Apparently, IxD is not obscure enough

23 Aug 2007 - 7:29pm
6 years ago
24 replies
386 reads
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

Interesting little observation from a project I'm working on:

I, as an interaction designer, make recommendations and *everyone* has an
opinion. This is normal, of course, and I expect it. But my accessibility
expert makes recommendations and shoots down ideas left and right, and
everyone just bows down and concedes.

I think maybe interaction design doesn't sound complicated enough. Maybe we
need to make it sound more complicated, like it's something incredibly
obscure that you couldn't possibly understand unless you spend at least a
month at the library.

;)

(Yes, I realize that debate is a good thing, and my client is great, so no
don't mistake this for a complaint post.)

-r-

Comments

23 Aug 2007 - 7:39pm
SemanticWill
2007

Have all of you taken Tog's interaction test? Have fun - the only reason I
ask is that we have a ton of theory to back us up - but because we are "user
friendly" we don't bring Fitt's Law out much - or talk about the 10 tons of
research behind our gut reactions to design ideas.

Any sufficiently advanced magic...

On 8/23/07, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <robert at rhjr.net> wrote:
>
> Interesting little observation from a project I'm working on:
>
> I, as an interaction designer, make recommendations and *everyone* has an
> opinion. This is normal, of course, and I expect it. But my accessibility
> expert makes recommendations and shoots down ideas left and right, and
> everyone just bows down and concedes.
>
> I think maybe interaction design doesn't sound complicated enough. Maybe
> we
> need to make it sound more complicated, like it's something incredibly
> obscure that you couldn't possibly understand unless you spend at least a
> month at the library.
>
> ;)
>
> (Yes, I realize that debate is a good thing, and my client is great, so no
> don't mistake this for a complaint post.)
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>

--
~ we

-------------------------------------
n: will evans
t: user experience architect
e: wkevans4 at gmail.com

-------------------------------------

23 Aug 2007 - 7:52pm
SemanticWill
2007

Actually - this is bugging me somewhat. There is a ton of hci research done.
Most of us know and can refer to the appropriate law, axiom, rule which
motivates x decision. Perhaps this is what R is talking about - it's not
shrouded in enough mystery because - by our nature and dna - we want to be
understandable - ergo -

On 8/23/07, W Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Have all of you taken Tog's interaction test? Have fun - the only reason I
> ask is that we have a ton of theory to back us up - but because we are "user
> friendly" we don't bring Fitt's Law out much - or talk about the 10 tons of
> research behind our gut reactions to design ideas.
> y,z
> Any sufficiently advanced magic...
>
>
> On 8/23/07, Robert Hoekman, Jr. < robert at rhjr.net> wrote:
> >
> > Interesting little observation from a project I'm working on:
> >
> > I, as an interaction designer, make recommendations and *everyone* has
> > an
> > opinion. This is normal, of course, and I expect it. But my
> > accessibility
> > expert makes recommendations and shoots down ideas left and right, and
> > everyone just bows down and concedes.
> >
> > I think maybe interaction design doesn't sound complicated enough. Maybe
> > we
> > need to make it sound more complicated, like it's something incredibly
> > obscure that you couldn't possibly understand unless you spend at least
> > a
> > month at the library.
> >
> > ;)
> >
> > (Yes, I realize that debate is a good thing, and my client is great, so
> > no
> > don't mistake this for a complaint post.)
> >
> > -r-
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
> >
>
>
>
> --
> ~ we
>
> -------------------------------------
> n: will evans
> t: user experience architect
> e: wkevans4 at gmail.com
>
> -------------------------------------
>

--
~ we

-------------------------------------
n: will evans
t: user experience architect
e: wkevans4 at gmail.com

-------------------------------------

23 Aug 2007 - 7:53pm
SemanticWill
2007

Actually - this is bugging me somewhat. There is a ton of hci research done.
Most of us know and can refer to the appropriate law, axiom, rule which
motivates x decision. Perhaps this is what R is talking about - it's not
shrouded in enough mystery because - by our nature and dna - we want to be
understandable - ergo - no mystery - no theory - when the opposite is true.
We just work like hell to make it seem easy and intuitive.

