ADMIN: (read this before posting) RE: Interaction design vs. Usability -> differencesincompetency

20 Jul 2004 - 10:29am
10 years ago
2 replies
710 reads
Dave Malouf
2005

Ok folks, if people are just going to flat ignore me I am going to be forced
to put the list on moderation.

did that get everyone's attention?

First off, we are not here to talk about titles. We have learned over and
over that title talk just angers people and gets everyone no where.

We are here to talk about interaction design as a discipline and NOT as a
title given to a person to describe their role. That being said we are not
going to discuss other discipline's titles either. But as a rule, since this
community is about interaction design, the term interaction designer is more
cleanly understood than other discpline's titles as those who practice
primarily (but not exclusively) interaction design as defined on our web
site (http://interactiondesigners.com; new expanded definitions coming
soon).

Things worthy of talking about in this thread are working on multifaceted
teams.
How do traditional usability professional (akin to Nielsen and Spool) use
usability techniques to innovate and design? This is particularly
interesting since these leaders of usability don't actually do innovation,
to quote Jared Spool, "I'm not a designer." How do these techniques
compliment interaction design techniques such as Contextual Inquiry and
Goal-Directed processes.
What are the international ramifications of our day-to-day practice?

But please, please, please, lets skip the whole title talk. While I do think
titles are important, I do believe this is an issue for the entire UX
community and NOT one specific to this organization nor to interaction
design.

-- dave

_____

From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.
com] On Behalf Of Erika Orrick
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 11:17 AM
To: Dan Saffer; Elizabeth Buie; Interaction Designers
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Interaction design vs. Usability ->
differencesincompetency

It has been my experience that Usability Engineer = Interaction Designer.
People seem to be more familiar with the UE term (techies like Engineer v.
Designer).

Erika

---
Erika Orrick
erika at orrickweb.com

_____

From: Dan Saffer [mailto:dan at odannyboy.com]
Sent: Tue 7/20/2004 10:00 AM
To: Elizabeth Buie; 'Interaction Designers'
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Interaction design vs. Usability -> differences
incompetency

On Jul 20, 2004, at 10:11 AM, Elizabeth Buie wrote:

> Usability *testers* can only test things that are already
> created. Usability *engineers* may also design them.
>

Please enlighten me then as to what usability engineers do: how their
process differs from that of interaction designers. Are they creating
products from scratch or simply modifying existing designs to solve
usability problems? My guess is that anyone who is a "usability
engineer" and doing the former is really practicing interaction design
under a different title.

Dan

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Comments

20 Jul 2004 - 11:55am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Jul 20, 2004, at 11:29 AM, David Heller wrote:

> First off, we are not here to talk about titles. We have learned over
> and over that title talk just angers people and gets everyone no
> where.
>

This isn't a titles discussion per se. It's about the tasks of
interaction designers and how they differ or are the same from the
tasks of usability professionals. It's difficult to do this without
mentioning titles.

> We are here to talk about interaction design as a discipline and NOT
> as a title given to a person to describe their role.

I wholeheartedly agree. But what I was trying to find out is how the
methodology differs (or doesn't) between disciplines.

>
> How do traditional usability professional (akin to Nielsen and Spool)
> use usability techniques to innovate and design? This is particularly
> interesting since these leaders of usability don't actually do
> innovation, to quote Jared Spool, "I'm not a designer." How do these
> techniques compliment interaction design techniques such as Contextual
> Inquiry and Goal-Directed processes.
>

There's been some talk that usability actually HINDERS innovation.
Check out Nico Macdonald's column in The Guardian:

"Usability can be used to improve an innovation, but it can't drive
innovation...Usability has come to dominate thinking about the design
process...Too much user focus may be a barrier to innovation. Research
is likely to tell us that users desire an improvement on something they
already understand. Ask them if they would use a proposed innovation
and they will say no - and then adopt it when they have seen its
utility demonstrated. Recognising this, designers should rise above the
interests of particular users and push their own intuition for
innovation. They might note the sentiment of BBC titan Lord Reith, who
when asked whether he was going to give the people what they wanted,
replied: "No. Something better than that."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/story/0,3605,1068590,00.html

Dan Saffer
M.Des. Candidate, Interaction Design
Carnegie Mellon University
http://www.odannyboy.com

20 Jul 2004 - 12:03pm
Dave Malouf
2005

HI Dan,

The way you coined the below talking about Usability and not Usability
Engineers is fine. If you look at my post, I also talk about "traditional"
or "leaders" in usability as a discipline, which is also OK. If you look at
how the discussion spiraled into one about titles, you will see what I mean.

I think that your point below is worth exploring in terms of looking at how
validating user responses to interfaces by itself cannot be a determinant of
the quality of a user experience, but there are other user-based criteria
that need to be explored.

Personally, if you tested me on an iPod, I would fail miserably, but it is
still a successful product (a damn good one too).

-- dave

-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Saffer [mailto:dan at odannyboy.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 12:55 PM
To: David Heller; 'Interaction Designers'
Subject: Re: ADMIN: (read this before posting) RE: [ID Discuss] Interaction
design vs. Usability -> differencesincompetency

On Jul 20, 2004, at 11:29 AM, David Heller wrote:

> First off, we are not here to talk about titles. We have learned over
> and over that title talk just angers people and gets everyone no
> where.
>

This isn't a titles discussion per se. It's about the tasks of interaction
designers and how they differ or are the same from the tasks of usability
professionals. It's difficult to do this without mentioning titles.

> We are here to talk about interaction design as a discipline and NOT
> as a title given to a person to describe their role.

I wholeheartedly agree. But what I was trying to find out is how the
methodology differs (or doesn't) between disciplines.

>
> How do traditional usability professional (akin to Nielsen and Spool)
> use usability techniques to innovate and design? This is particularly
> interesting since these leaders of usability don't actually do
> innovation, to quote Jared Spool, "I'm not a designer." How do these
> techniques compliment interaction design techniques such as Contextual
> Inquiry and Goal-Directed processes.
>

There's been some talk that usability actually HINDERS innovation.
Check out Nico Macdonald's column in The Guardian:

"Usability can be used to improve an innovation, but it can't drive
innovation...Usability has come to dominate thinking about the design
process...Too much user focus may be a barrier to innovation. Research is
likely to tell us that users desire an improvement on something they already
understand. Ask them if they would use a proposed innovation and they will
say no - and then adopt it when they have seen its utility demonstrated.
Recognising this, designers should rise above the interests of particular
users and push their own intuition for innovation. They might note the
sentiment of BBC titan Lord Reith, who when asked whether he was going to
give the people what they wanted,
replied: "No. Something better than that."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/story/0,3605,1068590,00.html

Dan Saffer
M.Des. Candidate, Interaction Design
Carnegie Mellon University
http://www.odannyboy.com

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