Its Just UX

26 Mar 2009 - 10:53pm
5 years ago
54 replies
6386 reads
Richard Dalton
2008

During the closing plenary of the IA Summit on Sunday, Jesse James
Garrett said that “Information Architecture is not a profession …
and neither is Interaction Design … we have and always will be User
Experience Designers”. I’m paraphrasing a little from memory (the
podcast isn’t out yet) - but the gist is there.

I’m a big believer in this viewpoint (and I chaired the IA Summit
last year!). I believe that both IA and IxDA are disciplines or
“fields” - but are inseperable enough that the “job” is User
Experience Designer. This puts the emphasis on the end product rather
than the tools we use to achieve it.

So … i'd be interested in some viewpoints on this, i’ve also set
up itsjustux.org - if you agree then go there and sign the petition
and spread the word.

- Richard

Comments

27 Mar 2009 - 3:47am
dszuc
2005

Really like the sentiment from JJG!

rgds,
Dan

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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27 Mar 2009 - 6:15am
Vishal Subraman...
2005

http://theuxtribe.wordpress.com/

On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 9:47 PM, Daniel Szuc <dszuc at apogeehk.com> wrote:

> Really like the sentiment from JJG!
>
> rgds,
> Dan
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553
>
>
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27 Mar 2009 - 9:02am
Jeremy Kriegel
2009

Socrates said, "The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms."

I've only been in this industry for a dozen years and have always
found it both amusing and frustrating that we cannot agree on how to
describe what it is that we do! Not only does it make it challenging
when talking to each other, but it is a huge barrier to selling the
value of our skills to others and having a universal understanding of
that value.

I have recently gravitated to User Experience as an umbrella term,
but I can't agree that 'User Experience Designer' is a title that
we should all use. It is too generic. I'd equate it with calling
anyone who writes code a 'Programmer' or 'Engineer'. It's just
not specific enough to describe their set of skills.

For me, I break down the disciplines beneath User Experience as:
- User Research
- Usability Testing
- Information Architecture
- Interaction Design
- Content Strategy
- Visual Design
- Site Development/Front-end Development

You may add more or call things by different names, that's fine.
Anyone in the UX umbrella likely does many of these things, but very
few do all of them, nor do I believe they should be expected to, in
most circumstances.

I do appreciate the need to have a decent title. 'Information
Architect, User Researcher & Tester, with a dollop of Content
Strategy and a hint of Visual Design' is awkward to put on a
business card, yet titles want nouns. Two startups ago, my title was
just User Experience. It was a bit odd. User Experience what? My last
startup added 'Architect' to the end as I was leading a team.
Equally meaningless, in my opinion.

-Jeremy Kriegel
www.methodsansmadness.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

27 Mar 2009 - 9:14am
Nasir Barday
2006

Trying to keep this shooooort!

I had a million problems with JJG's talk, but I'm in a hurry and you asked
for viewpoints, not diatribes. To Jeremy's point (woot), User Experience is
waay generic. It's also a professional umbrella that works for the here and
now. Further, it is severely limiting to both IA and IxD to say that UX
Design is the only field to which these practices can and will ever be
applied. Our work today primarily lives in a traditional computing world,
and hence the two practices (as well as a bajillion others) go hand-in-hand.
But once we start looking at the things each practice can do under other
umbrellas, in other spaces, you start to see a divergence. Not in the
people, mind you, but in the work.

Examples later, but I have to bang out a prototype. I will leave you with
similar practices that struggle with external perception:

Chemical Engineers vs. Chemists
Psychologists vs. Psychotherapists
Graphic Designers vs. Graphic Artists
Pickup Artists (read 'The Game' and you will see a very eerie parallel to
our community! Perception, how you learn, petty(!!) politics, etc.)

11am deadline go-go-go!
- Nasir

27 Mar 2009 - 9:16am
Nasir Barday
2006

(at the end, I should have said practices with similar problems with
external perception, not similar practices! Though that would be a new page
in broadening the bejeesus out of our definitions ...)

27 Mar 2009 - 9:27am
dszuc
2005

Out of interest, does anyone know the terms to describe what we do
that are the most used or recognized in the industry outside of our
own professional communities or tribes?

rgds,
Dan

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

27 Mar 2009 - 9:35am
Vishal Subraman...
2005

Here's a different spin on your question. What scares me the most is that
the term 'User Experience' is most often used to describe what we do, but
not 'User Experience Designer' to describe us. That doesn't seem right to
me.

Out of interest, does anyone know the terms to describe what we do
> that are the most used or recognized in the industry outside of our
> own professional communities or tribes?
>
> rgds,
> Dan
>

--
-Vishalhttp://theuxtribe.wordpress.com/
http://www.vishaliyer.com

27 Mar 2009 - 9:37am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Mar 27, 2009, at 10:14 AM, Nasir Barday wrote:

> I had a million problems with JJG's talk[...]

When you have more time, I'd love to hear about a few of those million.

> To Jeremy's point (woot), User Experience is waay generic.

Or it's waay simple. When two or more solutions are available, more
often than not, the simplest solution is the right one. I think this
is one of those cases.

> It's also a professional umbrella that works for the here and now.
> Further, it is severely limiting to both IA and IxD to say that UX
> Design is the only field to which these practices can and will ever
> be applied.

Or if it really is that simple and not as complex as some of you are
making it out to be, then it will apply to here, now, and the future.

If you guys ever get this figured out, let me know know. Meanwhile,
I'm gonna go design some stuff.

Signed,

Designer (with a big D)

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Principal 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.

27 Mar 2009 - 9:48am
LukeW
2004

I'm not a definitions guy so don't take this as support of keeping all
these terms around.
I do, however, work with a lot of different people who use specific
terms to explain what they do AND other people that need to understand
them.
So I need a simple, concise way to explain things.
For me that has been:

Information architecture defines the structure of information (which
can exist in many formats).
Interaction design enables people to manipulate and contribute to that
information.
Visual design communicates these possibilities to people and creates
affinity to them (desirability).
User experience design is the summation of these considerations.

Just thought I'd throw that into this discussion.
thanks~

::
:: Luke Wroblewski -[ www.lukew.com ]
:: Principal/Founder, LukeW Ideation & Design
:: luke at lukew.com | 408.513.7207
::
:: Blog: http://www.lukew.com/ff/
:: New Book: http://www.lukew.com/resources/web_form_design.asp
:: Book: http://www.lukew.com/resources/site_seeing.html
::

27 Mar 2009 - 9:59am
ambroselittle
2008

On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 3:02 AM, Jeremy Kriegel <jer at moots.org> wrote:

> I have recently gravitated to User Experience as an umbrella term,
> but I can't agree that 'User Experience Designer' is a title that
> we should all use. It is too generic. I'd equate it with calling
> anyone who writes code a 'Programmer' or 'Engineer'. It's just
> not specific enough to describe their set of skills.
>

Really? Actually, it is pretty common for folks who write code to just have
something like that:

Software Developer
Software Engineer

"Programmer" has fallen out of favor in the last 10 years, from what I can
tell.