On 8/23/07, W Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Have all of you taken Tog's interaction test? Have fun - the only reason I
> ask is that we have a ton of theory to back us up - but because we are "user
> friendly" we don't bring Fitt's Law out much - or talk about the 10 tons of
> research behind our gut reactions to design ideas.
> y,z
> Any sufficiently advanced magic...
>
>
> On 8/23/07, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <robert at rhjr.net> wrote:
> >
> > Interesting little observation from a project I'm working on:
> >
> > I, as an interaction designer, make recommendations and *everyone* has
> > an
> > opinion. This is normal, of course, and I expect it. But my
> > accessibility
> > expert makes recommendations and shoots down ideas left and right, and
> > everyone just bows down and concedes.
> >
> > I think maybe interaction design doesn't sound complicated enough. Maybe
> > we
> > need to make it sound more complicated, like it's something incredibly
> > obscure that you couldn't possibly understand unless you spend at least
> > a
> > month at the library.
> >
> > ;)
> >
> > (Yes, I realize that debate is a good thing, and my client is great, so
> > no
> > don't mistake this for a complaint post.)
> >
> > -r-
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
> >
>
>
>
> --
> ~ we
>
> -------------------------------------
> n: will evans
> t: user experience architect
> e: wkevans4 at gmail.com
>
> -------------------------------------
>

--
~ we

-------------------------------------
n: will evans
t: user experience architect
e: wkevans4 at gmail.com

-------------------------------------

24 Aug 2007 - 9:35am
andrew_hinton a...
2007

I also suspect that the Accessibility person comes with some
built-in gravitas -- to disagree with him/her would sound like you
want to harm the disabled. Plus, dismissing them would run the
risk of legal entanglement (if this is in the US with the Americans with
Disabilities Act).

We need an Americans with Interaction Design That Doesn't Suck Act.

---
Andrew Hinton
Vanguard User Experience Group
personal: inkblurt.com

"Robert Hoekman, Jr." <robert at rhjr.net>
Sent by: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
08/23/2007 08:29 PM

To
IxDA <discuss at ixda.org>
cc

Subject
[IxDA Discuss] Apparently, IxD is not obscure enough

Interesting little observation from a project I'm working on:

I, as an interaction designer, make recommendations and *everyone* has an
opinion. This is normal, of course, and I expect it. But my accessibility
expert makes recommendations and shoots down ideas left and right, and
everyone just bows down and concedes.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
CONFIDENTIALITY STATEMENT. The information contained in this e-mail message, including attachments, is the confidential information of, and/or is the property of, Vanguard. The information is intended for use solely by the individual or entity named in the message. If you are not an intended recipient or you received this in error, then any review, printing, copying, or distribution of any such information is prohibited, and please notify the sender immediately by reply e-mail and then delete this e-mail from your system.

24 Aug 2007 - 9:52am
bminihan
2007

I find this discussion interesting, because I haven't had the good fortune to have a dedicated accessibility-expert on projects. Perhaps it's just the way I learned UCD methods and design (by fire, primarily, with some very good mentors and well-timed reading), but I always assumed that interaction design required accessibility expertise. Am I completely off-base in thinking that an interactive design must be interactive for as many people as possible, including visually, auditory, motor or situationally impaired (when the target audience naturally includes such groups)?

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

---- andrew_hinton at vanguard.com wrote:
> I also suspect that the Accessibility person comes with some
> built-in gravitas -- to disagree with him/her would sound like you
> want to harm the disabled. Plus, dismissing them would run the
> risk of legal entanglement (if this is in the US with the Americans with
> Disabilities Act).
>
> We need an Americans with Interaction Design That Doesn't Suck Act.
>
>
> ---
> Andrew Hinton
> Vanguard User Experience Group
> personal: inkblurt.com
>
>
>
>
>
> "Robert Hoekman, Jr." <robert at rhjr.net>
> Sent by: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> 08/23/2007 08:29 PM
>
> To
> IxDA <discuss at ixda.org>
> cc
>
> Subject
> [IxDA Discuss] Apparently, IxD is not obscure enough
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Interesting little observation from a project I'm working on:
>
> I, as an interaction designer, make recommendations and *everyone* has an
> opinion. This is normal, of course, and I expect it. But my accessibility
> expert makes recommendations and shoots down ideas left and right, and
> everyone just bows down and concedes.
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> CONFIDENTIALITY STATEMENT. The information contained in this e-mail message, including attachments, is the confidential information of, and/or is the property of, Vanguard. The information is intended for use solely by the individual or entity named in the message. If you are not an intended recipient or you received this in error, then any review, printing, copying, or distribution of any such information is prohibited, and please notify the sender immediately by reply e-mail and then delete this e-mail from your system.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org

--
- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

24 Aug 2007 - 9:57am
bminihan
2007

Fumble fingers today, but wanted to clarify...

"...but I always assumed that interaction designER required accessibility expertise."

