the alignment of the practices and outcomes of IA and IxD

30 Mar 2009 - 10:02pm
5 years ago
44 replies
2290 reads
Peter Merholz
2004

In his recent blog post, Dan makes a comment I've heard elsewhere, and
would like to probe:

"To call everyone who practices in the field "user experience
designers" is not only a web-centric attitude (where information
architecture and interaction design are more closely aligned than
elsewhere)."

I don't understand the "web-centric" aspect of this. In fact, I can't
think of an interaction design circumstance that wouldn't be improved
by thoughtful IA. My off-the-top-of-my-head example is the iPhone. The
iPhone delivers great, cutting-edge, awesome interaction design. But
the *experience* of using the iPhone would be vastly improved if Apple
approached information architecture with that same care. Whether it's
in a particular app (Address Book, anyone?) or across apps, the IA of
that device suffers mightily.

I was dismayed to realize, while read Kim Goodwin's otherwise
excellent book, that she pretty much excludes IA. The only mention of
IA-like activities involve "data objects" and "data models" and takes
about 5 pages in a 700+ page book.

Such treatment leaves us with superficially engaging interaction
designs that lack depth.

I return to my initial question... Where are the interaction designs
that are not closely aligned with IA outside the web realm?

--peter

Comments

30 Mar 2009 - 11:39pm
Dan Saffer
2003

On Mar 30, 2009, at 8:02 PM, Peter Merholz wrote:

> Where are the interaction designs that are not closely aligned with
> IA outside the web realm?

It's my feeling that the amount of IA work done drops precipitously
once you move off the web, and even once you move into feature-rich
applications, web or not. Yes, there is labeling, and yes, there is
some sort of categorization and hierarchy of functionality, but in
functionality-rich products (as opposed to the web, where there are
more content-rich products), the amount and variety of tasks I would
consider information architecture are minimal.

For instance, interaction designers who work in software, devices, or
consumer electronics are seldom called upon to do content inventories,
synonym rings, controlled vocabularies, search results, taxonomies,
and the like. These are core activities of information architecture,
and off the web, they are not, in my experience, overly practiced.

There are many products that have limited information architecture,
but a lot of interaction design:

- appliances and consumer electronics like stereos, digital cameras,
microwaves, etc.
- toys
- games
- ambient devices
- robots
- ubicomp and other interactive environments
- tangible devices like Siftables
- gestural or haptic systems
- a lot of sensor-driven interactivity
- interactive displays like digital whiteboards
- many medical devices
- numerous applications, including spreadsheets, word processing,
instant messaging, image manipulation, music making, etc etc. that
deal with content creation, not organization.

On the flip side, I think there are content-rich products with a lot
of information architecture, but very little interaction design. But
most of those that I can think of (news sites, search engines, content
repositories like Flickr, YouTube, and Hulu, etc.) are online. Sure,
there are some devices like the iPod that are content-rich, and some
applications like operating systems are also IA intensive, as can be
mobile phones. A lot of products use both disciplines, to varying
degrees, depending on how much content there is to be organized and
managed. The more content, the more need for a structure and
organization scheme. The more interactivity, the more need for
interaction design.

It would be more fair to say that IA needs to be closely aligned with
IxD, but not necessarily the opposite. A digital toy or game can have
a lot of interactivity but no "content" to be structured. But you
cannot have a content structure (an information architecture) without
some means of navigating through it (interaction).

Dan

31 Mar 2009 - 8:05am
jarango
2004

Dan,

On Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 11:39 PM, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:
> There are many products that have limited information architecture, but a
> lot of interaction design: [snip]

I can't think of a single product you list that wouldn't be made
better with a thoughtful approach to the way they convey information.
And every one conveys information... whether it be primarily a
"content-vessel" or not. Many of them will also be part of a family of
products, and the design of the information they convey needs to be
thought out to the way their siblings do it. These are
information-rich design challenges.

To me, the distinction between the two areas is quite simple: the
focus of IxD is designing for behavior, while the focus of IA is
designing for meaningfulness. They are different lens that I put on
when working on different aspects of a project. In 15+ years that I've
been designing stuff (admittedly, mainly websites), I've not yet run
across a project that didn't require both. (In different measures, for
sure.) To suggest that these areas of focus can be independent of each
other only serves to place artificial limits on our scope as
designers.

> A digital toy or game can have a lot of interactivity but no "content" to be structured.

Can you give an example of a game with no content?

Cheers,

~ Jorge

31 Mar 2009 - 8:13am
Todd Warfel
2003

Saying IA is about content structuring is limiting and inaccurate. IA
is about structure, sure, but not limited to content. Is the
structuring of the navigation of a system not IA? The navigation
system could be contentless, only having a Red, Blue, or Green button
w/o any label or content. But organizing those buttons is still IA in
it's purest sense.

I really don't see it being as complicated as you guys are making this
out to be. IA at its core is about structure and foundation
principles. IxD at its core is about the way that system behaves.

It's pretty simple, actually.

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
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Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

31 Mar 2009 - 8:37am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Mar 31, 2009, at 6:05 AM, Jorge Arango wrote:

>> A digital toy or game can have a lot of interactivity but no
>> "content" to be structured.
>
> Can you give an example of a game with no content?

If you will agree that the field of information architecture is about
organizing data/information so that it can be found and navigated
through, most analog games don't call under this definition.
Everything from chess to football to poker. But there is a lot of
interactivity.

If you take a digital game like Simon <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_(game)
> and interactive displays like Rosen's wooden mirror <http://www.smoothware.com/danny/woodenmirror.html
> there is no information architecture involved at all because there
is no content to find or navigate through.

These are extreme examples, sure. But there are plenty of others like
them.

Dan

31 Mar 2009 - 8:49am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Mar 31, 2009, at 9:37 AM, Dan Saffer wrote:

> [...] most analog games don't call under this definition. Everything
> from chess to football to poker. But there is a lot of interactivity.

Try teaching Chess, Football, or Poker to a child and then tell me
there is no IA.

Maybe my perspective of IA is warped, but I see IA in Chess, Football
and Poker. Chess has a board that requires navigation through that
system. The layout of a board is architecture. Football has yardlines,
which are IA. Poker has cards, each with information on them that was
designed. Texas Hold'em has 5 cards, the Flop, 4th Street, and the
River. Each laid out on a table, or in an orderly fashion that is IA.

For me, IA is purely about organized structure. Maybe my vision of IA
is warped, but that's how I've always approached it. Not that
complicated.

Do these games have taxonomies? Not really. But a taxonomy is only one
small piece of IA.

> If you take a digital game like Simon <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_(game)
> > and interactive displays like Rosen's wooden mirror <http://www.smoothware.com/danny/woodenmirror.html
> > there is no information architecture involved at all because there
> is no content to find or navigate through.

Simon has IA, just look at the structure of the four buttons, red,
blue, yellow, and green, along with the arrangement of the buttons and
labels in the middle. The interface itself has IA. Does playing the
game have IA? Theoretically, you could argue that each sequence is IA,
it's just random IA. There is no such thing as computer generated
randomness, only theoretical randomness. If it's run by a computer
program, then it isn't random—anyone who's taken a research, theory,
or computer science class knows this.

I'm really surprised at these arguments. They seem like a grasp to try
and find examples that don't have IA just for the sake of arguing
rather than finding truth.

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.

31 Mar 2009 - 8:51am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Mar 31, 2009, at 6:13 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:

> Saying IA is about content structuring is limiting and inaccurate.

Actually, I think it's pretty accurate. Here's the definition of
information architecture from the polar bear book (the bible of IA):

1. The combination of organization, labeling, and navigation
schemes within an information system.
2. The structural design of an information space to facilitate
task completion and intuitive access to content.
3. The art and science of structuring and classifying web sites
and intranets to help people find and manage information.

It's limiting because, frankly, IA is limited in its application to
mostly content-rich applications. If you don't have an information
space to navigate through, you don't have much information
architecture. And information spaces are typically made up of content.

