Open Source Interaction Design

10 Dec 2003 - 3:20am
10 years ago
4 replies
1141 reads
sandeepblues
2003

Long email. A quick read.

Is there an Open Source Interaction Design forum? Will it thrive?

Most practical UI books seem very basic, nearly condescending, and give
guidelines for very basic, obvious scenarios. GUI Bloopers is one
example of such a book. Helpful, but mostly, obvious.

I am looking for a website or discussion group where the activity can to
refresh my background in cognitive, psychological, phenomenological and
persuasive principles that help cull brainstormed ideas, beyond the
hints from user study, ethnography etc. UI designs are posted on a
shared space, and taken apart.

I am looking for advanced discussions that walk the edge of UI
guidelines, but can be implemented practically. Discussions that pit
choice of widgets against each other, without being sooo academic that
they merely refer to books. Discussions that suggest scenarios where
conventions could be broken. All of this in some specific application,
or usage context.

E.g.

* A site where MS Outlook gets taken apart, for example, and new
ideas are proposed. (No I don't work for the evil empire).

* Why shouldn't I design a toolbar with toolbuttons that are 3
times the size of conventions, given Fitt's Law?

* A site to help me convince engineers why every application
shouldn't have a treeview.

* A site that pits business requirements and user satisfaction.

* A place where personas and ethnographies of different
professions in different markets might reside and get updated.

* A site that will support/challenge my well-trained gut about
UI design, so I can confront engineers and marketing objections with
logical arguments. A lot of designers are pigeon-holed and have little
access to users (given the market etc).see consumer vs. corporate
products thread.and could use the support.

Is there an Open Source Interaction Design forum? Will it thrive?

Sandeep

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Comments

10 Dec 2003 - 11:21am
Andrew Otwell
2004

I think the places you describe are either called "design schools" or
"design agencies." Those are really the only environments I can think of
where meaningful constructive criticism about sketches and prototypes
really thrives. I think it would be exceedingly hard to really replicate
this environment online.

andrew

> I am looking for a website or discussion group where the activity can to
> refresh my background in cognitive, psychological, phenomenological and
> persuasive principles that help cull brainstormed ideas, beyond the
> hints from user study, ethnography etc. UI designs are posted on a
> shared space, and taken apart.
> I am looking for advanced discussions that walk the edge of UI
> guidelines, but can be implemented practically.

10 Dec 2003 - 12:07pm
Robert Reimann
2003

AIGA ED is trying to move a little bit in this direction with its Case Study
project; collecting peer-reviewed design case studies and scenarios. I see
this as the beginning of a more sophisticated design knowledge base that
might include databases of principles, patterns, processes, and practices
in general use by the community, but that will I think be some time in
coming.

If/when/where such a knowledge base happens, I doubt it would include
the posting and critiquing of design sketches. This takes a lot of time and
effort, and immediately brings up issues of intellectual property and trade
secrets
(this is true of persona libraries as well) that will inevitably result in
limited industry
practitioner participation. I think it would quickly become a forum for
design students
to critique each other, which, while it has some value, is perhaps better
provided
by design programs.

All of that said, I think quite a few of the interests/concerns you list
could be
fruitfully discussed here....

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From: Sandeep Jain [mailto:sandeepblues at yahoo.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 3:20 AM
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: [ID Discuss] Open Source Interaction Design

Long email. A quick read.

Is there an Open Source Interaction Design forum? Will it thrive?

Most practical UI books seem very basic, nearly condescending, and give
guidelines for very basic, obvious scenarios. GUI Bloopers is one example of
such a book. Helpful, but mostly, obvious.

I am looking for a website or discussion group where the activity can to
refresh my background in cognitive, psychological, phenomenological and
persuasive principles that help cull brainstormed ideas, beyond the hints
from user study, ethnography etc. UI designs are posted on a shared space,
and taken apart.

I am looking for advanced discussions that walk the edge of UI guidelines,
but can be implemented practically. Discussions that pit choice of widgets
against each other, without being sooo academic that they merely refer to
books. Discussions that suggest scenarios where conventions could be
broken. All of this in some specific application, or usage context.

E.g.

* A site where MS Outlook gets taken apart, for example, and new
ideas are proposed. (No I don't work for the evil empire).

* Why shouldn't I design a toolbar with toolbuttons that are 3 times
the size of conventions, given Fitt's Law?

* A site to help me convince engineers why every application
shouldn't have a treeview.

* A site that pits business requirements and user satisfaction.

* A place where personas and ethnographies of different professions
in different markets might reside and get updated.

* A site that will support/challenge my well-trained gut about UI
design, so I can confront engineers and marketing objections with logical
arguments. A lot of designers are pigeon-holed and have little access to
users (given the market etc)...see consumer vs. corporate products
thread...and could use the support.

Is there an Open Source Interaction Design forum? Will it thrive?

Sandeep

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10 Dec 2003 - 12:59pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Hi Sandeep,

As Robert stated in his closing remarks, This is it. this is that space you
are looking for.
Or more accurately, it can be at least part of this space can be.

If you are interested in seeing something like this happen within the new
blooming org we are creating here than I suggest you join us on the
workgroup list for people who are more actively interested in actually doing
hands-on work in creating the organization, than just having discussions
about the discipline itself.

If you are indeed interested, please e-mail
volunteers at interactiondesigners.com.

I will say that this looks like something that currently falls under what
has been preposed as a tools initiative, but seems to encompass a lot more.
It does seem like you are drawing a very fine line between informal
community sharing and formal education.

I wonder why you think what you are suggesting is "open source" interaction
design? Open source to me implies a single product or outcome with many
contributors. There could be an "open source" methodology that designers use
such as the "THE" (The Humane Environment) that Jeff Raskin is a part of,
http://humane.sourceforge.net/the/. This project alone would be an
interesting subject, if someone would ever make a Mac emulator for PC I
could participate.

-- dave

-- dave
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10 Dec 2003 - 5:10pm
sandeepblues
2003

I suggested an open source to address "issues of
intellectual property
and
trade secrets" as mentioned by Robert.

It would be interesting to come up, for example, with
a UI design and
spec.
of the "ultimate" email client - if we can agree upon
it. Or, certain
aspect of email, or a certain aspect of Undo
functionality. Even if MS
ends
up stealing that design, we'd have done the world some
good. As a
fallout of
such an effort, a lot of UI discussions and learning
can be had.

The Humane Project looks interesting, thanks for the
link. Linux could
be
considered a single product, though it contains a
large number of
distinct
projects/products.

Wrt to "fine line between informal community sharing
and formal
education",
I'd say that I am trying to find a good transition
between the 2. I
have a
CS/HCI degree from a fancy university, but that
training encouraged
walking
the edge and testing the boundaries of creativity.
When designing for
a
conservative company, and when trying to build
credibility with peers
and
managers who don't understand and respect the field, I
need something
more
tangible than basic guidelines, on one end, and
advanced, wordy
cognitive(etc) principles, on the other.

Sandeep

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