---- bjminihan at nc.rr.com wrote:
> I find this discussion interesting, because I haven't had the good fortune to have a dedicated accessibility-expert on projects. Perhaps it's just the way I learned UCD methods and design (by fire, primarily, with some very good mentors and well-timed reading), but I always assumed that interaction design required accessibility expertise. Am I completely off-base in thinking that an interactive design must be interactive for as many people as possible, including visually, auditory, motor or situationally impaired (when the target audience naturally includes such groups)?
>
>
> - Bryan
> http://www.bryanminihan.com
>
> ---- andrew_hinton at vanguard.com wrote:
> > I also suspect that the Accessibility person comes with some
> > built-in gravitas -- to disagree with him/her would sound like you
> > want to harm the disabled. Plus, dismissing them would run the
> > risk of legal entanglement (if this is in the US with the Americans with
> > Disabilities Act).
> >
> > We need an Americans with Interaction Design That Doesn't Suck Act.
> >
> >
> > ---
> > Andrew Hinton
> > Vanguard User Experience Group
> > personal: inkblurt.com
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > "Robert Hoekman, Jr." <robert at rhjr.net>
> > Sent by: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> > 08/23/2007 08:29 PM
> >
> > To
> > IxDA <discuss at ixda.org>
> > cc
> >
> > Subject
> > [IxDA Discuss] Apparently, IxD is not obscure enough
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Interesting little observation from a project I'm working on:
> >
> > I, as an interaction designer, make recommendations and *everyone* has an
> > opinion. This is normal, of course, and I expect it. But my accessibility
> > expert makes recommendations and shoots down ideas left and right, and
> > everyone just bows down and concedes.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > CONFIDENTIALITY STATEMENT. The information contained in this e-mail message, including attachments, is the confidential information of, and/or is the property of, Vanguard. The information is intended for use solely by the individual or entity named in the message. If you are not an intended recipient or you received this in error, then any review, printing, copying, or distribution of any such information is prohibited, and please notify the sender immediately by reply e-mail and then delete this e-mail from your system.
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>
> --
> - Bryan
> http://www.bryanminihan.com
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org

--
- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

24 Aug 2007 - 10:22am
Anonymous

As a web guy, I'm coming from a frontend background slowly moving
into the IxD field and my view is this,

- Accessibility should always be as good as it possibly can. (Why not?)
- Sometimes you have to deal with reality/nature of a project.
(resources, competence, etc)

- When is the argument for it stronger?
-- Government sector - stronger (everyone must be able to use it,
democracy and all that)
-- Service/business sector - weaker (yes, it would be lovely if our
site could work for 100% of all visitors, but we want to focus on to
give 90% of all visitors an exceptional experience simply because
we'll make more money that way and if accessibility suffers, so be it.)
- There's always an excuse with cutting down on accessibility ;)

//Johan

On Aug 24, 2007, at 4:57 PM, <bjminihan at nc.rr.com>
<bjminihan at nc.rr.com> wrote:

> Fumble fingers today, but wanted to clarify...
>
> "...but I always assumed that interaction designER required
> accessibility expertise."
>
> ---- bjminihan at nc.rr.com wrote:
>> I find this discussion interesting, because I haven't had the good
>> fortune to have a dedicated accessibility-expert on projects.
>> Perhaps it's just the way I learned UCD methods and design (by
>> fire, primarily, with some very good mentors and well-timed
>> reading), but I always assumed that interaction design required
>> accessibility expertise. Am I completely off-base in thinking
>> that an interactive design must be interactive for as many people
>> as possible, including visually, auditory, motor or situationally
>> impaired (when the target audience naturally includes such groups)?
>>
>>
>> - Bryan
>> http://www.bryanminihan.com
>>
>> ---- andrew_hinton at vanguard.com wrote:
>>> I also suspect that the Accessibility person comes with some
>>> built-in gravitas -- to disagree with him/her would sound like you
>>> want to harm the disabled. Plus, dismissing them would run the
>>> risk of legal entanglement (if this is in the US with the
>>> Americans with
>>> Disabilities Act).
>>>
>>> We need an Americans with Interaction Design That Doesn't Suck Act.
>>>
>>>
>>> ---
>>> Andrew Hinton
>>> Vanguard User Experience Group
>>> personal: inkblurt.com
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> "Robert Hoekman, Jr." <robert at rhjr.net>
>>> Sent by: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
>>> 08/23/2007 08:29 PM
>>>
>>> To
>>> IxDA <discuss at ixda.org>
>>> cc
>>>
>>> Subject
>>> [IxDA Discuss] Apparently, IxD is not obscure enough
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Interesting little observation from a project I'm working on:
>>>
>>> I, as an interaction designer, make recommendations and
>>> *everyone* has an
>>> opinion. This is normal, of course, and I expect it. But my
>>> accessibility
>>> expert makes recommendations and shoots down ideas left and
>>> right, and
>>> everyone just bows down and concedes.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> --
>>> CONFIDENTIALITY STATEMENT. The information contained in this e-
>>> mail message, including attachments, is the confidential
>>> information of, and/or is the property of, Vanguard. The
>>> information is intended for use solely by the individual or
>>> entity named in the message. If you are not an intended recipient
>>> or you received this in error, then any review, printing,
>>> copying, or distribution of any such information is prohibited,
>>> and please notify the sender immediately by reply e-mail and then
>>> delete this e-mail from your system.
>>> ________________________________________________________________
>>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>>> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
>>> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
>>> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>>> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
>>> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>>
>> --
>> - Bryan
>> http://www.bryanminihan.com
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
>> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>
> --
> - Bryan
> http://www.bryanminihan.com
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>

