Can an interaction designer creat (great) interaction without (great) visual design skills?

15 Oct 2008 - 2:35am
3 years ago
73 replies
10029 reads
R. Groot
2006

Hi all,

in my daily work as an interaction designer I mostly create wireframes and
support the visual designers in their creation of the visual design for
these wireframes.

I notice though, that there is a strong dependency on how/if the interaction
will work and the (eventual) visual design.

My question: can an interaction designer create great working interaction
without having visual design skills?

Kind regards,
Rein Groot

Comments

15 Oct 2008 - 3:03am
Jonas Löwgren
2003

> I notice though, that there is a strong dependency on how/if the
> interaction
> will work and the (eventual) visual design.
>
> My question: can an interaction designer create great working
> interaction
> without having visual design skills?

Rein,

I think the point is that users don't normally distinguish between
interaction and visuals. To them, the experience of using the product
unfolds over time, synthesizing what it looks like and how it behaves
with a range of other elements (such as what it says, what it means
and how they can perform socially with it).

The development side, however, tends to separate interaction from
visuals. There are several historical reasons for this but I think it
is fundamentally problematic -- if our focus is on the use experience.

The subject line of your post states your question as: "Can an
interaction designer create (great) interaction without (great)
visual design skills?"

I would say that an interaction designer can create interaction
without great visual design skills. It happens every day.

It is more doubtful whether an interaction designer can create great
interaction without visual design skills.

Not many of us are blessed with expert skills in multiple fields, of
course. My conclusion is that in order to create great interaction,
great skills are needed in interaction structuring and info
architecture, visual design, and a range of other fields. But it is
hardly realistic to expect that from a single person.
Multidisciplinary teams seems to be the way to go.

Jonas Löwgren

15 Oct 2008 - 6:40am
stauciuc
2006

Very well put, Jonas!

On Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 11:03 AM, Jonas Löwgren <jonas.lowgren at mah.se>wrote:

> I notice though, that there is a strong dependency on how/if the
>> interaction
>> will work and the (eventual) visual design.
>>
>> My question: can an interaction designer create great working interaction
>> without having visual design skills?
>>
>

My take is this: as a designer, you should really know a lot about
communicating. Graphics are a medium for communication, so it would probably
help to know the basic principles - so that you know if you are
communicating what you mean to. If you don't, you should hope that your
graphic designer is really a designer and not an artist disguised as a
designer.
What I feel I'm missing sometimes in graphic design is the ability to make
those graphics really compelling (not just clear), and that's where I feel I
would like to cooperate with a graphic designer with some artistic talent.

Sebi

Rein,
>
> I think the point is that users don't normally distinguish between
> interaction and visuals. To them, the experience of using the product
> unfolds over time, synthesizing what it looks like and how it behaves with a
> range of other elements (such as what it says, what it means and how they
> can perform socially with it).
>
> The development side, however, tends to separate interaction from visuals.
> There are several historical reasons for this but I think it is
> fundamentally problematic -- if our focus is on the use experience.
>
> The subject line of your post states your question as: "Can an interaction
> designer create (great) interaction without (great) visual design skills?"
>
> I would say that an interaction designer can create interaction without
> great visual design skills. It happens every day.
>
> It is more doubtful whether an interaction designer can create great
> interaction without visual design skills.
>
> Not many of us are blessed with expert skills in multiple fields, of
> course. My conclusion is that in order to create great interaction, great
> skills are needed in interaction structuring and info architecture, visual
> design, and a range of other fields. But it is hardly realistic to expect
> that from a single person. Multidisciplinary teams seems to be the way to
> go.
>
> Jonas Löwgren
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

--
Sergiu Sebastian Tauciuc
http://www.sergiutauciuc.ro/en/

15 Oct 2008 - 6:49am
mauropin
2007

Hi Rein,

In the specific case you described, having a visual design skill would
help a bit. As a designer (with industrial and graphic design
background), I've always felt much more confortable when I used to do
information architecture and wireframes for websites/software
interface projects. But I have some friends doing the same stuff who
have no former visual design education/skills, and they did a fine job
as well.

So, I would say it would be a "nice to have" skill, but not needed.
What is needed is a good visual designer working along with you.

And I would like to broaden the discussion.

To me Interaction Design is neither (only) about visual, nor it is
about creating wireframes.

If you take a look on what is being done in most Interaction Design
schools, you will notice that the "screen based" applications belongs
to the past.

As interaction designers, we have to think about the future, where
computers are embedded to ordinary objects. Some interfaces are more
in "industrial design" rather than in "visual design" basis.

I would suggest you to take a look at:

Design Interactions at Royal College of Art - http://www.interaction.rca.ac.uk/
Interaction Design at Carnegie Mellon University -
http://design.cmu.edu/show_program.php?s=2&t=3
Banff New Media Institute - http://www.banffcentre.ca/bnmi/about/
Interaction Design Centre in Middlesex University -
http://www.cs.mdx.ac.uk/research/idc/
Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design - http://ciid.dk/
Media Lab at University of Art and Design Helsinki - http://mlab.taik.fi/
M.I.T. Media Lab: http://www.media.mit.edu/research/

And also:
Design for the Elastic Mind, at MoMA -
http://www.moma.org/exhibitions/2008/elasticmind/

Ambient Intelligence, ubiquitous computing, pervasive computing,
augmented reality...these things are changing the scope of our work,
and we better have a broader vision of what interaction design is all
about, in order to be able to create good interaction!

Taking these examples, I would change your question to:

Can an interaction designer creat great working interaction without
having computer science skills? Most of this works and Labs I've
listed above demand a strong prototyping practice, and a basic
understanding on computational stuff.

Visual design skill is nice to have. What about computer science skills?

all the best
--
prof. mauro pinheiro

universidade federal do espírito santo
centro de artes
depto. de desenho industrial

http://www.feiramoderna.net

On Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 6:35 AM, R. Groot <rein.groot at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> in my daily work as an interaction designer I mostly create wireframes and
> support the visual designers in their creation of the visual design for
> these wireframes.
>
> I notice though, that there is a strong dependency on how/if the interaction
> will work and the (eventual) visual design.
>
> My question: can an interaction designer create great working interaction
> without having visual design skills?
>
> Kind regards,
> Rein Groot
>

15 Oct 2008 - 7:30am
Dave Malouf
2005

Wow! what a great conversation.

I need to totally agree and forgive me also disagree.
For the types of artifacts (media) that is being discussed thus far
visual design in many respects is the receptical for the interactions
we are designing and thus the communication layer. Successful
interactions need to be communicated and need to respond to
communications and thus for the former to occur where relevant great
visual can help an interaction design immensely.

Ok, here is where I disagree.
What about where vision is not in play? What about the interaction
design of gestural audio systems? So yes, an interaction designer
can create great interactions without great visual design. But that
doesn't mean he can do so without great care towards crafts of form.

Now the other disagreement is going back to the true spirit of the
original point, but I want to ask in a question. Where does
Craigslist, Google Maps and MySpace fall.
Yup, none of these have GREAT visual design, but arguably all 3 had
greatly successful interaction design, no?

To me the greatest problem we have is that we actually do not have a
well articulated method for actually determining what is GREAT IxD.
There is no methods of "critique" in IxD that I have uncovered or
seen based in a strong relationship to both foundation and design
history which is are required for any design critique to be anything
other than well "opinion" and "utilitarian".

