Advice? Dismissal over "no more design"

3 Oct 2008 - 10:29pm
6 years ago
26 replies
1056 reads
Norman
2008

Hi all,

I work in-house as an interaction designer in a technical industry. I am a
senior employee. The company has a massive customer base, and lack of
design is their core problem. I am the interaction designer, and there is
a visual designer I hire on contract. This year, I have laid out full
design plans for next generation products to be made until 2010.

I'm now told that they are *"changing their philosophy."* They want to work
in a more "agile" fashion with all developers doing the design and working
with customers. I don't believe that. I am sure they want to downsize by
1. They are targeting cost-savings with a designer versus a developer, as
they are in a build-it phase and not a heavy design phase for at least 2
years.

Get this. They have offered me a job as an entry level developer bug
fixing an older product (which I also designed), not even for the new
generation products. I last did software programming 8 years ago.
Interaction designer to entry level developer. This is constructive
dismissal (the legal term for the switcheroo). They want me to quit (well
duh, but it took me a while to believe this since I wouldn't in a million
years fire me or someone like me :))

I find this unreal because
- product managers are fully planning to use my design plans for the
forseeable future (2 years) , so their "philosophy change" is patently a lie
- I never thought I'd have to argue that design is a specialized skillset to
the company that desperately wanted these skills
- I was consciously trading benefits of being an entrepreneur for the
stability of in-house work (albeit with less pay)

What am I looking for?

- Advice from someone who has dealt with constructive dismissal or with such
a situation.
- Advice on how I might "proove" that interaction design and developer is
not the same role if this ever gets to court. My employer may argued that
interaction design is just the upfront part of coding so it is a realistic
job change.

thanks,
Norman

Comments

4 Oct 2008 - 7:35pm
SemanticWill
2007

Find a new job at a company that understands the value of design. Run
from this backwards place as fast as possible.

will evans
emotive architect &
hedonic designer
will at semanticfoundry.com
617.281.1281
twitter: semanticwill
aim: semanticwill
gtalk: wkevans4
skype: semanticwill
_________________________
Sent via iPhone

On Oct 4, 2008, at 12:29 AM, "Acuity Corp" <acuitycorp at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> I work in-house as an interaction designer in a technical industry.
> I am a
> senior employee. The company has a massive customer base, and lack of
> design is their core problem. I am the interaction designer, and
> there is
> a visual designer I hire on contract. This year, I have laid out full
> design plans for next generation products to be made until 2010.
>
> I'm now told that they are *"changing their philosophy."* They want
> to work
> in a more "agile" fashion with all developers doing the design and
> working
> with customers. I don't believe that. I am sure they want to
> downsize by
> 1. They are targeting cost-savings with a designer versus a
> developer, as
> they are in a build-it phase and not a heavy design phase for at
> least 2
> years.
>
> Get this. They have offered me a job as an entry level developer bug
> fixing an older product (which I also designed), not even for the new
> generation products. I last did software programming 8 years ago.
> Interaction designer to entry level developer. This is constructive
> dismissal (the legal term for the switcheroo). They want me to quit
> (well
> duh, but it took me a while to believe this since I wouldn't in a
> million
> years fire me or someone like me :))
>
> I find this unreal because
> - product managers are fully planning to use my design plans for the
> forseeable future (2 years) , so their "philosophy change" is
> patently a lie
> - I never thought I'd have to argue that design is a specialized
> skillset to
> the company that desperately wanted these skills
> - I was consciously trading benefits of being an entrepreneur for the
> stability of in-house work (albeit with less pay)
>
>
> What am I looking for?
>
> - Advice from someone who has dealt with constructive dismissal or
> with such
> a situation.
> - Advice on how I might "proove" that interaction design and
> developer is
> not the same role if this ever gets to court. My employer may
> argued that
> interaction design is just the upfront part of coding so it is a
> realistic
> job change.
>
> thanks,
> Norman
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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

4 Oct 2008 - 8:31pm
Cwodtke
2004

seconded. this company will follow its own destiny. find a place whose
philosophy matches yours.

BTW, without a designer (or someone trained in design approaches) they will
make the mistake of turning customer requests into non-viable products. I
see a Homer-mobile in their future.
http://www.yellowmobile.com/blog/homer-car.gif