24 Aug 2007 - 10:52am
bminihan
2007

I hear you, and understand your point. I have a similar background (from tech support, to network engineering, to web development, database design, web architecture then home (where I belong) to interface design). I guess I always assume I'm behind the curve (due to the above) and went down the path of "if I'm not driving accessibility into everything, I'm not being an "interaction designer". Like you, I learn more every day, so it helps to hear other viewpoints this space provides.

I completely agree that technical, business and creative pressures will/can impact every design decision, and accessibility seems to be design-related, for many folks.

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

---- "Johan Sjöstrand" <johan.sjostrand at hyperisland.se> wrote:
> As a web guy, I'm coming from a frontend background slowly moving
> into the IxD field and my view is this,
>
> - Accessibility should always be as good as it possibly can. (Why not?)
> - Sometimes you have to deal with reality/nature of a project.
> (resources, competence, etc)
>
> - When is the argument for it stronger?
> -- Government sector - stronger (everyone must be able to use it,
> democracy and all that)
> -- Service/business sector - weaker (yes, it would be lovely if our
> site could work for 100% of all visitors, but we want to focus on to
> give 90% of all visitors an exceptional experience simply because
> we'll make more money that way and if accessibility suffers, so be it.)
> - There's always an excuse with cutting down on accessibility ;)
>
> //Johan

24 Aug 2007 - 11:15am
andrew_hinton a...
2007

I think any IxD professional should have a thorough grounding in CHI
principles, just like IA principles, writing practices, and other stuff.

But some things are complex enough (or high-profile enough in an
organization) to require a dedicated expert. For example, we have a PhD
level efficiency expert on our staff who focuses entirely on UI
efficiency. But that doesn't mean our Interaction Designers don't need to
understand efficiency :-)

I'm assuming an organization with a dedicated Accessibility person has
even more concern about compliance with regulations than most
organizations do, so that's their full-time focus. There's research and
legal precedent happening every day around accessibility issues, so this
person likely stays busy keeping up.

---
Andrew Hinton
Vanguard User Experience Group
personal: inkblurt.com

<bjminihan at nc.rr.com>
08/24/2007 10:52 AM

To
andrew_hinton at vanguard.com
cc
"Robert Hoekman, Jr." <robert at rhjr.net>,
discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com, IxDA <discuss at ixda.org>
Subject
Re: [IxDA Discuss] Apparently, IxD is not obscure enough

Am I completely off-base in thinking that an interactive design must be
interactive for as many people as possible, including visually, auditory,
motor or situationally impaired (when the target audience naturally
includes such groups)?

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

----------------------------------------------------------------------
CONFIDENTIALITY STATEMENT. The information contained in this e-mail message, including attachments, is the confidential information of, and/or is the property of, Vanguard. The information is intended for use solely by the individual or entity named in the message. If you are not an intended recipient or you received this in error, then any review, printing, copying, or distribution of any such information is prohibited, and please notify the sender immediately by reply e-mail and then delete this e-mail from your system.

24 Aug 2007 - 11:42am
Michael Micheletti
2006

I'm a little surprised that we haven't discussed accessibility more
frequently in this forum.

It's challenging to design and build good web applications. It's
exceptionally challenging to design and build good web applications that
also meet the WAI's accessibility guidelines. For those of you unfamiliar,
here's the address of their "10 Quick Tips" page:

http://www.w3.org/WAI/quicktips/

One of the most difficult of the WAI recommendations is to provide alternate
content in case scripting is unavailable. The reason for this is that screen
readers and other assisting technology may not support Javascript or other
active content. It's pretty hard to create a scripting-intensive web
application that remains effective after failing softly into a noscript
mode.