> IA is about structure, sure, but not limited to content. Is the
> structuring of the navigation of a system not IA?

I believe it is a combination of IA (the labels and categorization)
and IxD (the controls to move).

> The navigation system could be contentless, only having a Red, Blue,
> or Green button w/o any label or content. But organizing those
> buttons is still IA in it's purest sense.

Here we disagree. They laying out of controls to manipulate or engage
with the system is the task of an interaction designer, with input and
adjustment from visual and industrial designers. Pushing a button to
trigger a behavior has nothing to do with IA. Labeling the button
perhaps I'll give you, but even that is a stretch.

Dan

31 Mar 2009 - 8:58am
Austin Govella
2004

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 8:51 AM, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:
> Actually, I think it's pretty accurate. Here's the definition of information
> architecture from the polar bear book (the bible of IA)

Dan,

Please don't quote the Polar bear book. It's the Bible because it's
big and thick and contains a TON of stuff, not because it's the
Gospel.

More IAs read Blueprints as an entre into the field (or Don't Make Me
Think, or Elements of UX).

--
Austin

31 Mar 2009 - 9:41am
Dave Malouf
2005

And to me this thread more than anything else identifies the philosophical and framework differences between the 2 practices more than anything else.

I read the "defenders of IA" here and think, well hell, if I want to I can say everything is information and thus, IA is everywhere. I can read the "defenders of IxD" and say everything leads to behavior and so everything is IxD.

Both are false. I like Challis' model of Experience Design b/c it contextualizes it based what types of solutions you are working on and I think that is how Dan & I are thinking about it.

The question isn't whether or not X solution is devoid of IA or IxD or whatever, but how much information or behavior or whatever is focused on or not. For many solutions the processing of information is very important, and how we frame that information will have tremendous relevance, in others the definition of information is less important than just knowing that it exists, or is framed by the environment, or other passive means and the actions we do are primary to the experience. I.e.

As Marianne said, this is not about absolutes, but about a continuum. I am always thinking about how to organize things (even the letters on my gear shift of my car), but is organizing that REALLY an IA problem? I would say it is more of a Cognitive Psych/Perception problem, that needs to integrate with an IxD problem of action to feedback, more than "understanding" and "Meaning".

But hell, if you've got a hammer, the world is your nail. I'm all about behavior ... X is all about information. Maybe Both are right and well that is the point of all these discussions.

-- dave

31 Mar 2009 - 9:03am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Mar 31, 2009, at 9:51 AM, Dan Saffer wrote:

> Actually, I think it's pretty accurate. Here's the definition of
> information architecture from the polar bear book (the bible of IA):
>
> 1. The combination of organization, labeling, and navigation
> schemes within an information system.
> 2. The structural design of an information space to facilitate
> task completion and intuitive access to content.
> 3. The art and science of structuring and classifying web sites
> and intranets to help people find and manage information.

Nowhere in that definition is IA restricted to content. And if we want
to play that argument, then one could easily argue that just about
everything is content. A button label is content. Information on a
deck of cards is content. The navigation elements themselves are
content. Finding something non-content is a stretch. Possible, sure.
But a stretch. And why are we debating over stretches of the
imagination and edge cases?

> It's limiting because, frankly, IA is limited in its application to
> mostly content-rich applications. If you don't have an information
> space to navigate through, you don't have much information
> architecture. And information spaces are typically made up of content.

Only typically, because that's where we were in the past. There was a
time when the web didn't exist. IA can evolve.

> I believe it is a combination of IA (the labels and categorization)
> and IxD (the controls to move).

Completely agree. That's what I've been saying. IA provides the
underlying structure, while IxD is the behavior of the system and/or
how the person interacts with the system. I don't think we see this
any different.

> Here we disagree. They laying out of controls to manipulate or
> engage with the system is the task of an interaction designer, with
> input and adjustment from visual and industrial designers. Pushing a
> button to trigger a behavior has nothing to do with IA. Labeling the
> button perhaps I'll give you, but even that is a stretch.

But according to the definition of IA that you're using, cited above,
the layout of controls to manipulate the system is IA, maybe it's done
by an interaction designer or whatever the person wants to be called,
but it's IA according to the very definition that you cite above.

Obviously, we agree that the pushing of a button to trigger the
behavior has nothing or little to do w/IA. But, Dan, seriously, the
labeling is a stretch? Come on. Even the definition you cite above
states that labeling is IA.

What are we really debating here?

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.

31 Mar 2009 - 9:12am
Dave Malouf
2005

Dan, thanx for taking the morning charge here. ;-)

Peter, the answer to your question depends. Obviously!

Since we are responding to Dan's piece, we have to respect Dan's
definition of IA. From THAT definition, Dan is correct. I can define
IA to mean whatever I want. It is young enough to be maleable.

Austin, I love your book, but to compare it to Polar Bear the way you
did is just wrong. The 1st edition of the book was OK, the 2nd edition
is great!, but it is not a defining book of IA as a discipline as much
as it is about IA as practice.

Jorge, "meaningfulness"? I think you stretch the lexicon a tad
here. "understanding" I can take. But meaningful? that is a
personal value statement that I don't think fits here at all. having
meaning and being meaningful are not on the same plain.

Back to Peter,
contemporary IA exists within hypertext. It is about what happens
when you add a 3rd & 4th dimension to information design. In that
regards, I think Dan expresses quite well many examples of where Ix
exists without information spaces.

For example, I'm in a class right now where we are designing the
HARDWARE for a laptop. Yes, there are information design problems in
this problem, but most of those are more classically covered under
viz or graphic design, or ID in order to communicate affordances and
apply meaning. Where to put a power button, what sound is associated
to it, and how to communicate its actuation are things that happen in
IxD that don't in IA. I don't know how anyone who's used a consumer
device could think otherwise, unless you REALLY do think that IA = UX.
And thus is everything. In which case our frameworks are so
oppositional that there is no productivity in communicating in this
way and to other's point lets just talk about the work.

Show me where an IA method applies to the design of a power button,
but not as IA. Just do it! How would you go about designing a power
button?

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789

31 Mar 2009 - 9:34am
Dave Malouf
2005

Peter, I omit it in my classes of IA, not b/c of its weakness to this
discussion, but b/c of its weakness. It is so broad of a statement,
and contextually so out of place. It is really the definition of
digital design.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789

31 Mar 2009 - 10:47am
jarango
2004

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 2:12 AM, dave malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dan, thanx for taking the morning charge here. ;-)

I knew it! It's a tag team! ;-)

> Jorge, "meaningfulness"? I think you stretch the lexicon a tad
> here. "understanding" I can take. But meaningful? that is a
> personal value statement that I don't think fits here at all. having
> meaning and being meaningful are not on the same plain.

meaningful (adjective): 1) having meaning, 2) having a serious,
important, or useful quality or purpose, 3) communicating something
that is not directly expressed, 4) (logic) having a recognizable
function in a logical language or other sign system.

English is not my native language; I try to be extra careful with the
words I use.

Cheers,

~ Jorge

31 Mar 2009 - 11:14am
jarango
2004

Dan,

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 8:37 AM, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:
> Everything from chess to football to poker. But there is a lot of
> interactivity.

The things that differentiate chess from (say) a pile of random pieces
of wood on a table is _precisely_ its information structures. Chess
has a clear taxonomy (the different pieces, the colors, the layout of
the board) and rules that define how those taxonomies interact. What
makes chess in any way interesting is how the relationships between
the items in that taxonomy vary throughout the game. I could go as far
as saying that chess is primarily about information structures in a
state of flux with each other.

The interactive elements of chess, on the other hand, are not core to
its "chessyness". This is illustrated by the fact that chess can be
played with wooden pieces on a board, by correspondence on paper, by
email, blindfolded, using a console terminal, by two computers playing
each other using binary numbers, etc. (The same is true to football
and poker, to a lesser degree.)