On Sat, Oct 4, 2008 at 6:35 PM, William Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Find a new job at a company that understands the value of design. Run from
> this backwards place as fast as possible.
>
> will evans
> emotive architect &
> hedonic designer
> will at semanticfoundry.com
> 617.281.1281
> twitter: semanticwill
> aim: semanticwill
> gtalk: wkevans4
> skype: semanticwill
> _________________________
> Sent via iPhone
>
>
>
> On Oct 4, 2008, at 12:29 AM, "Acuity Corp" <acuitycorp at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hi all,
>>
>> I work in-house as an interaction designer in a technical industry. I am
>> a
>> senior employee. The company has a massive customer base, and lack of
>> design is their core problem. I am the interaction designer, and there
>> is
>> a visual designer I hire on contract. This year, I have laid out full
>> design plans for next generation products to be made until 2010.
>>
>> I'm now told that they are *"changing their philosophy."* They want to
>> work
>> in a more "agile" fashion with all developers doing the design and working
>> with customers. I don't believe that. I am sure they want to downsize
>> by
>> 1. They are targeting cost-savings with a designer versus a developer, as
>> they are in a build-it phase and not a heavy design phase for at least 2
>> years.
>>
>> Get this. They have offered me a job as an entry level developer bug
>> fixing an older product (which I also designed), not even for the new
>> generation products. I last did software programming 8 years ago.
>> Interaction designer to entry level developer. This is constructive
>> dismissal (the legal term for the switcheroo). They want me to quit (well
>> duh, but it took me a while to believe this since I wouldn't in a million
>> years fire me or someone like me :))
>>
>> I find this unreal because
>> - product managers are fully planning to use my design plans for the
>> forseeable future (2 years) , so their "philosophy change" is patently a
>> lie
>> - I never thought I'd have to argue that design is a specialized skillset
>> to
>> the company that desperately wanted these skills
>> - I was consciously trading benefits of being an entrepreneur for the
>> stability of in-house work (albeit with less pay)
>>
>>
>> What am I looking for?
>>
>> - Advice from someone who has dealt with constructive dismissal or with
>> such
>> a situation.
>> - Advice on how I might "proove" that interaction design and developer is
>> not the same role if this ever gets to court. My employer may argued that
>> interaction design is just the upfront part of coding so it is a realistic
>> job change.
>>
>> thanks,
>> Norman
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> 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
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

4 Oct 2008 - 8:56pm
.pauric
2006

Norman: "Advice on how I might "prove" that interaction design and
developer is not the same role if this ever gets to court."

Capture & define the user's _workflow_

'Prove' you're an interaction designer by _understanding your
audience_ (external and internal). Differentiate yourself from the
role of developer by advocating 'solutions' over 'features'.

regards /pauric

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33867

4 Oct 2008 - 9:41pm
SemanticWill
2007

Btw: the term "constructive dismissal" is the kind of dishonest
perversion of language that Orwell warned about in his classic article
on language and politics. The spineless syncophant that invented that
term should be forced to go on a pheasant hunting trip with Chaney
after he's knocked back a few 7&7's - just sayin...

will evans
emotive architect &
hedonic designer
will at semanticfoundry.com
617.281.1281
twitter: semanticwill
aim: semanticwill
gtalk: wkevans4
skype: semanticwill
_________________________
Sent via iPhone

On Oct 4, 2008, at 12:29 AM, "Acuity Corp" <acuitycorp at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> I work in-house as an interaction designer in a technical industry.
> I am a
> senior employee. The company has a massive customer base, and lack of
> design is their core problem. I am the interaction designer, and
> there is
> a visual designer I hire on contract. This year, I have laid out full
> design plans for next generation products to be made until 2010.
>
> I'm now told that they are *"changing their philosophy."* They want
> to work
> in a more "agile" fashion with all developers doing the design and
> working
> with customers. I don't believe that. I am sure they want to
> downsize by
> 1. They are targeting cost-savings with a designer versus a
> developer, as
> they are in a build-it phase and not a heavy design phase for at
> least 2
> years.
>
> Get this. They have offered me a job as an entry level developer bug
> fixing an older product (which I also designed), not even for the new
> generation products. I last did software programming 8 years ago.
> Interaction designer to entry level developer. This is constructive
> dismissal (the legal term for the switcheroo). They want me to quit
> (well
> duh, but it took me a while to believe this since I wouldn't in a
> million
> years fire me or someone like me :))
>
> I find this unreal because
> - product managers are fully planning to use my design plans for the
> forseeable future (2 years) , so their "philosophy change" is
> patently a lie
> - I never thought I'd have to argue that design is a specialized
> skillset to
> the company that desperately wanted these skills
> - I was consciously trading benefits of being an entrepreneur for the
> stability of in-house work (albeit with less pay)
>
>
> What am I looking for?
>
> - Advice from someone who has dealt with constructive dismissal or
> with such
> a situation.
> - Advice on how I might "proove" that interaction design and
> developer is
> not the same role if this ever gets to court. My employer may
> argued that
> interaction design is just the upfront part of coding so it is a
> realistic
> job change.
>
> thanks,
> Norman
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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

5 Oct 2008 - 8:19am
SemanticWill
2007

And now for a constructive answer after having gotten my snarky answer out
of my system.

Clearly they are moving in a direction that does not value UCD, and they
think developers can magically gain the skills, methods, and processes
necessary to design good applications without designers - they are wrong -
but that is what they think and it seems you can't convince them otherwise.

It seems that their "constructive dismissal" tactic is because they don't
want to simply lay you off because they need your institutional knowledge
around these applications without actually paying for that, and they may be
trying to escape paying a serverance. Your company may very well be located
in a "at will" state meaning they can fire you for any/all/no reason without
repercussion, so you need to come back with a strong offer.

That would be you tell them you will take a 2 month (or something like that
based on years of service and level) severance plus cash out your vacation
to walk away, but that you would be available for - say - 20 hours per month
at some reasonable rate (150/hr), to provide consulting around applications
you have been on as they move forward with their agile development efforts.
You might also throw in that they need to provide out-placement services to
help you in the transition. These are reasonable requests, Norman, and a
very small price for a very large company to pay to not have the water
poisoned and never be able to higher an IxD or IA ever again - back in the
day we had a website for anonymous posting about things like this, but I
don't think F**kedCompany.com exists anymore the way it used to.