If you ever have opportunity to observe a visually disabled person
navigating the web with the assistance of screen reader software, please do
so. I know the experience made a big impression on me.

Michael Micheletti

On 8/24/07, andrew_hinton at vanguard.com <andrew_hinton at vanguard.com> wrote:
>
> I also suspect that the Accessibility person comes with some
> built-in gravitas -- to disagree with him/her would sound like you
> want to harm the disabled. Plus, dismissing them would run the
> risk of legal entanglement (if this is in the US with the Americans with
> Disabilities Act).
>
> We need an Americans with Interaction Design That Doesn't Suck Act.
>

24 Aug 2007 - 11:56am
.pauric
2006

"No sympathy for the designer"

Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of form and function
Ive been around for a long, long year
Discussed many an opinion

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

When I saw it was a time for a change
To work on the interaction
My meetings we full of rage
People thought I was a distraction

Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

I watched with glee
While developers & usability
Fought for ten decades
It made no sense to me

Let me please introduce myself
Im a man of form and function
But whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, Woo, who
Oh yeah!
Tell me baby, whats my name
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name
Tell me baby, whats my name
I tell you one time, users are to blame

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the improved ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=19706

24 Aug 2007 - 12:08pm
bminihan
2007

Also important is that the WAI guidelines aren't just for the impaired, they help everyone, at one point or another:

* If you've ever had to view a page over someone's shoulder, legible fonts make a big difference
* If you've ever had to use one of those "pencil eraser" laptop mice, tabbing through a page relieves a lot of digital pain
* If you've ever had to connect to your company web site from a hotel in Europe, turning off images or having a "text-only" page helps you get to dinner on time
* If you've ever been forced to "update your JRE" or download an MS patch, alternates to applet controls help you get the job done when your versions clash
* If you sit in a cube-farm, video & audio transcripts are required to get the message without bugging your coworkers

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

---- Michael Micheletti <michael.micheletti at gmail.com> wrote:
> If you ever have opportunity to observe a visually disabled person
> navigating the web with the assistance of screen reader software, please do
> so. I know the experience made a big impression on me.
>
> Michael Micheletti
>

24 Aug 2007 - 12:21pm
Anonymous

On Aug 24, 2007, at 7:08 PM, <bjminihan at nc.rr.com> wrote:
> * If you've ever had to connect to your company web site from a
> hotel in Europe, turning off images or having a "text-only" page
> helps you get to dinner on time

What Europe are you referring to? Hands up those who has a 100mbit
down / 10mbit up fiber connection for 35 bucks /month.

/the happy swede

24 Aug 2007 - 12:28pm
bminihan
2007

Hehehehe...

No offense intended to Europe, I was referring to my company's VPN pipe and the fact that our production portal is in the U.S. =] Of course, everything else went just fine =]

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

---- "Johan Sjöstrand" <johan.sjostrand at hyperisland.se> wrote:
>
> On Aug 24, 2007, at 7:08 PM, <bjminihan at nc.rr.com> wrote:
> > * If you've ever had to connect to your company web site from a
> > hotel in Europe, turning off images or having a "text-only" page
> > helps you get to dinner on time
>
> What Europe are you referring to? Hands up those who has a 100mbit
> down / 10mbit up fiber connection for 35 bucks /month.
>
> /the happy swede
>

--

24 Aug 2007 - 2:07pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Aug 23, 2007, at 5:29 PM, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:

> I, as an interaction designer, make recommendations and *everyone*
> has an
> opinion. This is normal, of course, and I expect it. But my
> accessibility
> expert makes recommendations and shoots down ideas left and right, and
> everyone just bows down and concedes.

My advice, if you don't mind me stepping in... Stop making
"recommendations" and start designing.

Whenever I have issues about people questioning my judgement, I find
that getting back to acting like a designer -- as one who makes
decisions, builds prototypes, draws pixel accurate mockups, writes
technical specs, drives a meeting to consensus and resolution, and
generally keeps pressing forward with the project -- tends to clear
it right up.

If there's any "truth" I've learned about being a designer, it's that
doing and building is if anything the correct approach. So I always
work towards building prototypes, regardless of the project. My
entire process is set up around driving towards a prototype. It's
really hard to argue with a functioning prototype and really easy to
argue with a vague wireframe or workflow diagram.

There's no need to make it more complicated. In fact, I think what
you are experiencing is that you aren't making it simpler for people
to agree with you. Start creating deliverables that make it simple
for others to go your way. In my view, that's what a prototype provides.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

24 Aug 2007 - 2:33pm
Mark Schraad
2006

Most of the concerns I have fielded regarding accessibility on the
web are in regards to site readers and the html/java formatting that
the readers can not manage. I always questions the notion of
rewriting code when it would be so much easier to update the site
reader software. I don't mean to be insensitive here, but why move
the mountain when you can build a road around it?

