Design Masters Thesis & Extent of Realization

12 Dec 2007 - 11:45pm
6 years ago
34 replies
2545 reads
Jack L. Moffett
2005

I took part yesterday in a Thesis Committee meeting for a student
working on a project for her Masters degree in design. She is
designing a website with the purpose of facilitating a community for
female cancer victims. There was a fair amount of discussion
surrounding how far she must take the project to be granted the
degree. There were faculty members on the committee from other visual
arts disciplines, and they expect a thesis project to result in a
finished work of art. There was some discomfort in the suggestion that
the website would not have to be implemented and put into use for her
to complete her thesis and her degree.

While the student very much wants to build and launch the site and is
working on getting the sponsorship/funding and collaborators with the
necessary skill sets to make it a reality, it is my own opinion that
her thesis is much more about the process she followed and what she
has learned than it is about the final artifact. I and the other
design faculty argued that as long as the design was completed
satisfactorily, she could deliver her thesis and receive her degree
before implementation has finished.

I know that when I was working on my own Masters degree, there was no
expectation that my project would result in running software. With the
advances in web application development in recent years, and with
technologies such as Ruby on Rails and Flash making "running software"
a more accessible possibility to those without a degree in software
engineering, I wonder if expectations are increasing.

I'd like to hear what the IxDA community thinks about it.

Best,
Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

There is no good design that is not
based on the understanding of people.

- Stefano Marzano
CEO of Philips Design

Comments

13 Dec 2007 - 1:06am
Melvin Jay Kumar
2007

Hi Jack,

I did my Masters by research actually, and I thought I would provide
my 2 cents. ;P

The question in my view is not about a finished product ready to be
launched and used, as that goes beyond the research area, and involves
other items that are more inline to business.

It all depends on the expectations and purpose of the thesis. Usually
it is bring you through the process of research and second your
research questions.

>From a process perspective, a theory only research would do, no need
to proof practically if your research is applicable.

>From a research standpoint, the question is has the thesis questions
been answered using the work that has been created.

I would think you would need to create a prototype that can show how
it can and will be used and how it answers your questions you started
out with.

But, without a usable prototype it would be hard to show how your
research can help and does solve the questions.

But I have read a lot of research papers which are very much theory
based without any practical implementations or minimal emphasis on
them.

Regards,

Jay Kumar

On 12/13/07, Jack Moffett <jmoffett at inmedius.com> wrote:
> I took part yesterday in a Thesis Committee meeting for a student
> working on a project for her Masters degree in design. She is
> designing a website with the purpose of facilitating a community for
> female cancer victims. There was a fair amount of discussion
> surrounding how far she must take the project to be granted the
> degree. There were faculty members on the committee from other visual
> arts disciplines, and they expect a thesis project to result in a
> finished work of art. There was some discomfort in the suggestion that
> the website would not have to be implemented and put into use for her
> to complete her thesis and her degree.
>
> While the student very much wants to build and launch the site and is
> working on getting the sponsorship/funding and collaborators with the
> necessary skill sets to make it a reality, it is my own opinion that
> her thesis is much more about the process she followed and what she
> has learned than it is about the final artifact. I and the other
> design faculty argued that as long as the design was completed
> satisfactorily, she could deliver her thesis and receive her degree
> before implementation has finished.
>
> I know that when I was working on my own Masters degree, there was no
> expectation that my project would result in running software. With the
> advances in web application development in recent years, and with
> technologies such as Ruby on Rails and Flash making "running software"
> a more accessible possibility to those without a degree in software
> engineering, I wonder if expectations are increasing.
>
> I'd like to hear what the IxDA community thinks about it.
>
> Best,
> Jack
>
>
>
> Jack L. Moffett
> Interaction Designer
> inmedius
> 412.459.0310 x219
> http://www.inmedius.com
>
>
> There is no good design that is not
> based on the understanding of people.
>
> - Stefano Marzano
> CEO of Philips Design
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

13 Dec 2007 - 5:05am
Jonas Löwgren
2003

As someone who architected the Masters program in Interaction Design
here at Malmö University, and co-teaching it for nine years now, I
have to disagree somewhat with Jay Kumar and take a middle road here.

Designing and prototyping is an essential part of the Masters, as I
see it, and one of the things that sets it apart from a degree in
human-computer interaction or cognitive science.

It is not that the prototype illustrates something already thought,
but what you are looking for is rather signs that the students is
capable of thinking by sketching and prototyping.

Plus, a prototype can be assessed in ways that a non-built design
can't (including, but certainly not limited to, conventional "user
testing.")

On the other hand, implementation and deployment usually falls far
outside the topical scope of a Masters thesis in interaction design.
Not to mention how far outside a normal student's time, skill and
resource limits it falls. Deploying a community website fully is
something completely different from finishing a work of visual art,
in my opinion.

To get back to your specific case, Jack, if your student had done her
degree work at our school I suppose I would have been looking for

- a design detailed to the level of a prototype presenting her new
ideas on how to "facilitate a community for female cancer victims", plus

- a good line of arguments backing her claim that the new design
would in fact facilitate the community. This is not equal to
"building the whole site, deploying, observing use in practice" but
could be approached by, e.g., a triangulation of
-- field studies of existing communities,
-- sociological theory on bereavement/illness community mechanisms,
-- reasoning around key design decisions and explored alternatives, and
-- experiments with elements of her key ideas through roleplay,
dramatization, or longitudinal mid-fi off-the-shelf-component-based
prototype testing.

Regards,
Jonas Löwgren

13 Dec 2007 - 3:59am
nishchal
2007

Hello,

I am a research student and about to wrap up my work. This is a timely discussion for me because I am exactly in the same situation. My research is related to collaborative problem-solving support. To be precise, I am working on a 'system' (synchronous/same time-same place) for knowledge capture, management, and ussage to support collaborative problem solving and also support related dynamics such as rationale of the session and shared-understanding of the problem/perspectives.

Now, I have proposed data structure/ process flow/architecture/interactions etc. I get in to trouble when I like to test the system. I have been using low-fidility prototypes (paper-based) and results are always dealt with a sense of doubt.

I will appreciate any views or directions to clear my confusion.

