Some of the non-software things that interaction designers do

27 Mar 2009 - 9:19pm
5 years ago
22 replies
1120 reads
Josh Seiden
2003

J. Ambrose Little wrote:

> This is an honest question. What are some of the non-software
> things that you all see interaction designers doing?

I'm currently designing a new department for my company.

I've also worked on projects to envision end-to-end business
scenarios X years in the future. These scenarios describe the
interaction of people, businesses, services, and yes, software.

> Of those, how many are not currently being done by others with
> already-defined and different titles (e.g., industrial designers)?

For the former, I suppose that this work is more typically done by
professionals in the HR field, and likely there is a large body of
work on "organizational design" of which I must confess ignorance.
We (my team of designers and I) are using techniques that we know and
that seemed appropriate: service design and interaction design
techniques.

For the latter project, I imagine that many design communities have
techniques to approach projects like this. I think of the work as
interaction design (in no small part because that's my background).
The techniques that we're using (personas and scenarios) are ones
that are not exclusive to IxD, but they are are certainly the meat
and potatoes of our field.

For a very thorough example of interaction design beyond software, I
would refer you back to Robert Fabricant's keynote at IxD '09.

Comments

27 Mar 2009 - 10:30pm
Dave Malouf
2005

keypad layout
General button controls
port configurations or back panels
Eco-system integration
Power management communications
Voice communication systems
Scripts for service agents
Near-field systems
Barcode applications

It isn't whether or not it is non-software, but whether or not the
software is visible, or otherwise made manifest (audio) to the user.

Let's not even get into ambient systems where presence awareness is
in play.

To me asking whether software is involved is missing the target.
There isn't an old medium of fine art or design that is not effected
by silicon or similar intelligence holding systems. What is important
is that designing for each brings with it unique issues. We
understand that there is a level of distinction between web, desktop
and mobile. These distinctions get even deeper when you leave the
realm of "platforms" (unchanging form factors like the above) and
begin to enter form factor creation.

My work at Motorola paired IDs and IxDs for this very reason. My
expertise in dialog creation was instrumental in many form factor
decisions just like it would be between an IxD and a visual designer
of a web site.

My students last quarter in my interaction design studio designed
watches, surface tables, digital drafting tables, and wearable
computers, who's designs were conceived through the use of
interaction design methods and processes.

I suggest anyone even more curious with this should look deeper into
2 portfolios. The IxD schools of europe AND the work of Antenna
Design. Their design of entire subway cars is a great example of
this. A team of students here at SCAD are designing heavy equipment
using IxD methods and processes.

Again, it isn't about the title, but about the discipline. So yes,
some may be "industrial designers", but if they are designing
behavior and for behavior, they will be incorporating IxD as a
discipline into their work.

-- dave

-- dave

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28 Mar 2009 - 4:53am
Jarod Tang
2007

>
> I'm currently designing a new department for my company.
>
yes, (also in the 3rd time redesign my apartment) that's one of the most
favoraite part for interaction designer. Design it, live in it, and find
many design needs to be improved, this is a excelent experience.

Cheers,
-- Jarod

--
http://designforuse.blogspot.com/

28 Mar 2009 - 3:53pm
christine chastain
2008

In the area of service design in healthcare, quite a bit is being done by
interaction designers including:
- creation of new spaces in which to physically interact e.g. pediatric
suite of the future
- study and design of conversations e.g. facilitating patient-provider
relationships particularly around difficult topics like direct-to-consumer
predictive genomic testing
- design and research of decision aids to help patients and providers
understand risk, probability and make choices together for
treatment/medications

...and the list goes on...