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

15 Oct 2008 - 7:39am
DampeS8N
2008

You can't create a great product without great visuals. Where those
visuals come from does not need to be, and should not be, the
interaction designer. The IxD can make use of graphic skill, just
like they can make use of code skill and any other skill. However,
like a house built by your grandfather, nothing will be perfect if
you do it all yourself.

We have different groups of professionals for a reason, that reason
is that no one person can do everything at the great level. What will
get by on the small scale is impossible on the large scale. Like Video
Games.

So the answer is a resounding YES! You don't need to have great
visual design skills to be a great interaction designer. You merely
need to be able to communicated your ideas effectively to the graphic
designers, coders, and everyone else involved as to what needs to
happen. They are professionals too, they know how to make things
pretty or run fast.

Will

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

15 Oct 2008 - 7:39am
SemanticWill
2007

To Dave's point:
"So yes, an interaction designer can create great interactions without great
visual design."

But many compelling interactions require great creative to give them emotive
appeal - and as we have all read Norman's book - we know that emotive
attraction IS perceived usability. Great IxDs don't need to be great visual
designers - but they should team up with them and understand the power of
attraction. Gestural interface interaction on the iPhone is great - but the
GUI is sexy - it looks good and it feels good.

I agree about MySpace - the visual design, to say the least and be kind -
sucks sewer water through a strychnine-laced straw. I agree with Dave that
the interaction design has been successful, but I think the IxD of MySpace
is just as fetid - autoplay music anyone? Success yes - good IxD - notably
horrid.

On Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 9:30 AM, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> Wow! what a great conversation.
>
> I need to totally agree and forgive me also disagree.
> For the types of artifacts (media) that is being discussed thus far
> visual design in many respects is the receptical for the interactions
> we are designing and thus the communication layer. Successful
> interactions need to be communicated and need to respond to
> communications and thus for the former to occur where relevant great
> visual can help an interaction design immensely.
>
> Ok, here is where I disagree.
> What about where vision is not in play? What about the interaction
> design of gestural audio systems? So yes, an interaction designer
> can create great interactions without great visual design. But that
> doesn't mean he can do so without great care towards crafts of form.
>
>
> Now the other disagreement is going back to the true spirit of the
> original point, but I want to ask in a question. Where does
> Craigslist, Google Maps and MySpace fall.
> Yup, none of these have GREAT visual design, but arguably all 3 had
> greatly successful interaction design, no?
>
> To me the greatest problem we have is that we actually do not have a
> well articulated method for actually determining what is GREAT IxD.
> There is no methods of "critique" in IxD that I have uncovered or
> seen based in a strong relationship to both foundation and design
> history which is are required for any design critique to be anything
> other than well "opinion" and "utilitarian".
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

--
~ will

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

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | User Experience Architect
tel: +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
aim: semanticwill | gtalk: wkevans4
twitter: semanticwill | skype: semanticwill
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

15 Oct 2008 - 7:42am
SemanticWill
2007

"you merely need to be able to communicated your ideas effectively to the
graphic
designers, coders, and everyone else involved as to what needs to
happen."

Amen, brother.

On Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 9:39 AM, William Brall <dampee at earthlink.net> wrote:

> You can't create a great product without great visuals. Where those
> visuals come from does not need to be, and should not be, the
> interaction designer. The IxD can make use of graphic skill, just
> like they can make use of code skill and any other skill. However,
> like a house built by your grandfather, nothing will be perfect if
> you do it all yourself.
>
> We have different groups of professionals for a reason, that reason
> is that no one person can do everything at the great level. What will
> get by on the small scale is impossible on the large scale. Like Video
> Games.
>
> So the answer is a resounding YES! You don't need to have great
> visual design skills to be a great interaction designer. You merely
> need to be able to communicated your ideas effectively to the graphic
> designers, coders, and everyone else involved as to what needs to
> happen. They are professionals too, they know how to make things
> pretty or run fast.
>
>
> Will
>
>
>

15 Oct 2008 - 7:47am
Scott McDaniel
2007

Cool point there, too.
It seemed to fill a need, then become so common as to become the default.
Every time I go to it (to reference a band I just heard or because
someone friended me),
I can all but see the words "DANCING BEAR" blinking across the screen.

Scott

On Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 9:39 AM, Will Evans <will at semanticfoundry.com> wrote:
> To Dave's point:
> "So yes, an interaction designer can create great interactions without great
> visual design."
>
> But many compelling interactions require great creative to give them emotive
> appeal - and as we have all read Norman's book - we know that emotive
> attraction IS perceived usability. Great IxDs don't need to be great visual
> designers - but they should team up with them and understand the power of
> attraction. Gestural interface interaction on the iPhone is great - but the
> GUI is sexy - it looks good and it feels good.
>
> I agree about MySpace - the visual design, to say the least and be kind -
> sucks sewer water through a strychnine-laced straw. I agree with Dave that
> the interaction design has been successful, but I think the IxD of MySpace
> is just as fetid - autoplay music anyone? Success yes - good IxD - notably
> horrid.
>
> On Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 9:30 AM, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
>
>> Wow! what a great conversation.
>>
>> I need to totally agree and forgive me also disagree.
>> For the types of artifacts (media) that is being discussed thus far
>> visual design in many respects is the receptical for the interactions
>> we are designing and thus the communication layer. Successful
>> interactions need to be communicated and need to respond to
>> communications and thus for the former to occur where relevant great
>> visual can help an interaction design immensely.
>>
>> Ok, here is where I disagree.
>> What about where vision is not in play? What about the interaction
>> design of gestural audio systems? So yes, an interaction designer
>> can create great interactions without great visual design. But that
>> doesn't mean he can do so without great care towards crafts of form.
>>
>>
>> Now the other disagreement is going back to the true spirit of the
>> original point, but I want to ask in a question. Where does
>> Craigslist, Google Maps and MySpace fall.
>> Yup, none of these have GREAT visual design, but arguably all 3 had
>> greatly successful interaction design, no?
>>
>> To me the greatest problem we have is that we actually do not have a
>> well articulated method for actually determining what is GREAT IxD.
>> There is no methods of "critique" in IxD that I have uncovered or
>> seen based in a strong relationship to both foundation and design
>> history which is are required for any design critique to be anything
>> other than well "opinion" and "utilitarian".
>>
>>
>> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> Posted from the new ixda.org
>> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> 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
>>
>
>
>
> --
> ~ will
>
> "Where you innovate, how you innovate,
> and what you innovate are design problems"
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Will Evans | User Experience Architect
> tel: +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
> aim: semanticwill | gtalk: wkevans4
> twitter: semanticwill | skype: semanticwill
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

--
"The future is unwritten." - Joe Strummer

15 Oct 2008 - 7:59am
Jens Meiert
2004

> My question: can an interaction designer create great working interaction
> without having visual design skills?

Define "great" and elaborate "without", please. ;)

--
Jens Meiert
http://meiert.com/en/

15 Oct 2008 - 8:07am
R. Groot
2006

Hi Jens,

thanks for reaction.

Well maybe the word "great" can be dropped, I added it to make the question
more black&white.

For the word "without":

I mean to ask if it is possible/works well to just make wireframes (gray and
white blocks) to design and explain the interaction of a digital artifact
(website, application, etc). Leaving any visual design for a visual designer
to go wild on.