Regards,
Nishchal> Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 14:06:19 +0800> From: melvink2 at gmail.com> To: jmoffett at inmedius.com> CC: discuss at ixda.org> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Design Masters Thesis & Extent of Realization> > Hi Jack,> > I did my Masters by research actually, and I thought I would provide> my 2 cents. ;P> > The question in my view is not about a finished product ready to be> launched and used, as that goes beyond the research area, and involves> other items that are more inline to business.> > It all depends on the expectations and purpose of the thesis. Usually> it is bring you through the process of research and second your> research questions.> > > >From a process perspective, a theory only research would do, no need> to proof practically if your research is applicable.> > >From a research standpoint, the question is has the thesis questions> been answered using the work that has been created.> > I would think you would need to create a prototype that can show how> it can and will be used and how it answers your questions you started> out with.> > But, without a usable prototype it would be hard to show how your> research can help and does solve the questions.> > But I have read a lot of research papers which are very much theory> based without any practical implementations or minimal emphasis on> them.> > Regards,> > Jay Kumar> > On 12/13/07, Jack Moffett <jmoffett at inmedius.com> wrote:> > I took part yesterday in a Thesis Committee meeting for a student> > working on a project for her Masters degree in design. She is> > designing a website with the purpose of facilitating a community for> > female cancer victims. There was a fair amount of discussion> > surrounding how far she must take the project to be granted the> > degree. There were faculty members on the committee from other visual> > arts disciplines, and they expect a thesis project to result in a> > finished work of art. There was some discomfort in the suggestion that> > the website would not have to be implemented and put into use for her> > to complete her thesis and her degree.> >> > While the student very much wants to build and launch the site and is> > working on getting the sponsorship/funding and collaborators with the> > necessary skill sets to make it a reality, it is my own opinion that> > her thesis is much more about the process she followed and what she> > has learned than it is about the final artifact. I and the other> > design faculty argued that as long as the design was completed> > satisfactorily, she could deliver her thesis and receive her degree> > before implementation has finished.> >> > I know that when I was working on my own Masters degree, there was no> > expectation that my project would result in running software. With the> > advances in web application development in recent years, and with> > technologies such as Ruby on Rails and Flash making "running software"> > a more accessible possibility to those without a degree in software> > engineering, I wonder if expectations are increasing.> >> > I'd like to hear what the IxDA community thinks about it.> >> > Best,> > Jack> >> >> >> > Jack L. Moffett> > Interaction Designer> > inmedius> > 412.459.0310 x219> > http://www.inmedius.com> >> >> > There is no good design that is not> > based on the understanding of people.> >> > - Stefano Marzano> > CEO of Philips Design> >> > ________________________________________________________________> > *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*> > February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA> > Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/> >> > ________________________________________________________________> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org> > Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe> > List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines> > List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help> >> ________________________________________________________________> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/> > ________________________________________________________________> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
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13 Dec 2007 - 7:58am
.pauric
2006

Jack: "There were faculty members on the committee from other visual
arts disciplines, and they expect a thesis project to result in a
finished work of art."

Without knowing the members it would seem that this is a
misunderstanding in the normal process of design and implementation.
The produced 'work of art' should be an interactive prototype with
dummy data backed up with research.

Its possibly worth taking the time to explain the normal deliverables
of designers in the industry, and the consequences of requesting what
they perceive to be the -working- piece of art. Maybe a brief
overview of an implemented website stack should be part of her
thesis?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=23446

13 Dec 2007 - 10:04am
White, Jeff
2007

I'm voicing my opinion strictly as a non-academic, but here's my two cents.

Part of the learning process is implementing what you've researched
and designed. A huge part, actually. How many times do you hear
designers say things like "I can't wait until some of my designs
actually get implemented." Why do they not get implemented? That's a
big question...

I understand there is value in academic research even if it has little
value to industry, or if academic research doesn't always result in a
finished product.

But, perhaps the gap between between academia and industry would be
smaller if academics were more encouraged to go through the process of
actually getting their research based designs built and deployed, in
some way. The criteria in Jack's case could have been - "go through
the process of actually building and launching your product. If you
fail, no biggie, but tell us what you learned."

Jeff

13 Dec 2007 - 10:22am
Mark Schraad
2006

The inclusion of art professors, and for that matter studio or craft oriented design professors on a thesis committee or review board for interaction can be problematic. You must choose carefully, and unfortunately, a lot of politic-ing can be involved in this process. Many, many design professors (as well as designers) are only interested in the final results... specifically, how the final piece looks (i.e.: awards, annuals and other beauty pageants). This is a real problem in both academia and anything interactive. Academia is about learning. If student are to be judged by final results, then they might as well go to a trade school. Particularly at the graduate level, the thesis project should be about stretching the limits... putting you and your hypothesis out there to be tested. Failure of a hypothesis should NOT be grounds for not obtaining the degree.

Working in large complex problem solving is more often than not about coordinating and collaborating. The problems an interactive designer is asked to participate in, in the real world, are huge. These are not problems that can be simulated in whole, accurately, in the course of a 30 - 60 hour degree.

Aside from that, I think expecting a designer to code a final website is silly. Must architects build the buildings they design?

my 2 cents

Mark

On Wednesday, December 12, 2007, at 11:46PM, "Jack Moffett" <jmoffett at inmedius.com> wrote:
>I took part yesterday in a Thesis Committee meeting for a student
>working on a project for her Masters degree in design. She is
>designing a website with the purpose of facilitating a community for
>female cancer victims. There was a fair amount of discussion
>surrounding how far she must take the project to be granted the
>degree. There were faculty members on the committee from other visual
>arts disciplines, and they expect a thesis project to result in a
>finished work of art. There was some discomfort in the suggestion that
>the website would not have to be implemented and put into use for her
>to complete her thesis and her degree.
>
>While the student very much wants to build and launch the site and is
>working on getting the sponsorship/funding and collaborators with the
>necessary skill sets to make it a reality, it is my own opinion that
>her thesis is much more about the process she followed and what she
>has learned than it is about the final artifact. I and the other
>design faculty argued that as long as the design was completed
>satisfactorily, she could deliver her thesis and receive her degree
>before implementation has finished.
>
>I know that when I was working on my own Masters degree, there was no
>expectation that my project would result in running software. With the
>advances in web application development in recent years, and with
>technologies such as Ruby on Rails and Flash making "running software"
>a more accessible possibility to those without a degree in software
>engineering, I wonder if expectations are increasing.
>
>I'd like to hear what the IxDA community thinks about it.
>
>Best,
>Jack
>
>
>
>Jack L. Moffett
>Interaction Designer
>inmedius
>412.459.0310 x219
>http://www.inmedius.com
>
>
>There is no good design that is not
>based on the understanding of people.
>
> - Stefano Marzano
> CEO of Philips Design
>
>________________________________________________________________
>*Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
>February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
>Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
>

13 Dec 2007 - 10:19am
Jack L. Moffett
2005

Thanks for the responses so far. You are confirming my own beliefs

pauric wrote:
> Without knowing the members it would seem that this is a
> misunderstanding in the normal process of design and implementation.
> The produced 'work of art' should be an interactive prototype with
> dummy data backed up with research.

