problematic and
disfunctional?

On Jun 27, 2006, at 11:43 AM, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:

> I think trying to change the way developers think is a suicide
> mission. I'd
> rather appeal to them by working the same way they do - by dealing
> with
> tasks and moving on. The way I work fits well into a developer's
> mental
> model of how work is done, and since I deal with developers most
> often, I've
> been able to make quite a bit of headway taking this approach.

The inmates are still running the asylum.

27 Jun 2006 - 12:04pm
Jay Morgan
2006

robert said: * all it takes is a little common sense *
Katie seems to have shown that what is common in one circle can be foreign
to another. With your skills it becomes your responsibility to share what's
common to you with those who can benefit from it. Don't take your work for
granted. It is amazing that some people are so talented and driven. It
should not be amazing that not everyone sees eye to eye.

robert later said: *The way I work fits well into a developer's mental
model of how work is done *
Please be careful about predicting the thoughts of others. Our collective
disciplines work to correct the consequences of this behavior of certain
corporate teams all the time.

It is a great discussion. Thanks for contributing.
Jay

On 6/27/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <rhoekmanjr at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> I'm pretty sure I've found my calling. And yes, it does seem shocking that
> people continue to make the same mistakes over and over again in
> interfaces,
> when all it takes is a little common sense to clear up most of them (the
> common mistakes). Honestly, it's amazing to me that not everyone can do
> this. But I see it every single day.
>
> It's interesting, though, that the result of this thread - about avoiding
> academic posturing and getting some skin in the game - is a post about how
> we should talk and think in terms of complexity, coneptual thinking, and
> so
> on. This is exactly waht I've been saying we should avoid.
>
> I think trying to change the way developers think is a suicide mission.
> I'd
> rather appeal to them by working the same way they do - by dealing with
> tasks and moving on. The way I work fits well into a developer's mental
> model of how work is done, and since I deal with developers most often,
> I've
> been able to make quite a bit of headway taking this approach.
>
> You know, I'm not sure I even remember what this thread was about anymore,
> but this is a great discussion. :)
>
> -r-
>
>
> On 6/27/06, Katie Albers <katie at firstthought.com> wrote:
> >
> > [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> > material.]
> >
> > >[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> > material.]
> > >
> > >I am not sure if you are getting the point of Gould. When things
> > >don't make sense to others and your vision brings clarity... then you
> > >have something. The notion of hard or easy seams misplaced here. Are
> > >you going through the motions of a rote process??? Or are you taking
> > >the time and effort to push your personal capabilities or expand the
> > >knowledge base, toolset or conceptual framing of the discipline? In a
> > >field such as IxDA, increasing its importance in the eyes of the
> > >uninformed is a charge that each of us should take on
> > >enthusiastically. If it is not important enough for that sort of
> > >effort... why would you even be on the bus?
> > >
> > >Mark
> >
> > Well, I'm absolutely certain for a variety of reasons that I
> > understand what he meant. What I'm not sure of is precisely what you
> > mean.
> >
> > The origin of this part of the discussion was framed in terms of hard
> > vs. easy. In this context, "hard" appears to mean things which the
> > person in question finds difficult, and or unpleasant to complete. So
> > far as I can tell, it's been unrelated to complexity, expansiveness,
> > contribution, personal learning or other factors. From all
> > appearances "It's hard" has been used as a synonym for "It found it
> > unpleasant."
> >
> > Actually, it's been my experience that there is a high positive
> > correlation between the group of people who pursue a practice by rote
> > and the group of people who consider it "hard".
> >
> > Mark is right, though, hard and easy are not particularly useful
> > concepts here, if for no other reason than that they tend to lead to
> > confused context.
> >
> > My point, though, is very simple: As a discipline we are poorly
> > served if we speak of what we do as "Easy" outside that discipline.
> > It gives people the impression that anyone can do it...and if that
> > were true the entire Web would be a much different space. Not to
> > mention all the other contexts of UX. We do, however, suffer under
> > the pervasive belief that UX is easy, i.e., anyone can do it.
> >
> > Expertise and experience tend to be harder and harder to isolate the
> > further you get in a profession. If I were to say "I haven't done
> > anything hard" it would mean "I almost unconsciously applied a body
> > of knowledge gained through 15 years of study, courses, reading,
> > experience with very similar issues, the collective knowledge and
> > wisdom of those I've worked with over the years and a variety of
> > other resources and this is the best response under these
> > circumstances." What people who aren't well-versed in UX will
> > probably *hear* is "Oh, it's no big deal. Anyone can do it." I'd much
> > rather see us think and talk in terms of complexity, new problems,
> > conceptual thinking, and so forth.
> >
> > kt
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
_________________________________
Jay A. Morgan
jayamorgan at gmail.com

27 Jun 2006 - 1:09pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> robert later said: *The way I work fits well into a developer's mental
> model of how work is done *
> Please be careful about predicting the thoughts of others. Our collective
> disciplines work to correct the consequences of this behavior of certain
> corporate teams all the time.
>

Oh, believe me, I know - I'm just saying that typically, the developers I've
worked with are very task driven, so I tend to approach them that way. I
make task-driven design decisions the same way they make task-driven
programming decisions. It works well here. I imagine it would be true in
other companies as well, generally speaking. I could be wrong.

-r-

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