On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 2:19 PM, josh Seiden <joshseiden at gmail.com> wrote:

> J. Ambrose Little wrote:
>
> > This is an honest question. What are some of the non-software
> > things that you all see interaction designers doing?
>
> I'm currently designing a new department for my company.
>
> I've also worked on projects to envision end-to-end business
> scenarios X years in the future. These scenarios describe the
> interaction of people, businesses, services, and yes, software.
>
> > Of those, how many are not currently being done by others with
> > already-defined and different titles (e.g., industrial designers)?
>
>
> For the former, I suppose that this work is more typically done by
> professionals in the HR field, and likely there is a large body of
> work on "organizational design" of which I must confess ignorance.
> We (my team of designers and I) are using techniques that we know and
> that seemed appropriate: service design and interaction design
> techniques.
>
> For the latter project, I imagine that many design communities have
> techniques to approach projects like this. I think of the work as
> interaction design (in no small part because that's my background).
> The techniques that we're using (personas and scenarios) are ones
> that are not exclusive to IxD, but they are are certainly the meat
> and potatoes of our field.
>
> For a very thorough example of interaction design beyond software, I
> would refer you back to Robert Fabricant's keynote at IxD '09.
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

28 Mar 2009 - 3:49pm
Anonymous

At our design program we are exploring non-software based interactions
with service design, interior design, social -and offline- networking
(see Prototyping Social Interaction. Esko Kurvinen, Ilpo Koskinen, Katja
Battarbee, Design Issues Summer 2008, Vol. 24, No. 3: 46–57 for
reference), non-software based game design and others. We're also
studying performative communication issues, think of an airline counter,
how does the person providing the service should interact with
customers? How does the flight crew provides brand-exclusive services,
and interact with people? We think all those little interactions are
designable, and measurable (we are having a bit of trouble trying to
find ways to measure this, but working on it though)
I also remember this one project, thought to make people interact with
Bogotá (Colombia's capital), remotely through taste. Students mapped
Bogota's downtown through taste, developed a food-based experience, and
remapped it to NYC, so you could actually feel how our city is like,
when you go out and eat Colombian things in NYC. This might be a little
bit far fetched when you think of it as an /interactive /project, but
it's certainly pushing the boundaries of it, since it's not just people
with/or machines interacting, but actual cities, through human senses.

: )

LPA.

> In the area of service design in healthcare, quite a bit is being done by
> interaction designers including:
> - creation of new spaces in which to physically interact e.g. pediatric
> suite of the future
>
>
>
>

29 Mar 2009 - 10:17am
Kars Alfrink
2008

"This is an honest question. What are some of the non-software things
that you all see interaction designers doing?"

It might be a bit 'out there' for your tastes, but currently I am
designing a ruleset for a physical (wholly analog) game that when
played will result in an opera-like performance. Amongst other
things, the game being played will serve as 'input' for a musical
ensemble.

Once I wrap up the project I will share some of my experiences. It's
been very interesting so far, as most of my past work has been in the
realm of the digital.

I would also like to second David's point about the stuff happening
in European IxD schools, such as CIID and Umea, as well as the
Utrecht School of the Arts (where I teach myself). Do check that out.

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29 Mar 2009 - 3:28pm
Alan James Salmoni
2008

Currently, some customer research (I'm a psychologist by training so
have a lot of experience measuring various things about people).

Previously, I also

* helped to design educational tools (though delivered with software,
the aim was to get general practitioners participating fully on an
e-learning course and interacting with each other),
* helped design aircraft cockpits to reduce pilot error, some have
done some stuff on commercial branding,
* process design,
* paper form design
* some commercial innovation design.

This is as well as communicating ideas about research methods to
other people (there are lots of useful methods out there that are
just not widely known about in the practitioner community).

I guess pretty much all my research is non-software really though it
is often applied through that medium eventually. It's quite fun when
you get to build towards something 'real' though.

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29 Mar 2009 - 4:25pm
ambroselittle
2008

Thanks to folks for responding on this question.

*Behavior is Our Medium*
I watched the presentation by Robert Fabricant. It was interesting, very
reminiscent of some themes in *interactions* lately.

Social engineering has been around for a long time now. Using psychology
as a tool to shape people's behavior, in general, has been around for a long
time.

But I don't think that interaction design's only goal is to give form
to behavior. Often, it is more to facilitate behavior or to make behavior
more enjoyable or to increase the effectiveness of behavior. In those
cases, behavior is not essentially changed or shaped--it's the things that
the people are using to accomplish their goals that are being designed.

Even in the case of social engineering, it seems you are not actually
designing behavior but rather designing *things* to impact behavior, so
again, the media could be any number of things but not behavior itself. I
would venture to say that the only behavior you can consider a true design
medium is your own. The best you can do with others' behavior is try to
influence it, not design it. (But I guess this is really a philosophical
digression...)