Hope this real advice helps.

On Sun, Oct 5, 2008 at 6:43 AM, Acuity Corp <acuitycorp at gmail.com> wrote:

> Will,
>
> A little "collateral damage" during that hunting trip would be beneficial
> to everyone using these distortions.
>
> I'd ask that Cheney also take Paulson along on the trip. The propaganda
> tactics continued this week with threats of imminent unmitigated financial
> ruin and martial law unless $700 billion was thrown onto the black hole of
> bank balance sheets. Something had to be done immediately or we would
> "fall of the precipice" into an "economic Pearl Harbor." Such were the
> words from Warren Buffet's phone-in to congress. His Wells Fargo bank
> stands to benefit from the garage sale. The fear induced was so high and
> his authority so unchecked that in the same breath he was able to say "I'm
> not saying the Paulson plan will eliminate the problems."
>
> Greatest bank robbery in history. We all watched them do it.
>
> And now today I read that nothing will be operationally for at least 6
> weeks. Bush: "We'll take the time necessary to design an effective program
> that achieves its objectives...." Paulson: "We will move rapidly to
> implement the new authorities, but we will also move methodically."
>
> Sickening.
>
> Norman
>
>
> On Sat, Oct 4, 2008 at 11:41 PM, William Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Btw: the term "constructive dismissal" is the kind of dishonest perversion
>> of language that Orwell warned about in his classic article on language and
>> politics. The spineless syncophant that invented that term should be forced
>> to go on a pheasant hunting trip with Chaney after he's knocked back a few
>> 7&7's - just sayin...
>>
>> will evans
>> emotive architect &
>> hedonic designer
>> will at semanticfoundry.com
>> 617.281.1281
>> twitter: semanticwill
>> aim: semanticwill
>> gtalk: wkevans4
>> skype: semanticwill
>> _________________________
>>
>>

--
~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | User Experience Architect
tel: +1.617.281.128 | will at semanticfoundry.com
aim: semanticwill | gtalk: wkevans4
twitter: semanticwill | skype: semanticwill
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5 Oct 2008 - 11:44am
Anonymous

Norman: "Advice on how I might "prove" that interaction design and
developer is not the same role if this ever gets to court."

Norman,
whatever the outcome, be prepared for a blessing in disguise.
The first thing that stands out to me in regards to the differences between
an interaction designer and a developer is the interpersonal, interactive
transactions between all involved delegates for the purposes of extracting
information.

When I think 'interaction designer' I think of someone who is seeking to
install a vision and bring business value-add by developing relationships
with BAs, clients, customers and our client's customers. IDs are usually the
master of all trades and jack of none.

Upon hearing 'developer' I think of someone who receives approved
information for the purpose of preparing a platform for this vision to be
built upon.

Focus on the many levels and facets of queries that are needed to complete
your job.
It is my experience that developers usually stay late at work above most job
types because of the complex issues they have to deal with to find a
solution for the vision. I don't see any extra time allotted from developers
for the purpose of contributing to an agile process of design (with no
one-person in place for this).

Norman: They want to work in a more "agile" fashion with all developers
doing the design and working with customers.

We obviously don't buy this.
You may have to get your hands dirty on this one. Try to develop a persona
on developers. One item that is very powerful in court is a person's
reputation.

*<Grain of Salt>*
In my personal opinion, I don't see developers having the savvy
interpersonal passion to link hearts with clients to see their (the
client's) vision come to pass. Our trade is very unique. We stand in front
of clients with tissue boxes and then try to justify their (the client's)
cries to the rest of the team.
In the process of doing this, part of our justification is to make a
sacrificial offering to developers to get them to see things the 'client's
way' (approach developer department with pizza boxes, Coke and Coffee, place
on ground in front of door, knock and run away).

While taking Human Factors with the Waterloo Regional Police Association,
one thing that I discovered among online all online predators was their
'Target Fixation' and extreme detailed knowledge about their victims and/ or
targets.
What blew my mind away was that the exact same M.O. (Method of Operation)
that these predators had, were the exact same of most developers- *a serious
lack of 'People Skills', 'taking advantage of their prey's/client's
ignorance' and a very 'offensive type of Arrogance*'. (The kind of arrogance
that always want's the last word, and thinks their smarter then everybody
else and desires to prove it.)

Norman you are the champion for your company's clients. Without you, there's
no way in hell that developers are going to suggest alternative solutions
for what the clients are saying or requesting ('Alternative' meaning
'better'). Developers 'usually' look for easier solutions or pre-made ones.