Job descriptions then provide the meat of what someone is looking for:

We're looking for a Java developer with at least 3 years experience using
EJBs. Etc.

You might have qualifiers like "manager" and "senior" and "web" or levels
1-N. But overall, the general title is acceptable and most widely used. In
recent years "architect" has been gaining favor, but like in this community,
the meaning and duties are widely debated (ad nauseum).

I think "UX designer" is a good term for most folks and the various
activities can be delineated as needed. Something like:

We're looking for a UX designer with at least 2 years of experience
designing software for mobile devices.

Interaction design, information architecture, user research, graphic design,
usability testing, etc. These are all activities, and if you work somewhere
that can afford folks specialized in doing those, by all means use them as
titles, but it seems like the vast majority of folks end up having to do
some combination of them all.

But it is just weird, to me, to want to generalize the meaning of a specific
activity (interaction design) and expand its meaning to encompass all these
other activities that are better encompassed by a general term like UX
design. I mean, if that's what the community decided they want to
standardize on, I'd go with the flow, but it's just odd to me.

Just my centage.

-ambrose

27 Mar 2009 - 10:44am
Phillip Hunter
2006

I wasn't at IAS, but keeping up via tweets, reading the above, and my own experience have allowed me to form a half-baked opinion which coincides with Nasir. What we seem to really struggle with is the inside/outside differences and I think the area of film-making has the same issue.

Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Editors, Screenwriter, Key Grip, Gaffer, etc., etc. are all needed and somewhat over-lapping roles. Usually each is filled by one person but many people can also do more than one of simultaneously. Yet I assume many of them tell family and non-industry friends simply, "I make films/movies." And I would say that their issues are even more complex since many titles and activities are governed by law and legal arrangements.

So, rather than focus on what we want to call ourselves around each other since we all seem fairly well-versed in the activities that go on, I'm in the camp of figuring out how do we express it to the rest of the world in a meaningful way using a couple of words that instantly bring some degree of clarity. Everyone knows what a movie is. We don't need a pure noun phrase or even just a phrase. A short sentence (shorter than Dan Saffer's) will work just fine.

ph

27 Mar 2009 - 10:51am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

>
> Information architecture defines the structure of information (which can
> exist in many formats).
> Interaction design enables people to manipulate and contribute to that
> information.
> Visual design communicates these possibilities to people and creates
> affinity to them (desirability).
> User experience design is the summation of these considerations.
>

Seconded. This is how I've always thought of the distinctions. They may all
be part of the UX effort, but that doesn't mean they're all UX designers.

-r-

27 Mar 2009 - 10:53am
Nasir Barday
2006

We have a few contexts going on here, and I'm going to bite Janna DeVylder's
concept here:
-) Defining to Defend
-) Defining to Educate

I think Luke's list:

> Information architecture defines the structure of information (which can
> exist in many formats).
> Interaction design enables people to manipulate and contribute to that
> information.
> Visual design communicates these possibilities to people and creates
> affinity to them (desirability).
> User experience design is the summation of these considerations.
>

Works as a quick way to educate people on what we're all about in the world
of web and screen-based software. I'm down with that. User Experience
designer fits well with the programmer/developer metaphor. You don't hire
object-oriented software architects. You hire software engineers. Fair.

But programmers, in the generic tense, don't have conventions and
conferences. The software engineering field is way too broad! And there are
a lot of organizations for them (including the ACM), not just one. They have
focii on relational databases, object-oriented methodologies (lots of
intersections with the design world there, btw), user interface toolkits,
etc.

If we all as local leaders, members, and global leadership keep in mind that
each of our organizations focuses on a particular practice, and doesn't seek
to separate its people, then practice organizations that focus on the
various elements of design are a healthy logical progression of our field.
The UX world, let alone the rest of the design world, is too big an umbrella
to tackle all at once.

And yes, there are some of us who are doing real work and still talk in
threads like this. Because if we're going to keep moving forward, we need
these talks to end. Fast.

Peace, love, and oooh look! A dancing bear!
- Nasir

27 Mar 2009 - 11:56am
Dave Malouf
2005

I recently put on a slide ...

I was an Information Architect
I was a UI Designer
I was a User Experience Designer
I am an Interaction Designer
and I am soon to be a Designer

Titles in an area of practice like ours will always be fluid.
Concentrating on titles at all, is barely productive.

This organization was founded on the ugly discussion of "interaction
architect vs. interaction designer" and Josh Seiden our previous
President now 5.5 years ago steered us brilliantly away from this
discussion at all and into the much more productive discussion of
disciplines.

Whether I'm a designer or user experience designer or an architect
or a product designer or a software designer or a web designer ...
blah blah blah ... Someone's practice today in this world ALWAYS
consists of more than one discipline.

I find this entire topic to be sad.

I also find it short sighted and narrow. Luke, I don't mind your
goals of your divisions and sorta agree with the definitions under
the categories, but it is narrow and presumptuous in that it assumes
that there is always information and that it is always visual and
that it is always virtual. Many of us have been or are or will be
dealing with interaction design outside of information or even visual
spaces/solutions.

While most of us lean towards web/software in this community, we are
not so limited and we learn and enjoy practices outside that world.

(Yes, I'm not even getting into research.)

THEN! there is the false idol of UX. What the heck? Let's fess up
and admit that UX is as jargonny as Web 2.0. It is marketing speak
geared towards a segment of our world that needed it. For so much of
Design it is just a given. It is hubris to think that There are no
interaction designers, and that they are all UX Designer. Hell, I
know quite a few who would rather be called Industrial Designers, or
Product Designers.

What I DO like about it is that, we need to make more of our practice
about the results, mediums we work within as opposed to the
disciplines and deliverables we create.

-- dave

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

27 Mar 2009 - 1:23pm
ambroselittle
2008

On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 5:56 AM, dave malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:

> THEN! there is the false idol of UX. What the heck? Let's fess up
> and admit that UX is as jargonny as Web 2.0. It is marketing speak
> geared towards a segment of our world that needed it. For so much of
> Design it is just a given. It is hubris to think that There are no
> interaction designers, and that they are all UX Designer. Hell, I
> know quite a few who would rather be called Industrial Designers, or
> Product Designers.
>

It seems to me that you can make an "id[ea]l" out of any of these
terms--"UX" or "Design" (with a capital "D," no less). They all speak to
this seemingly ineffable thing that we do (or think we do or at least think
we want to do). If you keep the discussion at the idealistic and
theoretical, the terminology doesn't seem to matter so much. If you ask me
(I know, you're not ;) ), it really is more just about the Quality Without a
Name that we are all aiming for in an idealistic sense.