I'm not saying chess is _only_ information architecture; I don't
particularly enjoy the game without its "tangible" UI (try playing
http://www.craftychess.com/ using a terminal). But to say there is no
IA there belies an incredibly closed-ended view of IA.

>  If you take a digital game like Simon
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_(game)> and interactive displays like
> Rosen's wooden mirror <http://www.smoothware.com/danny/woodenmirror.html>
> there is no information architecture involved at all because there is no
> content to find or navigate through.

I agree with your stance re: Rosen's wooden mirror, but that's hardly
a game, is it?

Simon, on the other hand, does have clear (if very simple) information
structures. As with chess, they are what makes Simon different from a
plastic cylinder with randomly blinking lights: there are only four
colors (and not 19,202, for example), there are only four sounds, and
there is a one-to-one relationship between these colors, sounds, and
the buttons that the user interacts with. The rules of the game are
also information: the fact that the sounds/lights are emitted in a
random sequential order, and that said order is revealed incrementally
one at a time. Someone designed these information structures for
Simon. These are architectural decisions, and they deal with
information being conveyed to the player. Information. Architecture.

However, Simon -- unlike chess -- _is_ highly dependent on its
interaction design. I would not be amused at all by Simon if I was
playing it on paper, or on my computer screen. The "behavioral"
aspects of the game are what make it successful.

My point: all these things have IxD and IA. I don't know of anything
that doesn't to a degree or another. Even if we agree that IA is about
organizing data/information, that is still a pretty big and pervasive
area of concern!

Cheers,

~ Jorge

31 Mar 2009 - 11:46am
Peter Merholz
2004

On Mar 30, 2009, at 9:39 PM, Dan Saffer wrote:

> There are many products that have limited information architecture,
> but a lot of interaction design:
>
> - appliances and consumer electronics like stereos, digital cameras,
> microwaves, etc.

Are you kidding me?

Have you used a digital camera recently? I can't figure out much of my
Nikon D80 thanks to poor information architecture.

Or how about TiVo? TiVo demonstrates a brilliant marriage of IA and IxD.

The other thing I find interesting is while (a very few self-styled)
leaders of IxD bitch about IA supposedly landgrabbing UX, the IxD
community seemingly feels no compunction in landgrabbing industrial
design (to whit: commentary about microwave ovens and power buttons).

Which, of course, is the point. We're all contributing to the design
of the experience. And hard-and-fast distinctions are not helpful.

> - toys

Which toys? Again, I would argue that any toy with significant
interaction design characteristics (and not just industrial design
ones) also require IA sensibility as well.

> - games

This I'm more willing to accede.

> - ambient devices

This is ignorance, pure and simple. Ambient devices are *all about*
information architecture. If you think about the ur-ambient device,
the Ambient Orb, there's almost no interaction. It's all about the
conveyance of information in a meaningful format. There's a reason I
invited David Rose to speak at IDEA 2007, because his work is so much
about the structuring and presentation of meaningful information.

> - robots

I see both IxD and IA as relatively minor contributors here, when
compared with industrial design, electrical engineering, mechanical
engineering, computer science, and artificial intelligence.

>
> - ubicomp and other interactive environments

You've got to break that down.
>
> - tangible devices like Siftables

Your bias is showing. Siftables is a platform. Some things will weigh
heavily on the IxD side, others on the IA side.

> - gestural or haptic systems

This is meaningless. What are these systems *doing*?

> - a lot of sensor-driven interactivity

Again. What sensor driven interactivity? But, if I think of sensor
driven activity, the key thing it puts out is data. Lots of data, that
needs to be made sense of. IA helps.

>
> - interactive displays like digital whiteboards

Whiteboards, maybe. But CNN's Magic Wall, what John King is
interacting with -- very much IA.

>
> - many medical devices

Perhaps. But think about the challenges with the data and information
in those devices. Even Charmr, in its simplicity, was all about making
the data meaningful. That interpretation is much more IA than it is IxD.

> It would be more fair to say that IA needs to be closely aligned
> with IxD, but not necessarily the opposite. A digital toy or game
> can have a lot of interactivity but no "content" to be structured.
> But you cannot have a content structure (an information
> architecture) without some means of navigating through it
> (interaction).

Sure you can. Whether traditional library examples (card catalogs,
unless IxD is now claiming the design of physical drawers), or
wayfinding.

What this all speaks to, honestly, is an IxD landgrab, or, at least, a
desire to elevate IxD as the premier UX practice. The mentality
exhibited here and by a couple others on this list is dispiriting. The
IxD advocates have eagerly sought the evolution of IxD practice and
influence. But in doing so, there's no recognition of the evolution of
IA. The only interpretation I can make of this desire to put IA in a
little box and to make IxD the King Discipline is a unproductive
landgrab.

And it's clear that if anyone should NOT be placing boundaries around
what IA is/isn't, it shouldn't be interaction designers with chips on
their shoulders.

The field of experience design will most benefit from equal advocacy
across all its constituent disciplines, including IA, IxD, visual
design, industrial design, architecture, environmental signage, etc.
etc. etc.

--peter

31 Mar 2009 - 1:05pm
Dan Saffer
2003

>
> What this all speaks to, honestly, is an IxD landgrab, or, at least,
> a desire to elevate IxD as the premier UX practice. The mentality
> exhibited here and by a couple others on this list is dispiriting.
> The IxD advocates have eagerly sought the evolution of IxD practice
> and influence. But in doing so, there's no recognition of the
> evolution of IA. The only interpretation I can make of this desire
> to put IA in a little box and to make IxD the King Discipline is a
> unproductive landgrab.
>
> And it's clear that if anyone should NOT be placing boundaries
> around what IA is/isn't, it shouldn't be interaction designers with
> chips on their shoulders.
>
> The field of experience design will most benefit from equal advocacy
> across all its constituent disciplines, including IA, IxD, visual
> design, industrial design, architecture, environmental signage, etc.
> etc. etc.

Oh come on. I'm calling, in Merholz style, bullshit. I haven't heard
anyone here in this thread or any other related one suggest IxD is
anything but a component of the overall user experience alongside
other disciplines including information architecture. What has been
reasonably suggested, I think, is that there is a continuum of
products: some of them require more IA than others, some require more
IxD than others. In the same way some projects require more visual
design than others. Your objection seems to be that I dared say that
the products that require more IA are mostly web-based. I've not seen
a reasonable argument against this assertion yet. The Polar Bear Book
is "information Architecture for the World Wide Web" and the
Blueprints book is called "Blueprints for the Web." Don't Make Me
Think is a "web usability" book. Where is the "Information
Architecture for Devices" book? Or "Information Architecture for
Physical Spaces" book?

There's nothing wrong with this, btw. The web is simply the perfect
medium for a discipline like information architecture. The web is all
about information spaces. The web isn't a great medium for industrial
design, for instance. It's not the greatest medium for interaction
design either, truth be told.

Is interaction design important to the people on this list and do we
consider it our focus and a major component of UX? Umm, yeah, it's THE
INTERACTION DESIGN ASSOCIATION after all. It's not our job to advocate
or recognize the evolution of information architecture. That's what
the IAI's job is. Complain to them that people don't know what the
boundaries of their discipline are. The IxDA was set up to expand the
influence and define the practice of interaction design. Not to the
detriment of sister disciplines, but for the benefit of ourselves.

Dan

31 Mar 2009 - 1:13pm
Andy Polaine
2008

I pretty much agree with Dan's thesis here, but I think it's because
the remit of IA drops off at a point where IxD can carry on. But it's
not that one excludes the other in any way.

You can design interactions for toys and games that don't require
any IA at all. Playful interactions often have no IA and part of the
play challenge and interaction is to develop it yourself. "How many
times can I catch the bouncing ball, how do I score that? etc."

That is if you're willing to stretch the definition of IA to include
the developing the rules of play and the 'magic circle' of the game
and play space. Most games designers and games design theories I know
of don't usually refer to themselves in that IA way, but I'm sure it
is out there.