(I AM NOT SAYING ANYTHING BAD ABOUT DEVELOPERS. I AM STATING MY OBSERVATIONS
AND THAT WHICH I HAVE LEARNED IN MY FIELD. DEVELOPERS ARE BRILLIANT PEOPLE
AND HAVE A PASSION TO PLEASE THEIR EMPLOYERS AND HACK-OUT SOLUTIONS.)
*</Grain of Salt>*

Norman: I wouldn't in a million years fire me or someone like me :))

This is true. But in all honesty this is a blind-sided statement. No one in
their right mind would fire themselves even if they knew they were lacking
in certain areas. We all have our faults. As we go down the road of life, we
check out mirrors to make sure we're doing fine....however, we still have a
bind-side. We're great in our own eyes, but to everyone else, the weakness'
are *blaringly obvious*.
We can be brilliant in our craft but it still doesn't change the fact that
we're fat and overweight and toot our own horns at pub meetings without ever
making an effort to go to the gym. We all have areas that need improvement
whether it is directly related to the field or not.
Take the time to investigate your own weakness'- then make strides to
correct them and have the evidence to prove your assertive actions to
correct them.

Here are a few more steps for you to act upon.
1. Construct a list of every possible solutions you have introduced to the
company and how they add value (with proof).
2. Develop some personas and/or scenarios of UxDs, Devs, and clients and
show how UxDx are the only qualified ones to bridge this gap.
3. Call upon expert witness'. There are many on this very group. An expert
witness' testimony counts as 3 people.
4. Display the level of detail of information required to conduct your job
and how may hours are involved in this info gathering process and how it is
impossible for full-time developers to retrieve this info on top of their
already busy work schedules.
5. Do a before and after gap analysis on the product and show the strides
that were made upon your arrival to the company. Show where they were
lacking, how you brought them out of the depths of Sheol, and your future
plans of destination.
6. (This is dirty but I've been to court too many time plus my wife is a
lawyer) get the low-down on any dirt that you possibly can on your opponent.
Court's hate sleezeballs, rip-off artists and 'The Man' who oppresses the
little people.
7. If this goes the distance, be prepared to act. You must look like the
victim and act like one. Courts are sympathetic to emotional pleas.
8. Don't become evil, take it personal, or bad-mouth the company, there's a
saying in law enforcement that I have heard many times. "There are 3 side to
the story, yours, the other guy's and the truth."
You email is simply 'Your side'. It doesn't mean that your right or that
your even telling the truth (I'm not saying that you are lying). But it is
simply 'your side' of the 'story'. Whatever the company is doing, may very
well possibly be in the best interest of the company.

Remember, as much as I strongly believe that developers lack the skills to
take the lead on an agile design process for this situation, there are many
areas where we as IxDs lack the skills to to have a holistic point of view
in regards to connecting the dots on the backend.

All the best.

5 Oct 2008 - 12:49pm
Marilyn Matty
2008

Speak to an attorney - employment law varies by state, and a lawyer can give
you the best advice about how to proceed. Keep in mind that quitting vs.
getting laid off because your position is no longer viable can mean the
difference between getting severance, unemployment, maybe paid benefits for
a while, an agreed upon letter of recommendation, vacation pay, etc.
Just as you are an expert in interaction design, they probably have
attorneys on retainer that are advising them about keeping their
severance/unemployment costs down. You'll need to proceed with expert
guidance through the various pathways and roadblocks.

Good luck,

Marilyn

On Sat, Oct 4, 2008 at 12:29 AM, Acuity Corp <acuitycorp at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> I work in-house as an interaction designer in a technical industry. I am a
> senior employee. The company has a massive customer base, and lack of
> design is their core problem. I am the interaction designer, and there is
> a visual designer I hire on contract. This year, I have laid out full
> design plans for next generation products to be made until 2010.
>
> I'm now told that they are *"changing their philosophy."* They want to
> work
> in a more "agile" fashion with all developers doing the design and working
> with customers. I don't believe that. I am sure they want to downsize by
> 1. They are targeting cost-savings with a designer versus a developer, as
> they are in a build-it phase and not a heavy design phase for at least 2
> years.
>
> Get this. They have offered me a job as an entry level developer bug
> fixing an older product (which I also designed), not even for the new
> generation products. I last did software programming 8 years ago.
> Interaction designer to entry level developer. This is constructive
> dismissal (the legal term for the switcheroo). They want me to quit (well
> duh, but it took me a while to believe this since I wouldn't in a million
> years fire me or someone like me :))
>
> I find this unreal because
> - product managers are fully planning to use my design plans for the
> forseeable future (2 years) , so their "philosophy change" is patently a
> lie
> - I never thought I'd have to argue that design is a specialized skillset
> to
> the company that desperately wanted these skills
> - I was consciously trading benefits of being an entrepreneur for the
> stability of in-house work (albeit with less pay)
>
>
> What am I looking for?
>
> - Advice from someone who has dealt with constructive dismissal or with
> such
> a situation.
> - Advice on how I might "proove" that interaction design and developer is
> not the same role if this ever gets to court. My employer may argued that
> interaction design is just the upfront part of coding so it is a realistic
> job change.
>
> thanks,
> Norman
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

5 Oct 2008 - 2:00pm
Andreas Ringdal
2008

Do you want to remain at this company?

Another approach might be to start your own business and ask them to
hire your new company to handle their overall deign strategy. If you
want to start you own business this might help you get started.