Hope that clears the question. If not, ask me more :)

Rein

15 Oct 2008 - 12:52pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Oct 15, 2008, at 1:35 AM, R. Groot wrote:

> My question: can an interaction designer create great working
> interaction
> without having visual design skills?

No. No matter what anyone else says.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

15 Oct 2008 - 1:02pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

To further clarify: You can't look at the tasks or process or whatever
it is that you think that you do in the field and ask the question.
You have to look at what you are building and then ask the question
what is required to design it. Design in all of its forms is not a
theoretical exercise. At the end of the day, something is built,
constructed, made or created out of some set of materials available
based on the design direction created by one or more people. To create
"great" anything requires a deep understanding of all the components
required to actually build that "great" thing.

So, I think you have to ask yourself:

Can a [DESIGNER TYPE] create a great [PRODUCT TYPE] without having
[SKILL TYPE]?

In the case of interface and software design, the question then reads:

Can an interface designer create a great software or web application
without having visual deisgn skills? To which the answer is no.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

15 Oct 2008 - 1:05pm
Mark Schraad
2006

Several have elluded to this, but the Ixd must have enough visual
tools and chops to communicate the interaction. So in that regard,
yes. Do they need to produce polished and finished for production
mocks? No - no matter what Andrei says.

Mark

On Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 10:07 AM, R. Groot <rein.groot at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Jens,
>
> thanks for reaction.
>
> Well maybe the word "great" can be dropped, I added it to make the question
> more black&white.
>
> For the word "without":
>
> I mean to ask if it is possible/works well to just make wireframes (gray and
> white blocks) to design and explain the interaction of a digital artifact
> (website, application, etc). Leaving any visual design for a visual designer
> to go wild on.
>
> Hope that clears the question. If not, ask me more :)
>
> Rein
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

15 Oct 2008 - 1:19pm
Jens Meiert
2004

> Can a [DESIGNER TYPE] create a great [PRODUCT TYPE] without having [SKILL
> TYPE]?

It clearly depends, again. Unless you'd narrow down at least "skill type".

--
Jens Meiert
http://meiert.com/en/

15 Oct 2008 - 1:28pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Oct 15, 2008, at 12:05 PM, mark schraad wrote:

> Several have elluded to this, but the Ixd must have enough visual
> tools and chops to communicate the interaction. So in that regard,
> yes. Do they need to produce polished and finished for production
> mocks? No - no matter what Andrei says.

Ok... let's see some example then?

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

15 Oct 2008 - 1:30pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Oct 15, 2008, at 12:19 PM, Jens Meiert wrote:

>> Can a [DESIGNER TYPE] create a great [PRODUCT TYPE] without having
>> [SKILL
>> TYPE]?
>
> It clearly depends, again...

That was the point. 8^)

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

15 Oct 2008 - 1:32pm
Mark Schraad
2006

examples of what?

On Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 3:28 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk
<aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com> wrote:
> On Oct 15, 2008, at 12:05 PM, mark schraad wrote:
>
>> Several have elluded to this, but the Ixd must have enough visual
>> tools and chops to communicate the interaction. So in that regard,
>> yes. Do they need to produce polished and finished for production
>> mocks? No - no matter what Andrei says.
>
> Ok... let's see some example then?
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>
> Principal, Involution Studios
> innovating the digital world
>
> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
> c. +1 408 306 6422
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

15 Oct 2008 - 1:33pm
Mark Schraad
2006

examples of what?

On Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 3:28 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk
<aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com> wrote:
> On Oct 15, 2008, at 12:05 PM, mark schraad wrote:
>
>> Several have elluded to this, but the Ixd must have enough visual
>> tools and chops to communicate the interaction. So in that regard,
>> yes. Do they need to produce polished and finished for production
>> mocks? No - no matter what Andrei says.
>
> Ok... let's see some example then?
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>
> Principal, Involution Studios
> innovating the digital world
>
> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
> c. +1 408 306 6422
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

15 Oct 2008 - 1:35pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Oct 15, 2008, at 12:32 PM, mark schraad wrote:

> examples of what?

Examples of "great working interaction without having visual design
skills."

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

15 Oct 2008 - 1:37pm
Dave Malouf
2005

I also think it really depends on the collborative environment you
want to work in. I have had much more success working with great
visual/3D folks than doing it on my own. They are deep in viz and
I'm deep in IxD and the combination is rocket fuel when applied
well.

So I don't think this is an always situation at all.

I have been giving some thought to this b/c I think the answer
depends a lot of your perspective when you answer it.

If I were to think about this from a career path/education
perspective, I actually agree MORE with Andrei than not. What I mean
is that I don't think that there is a real path for an entry level
interaction designer (purist). IxD is best when it is work done in
conjunction with form design (graphic or industrial). The next level
of education is mastery in Interaction outside of any specific medium
(or across any medium). This is like converting from a screen writer
to a creative writer regardless of medium. The goal of the master
grad is to be able to direct, not to build directly and work with
great form-giving talent while guiding the narrative & interactive
aesthetics to the next level.

The one thing I totally agree on with Andrei is that none of this is
theory for theory sake. Theory w/o a grounding in practice is
mental-masturbation. And practice w/o grounding in theory is just a
waste of time and resources.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

15 Oct 2008 - 2:47pm
netwiz
2010

On Wed, 15 Oct 2008 10:35:39 +0200, Rein wrote:

>in my daily work as an interaction designer I mostly create wireframes and
>support the visual designers in their creation of the visual design for
>these wireframes.
>
>I notice though, that there is a strong dependency on how/if the interaction
>will work and the (eventual) visual design.
>
>My question: can an interaction designer create great working interaction
>without having visual design skills?

My interpretation of your question is that you create black and white
wireframes and layouts, which creatives than apply visuals to.

If this is correct, and having read most of the responses so far, my
comment is, ho for goodness sake, OF COURSE.

An effective user interaction is a combination of the interaction
design (within my understanding of what you mean by it), and the
creative/visual design that is then applied to it. If either don't
work, then the end result will be worse. Depending on the context,
one or the other may be more important.

So to say that one, or the other, is what makes or breaks, misses the
point.

* Nick Gassman - Usability and Standards Manager - http://ba.com *

15 Oct 2008 - 4:53pm
Robert Reimann
2003

I'd agree, if the designer is working alone. Teams of specialists with
complementary skills and good creative direction can and do achieve create
great design.

Robert.

Robert Reimann
IxDA Seattle

Associate Creative Director
frog design
Seattle, WA

On Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 12:02 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk <
aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com> wrote:

> To further clarify: You can't look at the tasks or process or whatever it
> is that you think that you do in the field and ask the question. You have to
> look at what you are building and then ask the question what is required to
> design it. Design in all of its forms is not a theoretical exercise. At the
> end of the day, something is built, constructed, made or created out of some
> set of materials available based on the design direction created by one or
> more people. To create "great" anything requires a deep understanding of all
> the components required to actually build that "great" thing.
>
> So, I think you have to ask yourself:
>
> Can a [DESIGNER TYPE] create a great [PRODUCT TYPE] without having [SKILL
> TYPE]?
>
> In the case of interface and software design, the question then reads:
>
> Can an interface designer create a great software or web application
> without having visual deisgn skills? To which the answer is no.
>
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>
> Principal, Involution Studios
> innovating the digital world
>
> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
> c. +1 408 306 6422
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

15 Oct 2008 - 5:04pm
j.scot
2008

squarely on the head, dude. You'd probably be good at Stocknagaln.