That's exactly what I would expect.

Jeff White wrote:
> But, perhaps the gap between between academia and industry would be
> smaller if academics were more encouraged to go through the process of
> actually getting their research based designs built and deployed, in
> some way. The criteria in Jack's case could have been - "go through
> the process of actually building and launching your product. If you
> fail, no biggie, but tell us what you learned."

I can appreciate this, and I certainly encourage my students to take
things as far as they can given their constraints. As I said, she is,
in fact, pursuing this. However, that is a significant undertaking
for a student, and while I think she has what it takes to see it
through, it may take longer than is realistic to expect her to
continue paying tuition just so she can finish it and get her
diploma. Failure, while "no biggie", could cost another $25,000 or
so. If she has done the research, the design, some prototyping, and
can communicate that process and an understanding of what it would
take to follow through, I would argue that's sufficient.

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

When I am working on a problem,
I never think about beauty.
I think only of how to solve the problem.

But when I have finished,
if the solution is not beautiful,
I know it is wrong.

- R. Buckminster Fuller

13 Dec 2007 - 10:36am
Mark Schraad
2006

On Thursday, December 13, 2007, at 10:04AM, "Jeff White" <jwhite31 at gmail.com> wrote:

>But, perhaps the gap between between academia and industry would be
>smaller if academics were more encouraged to go through the process of
>actually getting their research based designs built and deployed, in
>some way.

I think you are partially right here. Academia should be much more enterprising. Academia would be served well if more of the research and criteria were driven by the forces that exist in the marketplace. But often, graduate students and professors do not have sufficient real world experience to even simulate these criteria.

Similarly, the business world might do well to include some of the 'academic' rigor when conducting research. I did an exhaustive heuristic evaluation of an eCommerce site 2 years ago. Just last week the launch of a new site was celebrated, yet none of the business and usability issues were even touched. It does however have a very fun and pretty front page. The response from the agency was along the lines of 'well, we can't tell our client that'. Too often in the 'agency' world, research is simply a method of increasing billing and justifying the projects that will garner more attention for the agency. (pardon me - I think this is sounding like a rant)

Mark

13 Dec 2007 - 11:24am
Dave Malouf
2005

Jack, is this a design degree or a research degree? A design degree is
about craft. Craft is about making.

to answer Mark, an architect IS expected to build something. Either
in 3D tools creating walk through virtual spaces, or to build in
balsa and other materials a representation of the space.

They are required to do this, so that anyone who comes to the piece
understands what the designer is trying to communicate. If all i
delievered was a sketch and blueprints, this would not come through.

I think Jonas nailed in on the head. You have to be able to
prototype, b/c if you can't interact with the solution, you haven't
actually made something that has interaction design modeled enough to
communicate those interactions. The subtelties of IxD require that
transition, flow, and movement are all part of the ending "make"
deliverable. Everything else is just falling short of the real need.
At the masters level you have to make something.

This is very different from a deployable and production ready system.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=23446

13 Dec 2007 - 11:38am
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Dec 13, 2007, at 8:24 AM, David Malouf wrote:

> Jack, is this a design degree or a research degree? A design degree is
> about craft. Craft is about making.

A design degree. Yes, certainly it is about making. I did not say
that she wasn't making anything. I would expect a prototype.

> At the masters level you have to make something.
>
> This is very different from a deployable and production ready system.

This is exactly my point. She has the capability to create a semi-
functional prototype. She could create a video similar to the one
Adaptive Path recently produced for the Charmr. There are many
possible artifacts that can be created as part of her project. But,
she should not be expected, as a requirement to graduate, to put it
into production.

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

In our society,
the scarce factor is not information,
it is time to attend to information.

- Herb Simon

13 Dec 2007 - 11:47am
Mark Schraad
2006

On Thursday, December 13, 2007, at 11:25AM, "David Malouf" <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
>Jack, is this a design degree or a research degree? A design degree is
>about craft. Craft is about making.

Design is not the same as build - and design is not strictly craft. Design is designing... is is an intangible process that in most cases results in an artifact. That artifact may be a conceptual representation of the final result. There are very important differentiations here. For many designers, they are done at the plan stage. Again we circle around to this 'what is design' issue, but IMHO it is much larger than craft.

>
>to answer Mark, an architect IS expected to build something. Either
>in 3D tools creating walk through virtual spaces, or to build in
>balsa and other materials a representation of the space.

No - he builds a simulation or prototype. It can be in the plan descriptions (text), a physical model (materials) or a virtual model (code), but it is not necessarily the final result as stated in the original question.

>
>They are required to do this, so that anyone who comes to the piece
>understands what the designer is trying to communicate. If all i
>delievered was a sketch and blueprints, this would not come through.
>
>I think Jonas nailed in on the head. You have to be able to
>prototype, b/c if you can't interact with the solution, you haven't
>actually made something that has interaction design modeled enough to
>communicate those interactions. The subtelties of IxD require that
>transition, flow, and movement are all part of the ending "make"
>deliverable. Everything else is just falling short of the real need.
>At the masters level you have to make something.
>

A master's degree, and especially a Ph.D, is typically about specificity. Focusing on a portion of a process is often the only way to get that finite.

>This is very different from a deployable and production ready system.
>
>-- dave

13 Dec 2007 - 12:10pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Let me be more concise:

If you don't have a final "thing" that you can interact with; you haven't
completed the design process.

I understand that design is more than craft (I shouldn't have been so
absolute), but I do not believe in "design thinking" in so far as you can't
design without craft. Modeling, simulations, prototypes, etc. are required.
Narrative text and flat images are not good enough when it comes to learning
how to do interaction design.

Even if the master's thesis is looking at something precise, that precision
should be about the interaction and thus should require the right level of
modeling that presents the foundations surrounding that interaction at whose
core is TIME! If you can't experience over time, then you didn't do
interaction design. Maybe the masters degree is not in interaction design
and thus this requirement is moot.

I am in agreement that it does not have to be a complete final product and I
said that implicitly by saying that I agree with Jonas' comments.