On the other hand, making data meaningful, as Peter says, can be very
powerful, but it usually isn't unless there is a decent amount of
interaction design there too. Jon Harris's We Feel Fine does both,
but there are plenty of example of data mining and visualisation
tools that are horrible to use as an interactive experience
regardless of what they do with the data.

Sigh. Can't we all just get along?

Best,

Andy

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

Interaction & Experience Design
Service Design Research
Writing

Twitter: apolaine
Skype: apolaine

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

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789

31 Mar 2009 - 1:21pm
Peter Merholz
2004

> What has been reasonably suggested, I think, is that there is a
> continuum of products: some of them require more IA than others,
> some require more IxD than others. In the same way some projects
> require more visual design than others. Your objection seems to be
> that I dared say that the products that require more IA are mostly
> web-based.

If I were to reduce interaction design to interface design, we would
never hear the end of it.

My objection is that you put forth a similarly retrograde notion of
IA, and have not bothered to acknowledged how that field has evolved.

> I've not seen a reasonable argument against this assertion yet. The
> Polar Bear Book is "information Architecture for the World Wide Web"
> and the Blueprints book is called "Blueprints for the Web." Don't
> Make Me Think is a "web usability" book. Where is the "Information
> Architecture for Devices" book? Or "Information Architecture for
> Physical Spaces" book?

Peter Morville's Ambient Findability and Adam Greenfield's Everyware
are both largely about information architecture in devices and spaces,
whether explicit (in Peter's book) or implicit (in Adam's).

--peter

31 Mar 2009 - 1:51pm
jarango
2004

Dan,

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 1:05 PM, Dan Saffer <dan at odannyboy.com> wrote:
> That's what the IAI's job is. Complain to them that people don't know what the
> boundaries of their discipline are.

I had a good laugh at this. It's become something of a joke for me to
measure the amount of time that passes between the yearly publication
of the IDEA conference website, and when Dave Malouf posts his first
snarky Tweet complaining about the IAI overstepping IA's boundaries.
Getting shorter every year!

The fact is that you and some other folks who are viewed as leaders in
the interaction design community have been very intentionally trying
to perpetuate a very narrow view of IA, all the while pushing an
incredibly broad view of IxD. (Microwaves! Power buttons! Robots!
etc.) How on earth did these things get designed before IxD came
along? (I looked in Amazon, but couldn't find any books on "The
Interaction Design of Household Appliances". Are you sure this is
interaction design?) Are IxDA constituents entirely clear on what the
boundaries of IxD are? (I consider myself an IxDA constituent, and I'm
not entirely clear. In a field as young as ours, I consider this a
good thing.)

What irks me about all this (and I'm putting my IAI hat on now) is
that the boards of both organizations (IAI and IxDA) have been working
to reach out to support each other better. As others have mentioned,
we've already started collaborating on certain things. It is
incredibly unhelpful for folks -- especially people perceived as
leaders in each community -- to continue perpetuating the perception
of antagonism between our fields and organizations as you are so
blatantly doing in this thread.

~ Jorge

31 Mar 2009 - 2:44pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Mar 31, 2009, at 11:21 AM, Peter Merholz wrote:

>> What has been reasonably suggested, I think, is that there is a
>> continuum of products: some of them require more IA than others,
>> some require more IxD than others. In the same way some projects
>> require more visual design than others. Your objection seems to be
>> that I dared say that the products that require more IA are mostly
>> web-based.
>
> If I were to reduce interaction design to interface design, we would
> never hear the end of it.

Reduce? That's funny considering that all of this time, interface
design has always required a broader collection of visual, interaction
and information skills to do effectively.

All this discussion is seemingly exposing is that the various camps of
people who don't want to be cross-disciplinary need to have their own
worlds to inhabit, which is fine. But for the last 10 to 20 years,
what has been lacking is a digital product design organization that is
the functional equivalent to industrial design organizations that
encompasses people who ONLY care about digital as it relates to code
and software but who need practical skills as broad as what ID folks
are expected to do on the job or learn in school. People who need to
have a broad range of skills that Jared listed out and that I have
been beating to death for far too long.

UXNet is not enough in that people who call themselves "user
experience designers" generally are thinly disguised IA or IxD types.
That and "user experience" has always been a horrid label for reasons
listed far too many times to repeat now. However, if UXNet wants to
open the doors to encompass the skills of the visual and graphic
designer types to be included in the job description and not be
something orthogonal, the skillls of designers found at places like
SXSW, then we might finally be on track to having something that
serves digital product designer needs and its growing field of practice.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

31 Mar 2009 - 2:48pm
jarango
2004

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 6:13 AM, Andy Polaine <andy at polaine.com> wrote:
> Most games designers and games design theories I know
> of don't usually refer to themselves in that IA way, but I'm sure it
> is out there.

Absolutely. And I can guarantee there is no book on "information
architecture of games", nor one being written soon. That doesn't mean
there isn't IA _in_ games. Corollary: I can guarantee that whoever
designed Simon didn't think of him or herself as an interaction
designer either. That doesn't mean that IxD isn't an important part of
the game.

> Sigh. Can't we all just get along?

This question should be pointed to the "leaders" who have been trying
their damnedest to keep these communities divided.

I see the current flareup of this discussion as a direct reaction to
JJG's speech in Memphis. For some reason I can't fully grasp, there
are people who seem to feel incredibly threatened by the notion that
we should think of what we do in broader terms and work more closely
together. I think it's high time these people were called out to
explain their motives, because (in my experience) their POV in no way
represents the day-to-day experience of most practitioners, and they
are actively holding back the (constructive) dialog that should be
happening between these fields.

(For the record: I thought much of JJG's speech was inspiring and
energizing. However, his views on the relationship between the IxDA
and IAI don't reflect my experience. I mentioned this to Jesse after
his speech.)

~ Jorge

31 Mar 2009 - 3:47pm
Austin Govella
2004

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 2:12 AM, dave malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> Austin, I love your book, but to compare it to Polar Bear the way you
> did is just wrong. The 1st edition of the book was OK, the 2nd edition
> is great!, but it is not a defining book of IA as a discipline as much
> as it is about IA as practice.

That's kind of my point. The Polar Bear book isn't a "defining" book
either. It's a "things you might need to know how to do when building
a large website" kind of book. More importantly, though, it's not an
intro book. When we raise our young'uns, (very broadly generalizing
here...) they read Don't Make Me Think, Blueprints, or Elements.

Those books defines the IA they practice. (More likely, defines the
blended UXD they practice.)

(Not to mention, the Polar Bear is East Coast IA and Blueprints is
West Coast. Claim yo set!)

--
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

31 Mar 2009 - 3:48pm
Andy Polaine
2008

The more I think about this the more I think back to my early training
in film and video. One of the things I really appreciate about the
film production model starts off from the premise that you need
several skillsets in order to make one thing and that the
collaboration works pretty seamlessly.

Broadly, those roles fall under the three pillars of Producer,
Director and Director of Photography. Everyone else fans out
underneath and there is interaction between those people, but also
deep respect for the others' art. Props people don't move lights, for
example, they'll ask a lighting person to do it. Other decisions move
up one pillar and down the other. So a second camera assistant won't
ask the Director about something directly, they'll ask the DP who will
ask the Director. And so it goes on.

This process works very well, by and large and each area has its
specialists, it's 'blueprints' (the script, the shooting script, the
storyboard, the lighting schema, etc., etc.) but all of it is aimed at
one goal - the film. That doesn't stop disagreements and discussion
and it certainly doesn't erode creative thinking, quite the opposite.
Sometimes people move around roles too and sometimes those roles
collapse together on smaller teams - a DP might also handle the
sound, the Director might also be the DP, etc. The smallest being a
director, writer, producer, cameraperson and editor being the a single
person. All of these people - from the electrician to the Director are
involved in filmmaking. All those people are filmmakers, each has a
speciality.