(what's Stocknagaln? http://skisnowboardeurope.com/zellamsee/nightlife.html)

.scot

On Oct 15, 2008, at 6:39 AM, William Brall wrote:

You can't create a great product without great visuals. Where those
visuals come from does not need to be, and should not be, the
interaction designer. The IxD can make use of graphic skill, just
like they can make use of code skill and any other skill. However,
like a house built by your grandfather, nothing will be perfect if
you do it all yourself.

We have different groups of professionals for a reason, that reason
is that no one person can do everything at the great level. What will
get by on the small scale is impossible on the large scale. Like Video
Games.

So the answer is a resounding YES! You don't need to have great
visual design skills to be a great interaction designer. You merely
need to be able to communicated your ideas effectively to the graphic
designers, coders, and everyone else involved as to what needs to
happen. They are professionals too, they know how to make things
pretty or run fast.

Will

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

________________________________________________________________
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15 Oct 2008 - 5:10pm
Mark Schraad
2006

coming back online after an accidental detour...

On Oct 15, 2008, at 6:50 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> Hope you don't mind, I'm adding Dave to this so I don't have to
> repeat myself. 8^)
>
> On Oct 15, 2008, at 2:18 PM, mark schraad wrote:
>
>> I think Dave mentioned a few... craigslist... google.
>
> This is where we tend to disagree, or where I largely disagree with
> folks on this list. I think both Google and Craig's List are
> horrible examples of interaction in action. Crude at best. Nothing
> "great" about them at all to be honest.
>
> You have to remember, I come from desktop application worlds, where
> I helped design 3D software and painting products, both of which
> require immense interaction problem solving to make them work with
> keyboards, mice and styluses. The interaction needed to make such
> apps work elegantly is a hundred times more complicated than
> anything Google or Craigslist has done. I find the web world to be
> so far behind on so many fronts it's upsetting to a guy like me on
> how much was lost in 1995 when the web browser became popular.
>
>> There is a huge overlap between the visual designer and the
>> interaction designer, but they are different skill sets.
>
> The delta between what is not part of that overlap is also where I
> don't understand the issue. It's not that big a delta, and further,
> it's very straight-forward to learn the skills and craft of that
> delta. It just takes practice. Pure and simple. But the more people
> keep avoiding the delta, the more than entrench themselves into
> thinking there's some sort of wall where there isn't any.
>
>> There is also overlap between interaction, front end code, and
>> back in development.
>> In the case of Google, the interaction isn't spectacular... it does
>> not have to be. The visual presentation did not require a huge effort
>> or great skill either. These elements can and often do compensate for
>> one another.
>
> These are just excuses in my mind. The only reasons that Google
> products are the way they are is simple: They were built inside the
> crippled interaction models of the web browser, and they were built
> by engineers or "designers" with no aesthetic skills whatsoever.
>
>> But then... it feels like we are heading into some sort of groundhog
>> day re-run here. Your view on this is different than many of us on
>> this list.
>
> The more robust software building tools become -- where we are all
> back at the same state of richness of interaction that was
> happening back in 1984 when the Mac first made popular the act of
> double-clicking an icon to open a file -- the more it will become
> clear where my view comes from, and that it's not really a stretch
> at all.
>
> It's just not that large a chasm to cross. It's more like crossing
> a stream, not a raging river.
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>
> Principal, Involution Studios
> innovating the digital world
>
> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
> c. +1 408 306 6422
>

15 Oct 2008 - 5:21pm
Jeff Howard
2004

Andrei wrote:
> No. No matter what anyone else says.
> Ok... let's see some example then?
> Examples of "great working interaction without
> having visual design skills."

I feel like we covered this upstream in the thread. Pick any
"great" interaction without a visual component and your argument
quickly unravels.

Audio phone interfaces are probably the most common example. You
can't "see" them, but that's the point.

1-800-555-TELLME

I have no idea whether the designer for the Tell Me service had
visual design skills but it isn't expressed in the interface because
the interface isn't visual.

There's no need to address whether it's possible to find
counter-examples in the visual domain because the argument you're
making is absolute in nature. Only one counter-example is necessary.

Perhaps we can quibble over whether this service is in fact a
"great" interaction, but that's a topic for another thread.

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

15 Oct 2008 - 5:29pm
DampeS8N
2008

google sms 411.

Text a person's name and city where they live to GOOGL.

This is a great, graphic-less, visual interface.

Will

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

15 Oct 2008 - 5:34pm
DampeS8N
2008

http://www.google.com/mobile

For people who don't want to spend the 10cents to txt google, they
have a demo here that will show you all the fun things it can do.

Sorry for the double post
Will

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

15 Oct 2008 - 5:34pm
SemanticWill
2007

Andrei et al,

I have seen some great interactions. I have known some fantastic interaction
designs. I have also know some fantastic visual designs/designer/s. the two
sets are orthogonal and do not overlap - I have not met one great IxDer that
was also a great visual designer. Not even in La-la SF/bay area moonbat
treehugger land.

I have also seen very few - if any at all - great web interaction designs
because in that regard you are right - the web was built as a document
linking platform and to the extent that there is a "browser" you have a
page-link-page underlying system model - not a rich interactions paradigm
like you get with sovereign applications. Doesn't mean we don't need to
train up IxD folks that only know the web - but for those who have spent
many years doing thick client IxD work - the RIA-less web with its links and
simple form elements is kindergarten no matter how you slice it - and
spending 5 or 10 years doing just web IxD will never let you explore the
deeper issues that any 2nd year HCI student should know like the back of
their hand. But these are just my opinions and as we all know, 1. they are
like __ (everyone has one) and 2. they won't even buy you a cup of coffee.

On Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 7:21 PM, Jeff Howard <id at howardesign.com> wrote:

> Andrei wrote:
> > No. No matter what anyone else says.
> > Ok... let's see some example then?
> > Examples of "great working interaction without
> > having visual design skills."
>
> I feel like we covered this upstream in the thread. Pick any
> "great" interaction without a visual component and your argument
> quickly unravels.
>
> Audio phone interfaces are probably the most common example. You
> can't "see" them, but that's the point.
>
> 1-800-555-TELLME
>
> I have no idea whether the designer for the Tell Me service had
> visual design skills but it isn't expressed in the interface because
> the interface isn't visual.
>
> There's no need to address whether it's possible to find
> counter-examples in the visual domain because the argument you're
> making is absolute in nature. Only one counter-example is necessary.
>
> Perhaps we can quibble over whether this service is in fact a
> "great" interaction, but that's a topic for another thread.
>
> // jeff
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

--
~ will

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

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | User Experience Architect
tel: +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
aim: semanticwill | gtalk: wkevans4
twitter: semanticwill | skype: semanticwill
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

15 Oct 2008 - 5:37pm
DampeS8N
2008

http://www.google.com/mobile/default/sms/#utm_campaign=en&utm_source=hussss&utm_medium=ha&utm_term=google
sms&dc=gh0sss

I'm really sorry. This is what I meant to post as the link. I'm
gonna shut up now.