Practically speaking, though, many people outside of this rarified air are
just now coming to grips with the reality (as opposed to the hype) of what
real "UX" professionals have been trying to communicate for a long time
now. And they're still (what nerve!) calling it "UX." It seems to me that
only recently a tipping point has been reached--many and more managers and
executives are finally starting to buy into it and actually fund it in these
last few years. It is slowly starting to be understood and valued by
professionals in adjacent fields--those we have to work with.

It would seem ill advised then, at least for the practitioners--I mean those
who have to convince others to pay for their work as somehow profitable and
convince colleagues to take advantage of and respect their expertise--to
suddenly re-brand themselves as something else for the sake of preference or
refined academic precision. I don't think there has to be this dichotomy
(even animosity at times) between academic and practitioner, but if the
academics dismiss and deplore practical and pecuniary concerns out of hand,
I think it will be inevitable.

If there is real, practical value in trying to re-define and/or re-label and
then (most crucially) re-educate the masses in some new terminology, I say
go for it. But it rather seems like we're splitting hairs a lot of the time
on this list--you say *po-tay-toe*, I say *po-tah-toe*.

I didn't see JJG's talk, but I imagine it probably made a lot of practical
sense.

-ambrose

27 Mar 2009 - 1:37pm
Uday Gajendar
2007

I get that "user experience" has become default in the business
world as an umbrella term and I often play along to get my paycheck.
But my own personal problems with "it's all just UX":

1. (this is admittedly a bit hair-splitting) One technically cannot
design a user's experience since an "experience" is deeply
internal and self-generated. Your experience is your own. One can
only design the stuff someone engages with to somehow shape the
quality of that encounter or dialogue via
information/visual/interaction design, per Luke's articulate
breakdown of those terms and what I articulated here:
http://www.ghostinthepixel.com/?p=197

2. "User" is objectifying and demeaning. We're the only profession
other than the hard drugs business that is ok with calling people
"users". (so does that make us "pushers"?? LOL) I like how Apple
job titles say "Human interface" or "Human experience", a bit
more encompassing of the total human dynamic.

3. IMHO, the only real "user experience designers" are Cirque du
Soleil, Disney Imagineers, and IMAX filmmakers, and top
restauranteurs/chefs. NikeTown and Rainforest Cafe too, etc.

Everyone on this list should really make an effort to read John
Dewey's "Art as Experience" for the true origins of the concept of
experience (& expression) as it pertains to design. It was written in
the 1930's and strongly influenced Moholy-Nagy at IIT as well as
CMU's Design School via Dick Buchanan (now at Case-Western). I think
as you read it you'll have some moments of self-realization of how
nothing is really new in terms of "user experience" as hawked by
today's companies marketing or pitched by HR recruiters, and gain a
deeper sense of the humanity or "soul" of design.

Without being armed with such an intellectual basis, then throwing
the phrase "user experience" around (especially by designers) is
tantamount to empty buzzwordism, succinct yet vacuous and ultimately
meaningless. No designer worth his/her salt would dare do something
meaningless.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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27 Mar 2009 - 12:39pm
asadjunaid
2009

....even the U.S. News report of Best Careers of 2009
(http://tinyurl.com/6kj5q3) identified that our profession has a hard
time agreeing on a name for itself.

In an excellent article on a structured approach to building%u2019 a
UX team (http://boxesandarrows.com/view/building-the-ux), Anthony
Colfelt identified the skills which make up the various cogs of a UX
wheel. Anthony%u2019s approach of identifying and categorizing UX
skills and not defining them as roles or job titles could pave way
for eliminating a great deal of confusion in our profession.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

27 Mar 2009 - 2:09pm
Christopher Fahey
2005

I found nothing whatsoever to disagree with in Jesse's plenary. In
fact, it all seemed obvious and non-controversial. Of course, it was
neither. :-(

I hope that folks don't see Jesse's declaration as being synonymous
with some kind of death of IA or IxD or whatever. He's not asking
anyone to change what they do, but merely to recognize that we are all
involved in a broad but very special community of practice. "UX"
describes it in a way that includes lots of people who should be
working together more closely than it seems we are.

From day one at Behavior we've used the term "user experience" to
describe everything we do -- including visual design, sound design,
and copywriting, for example. It's enabled everyone on the team to
feel like we share the responsibility for an important result: a
compelling user experience.

On the other hand, we rarely actually use the word. It's our ambient
expertise, it's the air we breathe. So ubiquitous and appropriate for
describing the things it is that it's almost not worth mentioning
except when trying to distinguish it from something it is not.

Which is, of course, why humans have terminologies in the first place.
We like the term UX because it *doesn't* draw a line between IA and
IxD and visual design and writing, but it *does* draw a line between
all of those things and, say, database design, marketing, fashion
design, and basket-weaving. Which we often have to do when, for
example, we are pitching our services to clients who need to
understand how we fit in to their needs.

It's useful when discussing the strategies behind businesses making
products, for whom executives need to distribute dollars between
different areas -- having a UX budget that's distinct from a tech or
marketing budget helps strategize how a product can succeed or fail.

And as said already, it's useful when creating communities of
practice: A UX conference, or a UX track at a conference, is a
sensible way of organizing speakers and panels. Narrowing it down to
IA or IxD (or writing or sound or video) might make sense if there are
enough sessions narrowly focused on those areas, but I've found that
most practitioners find it difficult to talk about any of these
without talking about the others. It happens, and it's a good thing
that it happens, but it's also a good thing that we blur the lines and
wander across the borders.

In short: No need to throw down any walls here. Just open some gates.

Cheers,
-Cf

Christopher Fahey
____________________________
Behavior
biz: http://www.behaviordesign.com
me: http://www.graphpaper.com

27 Mar 2009 - 2:20pm
Todd Warfel
2003

Well said.

On Mar 27, 2009, at 3:09 PM, Christopher Fahey wrote:

> In short: No need to throw down any walls here. Just open some gates.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Principal 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.

27 Mar 2009 - 2:34pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

>
> Information architecture defines the structure of information (which can
> exist in many formats).
> Interaction design enables people to manipulate and contribute to that
> information.
> Visual design communicates these possibilities to people and creates
> affinity to them (desirability).
> User experience design is the summation of these considerations.
>

Posted 4 hours ago, and it's already up on Inspire
UX<http://www.inspireux.com/2009/03/27/user-experience-is-the-summation-of-considerations-across-ux-disciplines/>
.

