Is it just my imagination or...

6 Oct 2008 - 12:26pm
5 years ago
6 replies
393 reads
Mary Deaton
2008

have the discussion lists I have followed for years - SIGCHI and STC
Usability - been abandoned in favor of IxDA? I have all my professional
discussions filtered into one folder, to read when I have time, and notice a
dramatic drop in postings from the two I mention. The names of those who
post, however, has changed much less.

I assume most of us have limited time to read and write discussion posts, so
it make sense to focus on a forum that gives the most bang for the buck. But
I also sense some of what Jared suggests in a comment on Christina's
question about why the hate-on on UCD: we are in a profession that is
evolving and does not have a well-defined, institutionalized definition.
Therefore, we tend to redefine it regularly and the current favorite label
for what we do is "interaction design."

If we change the label, we start a new discussion list.

As someone who teaches skills for UCD, page and web design, usability
methods, and information architecture, I know this is all very confusing for
newcomers. But there are days when I am confused as well. How is IxDA
different from UPA or UPA different from SIGCHI or SIGCHI different from
AS&IS? Who speaks for the profession? Is there a profession? And how many
more hundreds of dollars a year do I need to spend on memberships to stay in
the loop?

Mary Deaton
Manager, STC Usability and User Experience Community
Deaton Interactive Design

Comments

6 Oct 2008 - 8:53pm
Josh Seiden
2003

Hi Mary,

Thanks for your questions. I've actually just returned from
Vancouver where the IxDA Board of Directors was meeting to plan our
next conference (Interaction '09!) and to reaffirm our
organizational mission. So your questions come at a good time.

Your question seems to be asking both about Interaction Design and
the Interaction Design Association. So let me speak to the
organization first.

The Interaction Design Association is a different kind of
professional organization. From the beginning, it has been our
mission to be an "un-organization." We do not charge membership
dues. (And hopefully, we never will.) Instead, we rely on individual
initiative, contribution, sharing, and self-organization as the
primary means for us to achieve our goals. This means that we are a
bottom-up organization. Want to make something happen on behalf of
interaction design? Go ahead! Get some IxDA'ers together and do it.
We place very limited constraints on our members activities: be
passionate about interaction design; act on behalf of the community;
make things better.

In the 3 years since our official birth, IxDA has grown from a simple
mailing list into a global network of people and platforms. Our
members meet online, in Local Face-to-Face meetings, and at our
annual conference. Our members are self-selected passionate leaders
who have chosen to commit their time and energy to a community that
is passionate about interaction design.

Which brings us to your question about interaction design and the
profession. IxDA has from the beginning chosen to take the position
that interaction design is a discipline that lives under the umbrella
of a broader field called User Experience. Within that statement
though, there is a lot of room for discussion, discovery, and
definition. IxDA recognizes that reasonable people within our field
disagree: thus the organization has chosen to provide a platform for
discussion and discovery, rather than providing an endorsement of a
particular definition.

In the next couple of weeks, the IxDA Board of Directors will be
rolling out some more information about the mission of our
organization. Stay tuned...

Thanks,
Josh Seiden
President,
IxDA Board of Directors

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33952

7 Oct 2008 - 7:38am
Dave Malouf
2005

I think another key attribute that Josh didn't discuss is that the
discipline of interaction design is different from how those with the
job title may be practicing it.

Putting that broad statement to the side for a minute the way I think
of it historically and within practice is that ...
1) SIGCHI is primarily (though for reasons I still don't understand)
is an academic organization. Their parent ACM is truly an academic
organization, and it focuses on the academic research and practice of
Human-Computer Interaction. Its history is one of computer science and
cognitive psychology and only recently has added social sciences to
the mix. It's practices and methods in industry tend to be
quantitative in nature, and follow the usual line of scientific
methods of analytical and linear thinking.

2) UPA is actually a splinter group from SIGCHI. Back in the early
90's when CHI was even more academic than it is today, a group of
industry folks splintered out and formed their own organization
around the industrial evaluation of usability of products and
systems. This organization has not taken on "design" per se they
way CHI has, but has taken on "User Experience" as their new thing.