Last time ever, I promise.
Will

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

15 Oct 2008 - 5:48pm
SemanticWill
2007

but perhaps its just the nature of the fact that this list is, frankly, so
webcentric. I think back to some very good work that I admire - the Bose
Media system's IxD in the Ferrari 612 is something I admire - and would
loved to have worked on, save for the fact that I couldn't work at a
cult-of-personality company like Bose with their forced socialization
policies, but I digress. Audio system IxD in cars presents so many great
pitfalls and concerns that web ixd design will simply never have to work
under that they should be considered different fields. Same thing for
airplane cockpits and air traffic control UIs. Compared to those - web ixd
is moveable type (Gutenberg, not blogging) compared to emacs.

On Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 7:34 PM, Will Evans <will at semanticfoundry.com>wrote:

> Andrei et al,
>
> I have seen some great interactions. I have known some fantastic
> interaction designs. I have also know some fantastic visual
> designs/designer/s. the two sets are orthogonal and do not overlap - I have
> not met one great IxDer that was also a great visual designer. Not even in
> La-la SF/bay area moonbat treehugger land.
>
> I have also seen very few - if any at all - great web interaction designs
> because in that regard you are right - the web was built as a document
> linking platform and to the extent that there is a "browser" you have a
> page-link-page underlying system model - not a rich interactions paradigm
> like you get with sovereign applications. Doesn't mean we don't need to
> train up IxD folks that only know the web - but for those who have spent
> many years doing thick client IxD work - the RIA-less web with its links and
> simple form elements is kindergarten no matter how you slice it - and
> spending 5 or 10 years doing just web IxD will never let you explore the
> deeper issues that any 2nd year HCI student should know like the back of
> their hand. But these are just my opinions and as we all know, 1. they are
> like __ (everyone has one) and 2. they won't even buy you a cup of coffee.
>
> On Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 7:21 PM, Jeff Howard <id at howardesign.com> wrote:
>
>> Andrei wrote:
>> > No. No matter what anyone else says.
>> > Ok... let's see some example then?
>> > Examples of "great working interaction without
>> > having visual design skills."
>>
>> I feel like we covered this upstream in the thread. Pick any
>> "great" interaction without a visual component and your argument
>> quickly unravels.
>>
>> Audio phone interfaces are probably the most common example. You
>> can't "see" them, but that's the point.
>>
>> 1-800-555-TELLME
>>
>> I have no idea whether the designer for the Tell Me service had
>> visual design skills but it isn't expressed in the interface because
>> the interface isn't visual.
>>
>> There's no need to address whether it's possible to find
>> counter-examples in the visual domain because the argument you're
>> making is absolute in nature. Only one counter-example is necessary.
>>
>> Perhaps we can quibble over whether this service is in fact a
>> "great" interaction, but that's a topic for another thread.
>>
>> // jeff
>>
>>
>> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> Posted from the new ixda.org
>> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> 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
>>
>
>
>
> --
> ~ will
>
> "Where you innovate, how you innovate,
> and what you innovate are design problems"
>
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Will Evans | User Experience Architect
> tel: +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
> aim: semanticwill | gtalk: wkevans4
> twitter: semanticwill | skype: semanticwill
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>

--
~ will

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

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | User Experience Architect
tel: +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
aim: semanticwill | gtalk: wkevans4
twitter: semanticwill | skype: semanticwill
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

15 Oct 2008 - 11:18pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Oct 15, 2008, at 7:34 PM, Will Evans wrote:

> I have seen some great interactions. I have known some fantastic
> interaction
> designs. I have also know some fantastic visual designs/designer/s.
> the two
> sets are orthogonal and do not overlap - I have not met one great
> IxDer that
> was also a great visual designer. Not even in La-la SF/bay area
> moonbat
> treehugger land.

Will, perhaps you haven't, but we exist nonetheless. I have known
many, and I'm sure there are many others on this list that can claim
both skill sets. I've even known a couple that are extremely talented
in IxD and GD, and are decent programmers.

Your assertion that Interaction Design and Visual Design are
orthogonal couldn't be more wrong. It is a perfectly logical route to
move from Graphic/Communication Design into Interaction Design. It is
also completely natural for an Industrial Designer to practice IxD.
The training in either field is a perfect background to build upon.

Do I then believe, like Andrei, that an IxDer must have this
combination? No. I've known enough very talented IxDers that aren't
visual designers to be disabused of such a notion. Do I believe that
visual design skills make an IxDer better than s/he would be without
them? Absolutely.

But to argue that a designer can't be both? I'm sorry, Will, but you
don't have a leg to stand on.

Best,
Jack

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

First, recognize that the ‘right’ requirements
are in principle unknowable by users, customers
and designers at the start.

Devise the design process, and the formal
agreement between designers and customers and users,
to be sensitive to what is learnt by any of the
parties as the design evolves.

- J.C. Jones

16 Oct 2008 - 2:14am
Janne Kaasalainen
2008

My gut feeling and experience is that an interaction designer should
have a good understanding of the medium he's designing for, whether
this is visual, physical, aural or something else. Visuals are a nice
example case, though, so pardon me for concentrating on that for the
rest of this reply.

One of the issues with using just the wireframes is that some problems
can extend to visual domain and vice versa. A solution to an
interaction problem can be a visual design issue. A visual design
issue can be solved via interaction. The separation of all parts of
the systems (coding, visuals, interaction, marketing, etc.) seem to be
artificial, to me at least, and mostly due to practical issues. The
more you can break down the barriers, the easier design seems to
become. To what level that can or should be done is another complex
issue.

However, all this also depends on the team, how it operates and what
kind of people are in it. One can't be an expert in everything, of
course, yet there needs to be understanding about the various aspects.
Diversity can be a solution, but there are practical limits with that
as well. Plus there are benefits of keeping teams small. Thus, imho,
interaction designer should be able to be at least adequate in visual
design (or applicable field) to be worth his salt.

Regards,

Janne Kaasalainen

16 Oct 2008 - 4:34am
SemanticWill
2007

"But to argue that a designer can't be both? I'm sorry, Will, but you don't
have a leg to stand on."

I did not argue that they can't be both - I merely argues that I have not
seen one that is "Great" at one also "Great" at another. Perhaps my judgment
of what constitutes Great is very different than many others. I know for a
fact that IxD can learn GD, and vis verse - I am talking about greatness -
not merely possessing the skills. I was more hinting that the greatness in
both is orthogonal b/c I have not seen it overlap in one person - and this
is completely a subjective call since what I may consider decent/okay GD -
you may consider great.

On Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 1:18 AM, Jack Moffett <jackmoffett at mac.com> wrote:

> On Oct 15, 2008, at 7:34 PM, Will Evans wrote:
>
> I have seen some great interactions. I have known some fantastic
>> interaction
>> designs. I have also know some fantastic visual designs/designer/s. the
>> two
>> sets are orthogonal and do not overlap - I have not met one great IxDer
>> that
>> was also a great visual designer. Not even in La-la SF/bay area moonbat
>> treehugger land.
>>
>
>
> Will, perhaps you haven't, but we exist nonetheless. I have known many, and
> I'm sure there are many others on this list that can claim both skill sets.
> I've even known a couple that are extremely talented in IxD and GD, and are
> decent programmers.
>
> Your assertion that Interaction Design and Visual Design are orthogonal
> couldn't be more wrong. It is a perfectly logical route to move from
> Graphic/Communication Design into Interaction Design. It is also completely
> natural for an Industrial Designer to practice IxD. The training in either
> field is a perfect background to build upon.
>
> Do I then believe, like Andrei, that an IxDer must have this combination?
> No. I've known enough very talented IxDers that aren't visual designers to
> be disabused of such a notion. Do I believe that visual design skills make
> an IxDer better than s/he would be without them? Absolutely.
>
> But to argue that a designer can't be both? I'm sorry, Will, but you don't
> have a leg to stand on.
>
> Best,
> Jack
>
>
> Jack L. Moffett
> Interaction Designer
> inmedius
> 412.459.0310 x219
> http://www.inmedius.com
>
>
> First, recognize that the 'right' requirements
> are in principle unknowable by users, customers
> and designers at the start.
>
> Devise the design process, and the formal
> agreement between designers and customers and users,
> to be sensitive to what is learnt by any of the
> parties as the design evolves.
>
> - J.C. Jones
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

--
~ will

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

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | User Experience Architect
tel: +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
aim: semanticwill | gtalk: wkevans4
twitter: semanticwill | skype: semanticwill
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16 Oct 2008 - 9:07am
Michael Micheletti
2006

I seem to be alternately skillful in interaction work and graphic design
work (and programming for that matter), but seldom all at once. Seems like a
few days and a serious change of focus is needed to switch between the
crafts. I'm mindful of athletes who compete in multiple sports during the
year, but need to train and focus on one sport at a time.

So even though I'm alternating between sketch pad and code today, the
sketches are raw and I'm more technically focused. Programmer Brain and
Designer Brain are different.

And I think you're right Will. I've known Great graphic designers and Great
programmers (currently surrounded by the latter), and look up to them with
respect. They give me something to aspire to and lots of ideas. They're fun
to work with. But even if I've a long ways to go yet, there's some benefit
in occupying the intersection between related crafts. Having some facility
in coding, graphics work and interaction design has been very helpful to me.
I try to be aware of which craft I need to seriously focus on and learn
about at the moment (right now it's code, I suspect next will be graphic
design), and I would recommend this sort of cross-training to others as
well.

Michael Micheletti

On Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 3:34 AM, Will Evans <will at semanticfoundry.com>wrote:

> "But to argue that a designer can't be both? I'm sorry, Will, but you don't
> have a leg to stand on."
>
> I did not argue that they can't be both - I merely argues that I have not
> seen one that is "Great" at one also "Great" at another. Perhaps my
> judgment
> of what constitutes Great is very different than many others. I know for a
> fact that IxD can learn GD, and vis verse - I am talking about greatness -
> not merely possessing the skills. I was more hinting that the greatness in
> both is orthogonal b/c I have not seen it overlap in one person - and this
> is completely a subjective call since what I may consider decent/okay GD -
> you may consider great.
>
>

15 Oct 2008 - 8:44am
Stefan Nitzsche
2008

I think, interaction design is about to guide the user, to explain the
meaning of elements in a non-verbose way. For example: you can use
visual elements like shadows or texture to simulate surface feel ...
The shadow has not to be beautiful or proportional to look like a
shadow. Also the designer does not need expert skills in using
Photoshop or similar software. He needs to know what interaction
design is all about.

--
Stefan Nitzsche
http://nitzsche.info/

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

15 Oct 2008 - 6:17pm
philly
2008

How to Design for Start-Up without Closely Defined
I'm noticing a pattern with certain web startups. They want you to
design for their website or app, but the problem is they have
different audiences. So my dilemma is since a startup is needing to
launch a product as soon as possible and their budgets are low, what
are some good approaches for handling this type of pickle?

I am eager to hear anyone else's advice and shared experiences.

~Phil

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

16 Oct 2008 - 11:41am
Dave Cortright
2005

Janne, I think your gut is correct; the better a designer understands the
constraints of the medium he is designing for, the better the end result
will be.

The process of generating a "great interaction design" is a consideration
that is at least as important as the final design itself. While one does not
need to know the constraints of HTML, CSS, Javascript, and cross-browser
compatibility to design a web site, it certainly makes things a lot more
efficient. Otherwise, you'll spend a lot of time going back and forth with
developers telling you what is and is not possible. And since time is a
fixed resource, that is a massive opportunity cost that could otherwise be
spent interating on a good design to make it even better.

Also, there are many facets to "visual design". I strongly believe that all
interaction designers should understand the basics of page layout, visual
heirarchy, alignment, grid systems, and typography. As such, I highly
recommend all interaction designers internalize the concepts in this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Non-Designers-Design-Type-Books-Deluxe/dp/0321534050/&t=readishmael-20

15 Oct 2008 - 2:04pm
jamin
2007

If you are designing a user interface, visual design skills are a
plus. But if you're working with a great visual designer, you should
be all good.

If you're designing how different silos of an organization interact
with each other, great visual design skills are still a plus, but may
be irrelevant.

Let's not assume all interaction design deals with screens or
visuals.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

15 Oct 2008 - 1:20pm
Narla
2008

I agree with lot of previous comments that its very important to have
a good sense of visual design to be a good interaction designer.
However it depends on product you are building are the target
audience. For e.g. I have developed Call Center application and
didn't do much visual design at all.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

16 Oct 2008 - 2:26am
Tim Wright
2008

Bugger. Just did a reply instead of a reply to all.

Tim

On Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 9:25 PM, Tim Wright <sambo.shacklock at gmail.com>wrote:

>
> So, I'm not a visual designer and don't think you have to have visual
> design skills to create great interaction. However, you do need visual
> design skills to make them look good!
>
> http://www.sbscanworks.com/
>
> It's designed to be easy to interact with. Sure, a visual designer could
> make it look better. But the interaction is easy. I've even done user
> testing! (and have a couple of changes to make as a result). On a different
> note, I've seen many "visual designer's" websites that are damn near
> impossible to use.
>
> The real question, of course, is:
>
> For project X, what mix of visual design and interaction design skills do
> we need to deliver value for our stakeholders?
>
> (the mix will vary depending on the project and the users)
>
> Tim
>
>
> On Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 8:35 AM, Andrei Herasimchuk <
> aherasimchuk at involutionstudios.com> wrote:
>
>> On Oct 15, 2008, at 12:32 PM, mark schraad wrote:
>>
>> examples of what?
>>>
>>
>> Examples of "great working interaction without having visual design
>> skills."
>>
>> --
>> Andrei Herasimchuk
>>
>> Principal, Involution Studios
>> innovating the digital world
>>
>> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
>> c. +1 408 306 6422
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> 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.
>

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

16 Oct 2008 - 2:37pm
james horgan
2008

Unlikely, what you're asking from someone is too visualise the
potential of your solution, and visionary business clients are few
and far between my friend. It's your job to make them recognise the
business value of what you do.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

17 Oct 2008 - 4:05am
dszuc
2005

The "visual design" fades quickly ... a stellar interaction design
remains constant and is what keeps people engaged with the product.

If the visuals are nice but the IXD is crap, no amount of nice
visuals will help the product. Its like applying a nice skin on a
flawed IXD/wireframe/workflow.

Note -- Both are important but IXD has a lasting effect.

:)

rgds,
Dan

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

17 Oct 2008 - 6:53am
Alan Dennis
2008

So, this is actually my first reply to this list, but I thought I'd jump in because this actually spawned a conversation here where I work.