Luke — you're very quotable. :)

-r-

27 Mar 2009 - 2:38pm
Nasir Barday
2006

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."

The frustrating thing to me about threads like this in our lovely ecosystem
is that most of us seem to be on the same page, but we misunderstand each
other a lot-- mostly because creative types like to think we are
misunderstood :-).

Judging from past threads, abstract discussions about practices will always
degenerate into an academic discussion.

Call yourself a UX designer, an IA, an IxD, whatever. But know that the
lines are blurry, that UX is an amorphous umbrella for an intersection of
practices, and that there can be other places where these practices can plug
in. Are we really on opposite ends of the universe?

And if we are, paint us a picture of what it would look like, kinda like
Chris Fahey did back there in describing a conference. Then we're
discussing, huffing, and puffing about concrete concepts instead of
thrashing on thought experiments.

- Nasir

27 Mar 2009 - 2:46pm
Todd Warfel
2003

On Mar 27, 2009, at 3:38 PM, Nasir Barday wrote:

> Are we really on opposite ends of the universe?

If you truly believe that, then I don't understand how you could have
a million problems with JJG's closing keynote. I'm still interested to
know a few.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Principal 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.

27 Mar 2009 - 3:44pm
Janna DeVylder
2006

For those who practice their "profession" in languages other than English,
is this discussion also happening for you in your communities of practice?
Is this a discussion that knows no language boundaries, or is our English
language failing us? Just curious.

Janna

27 Mar 2009 - 2:51pm
Richard Dalton
2008

Why can't we have our cake *and* eat it?

There are benefits from having foci on the individual aspects of UX
(IA, IxDA, ID, etc) - those benefits are mainly realized very
internally to the practitioners - specific mailing lists,
conferences, etc. We have this now with IAI and IxDA.

There are also benefits from having a shared connection, an umbrella
term, even an umbrella organization (however the connection manifests
itself) - those benefits are mainly realized externally - clearer
understanding by stakeholders, and people wanting to enter the field,
better focus on the actual end experience rather than on pieces of it,
better understanding of the connections and collaboration
opportunities between practitioners with different backgrounds,
acceptance that you can rarely, if ever, *just* do IA, or IxDA,
without doing some of the other, etc. This is NOT being realized now.

Without some shared concept (UX) we're not going to gain these
second benefits, but I don't think anyone is suggesting we do
something that loses the first ones.

- Richard

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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27 Mar 2009 - 2:11pm
Mark Ehrhardt
2008

Seems to me the market (our clients, business leaders, HR, recruiters
etc.) have as much or more to do with labeling our practice.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

27 Mar 2009 - 3:07pm
Richard Dalton
2008

Nasir, here's something concrete for you - I personally would much
prefer to go to a 5 day, 1500 person UX conference jointly sponsored
by ASIS, IAI and IxDA than 3, 500 person conferences.

- Richard

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

27 Mar 2009 - 4:08pm
ambroselittle
2008

On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 9:07 AM, Richard Dalton <richard at mauvyrusset.com>wrote:

> I personally would much prefer to go to a 5 day, 1500 person UX conference
> jointly sponsored
> by ASIS, IAI and IxDA than 3, 500 person conferences.
>

Hear hear!!

-ambrose

27 Mar 2009 - 4:23pm
usabilitycounts
2008

I can't spend my own money for so many conferences...

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

27 Mar 2009 - 5:40pm
Dave Malouf
2005

I hate 1500 or 3000 person conferences. I find they devoid of depth,
usually with bad infrastructure and you always feel overwhelmed.

Don't go to 3. Pick one! make it your own and stick w/ it. Then
if/when you have resources to move from your base, move on.

All the conferences have breadth to them to some extent, anyway. Its
not like IA Summit never mentions other UX disciplines, right?

What I get from the IxDA community to me is breadth of medium that I
don't feel in any other UX community. I can talk to Dan about
Gestural design, Gabe about mobile products, and Will about great
social web experiences. The point is that the focus is on the people,
and not on the content, AND there is a deeper understanding of the
design for, by and with those people that to be quite honest I don't
see in the IA community (though I know others do).

These different perspectives are important to me. They inspire me and
I love it. I don't devalue other communities, but they aren't for
me. We have always been a grassroots community of people who define
the community for themselves and then in so doing create the content
(if you will) that solidifies that meaning.

Maybe all the people out there who want this big UX thing just
haven't found the right community for you. Communities don't have
to fit everyone and that doesn't mean they are divisive or devaluing
of other communities, it means they are identifying themselves
differently and THAT IS OK!!!

As my piece said about the Kumbaya feeling of UX is that, just b/c
you ain't singing doesn't mean you are a bad person, or divisive.
It just means you just don't like the song!

-- dave

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

27 Mar 2009 - 6:12pm
Alla Zollers
2008

I personally also hate extremely large conferences (even though I
can't afford to go to many during the year), because its so
difficult to meet new people and really get to know others. I was
thinking that perhaps we might consider taking a cue from ACM, which
has an incredibly varied base of disciplines that each have their own
Special Interest Group (SIG). This way, we can all potentially be
under one organization and then still keep our specializations such
as IA, IxDA, Usability, Research, and anything else that might come
up in the future.

Additionally, if we are all under an umbrella organization, it might
be possible to attract people from different, yet related fields such
as industrial design, library science, web development, and even
psychologist, sociologists, and biologists. I think infusing our
discipline with other perspectives will really enrich everyone's
experience and we are sorely lacking and insulated in this respect
(this point was made by Eric Reiss at IA summit).

-Alla

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

27 Mar 2009 - 6:13pm
ambroselittle
2008

On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 11:40 AM, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> Maybe all the people out there who want this big UX thing just
> haven't found the right community for you.

This sounds a lot like one person is defining the IxDA, and if you don't
like it, you can go play on some other playground. I can only hope you
didn't mean for it to come across that way..

One of the things that's nice about IxDA is indeed the proliferation of
opinions. In fact, it seems like it ends up being more of the UX big tent
than other communities out there, even to those who don't like "UX" or "big
tent." It makes this group vibrant (read: hard to keep up with).

In my research and observation of this group and others, starting as
something of an outsider and slowing moving towards the inside, has been
that interaction design and the other activities that "UX professionals"
engage in are indeed ultimately software related. I hear people suggesting
that it is more than that, but I haven't seen much concreteness to this.