To the other things interaction designers can do:

*Organization*
People have been thinking about organizing groups of people for maximum
effectiveness since time immemorial.

*Communication*
As Robert showed, people have been communicating using whatever tools they
have forever.

*Commerce*
Products and services have been designed and created for a very, very long
time as well.

I guess the second half of my question is at play here. There are and have
been others not in the proper role of "interaction design" who have done all
these things. They likely even specialize in these areas. What is it about
the interaction design role (or even just the activities) that brings
something new and valuable?

I think what I'm hearing (not just here) is not so much that "interaction"
design is the core but just Design (with the big D, i.e., a
specifically-principled approach at designing). I'm hearing that the
opinion is that Design can do things better in all these areas, including
but not limited to software.

That's fine. It's an opinion. It may even be true. But Design, while
encompassing (potentially) dealing with interactions, is not limited to
that. And I think the point's been made by others many times, Design has
been around much longer than "interaction design," so what specifically is
new, different, and special about *interaction* design? Why couldn't I just
hire, say, an industrial designer to do the same job? Why not just attend
an industrial design school?

What's the special sauce in "interaction design" as distinct from Design
that has been and is being taught and practiced under other auspices?

I keep returning to software as being the new thing--this digital,
extensible, malleable medium that allows me to take this hunk of hardware
that someone else designed (maybe I worked with them on that, maybe not) and
add that extra special stuff, using my Design principles, my
research/experience with the domain/people, and unique skills understanding
the medium of the digital world (software) to make something beautiful come
together.

Can I (the hypothetical IxD) do other kinds of design? Surely. I can help
with organization, communication, and overall product and service design.
But my specialty--why I have this specific "interaction designer" self
identity/role/title is due to my special skills with this new interactive
medium--software.

Put another way, if it isn't software (digital stuff) that precipitated this
particular role of "interaction designer," then what is it? Why is this
role just recently (historically speaking) blossoming?

If it does come from software but there has been the gradual recognition
that Design needs to influence more than just the software for a
holistic experience to emerge, why should "interaction design" be the role
that does this? Why not the other design specialties? And isn't there some
truth that at some point, if you climb up this ladder influence/focus, you
lose (practically speaking) the specialty that gave you the "interaction
designer" role in the first place?

I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but what we do, our roles, and our names
for them should reflect what we're actually doing--if we're doing "service
design" maybe we should call it that and not "interaction design." If we're
doing "product design" maybe we should call it that and not "interaction
design." If we're doing a little bit of everything that ultimately impacts
the experience of the people using (users) and/or buying (customers), then
maybe the name should reflect that (e.g., "user experience designer" or
"customer experience designer" or even just "experience designer,' if you
prefer, all of which seem more apropos at that level than "interaction
designer"). It seems people agree here that names and words are important,
no?

And if you do keep the names meaningful in that way, then interaction design
retains some meaningful, specific content, with specific activities, goals,
and contexts that can be trained for, learned, and practiced above and
beyond the generality of Design.

Thoughts?

--Ambrose

P.S. A while back, I ran across this
article<http://worrydream.com/MagicInk/#interactivity_considered_harmful>.
One of the claims is that in some cases, interaction is detrimental to the
overall experience, particularly in the case of what he calls "information
software." It makes sense, but I would expect that it would be very likely
that an "interaction designer" would at some point work on designing
something with such a lack of interaction (and would think it good design).
Another case where the name seems not quite up to par. ? Or I guess you
could say interaction design includes knowing when to avoid interaction. :)

29 Mar 2009 - 4:45pm
Angel Marquez
2008

How synchronous, I was just about to comment on how I am attempting to
convert my bathroom hallway in to a recording area. I noticed when I shut
both entryway doors it is pitch black in there. So, I decided to get some
lights, some sound sensor lights ( totally off subject, any recommendations
would be great this has been added to my list of ungooglables). Anyways, so
far I have a metronome that blinks and when I went to the cyclers store to
pick up some blinking safety lights that have different modes; but, they
were closed. So, I went to the borders next door and bought a book and some
moleskine (graph [I wish I could customize the grid size and have the paper
be black rather than white, I have contacted them about this] ). I bought
Pragmatic Thinking and Learning 'Refactor Your Wetware'. the selling point
was this list of biases that triggered IxD in my wetware:Meet your
cognitive biases
Anchoring
Fundamental Attribution Error
Self-serving bias
Need for closure
Confirmation bias
Exposure effect
Hawthorne effect
False memory
Symbolic reduction fallacy
Nominal fallacy

But, that is all besides the point. The book I bought is only one of a few I
thumbed threw. I picked up one that was called the 'Art of Deception' and it
was all about Social Engineering. It must have been misplaced because it was
in a strange section.