-- dave

On Dec 13, 2007 11:47 AM, Mark Schraad <mschraad at mac.com> wrote:

>
> On Thursday, December 13, 2007, at 11:25AM, "David Malouf" <dave at ixda.org>
> wrote:
> >Jack, is this a design degree or a research degree? A design degree is
> >about craft. Craft is about making.
>
> Design is not the same as build - and design is not strictly craft. Design
> is designing... is is an intangible process that in most cases results in an
> artifact. That artifact may be a conceptual representation of the final
> result. There are very important differentiations here. For many designers,
> they are done at the plan stage. Again we circle around to this 'what is
> design' issue, but IMHO it is much larger than craft.
>
> >
> >to answer Mark, an architect IS expected to build something. Either
> >in 3D tools creating walk through virtual spaces, or to build in
> >balsa and other materials a representation of the space.
>
> No - he builds a simulation or prototype. It can be in the plan
> descriptions (text), a physical model (materials) or a virtual model (code),
> but it is not necessarily the final result as stated in the original
> question.
>
> >
> >They are required to do this, so that anyone who comes to the piece
> >understands what the designer is trying to communicate. If all i
> >delievered was a sketch and blueprints, this would not come through.
> >
> >I think Jonas nailed in on the head. You have to be able to
> >prototype, b/c if you can't interact with the solution, you haven't
> >actually made something that has interaction design modeled enough to
> >communicate those interactions. The subtelties of IxD require that
> >transition, flow, and movement are all part of the ending "make"
> >deliverable. Everything else is just falling short of the real need.
> >At the masters level you have to make something.
> >
>
> A master's degree, and especially a Ph.D, is typically about specificity.
> Focusing on a portion of a process is often the only way to get that finite.
>
>
> >This is very different from a deployable and production ready system.
> >
> >-- dave
>
>

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

13 Dec 2007 - 12:50pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Dec 13, 2007, at 12:10 PM, David Malouf wrote:

> Maybe the masters degree is not in interaction design
> and thus this requirement is moot.

I believe the degree is officially in Graphic Design—it is a Graphic
Design program—but the project itself is certainly an interaction
design project, so I wouldn't consider it moot.

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

Things should be as simple as possible,
but no simpler.

- Albert Einstein

13 Dec 2007 - 12:56pm
Dave Malouf
2005

jack, I totally agree w/ you that a production ready version should
not be required. I don't understand why this has anything to do with
the "art" issue. As long as there is someTHING to play, touch, see,
feel that expresses the whole then all the advisors should get what
they need. Anything else is too much for such a degree, especially
a Graphic Design degree. Sheesh!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=23446

13 Dec 2007 - 1:05pm
SemanticWill
2007

I might be misunderstanding here but all processes/methods of "design
thinking," actually call for many interative functional prototypes up
front at the beginning of the design process to inform brainstorming
sessions and validate early blue sky concepts before requirements or
even wireframes are contemplated.
Am I offbase?

will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com
617.281.1281

On Dec 13, 2007, at 12:10 PM, "David Malouf" <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> Let me be more concise:
>
> If you don't have a final "thing" that you can interact with; you
> haven't
> completed the design process.
>
> I understand that design is more than craft (I shouldn't have been so
> absolute), but I do not believe in "design thinking" in so far as
> you can't
> design without craft. Modeling, simulations, prototypes, etc. are
> required.
> Narrative text and flat images are not good enough when it comes to
> learning
> how to do interaction design.
>
> Even if the master's thesis is looking at something precise, that
> precision
> should be about the interaction and thus should require the right
> level of
> modeling that presents the foundations surrounding that interaction
> at whose
> core is TIME! If you can't experience over time, then you didn't do
> interaction design. Maybe the masters degree is not in interaction
> design
> and thus this requirement is moot.
>
> I am in agreement that it does not have to be a complete final
> product and I
> said that implicitly by saying that I agree with Jonas' comments.
>
> -- dave
>
>
> On Dec 13, 2007 11:47 AM, Mark Schraad <mschraad at mac.com> wrote:
>
>>
>> On Thursday, December 13, 2007, at 11:25AM, "David Malouf" <dave at ixda.org
>> >
>> wrote:
>>> Jack, is this a design degree or a research degree? A design
>>> degree is
>>> about craft. Craft is about making.
>>
>> Design is not the same as build - and design is not strictly craft.
>> Design
>> is designing... is is an intangible process that in most cases
>> results in an
>> artifact. That artifact may be a conceptual representation of the
>> final
>> result. There are very important differentiations here. For many
>> designers,
>> they are done at the plan stage. Again we circle around to this
>> 'what is
>> design' issue, but IMHO it is much larger than craft.
>>
>>>
>>> to answer Mark, an architect IS expected to build something. Either
>>> in 3D tools creating walk through virtual spaces, or to build in
>>> balsa and other materials a representation of the space.
>>
>> No - he builds a simulation or prototype. It can be in the plan
>> descriptions (text), a physical model (materials) or a virtual
>> model (code),
>> but it is not necessarily the final result as stated in the original
>> question.
>>
>>>
>>> They are required to do this, so that anyone who comes to the piece
>>> understands what the designer is trying to communicate. If all i
>>> delievered was a sketch and blueprints, this would not come through.
>>>
>>> I think Jonas nailed in on the head. You have to be able to
>>> prototype, b/c if you can't interact with the solution, you haven't
>>> actually made something that has interaction design modeled enough
>>> to
>>> communicate those interactions. The subtelties of IxD require that
>>> transition, flow, and movement are all part of the ending "make"
>>> deliverable. Everything else is just falling short of the real need.
>>> At the masters level you have to make something.
>>>
>>
>> A master's degree, and especially a Ph.D, is typically about
>> specificity.
>> Focusing on a portion of a process is often the only way to get
>> that finite.
>>
>>
>>> This is very different from a deployable and production ready
>>> system.
>>>
>>> -- dave
>>
>>
>
>
> --
> David Malouf
> http://synapticburn.com/
> http://ixda.org/
> http://motorola.com/
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
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13 Dec 2007 - 1:54pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Yes, getting caught up in the differences between institutional
education (the context of this thread) and practice. Prototypes and
modesl are a key element in DT practice. But from what I understand
of DT education/curricula is that they don't teach actual craft
skills that will lead you to do your own prototypes/models/sketches
etc. they only teach you about processes for how to employ those
skills. If I'm wrong, I'm sorry.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=23446

13 Dec 2007 - 5:21pm
Christine Boese
2006

I want to weigh in here with a more theoretical (and more practical?) angle,
at least one I haven't seen brought forward yet.