I have often wondered why this hasn't happened in our area and the
reason is that what our (broader) community suffers from isn't a lack
of role definition, it's a lack of a single goal and medium.

We used to be able to say we were in 'new media' - that rubbish, but
fairly all encompassing term. Interactive media used to be a useful
term because interactivity was a defining feature of 'new media', but
interaction design's role on the software parts bleeds into the
hardware and vice versa. The use of the kinds of techniques and
approaches have both borrowed from and contributed to a much wider
range of forms (you know the list - it's pretty much every single role
discussed on this list).

What is different about film is that there is much less division
between the creative and technical amongst the crew. Perhaps the
engineers/designers divide is close to the crew/talent divide in film,
but it's different. In our case, the 'talent' is the client or the end
user/interactor.

I don't know if there is a solution to this and this feels somewhat
along the lines of Joshua's comment about boat builders and the sea.
The endless debate about roles is useless and will continue until
someone can point to the thing that we all make. That seems unlikely
to happen any time soon because the stuff that we all get involved in
gets more diverse all the time.

I submit that this is the reason we have this discussion endlessly and
we just have to live with it or forget about it and get on with making
whatever our equivalent of films is.

Best,

Andy

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

Interaction & Experience Design +
Service Design Research +
Writing

Twitter: apolaine
Skype: apolaine

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

31 Mar 2009 - 4:19pm
jarango
2004

Andy,

This comparison with cinema is very interesting.

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 3:48 PM, Andy Polaine <andy at polaine.com> wrote:
> I have often wondered why this hasn't happened in our area and the reason is
> that what our (broader) community suffers from isn't a lack of role
> definition, it's a lack of a single goal and medium.

Another reason may be that cinema is over 100 years old, they've had
time to work it out. Our fields are still fairly new. However, it's
worth noting that even in a field as old as cinema, it does nobody any
good to become dogmatic about roles. (Foley artists only appeared
after the addition of sound, and the people who wrote title cards
became scriptwriters. Many animatronics artists have had to become 3D
animators. The role of directors has changed over the years, etc.)

The way I see it...

What is new in IA (the equivalent of celluloid film in our world) is
the understanding that comes from having to resolve the types of
design problems posed by digital systems, especially those with large
distributed banks of information (like websites). The lessons learned
and tools acquired as a result of having to deal with these problems
can then be applied to a variety of other design challenges. (Much
like we can apply techniques learned from film in other fields.)

What is new in IxD is the understanding that comes from having to
resolve the types of design problems posed by digital systems,
especially those with complex, highly mutable interfaces. The lessons
learned and tools acquired as a result of having to deal with these
problems can then be applied to a variety of other design challenges.

I believe the two fields have much in common: we are using the things
we've learned from having to deal with these design challenges that
have appeared over the past 20 years or so to re-fashion our
understanding of _many_ design fields. (That's why I used the "lens"
metaphor in my earlier post.) For example, I think it's perfectly fine
that we take an IxD lens to industrial design. I don't think of this
as a land grab: I see it as applying new knowledge to old problems. I
expect to do the same with IA.

Cheers,

~ Jorge

31 Mar 2009 - 7:52pm
Elizabeth Bacon
2003

Hi guys,

So here's my take on IA and IxD, and it's a unifying one that I
think represents more of the majority opinion. Of course, pipe up if
you think I'm wrong. :)

Information Architecture looks through the lens of product design
with a focus on structure, on the "space" side of the space-time
continuum. Interaction Design looks through the lens of product
design with a focus on behavior, on the "time" side of the
space-time continuum. We are sister disciplines when operating in the
digital realm, absolutely. If there's silicon, there's near-infinite
complexity to mold into order. The object, the structure, the
information cannot be useful without its purpose, the behavior, the
interaction. So stop any unproductive bickering and recognize that
yet again, your perspective on the issue comes from your own personal
context and "consensus" is impossible but clarification is. Polite,
respectful clarification.

As far as working together, I have a practical question for the group
coming from my capacity as director of the Conan project. What would
people think of soon splitting the IxDA Discussion into various
sub-forums, to which you could subscribe/publish/observe etc.?
Specifically, one of which could be "Information Architecture".
Other potential discussions would be Local Groups and Jobs and
someday Events, as well. In the case of an "IA" discussion forum,
this could be a place where a typical IxD practitioner with just
surface knowledge of IA methods could ask questions and get expert
responses. We have some of IA's leading lights in our community,
after all. Constructive or unhelpful? I get worried about subdividing
the conversation on nearly un-definable grounds; like, IxDA would
never want a stand-alone"Prototyping" forum...or would we? Thanks
for your thoughts about IxDA IA... ;)

Cheers,
Liz

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789

31 Mar 2009 - 8:08pm
Angel Marquez
2008

Sounds like it is getting close to zero.
You wouldn't be able to post via email if you did the proposed, unless you
designed and developed something like a plugin for each and
everyones preferred email client like FF's greasemonkey. You might drive
more traffic to your domain; but, I think you'd lose more than you'd gain.
Unless that traffic is of value to the open source community.

Anyways to support your site centric solution I'd say upon post you'd have
to click on your subject(s) before submitting and you know the rest some
tabs that reflected the IA...

I've always wondered why when sending to the discussion list email the
[action] discussion isn't automatically appended to the subject line. Why
else would I be posting, it seems like the least common denominator. Make
the solicitors go to the site to solicit not the members. The email post get
the appendage and the system handles the solicitors. Capice?

I could do without the job and event stuff myself.

No need to respond. I get it.

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 10:52 AM, Elizabeth Bacon
<lists at elizabethbacon.com>wrote:

> Hi guys,
>
> So here's my take on IA and IxD, and it's a unifying one that I
> think represents more of the majority opinion. Of course, pipe up if
> you think I'm wrong. :)
>
> Information Architecture looks through the lens of product design
> with a focus on structure, on the "space" side of the space-time
> continuum. Interaction Design looks through the lens of product
> design with a focus on behavior, on the "time" side of the
> space-time continuum. We are sister disciplines when operating in the
> digital realm, absolutely. If there's silicon, there's near-infinite
> complexity to mold into order. The object, the structure, the
> information cannot be useful without its purpose, the behavior, the
> interaction. So stop any unproductive bickering and recognize that
> yet again, your perspective on the issue comes from your own personal
> context and "consensus" is impossible but clarification is. Polite,
> respectful clarification.
>
> As far as working together, I have a practical question for the group
> coming from my capacity as director of the Conan project. What would
> people think of soon splitting the IxDA Discussion into various
> sub-forums, to which you could subscribe/publish/observe etc.?
> Specifically, one of which could be "Information Architecture".
> Other potential discussions would be Local Groups and Jobs and
> someday Events, as well. In the case of an "IA" discussion forum,
> this could be a place where a typical IxD practitioner with just
> surface knowledge of IA methods could ask questions and get expert
> responses. We have some of IA's leading lights in our community,
> after all. Constructive or unhelpful? I get worried about subdividing
> the conversation on nearly un-definable grounds; like, IxDA would
> never want a stand-alone"Prototyping" forum...or would we? Thanks
> for your thoughts about IxDA IA... ;)
>
> Cheers,
> Liz
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

31 Mar 2009 - 8:16pm
Elizabeth Bacon
2003

Hi Angel,

Of course, I'm happy to respond. I didn't want to spend time to
mention that these forums would work seamlessly with email; we'll
provide support for people of their delivery preference. We know many
want to keep IxDA Discussion as an email interaction. Think of it
operating more like tags than hard-structured forums, if you will.
Ideally, or something. ;) And yes, we'll be custom-building this
stuff.

Thanks,
Liz

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789

31 Mar 2009 - 9:44pm
Richard Dalton
2008

I totally agree with Jorge's assessment of "Whats new in IA/IxD" -
namely, we're learning from digital and applying it to non-digital.

I do find myself wondering though, why the non-digital argument is
being used to show how IA and IxD arn't that related, because i'm
sure digital is 99% of what both sets of practitioners are doing.