I think the role is blossoming out of necessity. I also think that it is
still lacking in consistency and it is hit or miss approach, meaning...I am
working on 4 projects at the moment that desperately need an interaction
designer; but, the deadlines and my personal experience tell me it is a
gamble of if it would be more of an asset or a handicap. I fill the
void satisfactory (says me); but, it would be nice to not get a tangled mess
and ludicrous deadline passed along every once in awhile.

29 Mar 2009 - 7:26pm
usabilitycounts
2008

I hate the word designer, because when people use it, they think web
designer i.e. colors, icons, shapes, and not necessarily interactions
or social engineering. I think interior designer, website designer,
graphic designer, which quite honestly, I think we sit above that.

I like Experience Architect is it is about the experience: whether it
be a voice system, or a keypad, or a subway car, what's your
"experience" then? Like Ambrose pointed out, many of us do work
outside of software that still achieves the goal (writing CRM
scripts, coaching users, etc.). It's overarching enough to satisfy
multiple constituencies.

I think there is a sub divide of titles every once in a while that is
a means to an ends for something other than helping the user.

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29 Mar 2009 - 8:23pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Here's my most honest, undefensive take.

IxD is emergent through the new application of artificial
intelligences found by applying silicon chips to devices. Objects
started to have a level of complexity that required new thinking,
methods, and practices. They even required a new way of thinking
about aesthetics.

In the US a very scientific approach was formed. It built off the
work being done in Human Factors and called itself HCI & its method
collection as User-centered Design.

In other parts of the world, especially in Europe, designers began
applying THEIR methods and practices to understanding this in a
fairly different way.

Both had similar goals of making the solution better.for people. They
both understood utilitarian needs, but one had a much richer
understanding of emotional needs (the Euro side).

As the technology permeated more ubiquitously through mainstream
cultures the need for BOTH sides of this equation not only began to
grow but also began to permeate unexpected "forms". Some of these
didn't have form at all, per se.

What emerged though were separate collections of the same tool sets.
Pieces that had wide or narrow overlap. That overlap though was not
universally understood, nor did it need to be to have relevance.

The reality is though that groups & communities never define
themselves by their similarities to others, but by their differences.
There is a saying in anthropology (or at least in UC Berkeley
Anthropology) "that there are more differences among the individuals
of any defined group than there are between any two unique groups."
But the other reality is that people don't care if their
identifications are indeed arbitrary and meaningless; they are still
constructs that have created psychological value embedded into social
systems.

That is all to say, no one ever defines themselves based on their
similarities. it is always about juxtaposing contrasts and finding
those people who believe in the same contrasts.

But to the point of the thread.
even if everything is technological (as in related to software). Like
a keypad design and back-panel design and button layouts, etc.

How and what you need to do to make different form factors or pieces
of different platforms work, to say they are all "software" is
pretty disingenuous to the point.

And to the greater point, while most of the people here may all be
doing the same mouse, keyboard, monitor, software type design, there
are still significant #'s of us who are not. AND there are even
other parts of the puzzle beyond sheer medium that matter.

Maybe we are THOSE interactive software designers that think about
aesthetics of motion, or even conceive that there is such a thing to
discuss. (BTW a topic you would never see on other UX lists from what
I can tell, but one started in an ID blog--Core77-- and transferred
here.)

I think that it is from here (That Euro school of design thing) that
many are unaware of, b/c they haven't looked for it, or otherwise
experienced it, but THIS is what for me has made IxDA and IxD a
richer platform for thinking about people-centeredness across a host
of mediums that converge around added intelligence within systems
design.