I have taught interaction design/IA in a program that is more
practically-focused, less art and "high design" side of things, and have
advised a number of these sorts of master's projects (and theses, which more
more of the research product-type). Most of our projects involved working
with real clients, with real deliverables, beyond the requirements of the
master's committee. While we did require usability testing, I don't think it
was a hard rule that the projects actually be launched. Most of the ones I
advised were launched in some form, however.

And I also interviewed for a teaching job in a pretty famous media program
that included TV, Film, and Interactive Media curricula (the interactive
media stuff tended to strongly bias toward "interactive" gallery
installations, while the TV and Film programs were actively placing students
in top industry positions). I made the case that they needed to expand the
Interactive Media option to get beyond the gallery stuff, to reach out to
real audiences for experimental media, as well as become a interactive media
industry feeder program. I didn't get the job, and I feel quite sure the
other candidate interviewed was safely focused on the more insular gallery
world.

But the bigger issue, the REAL issue that bugs me most of the time, that
ties in to this thread here, relates to our very definition of
INTERACTIVITY. (that's the theory side, get out your pointy-headed caps).

Maybe I'm a bit of a radical purist here, but to my mind, the KEY element
that distinguishes designing for interactivity from designing for static
media outputs (from canvas art to TV to music) is that interactive media
REQUIRES audiences with which to interact.

In other words, it isn't interactive unless it can be interacted with.
Previous to that, it can be in various planning and prototyping stages, but
I'd argue that interactivity doesn't happen unless a real audience is
engaged, and that designing for interactivity means designing for REAL
audiences. And since I'm a fan of constructive hypertexts, I'd prefer to go
a step further, and suggest that true interactivity needs contributions from
real audiences, navigational contributions or the ability to "write to" or
co-author the media product.

So I scratched my head at the exclusive gallery-high-art-focus of that
program where I interviewed, because much of what was being held up for high
acclaim (meaning the kind of stuff that would get you tenure) looked to me
like static media in digital format, not "interactive" at all, unless you
count the people's interactive footsies as they walk around in the gallery
for the fancy installation with wine and cheese.

The other issue is power. I'd say the definition of interactivity I work
with, played out logically, REQUIRES power-sharing with real audiences. The
idea of the lone artist in the tower, creating great art to release upon a
waiting and breathless public can't apply to interactive media, because
interactive media HAS to be build with the idea that the audience is a
co-creator with you of the interactive experience. A PARTNER, if you will,
and partnership means power-sharing. The artist has to actively give up
creative power, in order to cede some of that power to an interactive
audience. That would be the wild card in the deck.

But the system I was seeing is focused on ways to honor individual creators
as examples of the highest excellence, rather than honoring those who did
the best power-sharing with real audiences to co-create amazing things
(obviously, there are a great many exemplars doing that right now, and I'd
prefer the merit system honor them more). But how many professors are
getting art/design tenure for truly interactive work that audiences actively
contribute to? I mean, by my definition, anything that develops true viral
legs that morphs and grows with audience contributions, by virtue of its
great collaborative design, should be getting that coveted MacArthur genius
fellow for interactive design, you know?

So that's me being a purist by demanding a practical application, a REAL
audience of co-creators. Master's projects should require testing on real
audiences, social groups, as in casting your bread upon the waters, not
simply a 6-person usability test, where the 6 all complete their tasks
functioning as atomized individuals, and not part of any real and powerful
social dynamic that chooses to be there because it can't wait to interact
with the interface.

1-person designs should be able to get the degree, but they should NOT be
called "interactive" designs unless they can be interactive. I'd say that
means working prototypes, at the very least.

Maybe degrees that don't do that should be called something else.

Chris

On Thu, 13 Dec 2007 09:56:16, David Malouf < dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> jack, I totally agree w/ you that a production ready version should
> not be required. I don't understand why this has anything to do with
> the "art" issue. As long as there is someTHING to play, touch, see,
> feel that expresses the whole then all the advisors should get what
> they need. Anything else is too much for such a degree, especially
> a Graphic Design degree. Sheesh!
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=23446
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

13 Dec 2007 - 4:39pm
Al Matthews
2007

In a school environment, why would a designer not want to create a
working prototype?

Having to code something (and even, frankly, having to face its not
being very good) makes me a much better designer over the long haul.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=23446

13 Dec 2007 - 1:43pm
mauropin
2007

On Dec 13, 2007 3:10 PM, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
>
> Even if the master's thesis is looking at something precise, that precision
> should be about the interaction and thus should require the right level of
> modeling that presents the foundations surrounding that interaction at whose
> core is TIME! If you can't experience over time, then you didn't do
> interaction design. Maybe the masters degree is not in interaction design
> and thus this requirement is moot.
>
> -- dave
>

Dave, I agree that interaction design is related to designing an
experience. But I guess that sometimes could be very difficult to make
it happen, specially when it comes to a masters program. The project
may refer to a technology that is not accessible, or is too expensive,
and may be impossible to simulate the intended interaction.

In such a case, maybe it wouldn't be possible even to make a model.
And, on the other hand, sometimes the real experience won't be
achieved in any other way than with the "real thing".

Tricky...

best,
mauro

--
prof. mauro pinheiro
universidade federal do espírito santo
centro de artes
depto. de desenho industrial

13 Dec 2007 - 4:38pm
Jeremy Yuille
2007

one way we look at this in our programs is to concentrate on
*practice* at the masters level, and unique academic contribution at
the PhD level.

in this way, the background of the candidate will make the greatest
difference on the evaluation of their exegesis.

to explain: our masters of design by research is *usually* done by
project, and usually attracts people who already have an existing
practice (disciplines may & do vary). Candidates will make things, and
reflect on that making/crafting/learning/process etc and are examined
on an exhibition of their *things* + an exegesis tying them all
together wrt design practice. This is usually done in a 1-2 hr
presentation/crit/aural exam at the end of either 2 yrs full time or 4
yrs part time.

for PhD the stakes go up wrt unique contribution and academic
relevance, but the model can be similar, although some do opt to make
a thesis, this is pretty rare.

and yes, finding people who can assess this kind of research (with a
good level of critical insight) is always a challenge. Being in the
antipodes, we usually fly people in for our graduate research
conference every 6 months, (a weekend where all candidates present
work in progress, and exams are done) This tends to acculturate them
to the sensibilities of the programs, and the process we've developed.

http://www.rmit.edu.au/ad/grc

hope this makes sense in this thread...

cheers
jy

On 14/12/2007, at 4:10 AM, David Malouf wrote:

> Let me be more concise:
>
> If you don't have a final "thing" that you can interact with; you
> haven't
> completed the design process.
>
> I understand that design is more than craft (I shouldn't have been so
> absolute), but I do not believe in "design thinking" in so far as
> you can't
> design without craft. Modeling, simulations, prototypes, etc. are
> required.
> Narrative text and flat images are not good enough when it comes to
> learning
> how to do interaction design.
>
> Even if the master's thesis is looking at something precise, that
> precision
> should be about the interaction and thus should require the right
> level of
> modeling that presents the foundations surrounding that interaction
> at whose
> core is TIME! If you can't experience over time, then you didn't do
> interaction design. Maybe the masters degree is not in interaction
> design
> and thus this requirement is moot.

