The Ahistoricity of Interaction Design: Tangent to: Where we fail as a profession

13 Dec 2009 - 12:42pm
5 years ago
1 reply
717 reads
Mark Schraad
2006

Dave, I fundamentally disagree with what I read as the underlying
premiss of this statement.

On Dec 13, 2009, at 9:45 AM, dave malouf wrote:

> Just look who is writing our books today (and no
> offense to any of them, as I have deep respect): Both Kolko and
> Saffer who I feel have made the best attempts to bring a solid
> literature to IxD are less than 20yr. veterans at that. The work of
> Buxton and Moggridge in the last period are good contributions, but
> are purposeful in their sphere.

Where design and more specifically, interaction design, is failing
right now is not in the actual design work, but in it's acceptance by
those in place to actualize it. To that end, Moggridge and Buxton are
addressing the real pain points of our profession. There are better
designers, with higher profile, in the important areas of work than
ever before. At both the tactical and strategic level we are not
lacking for talent. Yet our work is often failing to reach both the
end results and those waiting to use them.

We fail at getting the attention of those pushing the ideas to the
largest segments of the market. We fail at garnering the respect and
credibility of those making the critical design decisions. We fail at
selling ourselves and our work. We need to listen to Bill Buxton when
he tells us that we should be spending a third of our time designing
and a two thirds of our time laying the ground work to sell our ideas
at the business decision level.

Roger Martin's recent (Designing Business) book is a continuation of
his efforts to expose the incompatibilities of design and business
cultures, of reliable vs valid, of innovating vs remaining safe. His
insights are important, yet few designers have bothered to embrace
them. Similar to Buxton's points, Tichy and Bennis (Judgement: How
winning... ) speak to the critical point of 'x or y choices' as being
a small portion of the work. They posit that laying the foundation for
that choice, as well as the post decision actions are critical and
possibly more important to success.

I realize that most of us don't enter design school with the hopes of
executive encounters and the metric driven VP. But those are our
hurdles, and if we want out work to make a difference we must accept
those barriers as valid design constraints. We have to move outside of
our comfy studio and do the more difficult work as well.

My larger point here is that as a profession we need to move beyond
teaching and honing tactical and studio skills. At this juncture these
are mere table stakes. Tactical 'how too' books, prescriptive recipes,
and case studies are fine, but are very limited in furthering of our
profession. This is a critical message that design educators, in
particular, must hear and act upon. All the creation and problem
solving skills are worth very little if we can not move that work into
a place of utility.

Mark

Comments

14 Dec 2009 - 12:49am
Dave Malouf
2005

Mark, I disagree w/ your disagreement b/c it ignores my point, which I'll
state plainly.
In IxD there is not a critical mass (yet) of masters of the discipline. It's
that simple. Masters are not necessarily famous, well written, luminaries,
but people who have 40-50 years of practice under their belts. People who
have passed not just the 10,000hr. mark but doubled or tripled it.

Anyway, your nitpick on this one pt doesn't address the mass of the rest of
it which is much more to the point of the thread. This point was just the
"excuse"

-- dave

On Sun, Dec 13, 2009 at 1:42 PM, mark schraad <mschraad at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dave, I fundamentally disagree with what I read as the underlying premiss
> of this statement.
>
> On Dec 13, 2009, at 9:45 AM, dave malouf wrote:
>
> Just look who is writing our books today (and no
>> offense to any of them, as I have deep respect): Both Kolko and
>> Saffer who I feel have made the best attempts to bring a solid
>> literature to IxD are less than 20yr. veterans at that. The work of
>> Buxton and Moggridge in the last period are good contributions, but
>> are purposeful in their sphere.
>>
>
> Where design and more specifically, interaction design, is failing right
> now is not in the actual design work, but in it's acceptance by those in
> place to actualize it. To that end, Moggridge and Buxton are addressing the
> real pain points of our profession. There are better designers, with higher
> profile, in the important areas of work than ever before. At both the
> tactical and strategic level we are not lacking for talent. Yet our work is
> often failing to reach both the end results and those waiting to use them.
>
> We fail at getting the attention of those pushing the ideas to the largest
> segments of the market. We fail at garnering the respect and credibility of
> those making the critical design decisions. We fail at selling ourselves and
> our work. We need to listen to Bill Buxton when he tells us that we should
> be spending a third of our time designing and a two thirds of our time
> laying the ground work to sell our ideas at the business decision level.
>
> Roger Martin's recent (Designing Business) book is a continuation of his
> efforts to expose the incompatibilities of design and business cultures, of
> reliable vs valid, of innovating vs remaining safe. His insights are
> important, yet few designers have bothered to embrace them. Similar to
> Buxton's points, Tichy and Bennis (Judgement: How winning... ) speak to the
> critical point of 'x or y choices' as being a small portion of the work.
> They posit that laying the foundation for that choice, as well as the post
> decision actions are critical and possibly more important to success.
>
> I realize that most of us don't enter design school with the hopes of
> executive encounters and the metric driven VP. But those are our hurdles,
> and if we want out work to make a difference we must accept those barriers
> as valid design constraints. We have to move outside of our comfy studio and
> do the more difficult work as well.
>
> My larger point here is that as a profession we need to move beyond
> teaching and honing tactical and studio skills. At this juncture these are
> mere table stakes. Tactical 'how too' books, prescriptive recipes, and case
> studies are fine, but are very limited in furthering of our profession. This
> is a critical message that design educators, in particular, must hear and
> act upon. All the creation and problem solving skills are worth very little
> if we can not move that work into a place of utility.
>
> Mark
>

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

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