Certainly, many, if not most, of the principles and techniques are not
software-specific; however, it seems like interaction design is specifically
the application of those principles and techniques gleaned from other
(design) disciplines to the software space.

This is an honest question. What are some of the non-software things that
you all see interaction designers doing? Of those, how many are not
currently being done by others with already-defined and different titles
(e.g., industrial designers)? I'm looking for specifics situations where
what you think of as interaction design is being done that is not related to
software.

TIA.

-ambrose

28 Mar 2009 - 2:23am
dszuc
2005

I see a wonderful opportunity for speakers from all disciplines to
continue to speak at all conferences and talk to people about what it
means to do IXD, Usability, User Research, Visual Design, IA, (fill in
your own) and how it pertains to the umbrella and overall "User
Experience"

This way for people who cannot only make it to 1 or 2 conferences a
year can have a taste of what other elements go into the UX. So
perhaps "Usability" tracks at IXD, "Design/IXD" tracks at UPA and
so on and so forth. Or a few select presentations from each conference
that was received well and fits in to another program well? Or
respective Boards speaking more often?

See that this is already happening and its a healthy thing.

Also generates cross discipline discussion and collaboration. At the
end of the day, in project land, we all need to work together anyway
to make great products? Yes? So we should encourage this more in our
professional associations?

This certainly should not detract those who want to focus or zero in
on a specific discipline or conference.

rgds,
Dan

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

27 Mar 2009 - 10:56pm
Uday Gajendar
2007

"What are some of the non-software things that you all see
interaction designers doing? ... I'm looking for specifics
situations where what you think of as interaction design is being
done that is not related to software."

Here's a few examples:

Robert Fabricant gave an excellent keynote at IxD09 describing an
HIV-testing kit for men in Africa, applying behavioral & interaction
design principles. That surely wasn't software.

Marc Rettig likewise described extensively a project for dealing with
sleep apnea and related sleeping disorders, applying interaction
design methods and values, coming up with some solutions to help
sufferers in a humane way. That wasn't software by a longshot.

2nd Road led by Tony-Golsby Smith in Sydney does extensive service
and business process design work, working with insurance companies
and banks in Sydney. They even tackled the Australian Tax Code (not a
website, mind you, the actual tax code, working with their finance
ministers, along with Dick Buchanan/CMU) and even a side project
dealing with Aboriginal reconciliation policies/processes.

I met folks in Wellington NZ Inland Revenue Office doing the same
things, applying IxD methods and artifacts to re-design their tax
collection system (both digital and offline).

Live / Work is known in the UK for doing extensive service design
projects outside typical software problems.

Carl diSalvo, recent PhD Interaction Design recipient at CMU is
focused on robotics, not software.

These are just some examples off top of my head in real-time. I
created a poster on flickr (http://tinyurl.com/d5kprk) itemizing
various domains of problems where interaction design can be applied,
outside software. While I agree that ultimately alot of these
projects do eventually become "digital" in some form (website,
mobile app, installable app, since we are in the digital era) they
still involve up-front distinctly non-software problems, thereby
demonstrating IxD foremost as a perspective and conceptual toolkit
agnostic to any particular technology.

Hope this helps!

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

27 Mar 2009 - 7:39pm
Richard Dalton
2008

Alla, re: one org with SIGs. I think thats exactly the right approach.

- Richard

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

28 Mar 2009 - 9:46am
Richard Dalton
2008

Uday,

If you gave that "non web" interaction design list to 10 random
people in the "Design" community - how many do you think would say
they were examples of "Interaction Design". Before you flame me -
i'd make exactly the same charge against a similar IA list.

They're just all good examples of User Experience Design (or maybe
Design - but that label has too much baggage already).

- Richard

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

28 Mar 2009 - 11:06am
Uday Gajendar
2007

Hi Richard,

Don't worry I don't flame people :-)

A question was asked, and I answered with specific, verifiable
examples to better inform the ixda community, that's all. (and
actually i just noticed another thread was created around this issue,
so apologies for not cross-posting there)

But since you asked...well frankly I just don't care what "10
random people" think. Sorry! You can show random people a
dark-looking butterfly and they'd call it a moth b/c they don't
know any better about the subtle differences. I care about what
accomplished, educated, informed, enlightened professionals who are
willing and able to grasp those nuances would say. And most of those
folks would agree these are interaction and/or service design
examples. More importantly, I know that's what they are :-)

And I'm not gonna get into the UX issue. This is starting to remind
me of Battlestar Galactica: This has all happened before and this
will all happen again :-) This thread is becoming yet another
never-ending circle of definitions that Saffer warned us against and
so I'm checking out of it. It's been real!

(But those of you who really want to "break the cycle", I highly
recommend Malcolm McCullough's, Jon Kolko's and Dan Saffer's books
or even checking out some of the posts on my blog, Ghost in the Pixel
;-) This is a good place to start:
http://www.ghostinthepixel.com/?p=63 ) Happy hunting...er I mean
reading!

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

28 Mar 2009 - 11:24am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Mar 27, 2009, at 4:13 PM, J. Ambrose Little wrote:

> This is an honest question. What are some of the non-software
> things that
> you all see interaction designers doing? Of those, how many are not
> currently being done by others with already-defined and different
> titles
> (e.g., industrial designers)? I'm looking for specifics situations
> where
> what you think of as interaction design is being done that is not
> related to
> software.

Clearly the bulk of the work in our field currently is desktop and web
applications. But there is also a lot of work in consumer electronics
and mobile as well. Not to mention growing fields such as robotics,
ubicomp, and tangible/embedded computing. Every year, the line between
software and hardware gets blurrier, and as objects and spaces begin
to exhibit digital behavior, interaction designers are definitely
moving into those "products" which were previously only the realm of
industrial designers, architects, city planners, etc. I guarantee it
wasn't only industrial designers working on the iPhone or MS Surface
or BodyMedia's wearables, etc. etc.

Dan

28 Mar 2009 - 11:38am
Richard Dalton
2008

Thanks Uday, to be clear - i'm not trying to *define* anything. I'm
just looking for shared, common ground. I thought that could be UX -
perhaps I was mistaken.

- Richard

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

28 Mar 2009 - 12:55pm
Dave Malouf
2005

hmm?
if all you are looking for is common ground, that is obviously there.
The research methods that IAs and IxDs and hell all designer
researchers employ is probably our nexus of overlap. It is the UCD
that we share. But what do you want to do with that common ground?
what is your goal?

1 big conference under a single brand?

some call that CHI. As research as its primary focus with a growing
design community/track, one might see it as that place. Yes, it has
the nasty stamp of ACM bureaucracy all over it, but it does seem to
be THE conference for UX around software in the world each year.