13 Dec 2007 - 6:12pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Dec 13, 2007, at 10:43 AM, mauro pinheiro wrote:

> Dave, I agree that interaction design is related to designing an
> experience. But I guess that sometimes could be very difficult to make
> it happen, specially when it comes to a masters program. The project
> may refer to a technology that is not accessible, or is too expensive,
> and may be impossible to simulate the intended interaction.
>
> In such a case, maybe it wouldn't be possible even to make a model.
> And, on the other hand, sometimes the real experience won't be
> achieved in any other way than with the "real thing".

That used to be true. Technology has flattened and become accessible
and usable by non-engineers to the degree that it is no longer a good
argument. The number of options available for prototyping and making
models of products has very much changed as of the past year or two.

Consider this: Designers inside nearly every single large scale
corporation that make digital products do their production level
design work with off-the-shelf software or opensource solutions. They
can also now use solutions for the prototyping and modeling of their
products as well, not just the production side of things. It's
similar to the transition that happened in the photography industry.
Off the shelf software like Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture are used
by professionals in the industry and expensive proprietary solutions
for photography have largely become obsolete. Given that, anyone with
a reasonably small investment of about $2,000 to $10,000 (depending
on camera and lenses, what computer they want, and which software
product they want to use) can purchase the exact same equipment used
by the pros. The only thing stopping someone from become a pro
photographer is craft, talent, passion and dedication. It's certainly
not the technology anymore.

The same thing is happening for us. Technology or proprietary
solutions needed in the past to build digital prototypes is no longer
a barrier. Between Flash, Silverlight, XHTML+CSS+Javascript (using
either JQuery or Scriptaculous) or any number of prototyping tools
that are starting to emerge, designers in our field can build models
and prototypes for pretty much any kind of digital product.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

13 Dec 2007 - 7:49pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

Not to completely derail the conversation (maybe a topic change?) but ...

I actually experienced similar issues while doing some teaching at
Sheridan college here in Toronto, but in reverse. The students all
had a solid practical foundation in design, but were really lacking
the theory and history side of things. Lots of "how," not much "why."
I found the same thing at OCAD in thier BFA programs.

This is in contrast to the situation you're talking about at the new
breed of design schools, but indicative of the same problem... very
one sided education. Art and design schools should be pushing for a
balance of theory and practice... being a great crafts-person doesn't
mean much if you don't really understand what you're making, and vice
versa.

On Thu, 13 Dec 2007 10:54:27, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
> Yes, getting caught up in the differences between institutional
> education (the context of this thread) and practice. Prototypes and
> modesl are a key element in DT practice. But from what I understand
> of DT education/curricula is that they don't teach actual craft
> skills that will lead you to do your own prototypes/models/sketches
> etc. they only teach you about processes for how to employ those
> skills. If I'm wrong, I'm sorry.

--
Matt Nish-Lapidus
email/gtalk: mattnl at gmail.com
++
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mattnl
Home: http://www.nishlapidus.com

13 Dec 2007 - 8:53pm
Mark Schraad
2006

As a manager, I would much rather have to get someone up to speed
with 'how to do' than 'how to think'. Particularly in graduate school
- the tough part is framing the problem and solving it. I can find
people to prototype an idea anywhere - and for cheap.

Mark

On Dec 13, 2007, at 7:49 PM, Matthew Nish-Lapidus wrote:

> Not to completely derail the conversation (maybe a topic change?)
> but ...
>
> I actually experienced similar issues while doing some teaching at
> Sheridan college here in Toronto, but in reverse. The students all
> had a solid practical foundation in design, but were really lacking
> the theory and history side of things. Lots of "how," not much "why."
> I found the same thing at OCAD in thier BFA programs.
>
> This is in contrast to the situation you're talking about at the new
> breed of design schools, but indicative of the same problem... very
> one sided education. Art and design schools should be pushing for a
> balance of theory and practice... being a great crafts-person doesn't
> mean much if you don't really understand what you're making, and vice
> versa.
>
>
> On Thu, 13 Dec 2007 10:54:27, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
>> Yes, getting caught up in the differences between institutional
>> education (the context of this thread) and practice. Prototypes and
>> modesl are a key element in DT practice. But from what I understand
>> of DT education/curricula is that they don't teach actual craft
>> skills that will lead you to do your own prototypes/models/sketches
>> etc. they only teach you about processes for how to employ those
>> skills. If I'm wrong, I'm sorry.
>
>

14 Dec 2007 - 5:06am
Jonas Löwgren
2003

This discussion (of whether an interaction design Masters project
should prototype, or deploy, or perhaps neither) has attracted some
interest, which is great.

For me, the basics are pretty clear -- you require designerly modes
of working, which includes creating things and listening attentively
as they talk back to you.

But the challenge lies in situations where a typical prototype is not
adequate for capturing the key elements of use experience -- it
doesn't talk back, as it were. Mauro mentioned this out as well.

Andrei replied to Mauro by pointing out that tools are increasingly
becoming available that essentially enable non-engineers to build
"the real thing", or close approximations of it.

I would like to connect back to the initial post from Jack that
sparked the discussion. The example of facilitating a community for
female cancer victims is, in fact, a very challenging case. Not
primarily for technical reasons -- standard Web technologies and
prototyping tools should be sufficient, as per Andrei's post -- but
because it is a fundamentally social situation.

The key elements of use experience in this case are not related to
the interface and the navigation of a web site, but to the ways in
which a woman who has been diagnosed with cancer connects with other
women who are or have been in a similar situation.

How this social structure unfolds and plays out in practice is
virtually impossible to predict based on the backtalk of pencil
sketches, wireframes and prototypes. It is equally impossible to
capture in conventional user testing. Christine makes a similar point
in her discussion of interactivity.