In the 196 IxDA list messages I looked at from July I don't think
there was a single one about non-digital domains (and i'm sure i'd
see a similar trend from the IAI list).

- Richard

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789

31 Mar 2009 - 10:11pm
Dave Malouf
2005

I have been arriving at a problematic sentiment that "discipline"
based "community of practice" is not practical.

It really sounds like to me that CoP really needs to be focused on
medium, which may speak to Janna's topic.

Maybe there needs to be topics about practice IN X medium or Y
Medium. Separating on "discipline" (IA or IxD) doesn't make sense
given the lack of consensus within the community about what these
things even are.

I'd also like to step back from the comment that Jorge called me on.
(Thanx Jorge). Its not that I don't care about IA, but there are
strong elements of my work where the solutions within the
organization of the information I'm presenting have patterns and
solution that are so well understood compared to the behavioral
problems that I'm working on. I think that actually is a compliment
to the level of maturity that much of information architecture has
achieved within its core. I'm not sure that IxD could say the same
thing.

The point of this thread started challenging the concept that IA is
focused on the Web brought on by Dan.

1) If the Polar Bear & Blue Prints & Elements are the totems of IA,
can we not agree that the roots of IA? Its amazing to me that Info
Anxiety never comes up in the IA community which for me is so much
more historically definitional about the IA I practice than either
book. (Going back to GvP's post comparing "Findability" to
"Wurman" IA practices, which I hated btw.). So if these are the
totems, then we have to agree that IA practice historically is rooted
in the Web. It is the quintessential transition of Library Science
into an interactive discipline. And to be honest, I never understood
the dif bet. E & W coast IA. It all seemed pretty similar and the
content of BP vs. PB (BluePrints vs. PolarBear) from the stand point
of theory is REALLY similar.

2) I think a similar thing has happened in IxD. There is the
"Cooper" practice of IxD that is so rooted in what I would call
"The Valley" practice of IxD. It's focus has been on software, and
its methods directly related to the HCI world, which is very
scientifically driven. (Clarification: I don't think that Cooper as
an agency represents this in any way any longer.)

The other side of IxD though is the interaction side of classical
design school thinking. It is deconstructive in nature, and treats
interaction just like it would visual, space, and form. It is an
aesthetic part of the total composition.

UX like all of these labels is rhetorical in nature, so you need to
look beyond what it could be, and more towards what it is! What is
the body of work from folks who identify with this rhetoric?

If I look at the contemporary agencies who speak IxD, my take from
their body of work is that they are shifting away from "UX" and
moving towards "D"esign. Is there really a dichotomy here?
Rhetorically, I do think so. Is there room for both in the same
community OF COURSE!

Is there an umbrella here? maybe? I don't know what it is called, I
just know that the rhetoric of UX and its body of work is no longer
representative of a growing segment of the work and the overall
direction of contemporary Interaction Design. That isn't to say that
I can't swing in and define UX in such a way that it can encompass
everything that I do. I've seen how people are doing that. But that
is not the same as looking at the history of and realities of the
work/practice here.

All this is to say that there is alignment taking place, that people
really don't practice with these separations. So maybe the
experiment of an organization soley about a discipline (NOT a
practice) when that discipline is not tied to a tangible medium is
not practical.

Personally, I think Interactions 8 & 9 say otherwise. It tells me
that things are great the way they are. Separate but equal in some
areas of the world works real well. ;-)

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789

1 Apr 2009 - 2:22am
Andy Polaine
2008

It maybe a foolish idea, a fool's paradise, a ship of fools or some
other inept metaphor involving fools, but the entire community across
the board could do with an über list/forum in which the sub lists were
IxD, UX, IA, ID, etc., etc.

A mix of the Academy (as in Oscars, without the statues) and Slashdot
(without the trolls). I'd like to see more cross pollination and
interaction (pun intended) between those areas and a sense that we're
all working towards a better something. The cinema model does work
because it is over 100 years old, I know and I am aware of its
history. But it also works because each component area came to respect
the other.

Less focus on defining ourselves by what process and tools we use and
more on the end result, which would help move this discussion along a
lot more. It's not that process isn't important, but there is more
than one way to skin an iPhone (just as there's more than one way to
make a film.)

Best,

Andy

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

Interaction & Experience Design +
Service Design Research +
Writing

Twitter: apolaine
Skype: apolaine

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

1 Apr 2009 - 2:28am
Angel Marquez
2008

Like Obi Wan Kenobi said:Who's the more foolish: The fool, or the fool who
follows him?

1 Apr 2009 - 3:45am
Andy Polaine
2008

Angel Marquez wrote:

> Like Obi Wan Kenobi said:
> Who's the more foolish: The fool, or the fool who follows him?

Never trust a man in a hood.

1 Apr 2009 - 3:52am
Angel Marquez
2008

lol
It wasn't targeted for you, I was just going along with your fool string.

I saw the opportunity and I took it.

Anyone want a pdf copy of the new rosenfeld book 'Design Is The Problemo'? I
have the PDF, just send me an email. I actually have three of there books
hard and soft copies...I have an idea for them too.

The promo code is: PLEASE MASTER ANGEL

Just kidding, I think that would be against the rules to just give it out
like that...

On Wed, Apr 1, 2009 at 1:45 AM, Andy Polaine <andy at polaine.com> wrote:

> Angel Marquez wrote:
>
> Like Obi Wan Kenobi said:Who's the more foolish: The fool, or the fool who
> follows him?
>
>
> Never trust a man in a hood.
>
>

1 Apr 2009 - 10:25am
Santiago Bustelo
2010

Andy, I second your thoughts. I think that the film industry has
several things to teach us. It has solved how to deal with large
projects, big budgets, a lot of people involved, and an unknown
outcome.

We have recently organized a session with software developers and a
film producer to find out what we have in common, and what we can
learn from each other.

What we certainly don't have in common, is maturity, as Jorge
observed. The film industry roles, skills and methodologies are the
result of an evolutionary process that spanned more than a hundred
years. The term "interaction designer" was just established in
2003...

--

Santiago Bustelo / Buenos Aires, Argentina

//// IxDA BA es el primer grupo local en castellano.
//// Te esperamos! http://groups.google.com/group/ixda-ba

On 31/03/2009, at 17:48, Andy Polaine wrote:
> The more I think about this the more I think back to my early
training in film and video. One of the things I really appreciate
about the film production model starts off from the premise that you
need several skillsets in order to make one thing and that the
collaboration works pretty seamlessly.
...
> I have often wondered why this hasn't happened in our area and the
reason is that what our (broader) community suffers from isn't a lack
of role definition, it's a lack of a single goal and medium.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789

1 Apr 2009 - 10:43am
Dan Saffer
2003

One quick note before I drop this thread.

"Microwave ovens" has become something of a whipping boy as an example
of something interaction designers might design. I was of course
referring to the behavior and controls of a microwave oven--not the
form or the mechanics of a microwave oven. I was referring to only
part of the device, not its entirety. I wasn't conflating interaction
design with industrial design, just that I believe that appliances
such as microwave ovens (and dishwashers and stoves, etc.) with
digital displays and controls can benefit from and even be driven by
interaction design. Obviously, they have been built for decades now
with very little input from our field.

Dan

1 Apr 2009 - 2:11pm
ambroselittle
2008

To your specific thoughts/questions, Liz..

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 1:52 PM, Elizabeth Bacon
<lists at elizabethbacon.com>wrote:

> If there's silicon, there's near-infinite
> complexity to mold into order.

Nicely put. I would maybe say if there's "software" instead of "silicon"
(as per my recent discussion with Dave et al) ;o).

> So stop any unproductive bickering and recognize that
> yet again, your perspective on the issue comes from your own personal
> context and "consensus" is impossible but clarification is.

I guess there has been some stuff on the level of what you might call
bickering, but I trust folks see the difference between that and thoughtful
dialogue (even if you think the topic is "pointless"). And you know,
consensus isn't necessarily the goal of dialog. I'd say it's more about a
dialectical search for the truth. Even if we don't find agreement, we learn
from each other and maybe even find a new path that no one quite expected.