3) IxDA is not so much a splinter from these groups (Oy! I do love
Life of Brian so) as much as it is a coming together of lost souls
who looked at those 2 orgs, IAI, IDSA, and AIGA and shrugged and
said, this isn't working for me anymore (or ever). What I believe
was missing was 2 things: a) "DESIGN" b) looking at interaction as
its own point of aesthetics

Now in practice and discussion it doesn't always look this way, but
this spirit of "interaction design" as first a "design"
discipline and that as such brings in a new order of aesthetics while
also maintaining a relationship to functional usability, permeates
this community subtlety but absolutely.

I think the lag of other lists could be contributed to the fact that
people were going to those lists b/c their real area of interest
wasn't being represented until recently, but there is also an air of
"hype" around Interaction Design as well.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33952

7 Oct 2008 - 11:18am
Cwodtke
2004

Good just be good list design, and any of the disciplines could have had a
lively community if they had meshed openess with structure the way IxDA has.
Love ot see a case study on the design choices that went into this list.

On Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 5:38 AM, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> I think another key attribute that Josh didn't discuss is that the
> discipline of interaction design is different from how those with the
> job title may be practicing it.
>
>

7 Oct 2008 - 11:26am
Elizabeth Bacon
2003

Hi folks,

I wanted to add for the historical record that the IxD Discussion
list wasn't just born in 2005. It was born in mid-2003 as a Yahoo!
Groups list and migrated later that year to
www.interactiondesigners.com. Over the next two years, it became
known as the "Interaction Design Group" and grew into an
always-exciting forum for people to examine and advance this
relatively new discipline & practice. The momentum was such that a
steering committee formed organically from within the community in
2005; during their first retreat, the committee decided to
incorporate the organization as the "Interaction Design
Association", which is the non-profit entity we are now.

And today, I believe that there's still nowhere to go but up! The
Interaction'08 conference was a trumpet call to the world that we
offer something special, and our community is indeed growing faster
than ever. As of this month, we have about 8,500 subscribers to the
IxDA Discussion list and another 2,000 subscribers to IxDA
Announcements. Additionally, we have 58 local groups that are already
in existence or setting up plans to start local gatherings. Wow!!

It's an extraordinary time to be an IxD practitioner, and we welcome
more people from all walks of life to engage with this community. The
IxDA board looks forward to further helping and encouraging each and
every one of you gain what you need within this novel
un-organization.

Best,
Liz, IxDA VP

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33952

7 Oct 2008 - 12:07pm
jgould
2008

I'm glad we are having a thread like this because like Mary I am a bit confused too.

As a practicing IA (for 9 years) who also dabbles in graphic design and interaction design (since at an agency I need to know how to talk to the Creative and Integration teams), there seem to be 3 main discussion lists (as opposed to eNewsletters like the UPA Monthly):

1. Information Architecture Institute (iai-members@lists.iainstitute.org) -- I think you have to be a member of IAI to join it

2. This IxDA list (I receive it as an RSS feed) -- and ancillary local lists like the one I'm on for IxDA Toronto.

3. The ASIS listseve (sigia-l@asis.org)

I personally wish they could be merged since they seem to speak to the same audience and have dual posts. Maybe Christina or Jared can enlighten me since they seem to post on all 3 lists frequently.

7 Oct 2008 - 11:59am
Dave Malouf
2005

If anyone is ever interested in paying me to write up the history of
the founding of IxDA, I'd be more than happy to. 8-)

The short answer is that we have always said we would be "memberless"
b/c we didn't want to compete. This choice probably with a few other
environmental factors drove a lot of the design decisions.

We also early on took the DTDT to a separate list (yes, it is
sometimes back now, but often about defining everything else except
IxD), and we made sure the archives and now the web site were open to
the public.

-- dave

On Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 12:18 PM, Christina Wodtke
<cwodtke at eleganthack.com> wrote:
> Good just be good list design, and any of the disciplines could have had a
> lively community if they had meshed openess with structure the way IxDA has.
> Love ot see a case study on the design choices that went into this list.
>
> On Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 5:38 AM, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
>>
>> I think another key attribute that Josh didn't discuss is that the
>> discipline of interaction design is different from how those with the
>> job title may be practicing it.
>>
>
>

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

Syndicate content Get the feed