Mark

On Aug 24, 2007, at 12:42 PM, Michael Micheletti wrote:

> I'm a little surprised that we haven't discussed accessibility more
> frequently in this forum.

24 Aug 2007 - 3:21pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> My advice, if you don't mind me stepping in... Stop making
> "recommendations" and start designing.

>From the harsh reaction, I'm guessing you have someone on your team who's
not doing his job and you've assumed I'm suffering from the same issue. I
assure you, this is not the case here. It's also interesting that you'd
assume such a thing based on the tiny amount of information I provided in my
first post. It's simply not enough to go on to make such a leap.

These debates so far have been about the structure of an app I'm designing.
Specifically, the client argued that they didn't want a product page to be
part of their catalog system. They wanted to send users straight from a
search result set to a reader type app for reading the digital resources
offered by the system. My argument was that, by excluding a product details
page, they were missing a core opportunity to A) reveal more info about the
product, B) suggest other, related products, thereby encouraging further
usage of the system, and C) scale their offering to include the ability to
rate and review the products. They were also breaking a user expectation
that clicking a search result would take them to a new page about that
result.

In other words, they were arguing in favor of breaking a *very standard*
commerce system model, despite all the very positive points for following
it.

I designed the page in question. I showed it to them. They got it. They're
sold on the idea. Rest assured, I'm doing my job.

What I was trying to communicate was that the accessibility expert didn't
have to do any of this. She simply states a few facts and calls it a day. No
arguments there. Just thought it was humorous, hence the ";)" at the end of
my post.

Incidentally, all an interaction designer can do most of the time, really,
is make recommendations (whether in words or in prototypes or something
else). IxDs rarely have authoritative power. In the end, the inmates are
still running most asylums. This is especially true when you are a vendor
rather than part of an in-house software or ENG team.

Also, anyone can argue about anything they want, and people argue about
functioning prototypes *all the time*. Without debate like this, what drives
us to become better designers?

If I worked where you work, I'd quit. It's easy to be right all the time if
no one makes you justify and validate your ideas, and I don't want to be
right all the time. Being wrong makes me better.

-r-

24 Aug 2007 - 3:23pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> I don't mean to be insensitive here, but why move
> the mountain when you can build a road around it?

Nice point. But what do you do when you have no power to get the road built?

I mean, we push browser makers all the time to comply with standards, and
it's taken a couple of decades to get this far. How do you propose we get
screen-reader makers to improve their offerings?

-r-

24 Aug 2007 - 3:54pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Aug 24, 2007, at 1:21 PM, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:

> From the harsh reaction, I'm guessing you have someone on your team
> who's not doing his job and you've assumed I'm suffering from the
> same issue. I assure you, this is not the case here. It's also
> interesting that you'd assume such a thing based on the tiny amount
> of information I provided in my first post. It's simply not enough
> to go on to make such a leap.

Wasn't trying to make a logical leap, just riffing off the exact
words you wrote. (You did say "recommendations.") As I'm sure most
will tell you who know me, I just tend to use overly direct language
that in my head is very matter fact (deadpan if you will) but tends
to come off to others as being harsh. Sometimes excessively harsh. So
my apologies if it comes off harsh.

> These debates so far have been about the structure of an app I'm
> designing. Specifically, the client argued that they didn't want a
> product page to be part of their catalog system. They wanted to
> send users straight from a search result set to a reader type app
> for reading the digital resources offered by the system. My
> argument was that, by excluding a product details page, they were
> missing a core opportunity to A) reveal more info about the
> product, B) suggest other, related products, thereby encouraging
> further usage of the system, and C) scale their offering to include
> the ability to rate and review the products. They were also
> breaking a user expectation that clicking a search result would
> take them to a new page about that result.

Did you show them a functioning prototype during this debate that
exemplified your point in the way you think it should be designed?

> What I was trying to communicate was that the accessibility expert
> didn't have to do any of this. She simply states a few facts and
> calls it a day. No arguments there. Just thought it was humorous,
> hence the ";)" at the end of my post.

Not sure what to tell you then. But off the humorous slant you made,
you also stated something that was a bit far fetched, don't you
think? (That IxD is not obscure enough.) To the point that others
responded to it seriously.

> Incidentally, all an interaction designer can do most of the time,
> really, is make recommendations (whether in words or in prototypes
> or something else). IxDs rarely have authoritative power. In the
> end, the inmates are still running most asylums. This is especially
> true when you are a vendor rather than part of an in-house software
> or ENG team.