This was the reason for me to make the following, rather complicated,
suggestion of what I would have looked for as a teacher in this case:

> - a design detailed to the level of a prototype presenting her new
> ideas on how to "facilitate a community for female cancer victims",
> plus
>
> - a good line of arguments backing her claim that the new design
> would in fact facilitate the community. This is not equal to
> "building the whole site, deploying, observing use in practice" but
> could be approached by, e.g., a triangulation of
> -- field studies of existing communities,
> -- sociological theory on bereavement/illness community mechanisms,
> -- reasoning around key design decisions and explored alternatives,
> and
> -- experiments with elements of her key ideas through roleplay,
> dramatization, or longitudinal mid-fi off-the-shelf-component-based
> prototype testing.

This situation is increasingly common as notions of "social media"
sweep the corporate world and our students' minds. I find that I
supervise an increasing number of Masters students who want to
develop communities of various kinds. To me, it seems that
sociological theory, media theory and communication theory is growing
in importance for our field along with this development.

We may have to realize that the kinds of prototypes we are used to
consider in interaction design are basically incapable of backtalk on
the level of social emergent structures.

Regards,
Jonas Löwgren

13 Dec 2007 - 11:28pm
Al Matthews
2007

re:- the tough part is framing the problem and solving it. I can find
people to prototype an idea anywhere - and for cheap.

Right, the peons, er, coders... Let them eat SOAP!

Chris Boese, I'm all ears but wonder, persnickety-style, if you're
blending two issues -- what comprises interactivity, and whether
interactivity has something inherent to say about the high-low
culture "divide" (which perhaps is mostly economic remnants of its
old self by this point, no?) -- that muddy each other.

Lots of people have had plenty to say about the "open work" and the
role of the audience; really music might not be the ideal example of
"static output" since as a field it pioneered (think of Bell Labs,
or just John Cage) so much of the interactivity playbook we take as
$$ today.

I don't think that has anything inherently to do with what's good
or bad about the museum/gallery/your-and-my wall spectrum. That's a
tastemaking system -- connoisseurships, maybe -- and hey, to each her
own. Why not?

Yes, I do think it's interesting to force designers to think like
artists sometimes, much as the reverse is certainly true. Visual
designers are supposed to be visual thinkers (and with an emphasis
please on think); interaction designers do their thinking with
interactions. Coders think with code.

So too for -- if I may lift a thread from way back just for
demonstration purposes -- architects: they think with space (e.g.).
Now, as I understand it, in order to do so they have to know not just
CAD but materials, lighting, some mech-e (load bearing, anyone?),
other maths, zoning law, other arts, etc.

Yes, they specialize, and partner, but ultimately an architect not at
home on the building site is a poor one, in the sense of, incomplete.

So a category question, then: are Master's level(!) interaction
designers who can't prototype(!) their interactions, really
designing them?

Or are they just managing somebody else's talent?

Al Matthews

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=23446

14 Dec 2007 - 7:28am
.pauric
2006

Jack, there were two other point that came to mind.

1) I guess it could be explained to the reviewers that while an
implemented site is an conceivable goal. Creating a living/breathing
social community for cancer patients is not something that should be
entered in to for the purposes of getting sign-off on a thesis. A
website 'shell' is a pointless milestone in this context.

When they ask for 'implementation' it should be explained that
they're really asking for a live working community.

2) Sort of a small one, and not really a criticism of the student,
something to file in the lessons-learned category. I feel a
fundamental checkbox for -all- output from a designer is to
'understand your audience'. Be that a spec, an email, a prototype
or an implementation. Maybe it wasnt possible for the student to
know who was going to be on the review board, but if it was, she
could have avoided this misunderstanding by preparing a solid answer
to the question.

Best regards - pauric

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=23446

14 Dec 2007 - 9:01am
Dave Malouf
2005

Chris and Jonas' sparked an idea for me in this thread.

For our work, unless deployed, how do we judge success/failure? I'm
sure this can be translated to other degrees of practice. I mean how
did we know Bilbao was going to be a "success" before it was built.
Most confidently kept their same opinion before (from the model) that
they have after the fact.

What allows other disciplines to have a more confident set of
judgment that doesn't require the full production of the item in
order for it to be envalued?

In the case of this cancer community, I mean how does the student
judge whether their notions of community building in this context
will work? Is it comparative to the successes and failures of other
existing communities (related and unrelated)?

For me this speaks to a strong need to understand the foundations of
our medium so that we can clearly communicate success/failure amongst
each other in the theoretical space.

So even a partial prototype in my mind only works in the environment
of such foundational analysis and maybe lacking that is why those who
come from areas that have those foundations are drawn towards
completion in order to lay a more accurate judgment.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=23446

14 Dec 2007 - 9:56am
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Dec 14, 2007, at 4:28 AM, pauric wrote:

> 1) I guess it could be explained to the reviewers that while an
> implemented site is an conceivable goal. Creating a living/breathing
> social community for cancer patients is not something that should be
> entered in to for the purposes of getting sign-off on a thesis. A
> website 'shell' is a pointless milestone in this context.
>
> When they ask for 'implementation' it should be explained that
> they're really asking for a live working community.

> 2) Sort of a small one, and not really a criticism of the student,
> something to file in the lessons-learned category. I feel a
> fundamental checkbox for -all- output from a designer is to
> 'understand your audience'. Be that a spec, an email, a prototype
> or an implementation. Maybe it wasnt possible for the student to
> know who was going to be on the review board, but if it was, she
> could have avoided this misunderstanding by preparing a solid answer
> to the question.

Thanks Pauric, very good points. That did come up in the discussion.
What it finally boiled down to was a question as to the measures of
success. I suggested that the student think about success based on
the stakeholders in the project. What determines success for her as a
masters student in design? What determines success for the users of
the site—the community? What determines success for her potential
client/sponsor? She needs to specifically state her goals, both in
terms of what she hopes to achieve for her thesis, and what she
eventually hopes to achieve with the project.

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

The public is more familiar with
bad design than good design.
It is, in effect, conditioned
to prefer bad design, because
that is what it lives with.
The new becomes threatening,
the old reassuring.

- Paul Rand

14 Dec 2007 - 11:19am
Christine Boese
2006

Good points Dave, and I agree.

But, in thinking about what Jonas said (and my own position), I would argue
that the "strong need to understand the foundations of
our medium" you mention below must be carefully defined, with the
"foundations" necessarily including equal parts "medium" (the
tools/interfaces) and "interactive social behavior" (sociological/cultural
effects that lead to effective and dynamic community-building).