Janne, I think your response hits the nail on the head. As we are heading into a more visual and all around higher fidelity world of interactions in software products (iPhone, Vista with WPF, Core Animation on the Mac, etc...), visual design skills are becoming more and more valuable for interaction designers - or whatever title you give yourself for being the person that "figures out the user interface." Certainly there are specializations as products grow complex (as someone pointed out with the game industry, which started out with a programmer doing EVERYTHING and now has full time people just making 3d props!). However, I believe cross discipline talents are key as we're navigating these new waters of interactions. Animations, graphic design, typography, general layout - all of these things are going to play key roles in establishing excellent experiences with software. Basically, a gigantic mixture of disciplines are coming together to form what we consider to be excellent interactions.

So, do you need to be a master of each discipline? Absolutely not. I hardly expect myself to be a master of animation. I've taken 2 animations classes in the past and I hope to never have to draw a walk animation cycle ever again. But I took the classes - and I have an understanding of the fundamentals and my work has improved because of it. In fact, the information I gleaned from all my "visual design" research and classes over the years has proven invaluable while creating interactive prototypes to design Uis that I'm working on. Of course, I've also made a point to learn programming (to a noooooobish level, I'll admit, but I only make prototypes), because that plays a role in the future as well. In a sense, I believe that interaction designers need to strive to be rennaissance computer nerds. Which, hey, that's the fun part, right?! We should count ourselves lucky. :)

Basically, my point is that if you want to make great designs, I do believe you need to have somewhat of an understanding in the various disciplines involved. Visual design is one of those disciplines that can help immensely. Sure, sometimes you can have a situation where you have an interaction designer and a visual designer and they are completely separate. And sometimes that situation will produce a great product. But, I truly believe there would be far more synergy if that visual designer had some interaction design chops, as well as the interaction designer knowing a thing or two about visual design. And if that were the case, that great product just went from great to awesome.

-Alan Dennis

User Experience Designer
TechSmith Corporation | www.TechSmith.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Janne Kaasalainen
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 4:15 AM
To: IxDA list
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Can an interaction designer creat (great) interaction without (great) visual design skills?

My gut feeling and experience is that an interaction designer should
have a good understanding of the medium he's designing for, whether
this is visual, physical, aural or something else. Visuals are a nice
example case, though, so pardon me for concentrating on that for the
rest of this reply.

One of the issues with using just the wireframes is that some problems
can extend to visual domain and vice versa. A solution to an
interaction problem can be a visual design issue. A visual design
issue can be solved via interaction. The separation of all parts of
the systems (coding, visuals, interaction, marketing, etc.) seem to be
artificial, to me at least, and mostly due to practical issues. The
more you can break down the barriers, the easier design seems to
become. To what level that can or should be done is another complex
issue.

However, all this also depends on the team, how it operates and what
kind of people are in it. One can't be an expert in everything, of
course, yet there needs to be understanding about the various aspects.
Diversity can be a solution, but there are practical limits with that
as well. Plus there are benefits of keeping teams small. Thus, imho,
interaction designer should be able to be at least adequate in visual
design (or applicable field) to be worth his salt.

Regards,

Janne Kaasalainen
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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20 Oct 2008 - 9:31am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Oct 17, 2008, at 8:53 AM, Dennis, Alan wrote:

> Basically, my point is that if you want to make great designs, I do
> believe you need to have somewhat of an understanding in the various
> disciplines involved. Visual design is one of those disciplines that
> can help immensely.

Having an understanding and appreciation for a related discipline
isn't the same as being a master of it. Good visual design can enhance
interactions, or can break them. The interaction design is the
foundation of a good design.

I believe that being a good interaction design who has good visual
design skills is better than one who doesn't. However, I don't believe
for a minute that you can't be a good interaction designer if you
don't have good visual design skills. As long as you understand the
practice and appreciate it, then you can be a great interaction
designer.

Stating interaction designers have to be good visual designers is like
saying good programmers have to be good interaction designers.
Software development is an evolutionary process. We rely on each other
as a team.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

23 Oct 2008 - 10:03pm
Barb Hernandez
2005

Hi all

I work every day with multi-talented designers who are the whole package and more. They take our designs from concept to finished art. They are masters of both interaction and visual design (and no you can't have them :)).

That said, I have worked on both sides of this argument. I have worked as an interaction designer who relied on graphic artists to create the graphics for my designs. Looking back, and now having worked with the designers on my team, most of the graphics artists I worked with in the past with could function easily as interaction designers. Some of them did - but only on their portfolio sites, not at work.

In other cases, I struggled with graphic artists that worked in the print world and didn't get the interactive component so it was near impossible to get the visual design to support the interaction.

Is there room for both specializations, sure, IMHO we get great, world class design from designers with talent for both interaction and visual design. And yes, we call them User Experience Designers because they design the whole experience.

Regards
Barb Hernandez
User Experience Manager | TechSmith Corporation

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Todd Zaki Warfel
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2008 11:32 AM
To: Dennis, Alan
Cc: IxDA list
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Can an interaction designer creat (great) interaction without (great) visual design skills?

On Oct 17, 2008, at 8:53 AM, Dennis, Alan wrote:

> Basically, my point is that if you want to make great designs, I do
> believe you need to have somewhat of an understanding in the various
> disciplines involved. Visual design is one of those disciplines that
> can help immensely.

Having an understanding and appreciation for a related discipline
isn't the same as being a master of it. Good visual design can enhance
interactions, or can break them. The interaction design is the
foundation of a good design.

I believe that being a good interaction design who has good visual
design skills is better than one who doesn't. However, I don't believe
for a minute that you can't be a good interaction designer if you
don't have good visual design skills. As long as you understand the
practice and appreciate it, then you can be a great interaction
designer.

Stating interaction designers have to be good visual designers is like
saying good programmers have to be good interaction designers.
Software development is an evolutionary process. We rely on each other
as a team.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

________________________________________________________________
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

23 Oct 2008 - 10:45pm
Christine Boese
2006

I don't know if this is a different tack on this topic or not, but I'll
throw it out here.

I think it is one thing to have visual design skills, and another thing to
be current in the field of visual design. I have been a visual designer,
going back to the time of print-only publication design (makes me feel long
of tooth these days).

One thing I did not do was study graphic or visual design at an art school,
and my MFA is not in art.

However, I have no desire to be a visual designer on the web. There is a lot
about print design that still intrigues me, but the idea of only doing web
visual design feels to me... <blasphemy alert> boring </blasphemy>. Sort of
like, what if all I did as a visual designer was design print stationary
letterheads. I know there are people who live to design letterheads, and I
don't mean to put down their profession, but I could not do it.

I have the skills and understand the basic principles, can use the tools,
have taught visual communications grad seminars, etc. That is not the issue.

What I get bored with is following the "hemlines" of contemporary commercial
graphic design, particularly on the web. What colors are hot this year? What
fonts are in and what fonts are out this year? Trendy design, in other
words.

There are many things in this world I find fascinating, stimulating. But as
with when I worked as a professional photographer and photojournalist, I
lose interest in work when it starts feeling formulaic, when I feel like I'm
just a hack following the latest trendy fashion. I used to shoot sports, and
especially loved shooting fluid movement sports, where action didn't stop
and start, like basketball, soccer, rugby. But that bored me eventually,
because there's only so many different ways you can put a ball through a
hoop.

Interaction design fascinates me when content sets are complex, when
interactions are like puzzles to solve. Interaction design bores me when
design patterns are routine and I see no reason to reinvent the wheel, esp
not for a gratuitous flash or graphic effect. If I were doing nothing but
visual design for repetitive patterns, I'd be going crazy, I think! Page
banners, tab menus, simple outline hierarchies. How many different ways can
you as a visual designer put that ball through that hoop?