(too much distraction by an amazing tweet convo. I apologize)

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29 Mar 2009 - 8:28pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Patrick, just to give you a sense that "it depends"
Here at SCAD the industrial designers look at the "architects" as
being way too into form (beauty for its own sake). here deigners are
seen as solutioneers who put "why?" before "what?" in their work.

-- dave

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29 Mar 2009 - 9:32pm
usabilitycounts
2008

Here's a different way of looking at "it depends"...

>From LA Craigslist Ad:

We are looking for a talented web designer...We offer a flexible
schedule, $14 per hour...

...

I never, ever see that $14 per hour number next to the word
Architect. Or, show this to your ID's, and ask them if $14 per hour
is what their skills are worth.

The title is important to convey a) what we do, and b) market
ourselves that what we do has some kind of worth. The investment
analysts that, uh, ruined the world economy were able to market
themselves as worth the money they were being paid.

Seth Godin has a great take on this:

http://tinyurl.com/cbp48a

I don't know about you, but some of this title discussion and how we
are perceived outside of our little corner of the world I think is
very important. I migrated from the creative design field (I used to
be in print) because a) I enjoy this line of work, b) I would hope to
think I'm good at it, c) I enjoy bossing around web designers
(KIDDING!), and d) the pay doesn't suck. It sure beats being a laid
off journalist or print designer.

We can all talk about how at the end of the day we're solving the
world's problems, but in reality, we aren't. We aren't a doctor,
or growing food. For most of us, we build things that have an impact
on the bottom line of a company, and that's all (or since when did a
web widget save someone's life?).

We do it because we like it and it pays well as a perceived valuable
service to our clients and companies. Having this discussion is
important to protecting and encouraging this thought process. Within
the community, it's okay to differentiate. However, outside of the
community, we should be SOMETHING so we don't confuse the people
that hire us.

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29 Mar 2009 - 9:58pm
Alan James Salmoni
2008

Patrick: "For most of us, we build things that have an impact on the
bottom line of a company, and that's all (or since when did a web
widget save someone's life?)."

At least I have that boast ;-) (helping towards the design of safer
commercial aircraft cockpits and enabling doctors to learn about skin
cancers, etc) Right now, I am bottom line only and that's all, but
it's still a great job to have, a wonderful career to be building,
and the work is still fascinating.

I guess a lot of the 'other' stuff we work on will depend upon our
background. As I said earlier, I'm a psychologist with training in
human factors and HCI so I got to work on some large juicy projects
with a demonstrable impact on people's lives (perhaps I should say a
'lack of impact' given the subject matter of aircraft cockpits?).

However when all's said and done, I think most companies would
rather hire someone with a creative background as that is closer to
IxDs perceived nature. Even things like usability testing seem a
million miles away from being a trained researcher when they are just
the same things. I cannot say for certain, but I get the impression
that some companies/recruiters are quite confused when a psychologist
applies for any kind of UX job, especially when they advertise for
candidates with computer science degrees...

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29 Mar 2009 - 10:07pm
Scott McDaniel
2007

As a project-of-love, I'm going to try to construct a shadow-puppet
theater that's user-driven based
on fabric screens with lights projeccted upon them, and carved/cut
shaped images that people can use to create storylines. I'm still
figuring out the materials and flow of this project, but I hope to
"present" it to the hippies
at Transformus Festival in June.

Scott
--
"I have mad skills at doing spazzy things." - Janiene West

29 Mar 2009 - 10:34pm
Angel Marquez
2008

A project-of-love!
ha, that rules.

Make one argyle and douse it in patroli oil, hippies love that sh*t!

I went to an art show out in the OC last night to support this chiq I work
with, custom jewelry organic meets industrial design. The band had
projections cast on them from different perspectives.

As for the job boards that post "blah blah blah designer" I always remove
the blah blah blah and just put designer in the subject line when I apply.
Soul designer, that's what I am! I've printed everything, ended doing high
end flexography I think making more as a pre press DESIGNER freelance 10
years ago and then I made the change to multimedia! It was discouraging when
I just took a UX class and the instructor said her self proclaimed community
of UX people would laugh if they read multimedia or GUI rather than
interactive & UI on a resume. Laugh...who laughs at someone, that made me
certain I was dealing with some top notch people. This is an interaction
design forum and it does seem to get bombarded by user experience lingo more
often then when I originally started looking into it. I think the people
that are good interaction designers know what they are doing and they never
comment on such trite time consuming silliness.