Here's where I'l be direct again, sorry. it's just my nature.

I hear this defeatist attitude all of the time. At least in my
opinion, it's a defeatist attitude. I find it not very worthwhile. I
also think it's not a strong way to approach the job. I've done both
in-house deign work and design work as a vendor and service provider.
I understand both contexts pretty well now and the issues are largely
the same. In fact, I find EASIER to get things done as a vendor than
as in-house. However, what is the same is that earning respect and
having people give you the responsibility as a designer to do the job
requires a lot of experience on the part of the designer and the
ability by the designer to make others know that they are in good
hands by doing so. That and building prototypes makes the job a
thousand times more enjoyable across the board.

> Also, anyone can argue about anything they want, and people argue
> about functioning prototypes *all the time*. Without debate like
> this, what drives us to become better designers?

They can argue all they want, but the other great part about
functioning prototypes is that you can put users in front of them and
also get their feedback on what works. So people can argue all they
want, but often times it's hard to argue with stuff that works.

> If I worked where you work, I'd quit. It's easy to be right all the
> time if no one makes you justify and validate your ideas, and I
> don't want to be right all the time. Being wrong makes me better.

Building a prototype is the ultimate expression of having to justify
and validate one's ideas, because after you've done all that great
work drawing up a mockup or whatnot, you actually have to see if you
like it for real in day to day use by actually building it. Building
a prototype is not about being right all the time. In fact, I prefer
to find out where I've failed and need to rethink my approach at the
prototype level than having engineers build stuff only to find out
after they've built it where I was wrong.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

24 Aug 2007 - 4:28pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

I'm almost afraid to engage in this any further, but I'm a trouble-maker, so
off I go.

> Did you show them a functioning prototype during this debate that
> exemplified your point in the way you think it should be designed?

Didn't need to. A wireframe was all it took. But yes, I understand the value
of prototypes and I use them regularly.

Not sure what to tell you then. But off the humorous slant you made,
> you also stated something that was a bit far fetched, don't you
> think? (That IxD is not obscure enough.) To the point that others
> responded to it seriously.

It was meant purely as a humorous riff amongst fellow practitioners, but it
does seem I hit a nerve somewhere.

I hear this defeatist attitude all of the time. At least in my
> opinion, it's a defeatist attitude. I find it not very worthwhile.

Clearly, you don't know me at all. ;)

I'm the guy who advocates "design dictators". I'm the guy who says,
publically and loudly, that you need to designate someone as a design
dictator so that someone takes change and makes decisions, and does so in
the interest of getting things done. I say this person should be questioned
at every step, but should ultimately be empowered to make the call.

In fact, I find EASIER to get things done as a vendor than
> as in-house.

So do I, most of the time. After all, the client came to *me*, and hired me,
as an expert. They wouldn't do that unless they believed it was needed and
that the person could be trusted. But that never means 100% backing on
everything you say, nor should it.

However, what is the same is that earning respect and
> having people give you the responsibility as a designer to do the job
> requires a lot of experience on the part of the designer and the
> ability by the designer to make others know that they are in good
> hands by doing so.

I'm aware. I've been doing this for a while myself.

They can argue all they want, but the other great part about
> functioning prototypes is that you can put users in front of them and
> also get their feedback on what works. So people can argue all they
> want, but often times it's hard to argue with stuff that works.

It's not "hard" to argue with a functioning prototype. It's actually very
easy. It's hard to argue with results.

Building a prototype is the ultimate expression of having to justify
> and validate one's ideas, because after you've done all that great
> work drawing up a mockup or whatnot, you actually have to see if you
> like it for real in day to day use by actually building it.

Not sure I agree that "liking it" is justification enough for one's design
decisions. And not every situation allows for usability testing, nor does
usability testing guarantee flawless, indisputable information. I
wholeheartedly agree that "eating your own dog food" is extremely valuable,
but you can't rely on it all by itself, just like you can't rely on anything
else all by itself. there are no silver bullets in design.

Clearly, you think prototypes are the ultimate tool. They can be at times,
sure, but they don't replace hammers, wrenches, and screwdrivers. To
bastardize a common phrase, "it takes a toolbox".

-r-

24 Aug 2007 - 6:02pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Aug 24, 2007, at 2:28 PM, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:

> Clearly, you think prototypes are the ultimate tool. They can be at
> times, sure, but they don't replace hammers, wrenches, and
> screwdrivers. To bastardize a common phrase, "it takes a toolbox".

I'll bite... how do you build a prototype *without* hammers, wrenches
and screwdrivers?