There's nothing you can do but follow the hemlines, watch the rise and fall
of this year's font trends, banner color palettes, or 3-d pops. Try to push
on it a little.

Now that is a skill, to do it really well, just as it is a skill to be an
art director on a slick glossy print magazine, or to be the kind of
photographer who shoots concept cars in big studios with soft boxes the size
of the car, with 8x10 view cameras. That's art school kind of skill, and my
visual design skills, while perfectly competent to design and shoot for for
a good quality university admissions viewbook and win some awards, won't
ever dance at that level.

And ultimately, that's why I'm drawn more to interaction design. This kind
of design has deeper puzzles to plumb the depths of, bigger problems to
wrestle with. I do love beautiful design, but our screens are still small,
images display in even smaller postage stamp frames inside them, templates
are constantly becoming oppressive (from a dramatic visual design
perspective-- I loved doing double-truck full bleed print designs, heavy
with photos, 20x30 color posters, etc), and bandwidth concerns are always
nipping at our heels. As a visual designer, I still find the constraints of
the web too... constraining. Good thing I'm not doing that full time,
nothing but visual design, obsessing on fonts, color palettes, pixels, and
res. I think I'd be going crazy.

Sorry in advance if I am blaspheming overmuch. I mean, because we do still
have trendy wireframe fonts, and are rounded corners in this year, or out?
Hemlines. Should I wear a miniskirt? Or are the hemlines coming back down
again?

Chris

On Fri, Oct 24, 2008 at 12:03 AM, Hernandez, Barbara <
b.hernandez at techsmith.com> wrote:

> Hi all
>
> I work every day with multi-talented designers who are the whole package
> and more. They take our designs from concept to finished art. They are
> masters of both interaction and visual design (and no you can't have them
> :)).
>
> That said, I have worked on both sides of this argument. I have worked as
> an interaction designer who relied on graphic artists to create the graphics
> for my designs. Looking back, and now having worked with the designers on my
> team, most of the graphics artists I worked with in the past with could
> function easily as interaction designers. Some of them did - but only on
> their portfolio sites, not at work.
>
> In other cases, I struggled with graphic artists that worked in the print
> world and didn't get the interactive component so it was near impossible to
> get the visual design to support the interaction.
>
> Is there room for both specializations, sure, IMHO we get great, world
> class design from designers with talent for both interaction and visual
> design. And yes, we call them User Experience Designers because they design
> the whole experience.
>
> Regards
> Barb Hernandez
> User Experience Manager | TechSmith Corporation
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:
> discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Todd Zaki
> Warfel
> Sent: Monday, October 20, 2008 11:32 AM
> To: Dennis, Alan
> Cc: IxDA list
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Can an interaction designer creat (great)
> interaction without (great) visual design skills?
>
>
> On Oct 17, 2008, at 8:53 AM, Dennis, Alan wrote:
>
> > Basically, my point is that if you want to make great designs, I do
> > believe you need to have somewhat of an understanding in the various
> > disciplines involved. Visual design is one of those disciplines that
> > can help immensely.
>
> Having an understanding and appreciation for a related discipline
> isn't the same as being a master of it. Good visual design can enhance
> interactions, or can break them. The interaction design is the
> foundation of a good design.
>
> I believe that being a good interaction design who has good visual
> design skills is better than one who doesn't. However, I don't believe
> for a minute that you can't be a good interaction designer if you
> don't have good visual design skills. As long as you understand the
> practice and appreciate it, then you can be a great interaction
> designer.
>
> Stating interaction designers have to be good visual designers is like
> saying good programmers have to be good interaction designers.
> Software development is an evolutionary process. We rely on each other
> as a team.
>
>
> Cheers!
>
> Todd Zaki Warfel
> President, Design Researcher
> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
> ----------------------------------
> Contact Info
> Voice: (215) 825-7423
> Email: todd at messagefirst.com
> AIM: twarfel at mac.com
> Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
> Twitter: zakiwarfel
> ----------------------------------
> In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> In practice, they are not.
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

24 Oct 2008 - 2:41am
Andy Polaine
2008

My short answer is yes. I think they're different but related skills.

I'm not saying I'm a great interaction designer, but I do feel more of
an interaction designer than a graphic designer. I can do graphic
design, but it doesn't interest me as much. I can creatively direct
much better than I can do it myself (re: do what I say, not what I
do). The main reason is that whilst I can see where a piece of graphic
design needs work, I don't have the patience to work it into where it
needs to be. Other people find the same with writing - I like editing
and re-writing my written work, but others hate that process. If there
was any truth to the idea of 'talent' I would say it is being willing
to work through the inevitable dip that all projects have. At some
point it's just hard work.

But I can design interaction and I have enough visual skills to get
that across. Wireframing should give you the answer to your question
here anyway. That's where the meat of the interaction design often
happens and they're deliberately not visually rich.

We had the "interaction design" vs "interface design" thread just
recently and I was thinking about this again last night. I'm always
tempted to call interface design a subset of interaction design, but
they can both be subsets of each other depending on the project. The
interface to a ticketing machine might involve a great deal of graphic
design and just one button for the actual interaction. On the other
hand something with a lot more interactive controls or interactive
elements and experiences is more dominated by the interaction design
than the graphic design.

In other words, you can have crappy interaction and a great visual
interface or vice versa. It's easy for either side to get too absorbed
in their own area and neglect the other part.

Graphic design and illustration obviously require great visual design
skills, but the most important design skill in design is the way you
think. I think that is what separates designers of all kinds from non-
designers who know how to use some of the tools.

Graphic design and illustration and product and industrial design have
had this overlap issue for years (my grandfather was a "commercial
artist" who did illustration, design and hand-drawn typography, for
example). I don't think we'll resolve it in interaction/interface
design anytime soon.

We're all interfaceraction designers.

Best,

Andy

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Andy Polaine

Research | Writing | Strategy
Interaction Concept Design
Education Futures

Twitter: apolaine
Skype: apolaine

http://playpen.polaine.com
http://www.designersreviewofbooks.com
http://www.omnium.net.au
http://www.antirom.com

27 Oct 2008 - 11:47am
Anonymous

Yes, unless the people doing the hiring have confused interaction
design with visual design.

However, you will probably be better off (and more marketable) if you
know about visual design, but I see it as more akin to having
understanding something about programming (or whatever medium you're
designing for.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

27 Oct 2008 - 11:50am
Anonymous

As a side note, I recently met with a recruiter for an interaction
design job. In the job description they asked for people who could
research requirements/competitors, define the behavior of XYZ in
wireframes and written documentation, and conduct user testing, etc.
However, for all practical purposes it seemed that what they really
wanted was an information architect to make lots and lots of
wireframes. That is interaction designer == information architect.
They also stated that an understanding of visual design was desired,
since you may work side by side with visual designers. Prototyping as
a skill or responsibility was not mentioned at all.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

27 Oct 2008 - 12:01pm
Ali Naqvi
2008

Hello Jonas Loevgren,
i agree with you. I myself isnt a (great) visual designer yet I was
able to communicate your 'fluency' concept in my Low Involvement
Interaction solution. (Thesis)
Your work was suggested to me by my thesis advisor Tomas Sokoler.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34316

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