The Umbrella, Heller's comments on "A rose by any other name"

21 Apr 2004 - 5:51pm
902 reads
Beth Mazur

At 7:57 PM +0100 4/21/04, kjnarey wrote:
>I was under the impression that the 'umbrella' was decided collectively as
>'interaction design' - hence the gloriously cosmopolitan and diverse brood
>we communicate with on this list.

Not for me. This gloriously cosmopolitan and diverse IxD brood may be filling
in a hole that isn't served by an existing organization, but from my perspective
it is more on a par with AIfIA...a group that has both "big" and "little"
aspects to it. The "big" makes you think that you're the umbrella...but there
are other "bigs" who think they are umbrella-like too!

See Peter Morville's "Big Architect, Little Architect" for one IA's perspective
on this:
(Note the date...from 2000!)

Ginny Redish made a similar argument with information design (behind STC
lockup at as
did Dirk Knemeyer (

And there are those who think that usablity==user-centered design
servces as a nice umbrella concept too.

Somewhere, someplace I made the comment that it is probably tilting at
windmills to try and get a term that people view as tactical (like IA, usability
or IxD) as an umbrella term. I'm not wild about user experience, but at
least it doesn't have that disadvantage.

Challis Hodge has a great diagram that illustrates this umbrella concept. I
don't know that I exactly agree with his four pillars (though the arrows
imply there are more than four), but IxD is clearly not the umbrella. See:

Beth Mazur

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