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

>
> -r-

24 Aug 2007 - 6:53pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> I'll bite... how do you build a prototype *without* hammers, wrenches
> and screwdrivers?

Depends on how we're defining hammers, wrenches, and screwdrivers. You don't
need a prototype to run a usability test, and you don't need to run a
usability test to produce a prototype. So usability testing can be a
"hammer" that has nothing to do with prototyping.

And design is not always about design tools, because some design tools are
intangible. Sometimes it's about leadership, manipulation, empathy, cunning,
and other things in your toolbox as a designer that can't possibly be
brought to light through a prototype. Sometimes it's a matter of simply
being convincing.

You don't need to be convincing to build a prototype, nor do you need a
prototype to be convincing.

This conversation is getting quite figurative now, but it's interesting.

-r-

24 Aug 2007 - 7:14pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Aug 24, 2007, at 4:53 PM, Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:

> Depends on how we're defining hammers, wrenches, and screwdrivers.
> You don't need a prototype to run a usability test, and you don't
> need to run a usability test to produce a prototype. So usability
> testing can be a "hammer" that has nothing to do with prototyping.

It appears you're defining the "prototype" itself as a tool, whereas
I'm treating the prototype as a result of using my tools. Subtle
difference probably, but an important one if so.

> And design is not always about design tools, because some design
> tools are intangible.

Some design tools are intangible? Like which ones? How do you justify
making decisions that impact the bottom line to executives using
"intangible" tools or even "intangible" processes?

> You don't need to be convincing to build a prototype, nor do you
> need a prototype to be convincing.

But if you build a convincing prototype, I guarantee that you'll love
your job a thousand times more (because quite frankly, building a
prototype is the *fun* part of the job), engineers, product managers
and company executives will treat everything you do an order of
magnitude higher on the respect meter, and you'll probably get a
pretty big raise in the process.

Are prototypes the be all end all for us as designers?.... I could
take the easy road and say no... or it depends... or whatever. The
truth is that I think that yes, they are. Prototypes are the ultimate
expression of the product design without having to build and
manufacture the product itself. Just like building scale models for
architects, or wooden concept cars in automobile design, or
storyboarding a movie as a director, or any number of ways people
build a test version of the product before committing to the final
design.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

24 Aug 2007 - 7:40pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> Some design tools are intangible? Like which ones?

Well, like the ones I mentioned in the last post, after I said some design
tools were intangible (leadership, manipulation ...).

How do you justify
> making decisions that impact the bottom line to executives using
> "intangible" tools or even "intangible" processes?

Let's say I have a conversation with someone. This person asks me what I
think about a new feature (not yet built). We chat for a few and I bring up
potential issues, ways I think it could/should be done, without ever
creating a single deliverable. This person walks away and builds the thing
based on what I said. (Heck, maybe he builds a prototype. Lots of IxDs work
with prototypers.)

I've contributed to/guided the design using nothing but conversation. I
justify this by knowing it works, and that it happens. My knowledge and
experience is what justifies and validates the ideas, and my ability to be
convincing is what pushes it forward. These are design tools.

I'm sure you've done this exact thing. We all have.

But if you build a convincing prototype, I guarantee that you'll love
> your job a thousand times more (because quite frankly, building a
> prototype is the *fun* part of the job), engineers, product managers
> and company executives will treat everything you do an order of
> magnitude higher on the respect meter, and you'll probably get a
> pretty big raise in the process.

I'm sensing that you really like prototypes. Not sure why. ;)

I enjoy building *quick* prototypes often, and higher-quality prototypes
occasionally, but I can't say I love it any more than any other part of my
job.

I think what I love the most is that IxD is a constant study of human nature
and the practice of designing the interaction between humans and the world
around them (duck! It's another "definition"!). I love learning more about
the brain, how people function and think and work, and ... patterns. I
*love* thinking about patterns, finding patterns, etc. Patterns are far more
interesting to me than prototypes.

I guess I see a prototype as a tool, and patterns and principles and such as
the guiding forces and justification for the creation of and need for the
tools. I'm more interested in the guiding forces. Prototypes can make the
invisible visible - sure - but the thought process that gets it there is far
more interesting to me. Patterns - in people and in design - allow my brain
to go places new and exciting - to have new ideas - whereas prototypes force
me to spend time ironing out things I've already thought up.

Prototypes are very conducive to getting into that glorious
FLOW/immersive/Zen/meditative state, and I love that, and they're great for
ironing out details, but I love the freedom of imagination most of all.

Oh, and prototyping definitely won't get me a raise. I run the company.

-r-

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