Smaller examples that are more practitioner focused and are currently
smaller but don't have to stay that way are UX London and UX
Australia.

If you are looking to reduce the # of conferences so that the friends
who choose to go to one aren't missed by the friends who go to the
other. I think you are barking up the wrong tree. But that is just my
opinion. I will always want a conference focused on IxD for the
reasons that Dan outlined. And I will probably never go to the IA
Summit again. This is just me speaking personally, but Ix## is my
home, not just b/c I helped build it but b/c I was urged to build it
by a group of peers whom I admire, respect, gain inspiration from,
and learn a ton from and get to teach. I will go to other conferences
when invited to speak, when it is clear that I can offer something
there, or to conferences where I feel I can learn specific things:
IDSA for example, that are relevant to my new work.

For others the IA Summit will always be home. I can't image on IAS
with Lou or Christina, e.g. I can't believe that Thomas Vander Wal
didn't go this year either. (People move on, I guess.)

Anyway, the common ground is undeniable and I don't think anyone can
argue that there isn't any. The point is what do you want to do with
it?

Gunther wants to use the common ground as a marketing program, so it
seems. Not all that useful to me.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

28 Mar 2009 - 1:31pm
Richard Dalton
2008

My goal for that common ground would be to:

a) encourage even more collaboration between organizations (still
waiting for that list of collabs between IAI and IxDA).

b) help people entering the field understand it and provide them with
non conflicting resources to grow.

c) give business sponsors a single, broad, answer to "what do you
do" that's focused on something they care about.

... there are probably many more.

- Richard

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

28 Mar 2009 - 3:04pm
jkolko
2010

Hi,

I've been casually observing the conversation around "UX" for close to two years, mildly contemplative and majorly bemused. This conversation seems to have recently come to a boiling point, and while the argument over naming will continue forever, it seems like an opportune time to share some thoughts. These are my ideas, and they are subjective; I realize that not everyone shares them. I also realize they are generalizations, and may offend people who find themselves in the camp of %u201CUX%u201D. I apologize in advance, as it%u2019s not my intention to be offensive.

Ultimately, I find myself arguing vehemently against the term "UX", both as a job title ("User Experience Manager") and as an action ("User Experience Design"). This is a case for "interaction design" as the container of related professions, and it's a case for a dramatic shift in conversation away from definition and towards cases, methods, and theory.

1. The language of "user experience designer" is demeaning, as it implies that a designer first _makes_ an experience and then someone _consumes_ it %u2013 that consumers are, on their own, unable to experience things, and that an experience can be mass produced like a hammer or a toaster. Implicit in this language is the sense of control, power and ownership, and the idea that a consumer is helpless to bring anything on their own to a moment in time. In reality, people bring the complexity of their wants, needs, desires, and world views to an experience, and this in turn actively changes that experience. This is at the heart of much of John Dewey%u2019s writing, and if you have anything to say about the nomenclature argument, you owe it to yourself to read his material.

This comment about language is commonly written off as being "just semantics", yet the issue of semantics - of meaning, and the importance of language - is critical in order to form a philosophical grounding for our work. At its heart, the nomenclature issue points to a distinction between user empowerment and designer arrogance. As a quick example: If I design a set of touchpoints in a retail environment (the counter, the lighting, the displays, etc), I can claim control over those touchpoints with a degree of logical appropriateness. But if I claim to have designed the "retail experience", I'm implicitly taking control for what the individuals in that experience are doing - I'm illogically claiming ownership over the actions, emotions, and thoughts of someone else.

2. The concept of "UX" presently has connotations to the corporate middle manager who has no training in design and has little experience making things. These UX Managers or UX Designers commonly act as facilitators between subject matter experts and outside design consultancies; while the facilitation is important, it's a far cry from the complexity of actually doing design work (conducting research, synthesizing data, giving form to ideas, etc). This role, at least when found in the large enterprise, is viewed by many design consultancies as a "watered down form of design". This is not to say that everyone who has found themselves with this title is not doing design work, but to point to a trend in corporations of designer as facilitator rather than designer as creator.

3. The idea of "interaction design" has a long, rich, and robust history that long overshadows the trend towards "UX" in corporate America. From the pioneering work of John Rheinfrank to the thoughtful discourse of Richard Buchanan and Jonas Lowgren, the notion of designing for dialogue and in order to support behavior is larger than the IAI, the IxDA, or the other organizations being discussed in these threads. These pioneers discuss concepts that are ingrained in the fabric of our culture, and their work builds upon decades of discourse and design from the fields of industrial design, psychology, anthropology, and the broader humanities.

4. I urge everyone on this list to move beyond the urge to define our profession (either by what it is, or by what it isn%u2019t) and instead begin to debate and discuss cases, methods, and theory of our work. In no time in my four years of undergraduate design education did we explicitly define design; instead, we defined it implicitly by doing it and then reflecting on what we had done and how we had done it. We can provide a little value to the larger community by offering a concise definition of our profession, but we can provide a lot of value to the community by offering case studies, repeatable methods, and a deep and broad theory of our work and how it relates to other disciplines.

Thanks,
Jon

28 Mar 2009 - 3:04pm
Jon-Eric Steinbomer
2003

Hi,

I've been casually observing the conversation around "UX" for
close to two years, mildly contemplative and majorly bemused. This
conversation seems to have recently come to a boiling point, and
while the argument over naming will continue forever, it seems like
an opportune time to share some thoughts. These are my ideas, and
they are subjective; I realize that not everyone shares them. I also
realize they are generalizations, and may offend people who find
themselves in the camp of %u201CUX%u201D. I apologize in advance, as
it%u2019s not my intention to be offensive.

Ultimately, I find myself arguing vehemently against the term "UX",
both as a job title ("User Experience Manager") and as an action
("User Experience Design"). This is a case for "interaction
design" as the container of related professions, and it's a case
for a dramatic shift in conversation away from definition and towards
cases, methods, and theory.

1. The language of "user experience designer" is demeaning, as it
implies that a designer first _makes_ an experience and then someone
_consumes_ it %u2013 that consumers are, on their own, unable to
experience things, and that an experience can be mass produced like a
hammer or a toaster. Implicit in this language is the sense of
control, power and ownership, and the idea that a consumer is
helpless to bring anything on their own to a moment in time. In
reality, people bring the complexity of their wants, needs, desires,
and world views to an experience, and this in turn actively changes
that experience. This is at the heart of much of John Dewey%u2019s
writing, and if you have anything to say about the nomenclature
argument, you owe it to yourself to read his material.