Andreas

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33867

4 Oct 2008 - 9:08pm
Kontra
2007

> Capture & define the user's _workflow_
>
> 'Prove' you're an interaction designer by _understanding your
> audience_ (external and internal). Differentiate yourself from the
> role of developer by advocating 'solutions' over 'features'.
>

Those are caricatures: none of this stuff is beyond the ability or even the
general willingness of a lot of developers by any means.

An "interaction designer" (whatever that is) may or may not do a better job,
but it is certainly not the exclusive and privileged domain somehow granted
by the title.

--
Kontra
http://counternotions.com

5 Oct 2008 - 1:58am
Norman
2008

They know about Alan Cooper and Inmates. I've given persona training to
prod managers at the company so they believe there is something there. This
tells me that people without sensitivity towards design will doom design.
Alan Cooper's hardline sentiment is right, there is a war in a sense between
design and software development for skin in the game and enlisting design
skills requires buy-in at the top-general level.

As you can tell the head hancho is a developer at heart. And I believe
he believes what he told me - that Agile will unleash the "creativity of
developers working directly with customers" instead of "centralizing design
in one team". (of course, this is political cover for cost savings, but he
believes this change is viable) I have no problem with solving minor
design issues/usability with customer input, but I know things turn chaotic
without a insightfully worked out plan.

On Sat, Oct 4, 2008 at 10:25 PM, Tim Wright <sambo.shacklock at gmail.com>wrote:

>
> And perhaps buy them a copy of "the inmates are running the asylum" :)
>
>
> On Sun, Oct 5, 2008 at 2:35 PM, William Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Find a new job at a company that understands the value of design. Run from
>> this backwards place as fast as possible.
>>
>> will evans
>> emotive architect &
>> hedonic designer
>> will at semanticfoundry.com
>> 617.281.1281
>> twitter: semanticwill
>> aim: semanticwill
>> gtalk: wkevans4
>> skype: semanticwill
>> _________________________
>> Sent via iPhone
>>
>>
>>
>>

5 Oct 2008 - 4:43am
Norman
2008

Will,

A little "collateral damage" during that hunting trip would be beneficial to
everyone using these distortions.

I'd ask that Cheney also take Paulson along on the trip. The propaganda
tactics continued this week with threats of imminent unmitigated financial
ruin and martial law unless $700 billion was thrown onto the black hole of
bank balance sheets. Something had to be done immediately or we would
"fall of the precipice" into an "economic Pearl Harbor." Such were the
words from Warren Buffet's phone-in to congress. His Wells Fargo bank
stands to benefit from the garage sale. The fear induced was so high and
his authority so unchecked that in the same breath he was able to say "I'm
not saying the Paulson plan will eliminate the problems."

Greatest bank robbery in history. We all watched them do it.

And now today I read that nothing will be operationally for at least 6
weeks. Bush: "We'll take the time necessary to design an effective program
that achieves its objectives...." Paulson: "We will move rapidly to
implement the new authorities, but we will also move methodically."

Sickening.

Norman

On Sat, Oct 4, 2008 at 11:41 PM, William Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Btw: the term "constructive dismissal" is the kind of dishonest perversion
> of language that Orwell warned about in his classic article on language and
> politics. The spineless syncophant that invented that term should be forced
> to go on a pheasant hunting trip with Chaney after he's knocked back a few
> 7&7's - just sayin...
>
> will evans
> emotive architect &
> hedonic designer
> will at semanticfoundry.com
> 617.281.1281
> twitter: semanticwill
> aim: semanticwill
> gtalk: wkevans4
> skype: semanticwill
> _________________________
>
>

5 Oct 2008 - 5:54pm
Norman
2008

Brett said >> In my personal opinion, I don't see developers having
the savvy interpersonal passion to link hearts with clients to see
their (the client's) vision come to pass.

Where I work the Agile teams are not in practice working with
customers. The prod manager shows a mid-stream version every 5
months to a customer to get feedback. But in practice they are
deriving their customer stories (work tasks) by tackling pieces from
the design specs.

Brett said >> What blew my mind away was that the exact same M.O.
(Method of Operation) that these predators had, were the exact same
of most developers- *a serious lack of 'People Skills', 'taking
advantage of their prey's/client's ignorance' and a very
'offensive type of Arrogance*'. (The kind of arrogance that always
want's the last word, and thinks their smarter then everybody else
and desires to prove it.)

This is an interesting connection. I'm sure others have experienced
being "attacked with logic" when presenting a design...for example
two parts of the application need to behave differently for solid
reasons, but dev will look at them as the same in some technical
sense and point to the inconsistency and emphatically state they
should behave the same (when no client would ever see the
relationship).

Brett said>> Here are a few more steps for you to act upon.

Thank you for your list, very specific, great perspective...I have
already started on many of these areas. Proving constructive
dismissal is a chess-match (or so a lawyer I've consulted says) and
the onus is on the employee.

Brett said>> there are many areas where we as IxDs lack the skills to
to have a holistic point of view in regards to connecting the dots on
the backend.

I absolutely agree. I've hired industrial designers from OCAD to
try out ixd and found they don't understand the "materials"
(software code, libraries) and are totally unable to predict
tradeoffs or the behavior of developer. For example, they will
design a cool custom control for an infrequently used configuration
screen and you're rolling your eyes, aware that it is totally
unpresentable to a dev team (ie no one would ever spend time to build
that control when stock dropdowns etc would get the job done).