The light show reminds me of the dracula musical in that movie leaving sara
marshall.

It still sounds fun...

On Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 8:07 PM, Scott McDaniel <scott at scottopic.com> wrote:

> As a project-of-love, I'm going to try to construct a shadow-puppet
> theater that's user-driven based
> on fabric screens with lights projeccted upon them, and carved/cut
> shaped images that people can use to create storylines. I'm still
> figuring out the materials and flow of this project, but I hope to
> "present" it to the hippies
> at Transformus Festival in June.
>
> Scott
> --
> "I have mad skills at doing spazzy things." - Janiene West
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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>

29 Mar 2009 - 10:58pm
Angel Marquez
2008
29 Mar 2009 - 11:00pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Patrick,

re: the $14/hr.
is it the title that is the value, or the tasks assigned under it. If
you did the same tasks under web architect, would it gain you more? is
there some magic here, I'm missing?

highest rate of pay I ever had was with the title designer. Lowest
rate of pay was with the title architect (both pretty good
considering my years of experience at the time).

I don't see validity in your argument and it is all about the
circles you keep. In my previous employ UX meant more money than
industrial (both ended with designer) b/c the market determined it.
interaction a bit more.

If this is really about job titles, i could care less about this
discussion. I'm not interested in titles, I'm purely interested in
the disciplines themselves.

Each one is an arrow in my quiver and I pack my quiver differently or
with different counts of arrow types depending on the context. I call
the quiver different things depending on whom I'm talking to. I
always call the disciplines the same thing. Keeps me sane and
grounded.

--dave

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31 Mar 2009 - 4:04pm
milan
2005

> In the US a very scientific approach was formed. It built off the
> work being done in Human Factors and called itself HCI & its method
> collection as User-centered Design.
> In other parts of the world, especially in Europe, designers began
> applying THEIR methods and practices to understanding this in a
> fairly different way.

There are some on this list, including myself, who attended a design
school in Europe. I would like to know if this is really so different
from the US in terms of teaching.

I graduated in Communication Design, and there was a sub-field called
"Interactive Systems" where I did most of my coursework. Now, after
completing, there are also "Interface Design", "Interaction Design" and
"Information Design" courses emerging in Germany. They have UCD classes,
we didn't.
Yes, we didn't care much about formal HCI or Usability issues, in fact
most of the knowledge about these things I acquired in self-study. Just
as mastering some code and design apps, but that is expected from any
student at my school, because classes are essentially about studio work.
There are no Photoshop or HTML classes. Some theory courses centered
around art, semiotics, systems and media theory.

> I think that it is from here (That Euro school of design thing) that
> many are unaware of, b/c they haven't looked for it, or otherwise
> experienced it, but THIS is what for me has made IxDA and IxD a

But why then IxDA was created by Americans, in the US?
I think it is the mix of HCI knowledge and Design methods that makes the difference.

milan

--
milan guenther * interaction design
||| | | |||| || |||||||| | || | ||

+33 6 67 11 13 83 * www.guenther.cx

31 Mar 2009 - 8:34pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Milan,I'm not talking about all courses, but specifically the courses in
IxD.
There is a very distinct difference between these courses of study.
In fact, in the US there are currently 2 active courses in IxD from a design
perspective at all. There are other programs that talk about IxD, but not
from a design perspective.

Your course of study sounds very similar to what in the use is "Interactive
Design".

-- dave

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 5:04 PM, Milan Guenther <milan at guenther.cx> wrote:

> > In the US a very scientific approach was formed. It built off the
> > work being done in Human Factors and called itself HCI & its method
> > collection as User-centered Design.
> > In other parts of the world, especially in Europe, designers began
> > applying THEIR methods and practices to understanding this in a
> > fairly different way.
>
> There are some on this list, including myself, who attended a design
> school in Europe. I would like to know if this is really so different
> from the US in terms of teaching.
>
> I graduated in Communication Design, and there was a sub-field called
> "Interactive Systems" where I did most of my coursework. Now, after
> completing, there are also "Interface Design", "Interaction Design" and
> "Information Design" courses emerging in Germany. They have UCD classes,
> we didn't.
> Yes, we didn't care much about formal HCI or Usability issues, in fact
> most of the knowledge about these things I acquired in self-study. Just
> as mastering some code and design apps, but that is expected from any
> student at my school, because classes are essentially about studio work.
> There are no Photoshop or HTML classes. Some theory courses centered
> around art, semiotics, systems and media theory.
>
> > I think that it is from here (That Euro school of design thing) that
> > many are unaware of, b/c they haven't looked for it, or otherwise
> > experienced it, but THIS is what for me has made IxDA and IxD a
>
> But why then IxDA was created by Americans, in the US?
> I think it is the mix of HCI knowledge and Design methods that makes the
> difference.
>
> milan
>
> --
> milan guenther * interaction design
> ||| | | |||| || |||||||| | || | ||
>
> +33 6 67 11 13 83 * www.guenther.cx
>
>

--
Dave Malouf
http://davemalouf.com/
http://twitter.com/daveixd
http://scad.edu/industrialdesign
http://ixda.org/

1 Apr 2009 - 4:28am
milan
2005

I see. It's not calles interactive design, but general communication
design, and therein interactive systems as a specialisation. You could
also specialise in editorial, photo, advertising, or sound/video
instead.

> There is a very distinct difference between these courses of study.
> In fact, in the US there are currently 2 active courses in IxD from a design
> perspective at all. There are other programs that talk about IxD, but not
> from a design perspective.

IxD or Interface Design courses are very young in Europe, at least in
Germany. But if it's called like that, then it is surely a Design school
which also has a background in industrial and communication design. In
France, this sort of education is being done at the Art schools.

I think the nordic countries are ahead in special IxD programs, even if
they are not always called like that.

milan

--
milan guenther * interaction design
||| | | |||| || |||||||| | || | ||

+33 6 67 11 13 83 * www.guenther.cx

1 Apr 2009 - 1:39pm
ambroselittle
2008

I apologize for the late reply. Too much work distracting me. ;-) I agree
with you, Dave, that healthy debate is a positive activity. It is not
"bickering" but rather an age-old way to discover truth or at least hone our
own understandings of it.

Anyways, I appreciate your non-defensive response. It is refreshing. I
certainly don't want to put anyone on the defensive.. just trying to better
understand how you view stuff and see if it's a view I should adopt or not.
I actually think you had a gem in a recent post, specifically about he
medium being key. I agree, which is kind of my point in my prior post to
this thread--the medium calls for particular specialization in the field of
design.

People were always in a sense doing "interaction design" *de facto* when
they made things that involve some kind of interaction. Design with the big
D? Maybe. Sometimes. Probably not as developed as it could be and has
become, but they were designing for interactions, among other things.

The thing is that, as I think Liz Bacon said, software opens Pandora's box
in terms of the potential for possible interaction designs. It was this
medium, you might say, that was the tipping point for folks to slowly come
to realize (certainly some faster than others) the need for more
specialization in the interaction space. This seems to be a point of
agreement now, which is good.

Now it appears that what was "interaction design" (focused precisely on
software) is as of late now sort of seeing how it can positively help in
other areas. There are proponents such as yourself and some others that
really want to push this envelope to see just how far, how many media, can
be helped by the discipline of interaction design. I think, as a desire,
this is a laudable goal, no matter what it is called, though it could seem
like "land grabbing" by those in adjacent disciplines.

I do see some tendency to dismiss or at least minimalize and marginalize the
"scientific" contributors in this space. Personally, I see value in both
approaches to the problem of designing things to reach the Quality Without a
Name. As a designer, I would prefer to synthesize the good in all these
different approaches. I think a greater respect from all sides is called
for--*including the engineers* who are equally scoffed at by both the
"scientific" and "design" folks.

In any case, getting back to this thread, that interaction design wants to
broaden its historical boundaries is good, but not, I think, good at the
cost of marginalizing its roots. While the explorers may want to move on,
the vast majority in this community (I don't think I speak amiss here) are
in fact doing software, even ho-hum desktop, Web, and mobile stuff. (Who
knew it was so passé?!)