What would
> people think of soon splitting the IxDA Discussion into various
> sub-forums, to which you could subscribe/publish/observe etc.?

This idea scares me, kinda. Just the multiplicity of it bears weight upon
my already overloaded consciousness. But your later clarification that it
could function more like tags is less threatening.

> Specifically, one of which could be "Information Architecture".

Maybe we should drop the historical titles and go with the things they sort
of map to on the mentioned Venn diagram? Like "content" "structure"
"behavior" etc.? IOW, I'd be interested in seeing the community come up
with less loaded/apparently-controversial terms for its categories.

> Constructive or unhelpful? I get worried about subdividing
> the conversation on nearly un-definable grounds; like, IxDA would
> never want a stand-alone"Prototyping" forum...or would we? Thanks
> for your thoughts about IxDA IA... ;)
>

Yeah, I think it lends toward divisive, as noted. Even if we can't agree
what to call The Umbrella, we recognize there are different interests and
activities and concerns within it. Maybe we can find good,
non-controversial tags for these things.

I'm curious how emailers might tag their emails. Or is this a
moderation/post-hoc thing? I can see, e.g., saying like just say "tags:
tag, tag, tag" at the end of your message to tag it from email. That would
be nifty. Then maybe I could customize my email subsription to those tags
I'm interested in.

Can you tell I think tags are better than forums? :o) Let me do Faceted
Navigation on the Big List. Don't make me decide up front what things I'm
interested in and then have to pogostick around between forums of interest.

HTH. If not, sorry!

-ambrose

6 Apr 2009 - 12:02am
Elizabeth Bacon
2003

Hey folks,

Hope I'm not beating a dead horse here ("whinny!") but I would be
glad for feedback on this sundial model of the UX fields that I put
together. See
http://ebacon.posterous.com/fields-of-user-experience-sundial-model

It occurs to me that this model could be a way of presenting IxD
along with our other skills to recruiters and business. What if we
bought into this model as a way to represent our skills, and had
different sundials displayed on our IxDA profiles? :)

@PeterMe, I also have posted a thought on why Kim's recent book
doesn't address IA explicitly.

Cheers,
Liz

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789

6 Apr 2009 - 12:06am
Steve Baty
2009

Liz,

My first reaction was: Cool!

My only real issue with this representation is the lack of physical design
disciplines and their relationship to UX. I'm thinking specifically of
industrial design and architecture (in its various forms - building,
interior, landscape). I'd like to see these included in the model to provide
coverage of physical and hybrid designed environments.

Cheers
Steve

2009/4/6 Elizabeth Bacon <lists at elizabethbacon.com>

> Hey folks,
>
> Hope I'm not beating a dead horse here ("whinny!") but I would be
> glad for feedback on this sundial model of the UX fields that I put
> together. See
> http://ebacon.posterous.com/fields-of-user-experience-sundial-model
>
> It occurs to me that this model could be a way of presenting IxD
> along with our other skills to recruiters and business. What if we
> bought into this model as a way to represent our skills, and had
> different sundials displayed on our IxDA profiles? :)
>
> @PeterMe, I also have posted a thought on why Kim's recent book
> doesn't address IA explicitly.
>
> Cheers,
> Liz
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

--
Steve 'Doc' Baty | Principal | Meld Consulting | P: +61 417 061 292 | E:
stevebaty at meld.com.au | Twitter: docbaty | Skype: steve_baty | LinkedIn:
www.linkedin.com/in/stevebaty

Blog: http://meld.com.au/blog
Editor: Johnny Holland - johnnyholland.org
Contributor: UXMatters - www.uxmatters.com
UX Australia: 25-27 August, http://uxaustralia.com.au
UX Book Club: http://uxbookclub.org/ - Read, discuss, connect.

6 Apr 2009 - 12:34am
Angel Marquez
2008

neat
i like it.

request, would you put the activities of each discipline on the outer edge
and connect the activity dots.

ux class I recently attended listed these as the core concepts:
+business strategy
+content strategy
user research
usability
interaction design
information architecture

are you thinking the strategies are a synthesis of marketing & IA? what are
the outer forces that turn this wheel?

illustrator?

i like how alignment turned into circle.

well done.

On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 10:06 PM, Steve Baty <stevebaty at gmail.com> wrote:

> Liz,
>
> My first reaction was: Cool!
>
> My only real issue with this representation is the lack of physical design
> disciplines and their relationship to UX. I'm thinking specifically of
> industrial design and architecture (in its various forms - building,
> interior, landscape). I'd like to see these included in the model to
> provide
> coverage of physical and hybrid designed environments.
>
> Cheers
> Steve
>
> 2009/4/6 Elizabeth Bacon <lists at elizabethbacon.com>
>
> > Hey folks,
> >
> > Hope I'm not beating a dead horse here ("whinny!") but I would be
> > glad for feedback on this sundial model of the UX fields that I put
> > together. See
> > http://ebacon.posterous.com/fields-of-user-experience-sundial-model
> >
> > It occurs to me that this model could be a way of presenting IxD
> > along with our other skills to recruiters and business. What if we
> > bought into this model as a way to represent our skills, and had
> > different sundials displayed on our IxDA profiles? :)
> >
> > @PeterMe, I also have posted a thought on why Kim's recent book
> > doesn't address IA explicitly.
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Liz
> >
> >
> > . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> > Posted from the new ixda.org
> > http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > 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
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Steve 'Doc' Baty | Principal | Meld Consulting | P: +61 417 061 292 | E:
> stevebaty at meld.com.au | Twitter: docbaty | Skype: steve_baty | LinkedIn:
> www.linkedin.com/in/stevebaty
>
> Blog: http://meld.com.au/blog
> Editor: Johnny Holland - johnnyholland.org
> Contributor: UXMatters - www.uxmatters.com
> UX Australia: 25-27 August, http://uxaustralia.com.au
> UX Book Club: http://uxbookclub.org/ - Read, discuss, connect.
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

6 Apr 2009 - 12:31pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Apr 5, 2009, at 10:02 PM, Elizabeth Bacon wrote:

> Hope I'm not beating a dead horse here ("whinny!") but I would be
> glad for feedback on this sundial model of the UX fields that I put
> together. See
> http://ebacon.posterous.com/fields-of-user-experience-sundial-model
>
> It occurs to me that this model could be a way of presenting IxD
> along with our other skills to recruiters and business. What if we
> bought into this model as a way to represent our skills, and had
> different sundials displayed on our IxDA profiles? :)

So I'm not sure I understand what you are driving at. If UX becomes
defined as encompassing marketing and engineering, then the UX
community will have jumped the shark. That what this drawing seems to
imply. So do you feel the UX people need to define themselves in the
roles that basically the CEOs of the companies drive? Or are you
abstracting UX to be something outside of practical job titles? If the
latter, then what's the point of having a field of practice called
"UX" since it's basically everything?

Also, I think people need to stop re-inventing the term "graphic
design" into something else. It's a personal pet peeve of mine, I
know, but it feels presumptuous and demeaning when people in this
field keep relabeling a profession that has far more craft and skill
applied to it that was hard earned over the last century.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

6 Apr 2009 - 3:11pm
Jim Leftwich
2004

Part 1 of 2

I see Liz' UX Sundial not so much as trying to "encompass" (or
"contain") engineering and marketing, as showing overlapping
aspects, which do exist (and in different ratios among individuals,
teams, projects, etc.).

An approach which shows UX not as a discipline, per se, but rather a
center of gravity among a number of overlapping disciplines has
always seemed sensible to me.

I also concur with Steve Baty that Product/Industrial Design and
traditional building Architecture (and its many forms) should also be
included, and I would imagine that Liz would agree with that as well
(not to speak for her, of course).