This comment about language is commonly written off as being "just
semantics", yet the issue of semantics - of meaning, and the
importance of language - is critical in order to form a philosophical
grounding for our work. At its heart, the nomenclature issue points to
a distinction between user empowerment and designer arrogance. As a
quick example: If I design a set of touchpoints in a retail
environment (the counter, the lighting, the displays, etc), I can
claim control over those touchpoints with a degree of logical
appropriateness. But if I claim to have designed the "retail
experience", I'm implicitly taking control for what the individuals
in that experience are doing - I'm illogically claiming ownership
over the actions, emotions, and thoughts of someone else.

2. The concept of "UX" presently has connotations to the corporate
middle manager who has no training in design and has little
experience making things. These UX Managers or UX Designers commonly
act as facilitators between subject matter experts and outside design
consultancies; while the facilitation is important, it's a far cry
from the complexity of actually doing design work (conducting
research, synthesizing data, giving form to ideas, etc). This role,
at least when found in the large enterprise, is viewed by many design
consultancies as a "watered down form of design". This is not to say
that everyone who has found themselves with this title is not doing
design work, but to point to a trend in corporations of designer as
facilitator rather than designer as creator.

3. The idea of "interaction design" has a long, rich, and robust
history that long overshadows the trend towards "UX" in corporate
America. From the pioneering work of John Rheinfrank to the
thoughtful discourse of Richard Buchanan and Jonas Lowgren, the
notion of designing for dialogue and in order to support behavior is
larger than the IAI, the IxDA, or the other organizations being
discussed in these threads. These pioneers discuss concepts that are
ingrained in the fabric of our culture, and their work builds upon
decades of discourse and design from the fields of industrial design,
psychology, anthropology, and the broader humanities.

4. I urge everyone on this list to move beyond the urge to define our
profession (either by what it is, or by what it isn%u2019t) and
instead begin to debate and discuss cases, methods, and theory of our
work. In no time in my four years of undergraduate design education
did we explicitly define design; instead, we defined it implicitly by
doing it and then reflecting on what we had done and how we had done
it. We can provide a little value to the larger community by offering
a concise definition of our profession, but we can provide a lot of
value to the community by offering case studies, repeatable methods,
and a deep and broad theory of our work and how it relates to other
disciplines.

Thanks,
Jon

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

28 Mar 2009 - 4:24pm
Mario Bourque
2008

Are we still talking about this?

*1.) Job Definitions**
*
IA and IxD are but SOME of the things I do with regard to my work. It
doesn't define who I am.

*Based on personal experience, most people outside our field don't care what
it's called. They just want ROI based on their expectations.

*You may have a different experience than I, but this is what I've seen. I
would love to hear from others that have had experiences differerent from
mine.*
*
Working directly with senior executives at a corporate level has shown me
that what matters to them is the bottom line. "If I invest in this user
experience stuff, how will it improve our revenues?"

It really doesn't matter what you are called or call yourself (I for one
have a ridiculously long title at work, but it's pretty much for a business
card and classification in the company's hierarchy), all that matters is
that you do good work. Nobody cares about your title, it's how much ass you
can kick!

There is no doubt though that we need to be better at educating those
outside our field of practice. For the record, I always refer to our
community as the "Design Community", because ultimately, that what we do -
we contribute (or at least try to) to designing better experiences.

Leading me to...
*
**2.) Communities

*Our community is fine. A lot of the people that have become active
participants are doing a lot of work behind the scenes to bring us closer
together. it doesn't mean we have to be wrapped under a big umbrella. Big
government doesn't work. Ask any municipality that has recently gone through
amalgamation. Increase in taxes, loss of services.

Proof = Steve Baty & co. with the UXBookclub. One idea that has propagated
around the world and is an org agnostic community of people that get
together and discuss UX books. WOW!

AND there is more going on behind the scenes with collaboration between not
only IAI and IxDA, but other groups as well -> recent collaboration in
Toronto between UXIrregulars / IxDATO / AgileTO / TORCHI and more to come.

I don't believe for a second that we are divided, in fact, we are coming
together to learn from others - that is the beauty of having multiple
communities (or tribes even) within a global community. Former Canadian
Prime Minister Joe Clark said "Canada is a community of communities." I see
the same under the UX community as a whole.

Personally, I will go to a conference if there is value. I don't want to go
to a conference for the sake of going to a conference. I like smaller
conferences, it's much more intimate and I can target the people I want to
talk to instead of a clusterfuck of a conference and only spending a few
minutes with each friend. Big doesn't always necessarily mean better. I
would rather go to a couple of really good conferences that complement each
other.

What we DO need is more people getting involved in our organizations and not
simply lurk or look into the window from outside. I can only speak for the
IAI and the IxDA; others can attest to CHI, UPA, etc. Your experience is
what you make it. If you want to listen to people trying to make "land
grabs", power to ya! If you want to participate and become part of a
movement to not only make our field of practice better, but make us better
as a group and individually - you will be welcomed with open arms (well,
most orgs anyway).

Let's work together in making our community even better than bother with
discussions on definitions and territorial disputes.

I apologize in advance for offending anyone. I do tend to get emotional
about these things.

Oh, and you are coming to IDEA09 in Toronto and Interaction10 in Savannah
aren't you? These are shaping up to be two amazing conferences!
#shamelessplug

--
Mario Bourque
Web: www.mariobourque.com
Email: mario at mariobourque.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/mariobourque

28 Mar 2009 - 5:42pm
Uday Gajendar
2007

Richard, no worries. Sorry to jump on the defining. I understand the
desire for identifying a "common ground", and while UX maybe the
generally accepted & common label to roll all those ideas into one
neat label, I just fear it's too slick, too
marketing/corporate/managerial as Kolko says, and thus glazing over
the intricacy of some very rich, profound issues of "interaction"
and "information", etc. BTW, I totally admit using "UX" in my
daily speak with ordinary folks, or with clients since it pays the
bills and it's easy :-)

But as design professionals amongst ourselves we should strive a bit
more, with real discourse into the theories, strategies, methods,
philosophies to establish a meaningful foundation, and UX just isn't
enough for that endeavor IMHO.

So then, what's our common ground? Malcolm references "digital
ground" which is useful. I created this diagram which may offer some
further clues, from rhetorical communication theory:
http://tinyurl.com/cf9cxu. Andrei and I used this for our design
class last year at SJSU.

The main point is the constituent elements of presentation /
structure / behavior across various perspectives, their common
interdependency towards supporting dialogues between people and
products...

