Yes! We most be the best designer of our generation, as well as the best engineer and scientist!
At least this is a reasonable conclusion you could make by following all of the heated arguments in the threads:
* "Design" in Interaction Design?
* The mighty UX guru has spoken - Discuss!!
We are in the midst of creating a new field. If we define this field as GraphicDesign + Computer Engineering + Usability Evaluations + UserResearch = Interaction Designer. Then no interaction designers would ever exist. No one can advanced in all of these equally (but for the occasional Leonardo).
When we define this field, we have to leave out our personal history from the equation. It is human nature to put more value into those things we are better at... and since we all came from different backgrounds we are valuing very different things.
I can not find it, but Jared Spool placed a link to his blog which discussed thinking about this in terms of skills and not roles.
In all of the discussion on what skills we need, I did not see anything that talks about what we do. And by this, I mean, hard core deliverables required for us to design the interactions.
The current standard for doing this is wireframes. It strips out all other design considerations so you can focus in on the interactions. If you do not understand typography or layout or contrast (shades of grey... not color) then our design deliverable will likely be incomprehensible.
The value in understanding usability testing is understanding how to validate your design with the folks who will really be using it. Art does not need validation, design does.
The value of user research is the ability to gain empathy for your users. This empathy is not gained by filling out a persona Grid and picking a picture for that persona. The value is in the process of finding something meaningful in the overwhelming amount of information you got from your time spent with the users.
We need to understand and work closely with the designers responsible for the final look and feel. Form and function interplay with each other. We start the interplay by doing the functional design. They do the form design. We iterate between each other until we feel we each have the best design for our area of responsibility (or you run out of time). [Sure some folks have the skills to do both of these, but I find innovation comes when these two perspectives have to verbally resolve design conflicts... a sane person can rarely argue both sides well through internal dialogue]
We need to understand what it takes to build these designs. No point in designing the best interaction possible if no one can build it within the budget you have for the project.
So, by my definition, to be a good interaction designer you need to:
* Focus in on just the interaction design (the design of the functions)
* Be able to work well with someone responsible for the look and feel (the design of the form)
* Be able to gain empathy with your users
* Be able to validate your designs with your users
* Be able to design something that can be built.