I haven't weighed in on this entire topic post-IA Summit, and
wasn't there in Memphis to hear Jesse James Garrett speak, but I
think I can understand where he was going with his talk. User
Experience, or UX, is a good label for the center of intent/pursuit
among numerous, interrelated, and varyingly applied disciplines,
activities, and concerns that comprise evironmental, product,
software, service, and system design and development.

My first reaction (second hand) was that if one was going to go ahead
and roll up all of this into "User Experience" that one might as
well just go for the next logical step and admit that when all is
said and done, it's all just Design. Or Architecture.

I don't think anyone could say that the fields of Architecture,
Graphic Design, and Industrial/Product Design have not long been
involved in supporting and shaping the experiences of those living
in, looking at, or using their end results. From the first time
somebody shaped an raw rock into something that could be more
comfortably wielded by the human hand, User Experience was part of
the intent or concern.

Today our environments, buildings, products, machines, software,
devices, and intertwined systems and services have grown in
complexity and the result has been a burgeoning and growing field of
people who play a wide range of roles in development and optimization
of all of the many important associated success factors.

Among these have emerged several disciplines that are more focused on
the aspects that impact end users, and we're all familiar with these
- human factors, ergonomics, interaction design, information
architecture, usability, user research, and so on. These overlap
with other displines such as Architecture, Graphic/Media Design,
Industrial/Product Design, Technical Writing, etc., many of which
have long had large components of these concerns already integrated
into their disciplines. And then overlapping further Product
Marketing, Technology and Core Engineering, and Business
goals and strategies.

It's because of this complex topology of concerns, intent,
disciplines, and dynamic practice that the endless discussions about
"who are we" and "what is it that we do" and "what do I call
myself" emerge.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789

6 Apr 2009 - 3:12pm
Jim Leftwich
2004

Part 2 of 2

It strikes me as a valid and useful point to establish User
Experience as a pole around which numerous disciplines, activities,
and concerns revolve. A pole around which things revolve at
different and varying orbits seems very different from the idea of
"enveloping," "containing," "grabbing," or "encompassing."

I won't get into the idea of calling oneself a "User Experience
Designer" as opposed to an "Interaction Designer," etc.. I've
called myself an Interaction Designer since 1987, when I first heard
the term (via Bill Moggeridge and Bill Verplank at IDTwo), though
I'd been practicing it as a consultant since 1983, and it was my
intent in 1983 coming out of design school to pursue a new
"architecture of the dynamic interrelationships between function,
affordances, and usage." This seemed to me to be the next logical
progression of the architecture and design fields, and was
crystallized shortly after my graduation with the arrival of the
first Macintosh, which seemed to me to embody nearly all of these
principals among all of its various design aspects, from industrial
design, to software, to interactive affordances (the mouse), to
graphic design, to branding and identity.

I've been able to successfully pursue Interaction Design (or User
Experience Design) with my work including or overlapping with many
other related disciplines for over a quarter of a century, and have
never considered the challenges in communicating what I do to be
overwhelming or all that difficult.

I show my clients and others the work that I've done, which has
grown to become quite an enormous and diverse resource. That, along
with a simple explanation of how my work (and that of my colleagues
and co-consultants) brings together many of these concerns and
disciplines has always worked for me/us.

When I had the opportunity to become an executive, I chose the term
"Chief Experience Officer" because I saw that as encompassing the
things I saw myself as responsible for answering to.

Our broad and diverse field occupies a very interesting and important
part of the creative and development fields. I made peace with the
inherent difficulty in classifying/categorizing this type of work
early on, by recognizing that there's a big component of integration
and reconciliation to Interaction Design/UX. In some ways our
architecture and design is embodied as the negative space between and
integrating all of the tangible aspects of environments, buildings,
products, software, systems, and services. That's why it's
difficult to present as a photograph, like a skyscraper or a sleekly
styled product. User Experience is only discoverable and discernable
though usage.

It's a paradox that I would urge this broad and diverse field to
come to peace with, as I did nearly a quarter century ago.

It will always come down to the same directive: Just stop talking
and do the work.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789

6 Apr 2009 - 11:09pm
jet
2008

Jim Leftwich wrote:
> It will always come down to the same directive: Just stop talking
> and do the work.

"Shut up and skate."

--
J. Eric "jet" Townsend, CMU Master of Tangible Interaction Design '09

design: www.allartburns.org; hacking: www.flatline.net; HF: KG6ZVQ
PGP: 0xD0D8C2E8 AC9B 0A23 C61A 1B4A 27C5 F799 A681 3C11 D0D8 C2E8

8 Apr 2009 - 4:12pm
Elizabeth Bacon
2003

Hi folks,

Thanks for the great feedback on my UX sundial model! I have adjusted
the components. And with Jack Moffett's encouragement I also have
added a zoomed-in view of an IxD sundial of skills.... (For the
record, I am a very busy person with lots of design work on my plate,
but I feel compelled to advance this conversation because I think
it's healthy & necessary!)

Please see:
http://ebacon.posterous.com/the-ux-sundial-model-iterated-now-including-a-0

Bring on the critique! :) The IxD sundial makes an attempt to
describe the essential activities of interaction design practice. Or
maybe better: bring on your competing diagrams, or your diagrams of
sister disciplines like IA. I think that not every IxD practitioner
has to embody all of the depicted skills, but that practitioners who
don't have them all probably have deep skills in one sector of the
circle--either Understanding, Definition or Communication. And, if
you aren't using scenarios somewhere in your process, I would
contend you are not doing IxD at all.

@angel: check out the activities listed around the IxD sundial and
let me know what you think.

@jimwich: thank you for clarifying that I am not attempting to define
an all-encompassing view of the UX field as "containing" those
various other fields. Rather, indeed, the disciplines of UX revolve
around a shared axis. You once suggested that we need to define a
topology of UX & IxD, and I encourage you to develop it as a visual
(unless the Timeline project also meets that goal). I certainly found
myself wishing I had additional dimensions to play with in this
sundial model.

@Andrei asked: what's "the point of having a field of practice
called "UX" since it's basically everything?" The answer is -- it
only appears to be "everything" inside of our rarefied world! To our
collaborators in enterprise, consulting, education, and other spheres
of life, we're a unique & discrete conglomeration of skilled
professionals. The UX rubric adds value to everybody by elevating a
set of highly-related disciplines that share the same end goal of
great product/service/space/thingamabob development -- nay, great
human experience!

The nit-picking arguments we get up to on the IxDA Discussion list
are definitely frustrating for many in our community, but imagine the
utter lack of comprehension for our discipline that exists outside the
UX fields. We have far more in common than we do in difference. I
think there is strength and power in numbers, and that this
coming-together does not pose some threat to the unique qualities of
the discipline of interaction design, or the discipline of
information architecture.

Remember, oh highly passionate & experienced members of IxDA who tend
to dominate the online discussions, many people are: a) just entering
the field and trying to grow their skills; b) needing more clarity
from recruiters & companies engaged in the hiring process; and/or c)
operating in environments that don't understand what we do and
desirous of better explanations.

Cheers,
Liz

Vice-President, IxDA / www.ixda.org
CDO, Devise / www.devise.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789

8 Apr 2009 - 4:32pm
Angel Marquez
2008

I dig it.
I like how you left out all names that would be fought over. Smart. Left out
the old ground to redefine the new ground, very interesting approach.

I would next make each thin slice into it's own harmony wheel, then connect
the individual circles at nodal points and make a possible points of
directions to take at these intersections... infinity, 3D, dictated by time
constraints, budget, resources etc...a roller coaster that is never the same
ride twice...

I would also make it a stand alone framework. Make it a jquery site where
you can toggle the informational views, and even swap out the information
and use it for a cheese and wine wheel dining locator if you wanted. This is
the reason I liked your sundial initially and Andrie H's graph (you should
combine the two) the information design is solid and you could replace the
taxonomies with virtually anything and use it as an effective presentation
tool, beliefs and opinions aside.

Let me know if you need me to explain anything for the sake of clarity.

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