Thanks again Brett.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33867

4 Oct 2008 - 8:25pm
Tim Wright
2008

And perhaps buy them a copy of "the inmates are running the asylum" :)

On Sun, Oct 5, 2008 at 2:35 PM, William Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Find a new job at a company that understands the value of design. Run from
> this backwards place as fast as possible.
>
> will evans
> emotive architect &
> hedonic designer
> will at semanticfoundry.com
> 617.281.1281
> twitter: semanticwill
> aim: semanticwill
> gtalk: wkevans4
> skype: semanticwill
> _________________________
> Sent via iPhone
>
>
>
> On Oct 4, 2008, at 12:29 AM, "Acuity Corp" <acuitycorp at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hi all,
>>
>> I work in-house as an interaction designer in a technical industry. I am
>> a
>> senior employee. The company has a massive customer base, and lack of
>> design is their core problem. I am the interaction designer, and there
>> is
>> a visual designer I hire on contract. This year, I have laid out full
>> design plans for next generation products to be made until 2010.
>>
>> I'm now told that they are *"changing their philosophy."* They want to
>> work
>> in a more "agile" fashion with all developers doing the design and working
>> with customers. I don't believe that. I am sure they want to downsize
>> by
>> 1. They are targeting cost-savings with a designer versus a developer, as
>> they are in a build-it phase and not a heavy design phase for at least 2
>> years.
>>
>> Get this. They have offered me a job as an entry level developer bug
>> fixing an older product (which I also designed), not even for the new
>> generation products. I last did software programming 8 years ago.
>> Interaction designer to entry level developer. This is constructive
>> dismissal (the legal term for the switcheroo). They want me to quit (well
>> duh, but it took me a while to believe this since I wouldn't in a million
>> years fire me or someone like me :))
>>
>> I find this unreal because
>> - product managers are fully planning to use my design plans for the
>> forseeable future (2 years) , so their "philosophy change" is patently a
>> lie
>> - I never thought I'd have to argue that design is a specialized skillset
>> to
>> the company that desperately wanted these skills
>> - I was consciously trading benefits of being an entrepreneur for the
>> stability of in-house work (albeit with less pay)
>>
>>
>> What am I looking for?
>>
>> - Advice from someone who has dealt with constructive dismissal or with
>> such
>> a situation.
>> - Advice on how I might "proove" that interaction design and developer is
>> not the same role if this ever gets to court. My employer may argued that
>> interaction design is just the upfront part of coding so it is a realistic
>> job change.
>>
>> thanks,
>> Norman
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> 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
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

--
Kei te kōrero tiki au. Kei te kōrero tiki koe. Ka kōrero tiki tāua. Kōrero
ai tiki tāua.

5 Oct 2008 - 2:48am
Tim Wright
2008

Something to also contemplate is getting them onto the "agile-usability"
mailing list. Interaction specialists do have a place on an agile team :)

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/agile-usability/

Tim

On Sun, Oct 5, 2008 at 8:58 PM, Acuity Corp <acuitycorp at gmail.com> wrote:

> They know about Alan Cooper and Inmates. I've given persona training to
> prod managers at the company so they believe there is something there. This
> tells me that people without sensitivity towards design will doom design.
> Alan Cooper's hardline sentiment is right, there is a war in a sense between
> design and software development for skin in the game and enlisting design
> skills requires buy-in at the top-general level.
>
> As you can tell the head hancho is a developer at heart. And I believe
> he believes what he told me - that Agile will unleash the "creativity of
> developers working directly with customers" instead of "centralizing design
> in one team". (of course, this is political cover for cost savings, but he
> believes this change is viable) I have no problem with solving minor
> design issues/usability with customer input, but I know things turn chaotic
> without a insightfully worked out plan.
>
>
>
> On Sat, Oct 4, 2008 at 10:25 PM, Tim Wright <sambo.shacklock at gmail.com>wrote:
>
>>
>> And perhaps buy them a copy of "the inmates are running the asylum" :)
>>
>>
>> On Sun, Oct 5, 2008 at 2:35 PM, William Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>> Find a new job at a company that understands the value of design. Run
>>> from this backwards place as fast as possible.
>>>
>>> will evans
>>> emotive architect &
>>> hedonic designer
>>> will at semanticfoundry.com
>>> 617.281.1281
>>> twitter: semanticwill
>>> aim: semanticwill
>>> gtalk: wkevans4
>>> skype: semanticwill
>>> _________________________
>>> Sent via iPhone
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>

--
Kei te kōrero tiki au. Kei te kōrero tiki koe. Ka kōrero tiki tāua. Kōrero
ai tiki tāua.

6 Oct 2008 - 3:54am
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Oct 4, 2008, at 12:29 AM, Acuity Corp wrote:

> What am I looking for?
>
> - Advice from someone who has dealt with constructive dismissal or
> with such
> a situation.
> - Advice on how I might "proove" that interaction design and
> developer is
> not the same role if this ever gets to court. My employer may
> argued that
> interaction design is just the upfront part of coding so it is a
> realistic
> job change.