(PS-- we really should get Dick Buchanan to speak at the next IxD
conference :-)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

28 Mar 2009 - 6:01pm
Austin Govella
2004

On Mar 28, 2009, at 1:04 PM, Jon [GMAIL] wrote:
> 1. The language of "user experience designer" is demeaning, as it
> implies that a designer first _makes_ an experience and then someone
> _consumes_ it %u2013 that consumers are, on their own, unable to
> experience things, and that an experience can be mass produced like a
> hammer or a toaster. Implicit in this language is the sense of
> control, power and ownership, and the idea that a consumer is
> helpless to bring anything on their own to a moment in time.

In the spirit of PeterMe, I call, BULLSHIT!

Nowhere does use equate consumption. Similarly, control, power, and
ownership are neither denoted, nor connoted by the phrase "user
experience designer". And nowhere does the phrase suggest mass
production or that anyone, a consumer or a user, is "helpless to bring
anything on their own to a moment in time."

> In
> reality, people bring the complexity of their wants, needs, desires,
> and world views to an experience, and this in turn actively changes
> that experience.

Agreed. We call this culture and mental models and understand it
through user research and observation (including testing). Right?

> This comment about language is commonly written off as being "just
> semantics", yet the issue of semantics - of meaning, and the
> importance of language - is critical in order to form a philosophical
> grounding for our work.

Which is why the opening arguments about consumption and helplessness
and control and power are total crap. If semantics are important, we
can't just toss serious critiques like that out into a public forum
with a jillion people who may have little to no idea where you're
coming from and even less time to check up on what you're saying.

If we have a responsibility to the subtleties of our semantics, then
we have an equal responsibility to the subtleties of communicating,
making sure the audience is clear on what and why, and not tossing
out crap like "uxd = hitler, obviously."

Don't even point us to John Dewey. You quote the Dewey. Prove the case.

> At its heart, the nomenclature issue points to
> a distinction between user empowerment and designer arrogance.

Not.

> As a
> quick example: If I design a set of touchpoints in a retail
> environment (the counter, the lighting, the displays, etc), I can
> claim control over those touchpoints with a degree of logical
> appropriateness. But if I claim to have designed the "retail
> experience", I'm implicitly taking control for what the individuals
> in that experience are doing - I'm illogically claiming ownership
> over the actions, emotions, and thoughts of someone else.

Psych!

Design is not equal to control.

You're illogically suggesting your abilities can reach, phantom like
from the aether, through the interface, across the void of user
perception to manipulate their grey matters with your phalanges.

Dude. We make shit suck less. Woot. I'm unclear on how we've become
doctors of mind control.

> 2. .... This is not to say
> that everyone who has found themselves with this title is not doing
> design work, but to point to a trend in corporations of designer as
> facilitator rather than designer as creator.

I'm missing back story here. Facilitator vs. creator. Why is this
important?

> 3. The idea of "interaction design" has a long, rich, and robust
> history .... These pioneers discuss concepts that are
> ingrained in the fabric of our culture, and their work builds upon
> decades of discourse and design from the fields of industrial design,
> psychology, anthropology, and the broader humanities.

So. What's the impact? Why do I care? What does that have to do with
"uxd = hitler" and the semantics of a name?

We used to have horseless carriages and alienists.

> 4. .... We can provide a little value to the larger community by
> offering
> a concise definition of our profession, but we can provide a lot of
> value to the community by offering case studies, repeatable methods,
> and a deep and broad theory of our work and how it relates to other
> disciplines.

I think many agree here. Even me. (Though you're arguing for concise
connotation as opposed to concise denotation.)

However, I'm a bit thrown. What do points 1-3 have to do with point 4?
4 seems antithetical to the other 3.

--
Austin Govella
User Experience

Work: http://www.grafofini.com
Blog: http://www.thinkingandmaking.com
Book: http://www.blueprintsfortheweb.com

austin at grafofini.com
215-240-1265

Upcoming speaking engagements:

1. MAR 20-22: UX Health Check
IA Summit presentation with Livia Labate (Principal IA, Comcast
Interactive Media) in Memphis, TN:
* http://iasummit.org/2009/

28 Mar 2009 - 6:10pm
Russell E. Unger
2008

If I let a definition run my life, I'd never get to be or do
anything.

Mostly, you're all people I enjoy learning from. That learning
happens to be about topics that I'm interested in--and I'm not
interested in all of the topics under any single practice nor
umbrella, but I know my crowd, and it's that crowd that I seek input
and advice from, as well as extend myself as a resource whenever I
can.

So, I'm grateful for that. When people get done figuring out
definitions, I figure I'll be somewhere else in my life and career
to a point, but I'll still be in the same places when it comes to
groups and organizations because I don't think I'd be in the same
professional nor personal places without them.

Thanks.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

28 Mar 2009 - 6:37pm
Richard Dalton
2008

FYI, the transcript of Jesse's talk is now online should you wish to
read it: http://jjg.net/ia/memphis/

Apparently this will be my last posting today as the list moderator
has just told me that my interaction quota has been reached for
today.

- Richard

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

28 Mar 2009 - 7:28pm
Angel Marquez
2008

>>Apparently this will be my last posting today as the list moderator
has just told me that my interaction quota has been reached for
today.
hrmmmmmnnnnn......

Maybe you can buy more posts?

This makes me think of when I used the new CHASE financial ATM system today.
Out loud when I was making a "Withdrawal" rather than "Getting Cash" (I am
curious to the discussions and research that took place to come to this
critical decision. People may have been fired because of this change. )
anyways I said "Wow new ATM look and feel" & the guy next to me said "Yea,
they just sent me a letter that they were closing my account and did not
need to provide him with a reason why". He was driving a Lexus SUV, the
Alpha male model, if you read their target persona.

What is the limit and does everyone have the same 'limits'?

I went to high school with that band No Use For A Name....maybe they were
onto something at the ripe age of 15.

28 Mar 2009 - 7:41pm
Dave Malouf
2005

So in solidarity with my Kiwi friend, I won't post to IxDA any more
today.

-- dave

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40553

28 Mar 2009 - 7:46pm
Todd Warfel
2003

On Mar 28, 2009, at 7:01 PM, Austin Govella wrote:

On Mar 28, 2009, at 1:04 PM, Jon [GMAIL] wrote:
> 1. The language of "user experience designer" is demeaning, as it
> implies that a designer first _makes_ an experience and then someone
> _consumes_ it & that consumers are, on their own, unable to
> experience things, and that an experience can be mass produced like
> a hammer or a toaster. Implicit in this language is the sense of
> control, power and ownership, and the idea that a consumer is
> helpless to bring anything on their own to a moment in time.

I don't see that at all. Designing an experience doesn't mean a
consumer isn't able to experience things on their own. Consumers
experience things all day long at Disney, experiences, which have been
designed. There might be a shared experience among those who consume
it, but each still consumes it on their own in their own way.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Principal 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.

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