Favor one side or the other, and we fall short, in other words.

This was the thing, btw, that first fascinated me when doing my
dissertation, when I realized that what I was actually studying was not
human-computer interaction (individual interactions) so much as it was what
happens at the point where interfaces meet cultures (social interactions),
in order to discover how interfaces shape social groups, and how social
groups can shape interfaces (on the fly, or collaboratively-authored in a
specific social contexts).

To my mind, that was how to learn about how larger dynamic and vital virtual
landscapes ultimately shrug themselves into being.

Chris

On Fri, 14 Dec 2007 06:01:44, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> Chris and Jonas' sparked an idea for me in this thread.
>
> For our work, unless deployed, how do we judge success/failure? I'm
> sure this can be translated to other degrees of practice. I mean how
> did we know Bilbao was going to be a "success" before it was built.
> Most confidently kept their same opinion before (from the model) that
> they have after the fact.
>
> What allows other disciplines to have a more confident set of
> judgment that doesn't require the full production of the item in
> order for it to be envalued?
>
> In the case of this cancer community, I mean how does the student
> judge whether their notions of community building in this context
> will work? Is it comparative to the successes and failures of other
> existing communities (related and unrelated)?
>
> For me this speaks to a strong need to understand the foundations of
> our medium so that we can clearly communicate success/failure amongst
> each other in the theoretical space.
>
> So even a partial prototype in my mind only works in the environment
> of such foundational analysis and maybe lacking that is why those who
> come from areas that have those foundations are drawn towards
> completion in order to lay a more accurate judgment.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=23446
>
>
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14 Dec 2007 - 11:38am
Mark Schraad
2006

I think it is important to remember that a masters thesis is part of the educational process. Typically it is started well before the conclusion of class work and research. Many times the problem or project is a vehicle to not only explore what you have learned in graduate school but 'hopefully' solve a problem. But it is still part of the educational process. It is - or should be - a learning process as well. Students need to be able to take risks, bite of a portion of a huge project and to proceed even without assurance of success.

On Friday, December 14, 2007, at 09:35AM, "David Malouf" <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
>Chris and Jonas' sparked an idea for me in this thread.
>
>For our work, unless deployed, how do we judge success/failure? I'm
>sure this can be translated to other degrees of practice. I mean how
>did we know Bilbao was going to be a "success" before it was built.
>Most confidently kept their same opinion before (from the model) that
>they have after the fact.
>
>What allows other disciplines to have a more confident set of
>judgment that doesn't require the full production of the item in
>order for it to be envalued?
>
>In the case of this cancer community, I mean how does the student
>judge whether their notions of community building in this context
>will work? Is it comparative to the successes and failures of other
>existing communities (related and unrelated)?
>
>For me this speaks to a strong need to understand the foundations of
>our medium so that we can clearly communicate success/failure amongst
>each other in the theoretical space.
>
>So even a partial prototype in my mind only works in the environment
>of such foundational analysis and maybe lacking that is why those who
>come from areas that have those foundations are drawn towards
>completion in order to lay a more accurate judgment.

15 Dec 2007 - 2:25pm
Anonymous

Hello Jack,

I totally agree with you. If the student's design had followed the user
centered design methodology or the process that the course expected out of
her, she should be granted her degree.

Getting funding for the website, and actually developing a functional site
are peripherral issues to a core designer. Making this a mandate could
infact distract the student(s) from the very purspose of applying for this
course. Students will be vary of opting for the degree in the future.

Chaitrali Dhole
Sr. Usability Engineer
Persistent Systems, India
001-408 406 1649

18 Dec 2007 - 12:11am
Bill Fernandez
2007

At 12:50 PM -0500 12/13/07, Jack Moffett wrote:
>I believe the degree is officially in Graphic Design-it is a Graphic
>Design program-but the project itself is certainly an interaction
>design project.

I would expect an industrial design student to create a beautifully
crafted model of an intended product, say a scale model of an
automobile, plus a written rationale for the design. But I would not
expect the student to produce a fully functional product (say a
driveable automobile).

I would expect a naval architecture student to produce a blueprint
from which a ship could be built, and perhaps a scale model of the
ship, but not to build a full-size, seaworthy vessel.

I would expect a traditional graphic design student to design
something graphical, say a packaging concept for a line of toys, and
to execute the design in a well-crafted set of comps.

Perhaps since your graphic design student has chosen to design
something interactive, she should create a beautifully crafted model
of her design, and accompany it with her research and rationale. In
this case the model could be the kind of (visually) high fidelity
mockup or prototype that is often done in Flash (or previously in
Director) to give demos to executives and venture capitalists (high
level decision makers) of the intended product. In this way, the
student would have be able to demonstrate the appearance and
interaction style of the design, without having to create a
"prototype" with complete-enough functionality for user testing. The
"design" student should certainly not have to "implement" the design.
That is the job of the computer science student standing before a
thesis board in the next room...

What do you think?
--Bill Fernandez
--

======================================================================
Bill Fernandez * User Interface Architect * Bill Fernandez Design

(505) 346-3080 * bf_list1 AT billfernandez DOT com *
http://billfernandez.com
======================================================================

18 Dec 2007 - 1:13am
White, Jeff
2007

To play devil's advocate...

I think the experience of the designer and CS student working together
to see a project through to implementation is invaluable to each in
many ways. Especially with something like a website or app.

I can see this one either way. When feasible, maybe students should be
encouraged to see something through. If that means going as far as
high fidelity prototypes in Flash, etc and then working with a few
others to actually build, launch and get a real reaction from the
product, then great. That type of experience would be excellent for
any designer, and an asset to a graduate wanting to work in industry.

Jeff

On Dec 18, 2007 12:11 AM, Bill Fernandez <bf_list1 at billfernandez.com> wrote:
The
"design" student should certainly not have to "implement" the design.
That is the job of the computer science student standing before a
thesis board in the next room...

What do you think?

18 Dec 2007 - 2:04am
sava
2007

I recently completed a master's program for which I had to create a new media project. One of the things I struggled with understanding was the expectations of the faculty. In an academic setting, because we are finally judged by our professors, there should be some clear expectations laid down so students would know how far to take their projects - either in terms of conceptualization or actual implementation. Part of the requirement could be to report the process followed, the prototyping/testing carried out, and the results of user testing - of course displaying a working prototype that was used. I think that would be fair even if it isn't implemented in the real world.
thanks for listening/reading =)

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