My primary advice is that you need options. You need to know that you
can, at any time, pick up and change your job to an organization that
will give you positive challenges and help you grow your career.

If you don't think that's an option, you'll feel trapped where ever
you are. When you're trapped, it's hard to stay positive, even during
the hardest of times (and there *will* be hard times, where ever you
are).

If you think that's an option, then you're deciding to stay because
*you* want to stay. You'll communicate that with everything you say
and do.

So, my primary advice to you is to explore your options. Right now, in
the general area of user experience and the specific discipline of
interaction design, demand for talent has never been higher.

It sounds like finding other opportunities should be a priority for
you. Explore what all your choices are.

Then decide if your current position is the one that's best for you.

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks

6 Oct 2008 - 5:55am
Anonymous

No prob Norm,
One more option that seems to be floating around here is to simply walk
away. I have had to do this 3 times in my career. In all honesty I was upset
in every situation, but the next stepping stone proved to be a better
opportunity. It looks like you may have to spread your wings and fly....or
you can fight.

If you have any more questions or concerns, feel free to message me offlist.

May your next major decision be based on logic and not emotions.

6 Oct 2008 - 7:11am
bminihan
2007

Apologies for the length...quit smoking this morning, so I'm on a bit
of a rant...

Like many others, I think your best option might just be to find a
more comfortable place to work. If this is your dream company and
you just can't leave, your best bet may be to contact a lawyer if
you think you're being squeezed out of your job for unscrupulous
reasons.

On the other hand, to the defense of the principle your employer
espouses: a good development team practicing the kind of agile
development he's talking about - is going to design the system,
regardless. That is, I've worked with a lot of developers using
different methodologies, and my current team is one of the most
customer-focused that I've seen. Using a variant of the extreme
programming method, combined with strict discipline to design and
build the heart of what's being requested, they are able to build
new, highly usable features into our site in very short time.

A few things about the above statement: My development team has an
interaction designer passing them the features. However, they are
very skilled at building usable software already, so I don't have to
bog them down in the tiniest of details for them to "get it right".
Also, "a good development team" as mentioned above will likely cost
them more than a single interaction designer.

Your employer may believe that switching his current team to an agile
method will suddenly obviate the need for designers, and there's a
very small chance he's right (after all, badly designed features
aren't the same as "utter failure", they are still features).
However, more likely than not, he'll have a very hard time
instilling the discipline necessary to get design right the first
time with his existing staff.

Again, whether you try to make the case to stay or not is really up
to whether you think this company really wants you there. But if
you're going to make the case, I would make it based on the skills
you brought (and bring) to the table, rather than the benefit your
title provides to the company. You could throw books, web sites and
expert opinions at them by the bucket-load, but when it comes down to
it, it's you they hired and you are the one with the skills to help
them succeed.

Regarding the use of your designs for the next few years of
development: Unless you are superhuman and designed every aspect of
every workflow in the system ahead of time, I highly doubt they'll
get much further than "skin deep" into your design before they'll
raise a ton of questions about its intricacies and nuances. If
you've left the company, they're going to have to get someone to
answer those questions, and their customers aren't likely to be very
specific about the solutions. That, to me, may be your "in" from
the designers perspective.

One more thing...this may just be my personal preference, but it
wouldn't hurt to do a little more development on the front-end, for
your team. Not necessarily building the production code, but
building practical HTML prototypes for your team can greatly increase
its efficiency and obviate the need for your dev-team manager to hire
an experienced UI developer (which he'll need if he's getting rid
of designers - and they aren't cheap).

-- Bryan

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33867

6 Oct 2008 - 7:54am
Benjamin Ho
2007

I agree with others here as well - if they've purposely figured out a
way to exclude you in their plans, and there's a misalignment in
philosophy and methodology, then it's time to go.

If I were you, I'd also take "your plans" that you had offered
with you - delete as many files you can before you leave so they
don't have a clue. They're not going to use them anyway.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33867

6 Oct 2008 - 8:14am
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Oct 6, 2008, at 6:54 AM, Benjamin Ho wrote:

> I agree with others here as well - if they've purposely figured out a
> way to exclude you in their plans, and there's a misalignment in
> philosophy and methodology, then it's time to go.
>
> If I were you, I'd also take "your plans" that you had offered
> with you - delete as many files you can before you leave so they
> don't have a clue. They're not going to use them anyway.

With all due respect (and understanding how ideas like this might make
things feel just), I think it's always best to act as professional as
possible.

Any work you did for your employer is their property. Deleting files
and taking proprietary information isn't just malicious (and likely
illegal), it's also not the professional way to leave a long-term
relationship.

Not mentioning that you'll probably want references and there might be
good leads from people you've work with, it sets an example and shows
that you're of the caliber that can handle any situation.

So, I'd recommend against any exit behavior that isn't of the highest
regard for the employer.

Jared

6 Oct 2008 - 9:25am
Benjamin Ho
2007

Good point, Jared.

I guess I gave the burning-bridges advice.

Don't listen to me if that's not what you want, Norman.