There is so much good yet to be done in these spaces. It is a shame to me
that the apparent leaders (at least the more vocal ones and some well-known
authors) feel the desire to move on and even shun them as somehow no longer
worth their attention.

Talking about Design is great and fun and important and inspiring--even
talking about how it can change the world/society for the positive--but I
think bringing it back down to earth, to the context in which the
overwhelmingly vast majority of interaction designers, information
architects, UX designers--whatever they're called--live and breathe would be
far more beneficial.

I think if the leaders/writers/speakers (with some notable exceptions) would
stick around, they'd probably have a lot of good to contribute, and what
they offer would be more valuable and readily applied to the daily work of
the majority of the community. Of course, on the flip side, I think there's
plenty of room for those who haven't "made a name for themselves" to
contribute as well. And they'd be valuable, important contributions, too.
*Everyone doesn't need to invent "the next big thing" to make a lasting
impact on the profession..*

Maybe, in fact, there's more challenge to be found in taking these grandiose
Design aspirations and making something real and concrete out of them in the
here and now, something that other designers could look at and learn from
and discuss. It doesn't need to be the iPhone. Why don't we see more
discussion here, for instance, of all the good work that all these 10,000
members are doing?

Why don't we have more "open source" design projects--there are soo many
open source software dev projects that could benefit from the expertise of
folks on these lists! The veil of IP secrecy doesn't apply to those
projects, so they are great opportunities to really *show* how good design
can improve even the hum-drum stuff without legal concerns.

Why don't we see more articles in *interactions* talking about stuff like
this? Taking these great Design principles and talking about and showing
how they can be applied in the context of what most of us folk do on a daily
basis. Most of us don't work on green meters or umbrellas that glow at you
if they're needed. We do applications. We do Web sites.

Why don't we see, for example, more stuff like Quince, which is very focused
on the software medium, and others--why isn't there more community
participation on things like that?

Luke W's book on *Web Form Design* is awesome in this sense. What could be
more passé than Web forms, and yet they are *everywhere*. Drop the
Web--they are a kind of the ubiquitous "dialog," Web or not, that most in
these fields get to work on. I am flabbergasted it wasn't written before
2008!

So anyways, yes, push the envelope. See how you can expand the horizons of
the discipline and make positive impacts, but don't do so at the cost of
pushing the envelopes in the medium in which the discipline was born.

--Ambrose

P.S. Regarding your comment about my saying "software" means "digital
stuff," I certainly didn't mean it to be. It's just how I and a lot of
others steeped in software think about it. Any time that the hardware
provides a "platform" (a virtual space) that can be "programmed" in more
than one way, it's a kind of software. I would suggest calling this stuff
AI is not accurate; AI has particular meaning. I would also suggest that
your seeming desire to constrain "software" to mean desktop, mobile, or Web
is both odd (to me) and not at all accurate. This isn't a case of my
artificially/after-the-fact expanding the term for rhetorical purposes;
quite the opposite.

1 Apr 2009 - 3:01pm
Alan James Salmoni
2008

J Ambrose Little: "I do see some tendency to dismiss or at least
minimalize and marginalize the "scientific" contributors in this
space. Personally, I see value in both approaches to the problem of
designing things to reach the Quality Without a Name. As a designer,
I would prefer to synthesize the good in all these different
approaches. I think a greater respect from all sides is called
for%u2014*including the engineers* who are equally scoffed at by both
the "scientific" and "design" folks. "

I can sense that there is some of this so thanks for making the
point. Like yourself, I have to concur that all approaches bring
value to the table. In my team, we have 3 IxDers and 1 graphic
designer, and we all have different backgrounds (business analysis,
programming, art, research & testing) but the point is that working
together, we have a skill-set that leaves few weaknesses. Even though
we're a new team, we're already producing some great and practical
ideas solutions to very real problems and (I would hope) are stronger
than most single candidates because we bring so many viewpoints to the
process. This helps in reviewing ideas to that when we finish with our
work we can be more certain that it meets all our requirements: those
of the user, those of the business, those of the developers,
sleekness and smoothness etc.

Sadly we can't talk about these things until they've been released
- I wish we had a live lab where we could put up ideas for wider
examination and feedback.

Anyway apologies as this post has turned into another "problems with
IxD" post as opposed to chatting about stuff we do.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40619

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