Sorry, folks.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33867

6 Oct 2008 - 9:29am
Anonymous

No prob Benji,
It's a frustrating situation. We know you meant no harm. You're just voicing
what a lot of others are thinking.
*: )*

On Mon, Oct 6, 2008 at 11:25 AM, Benjamin Ho <benoh2 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Good point, Jared.
>
> I guess I gave the burning-bridges advice.
>
> Don't listen to me if that's not what you want, Norman.
>
> Sorry, folks.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33867
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

--
Brett Lutchman
Web Slinger.

6 Oct 2008 - 2:05pm
Jeff Parks
2008

Do you believe in Karma? I do. :-) I've been a part of a couple of
organizations in Canada (public and private) where I would concur with
Jared's advice. Always take the higher road; the world is a tiny place
and you never know who you upset today may be providing you with options
in the future. No one works for one company for their career any more,
anyway. (I wonder if this will change hiring practices?)

I can relate to the emotion felt by Benjamin. It "hurts" personally and
professionally when organizations tell you your services are no longer
required. All you hear is "your ideas are of no value to our
business..." - that stings! At the end of the day, people are the
foundation of every organization. Find one where you feel valued and
can get excited about the corporate culture; life's too short and
there's so much we need to fix! :-)

Cheers,
Jeff

Jared Spool wrote:
>
> On Oct 6, 2008, at 6:54 AM, Benjamin Ho wrote:
>
>> I agree with others here as well - if they've purposely figured out a
>> way to exclude you in their plans, and there's a misalignment in
>> philosophy and methodology, then it's time to go.
>>
>> If I were you, I'd also take "your plans" that you had offered
>> with you - delete as many files you can before you leave so they
>> don't have a clue. They're not going to use them anyway.
>
> With all due respect (and understanding how ideas like this might make
> things feel just), I think it's always best to act as professional as
> possible.
>
> Any work you did for your employer is their property. Deleting files
> and taking proprietary information isn't just malicious (and likely
> illegal), it's also not the professional way to leave a long-term
> relationship.
>
> Not mentioning that you'll probably want references and there might be
> good leads from people you've work with, it sets an example and shows
> that you're of the caliber that can handle any situation.
>
> So, I'd recommend against any exit behavior that isn't of the highest
> regard for the employer.
>
> Jared
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

6 Oct 2008 - 8:51am
Sam Andrews
2008

Apart from top-decking of course.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33867

6 Oct 2008 - 2:47pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

>
> seconded.

Thirded. (That so should be a word.)

BTW, without a designer (or someone trained in design approaches) they will
> make the mistake of turning customer requests into non-viable products.

Seconded.

-r-

6 Oct 2008 - 4:09pm
usabilitymedic
2008

Norman,

Assuming you really want to stay at such a short sighted org, And
assuming you think you still have a shot to change their minds, you
may want to tap into Jeff Patton (Agile expert).

He spoke at IxD 08 and from what I recall from his
session...developers do not really do the design. There's still point
person (am not sure of title) who communicates to the developers and
who must me very,very clear about what's needed.

I could be remembering wrong but definitely tap into Jeff or his body
og work.

Sent from my iPhone
On Oct 5, 2008, at 1:44 PM, "Brett Lutchman"<brettlutchman at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Norman: "Advice on how I might "prove" that interaction design and
> developer is not the same role if this ever gets to court."
>
> Norman,
> whatever the outcome, be prepared for a blessing in disguise.
> The first thing that stands out to me in regards to the differences
> between
> an interaction designer and a developer is the interpersonal,
> interactive
> transactions between all involved delegates for the purposes of
> extracting
> information.
>
> When I think 'interaction designer' I think of someone who is
> seeking to
> install a vision and bring business value-add by developing
> relationships
> with BAs, clients, customers and our client's customers. IDs are
> usually the
> master of all trades and jack of none.
>
> Upon hearing 'developer' I think of someone who receives approved
> information for the purpose of preparing a platform for this vision
> to be
> built upon.
>
> Focus on the many levels and facets of queries that are needed to
> complete
> your job.
> It is my experience that developers usually stay late at work above
> most job
> types because of the complex issues they have to deal with to find a
> solution for the vision. I don't see any extra time allotted from
> developers
> for the purpose of contributing to an agile process of design (with no
> one-person in place for this).
>
>
> Norman: They want to work in a more "agile" fashion with all
> developers
> doing the design and working with customers.
>
> We obviously don't buy this.
> You may have to get your hands dirty on this one. Try to develop a
> persona
> on developers. One item that is very powerful in court is a person's
> reputation.
>
> *<Grain of Salt>*
> In my personal opinion, I don't see developers having the savvy
> interpersonal passion to link hearts with clients to see their (the
> client's) vision come to pass. Our trade is very unique. We stand in
> front

7 Oct 2008 - 6:08pm
james horgan
2008

If you have proven data as to how your designs are correlated to the
bottom line of profit, I would pursue it with HR and Exec team, they
may see it differently as to how valuable they think your skillset is
and they need to make cutbacks. You have to ask yourself are you
willing to work for another company where this could easily happen
again (sorry but when times get tough, designers are always the first
to go).
I wouldn't take it personally and start looking for work, i'd use
this bottom line value as a good training exercise as to how much you
are really worth to a company.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33867

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