How to Get Into Interaction Design?

16 Jan 2004 - 12:03am
10 years ago
4 replies
1091 reads
Bronwyn Boltwood
2004

Hello everybody,

In order to pay the rent, I've been doing first-level tech support for the past
2.5 years, and I'm sick of it. In my current job, I am chronically frustrated
by systemic problems that I am unable to fix but am forced to clean up the
messes from.

Naturally interaction design has captured my interest. I may have an aptitude
for it: I wrote a critique of and new interaction and site design for a rather
horrible account ordering site used by the company I support, back in 2002,
before I even knew that interaction design existed. (You can see it at
http://web.ncf.ca/ae771/gordon-fix.html if you like.) It was one of the most
enjoyable and fruitful projects I've ever put my hand to, despite the company
completely ignoring it. That's why I'm looking for more information about
getting employed in the field. You're the best people I could think of to ask
how to do this. The career counselling firm I'm working with, while good,
doesn't know that much about this area since it is quite new.

So, how do you get into interaction design and/or similar user experience
disciplines?
- What skills and characteristics are critical to competence and success in
this field?
- Is a particular (type of) degree de rigeur? (Mine is a Bachelor of
Humanities degree, which is Carleton University's high-class liberal arts
program here in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.)
- What background is required? What is helpful? How many years of experience
are necessary to be hired at a junior level?
- What is a normal day or week like for you, as an interaction designer? What
do you love about your work? What do you hate?
- How did you get into the field? Is that still a good way to do it? Are
there any methods you would recommend? Is there anyone in the Ottawa area whom
I should talk to about this?
- Does being highly intelligent, passionate about good design, and willing to
educate myself informally make any difference to my chances of getting into the
field? I can't afford another degree without going further into debt.
- What books, sites, or other resources should I be reading/using to learn more
about interaction design, aside from this list? Where can I learn about the
fundamental methods and concepts, to become a better designer and make myself
more employable?
- Can you suggest any other careers that center around writing, design
(preferably of systems or processes), and problem-solving that might suit me?

Thank you all for any help you might send my way!
Bronwyn Boltwood
http://www.livejournal.com/users/arndis/

Comments

16 Jan 2004 - 1:32pm
Robert Reimann
2003

This article I wrote some time back might answer
some of your questions:

http://www.cooper.com/newsletters/2001_06/so_you_want_to_be_an_interaction_d
esigner.htm

Also, here's a rather lengthy list of skills that I've found
to be of use in interaction design. Note that it's pretty
unlikely to find all these skills in a single person.

Core Skills
Research techniques (online and paper-based)
Ethnography and discovery (studying user goals, motivations,
work patterns)
User modeling (persona and scenario creation;
role-playing)
Product design (product-level interaction principles
and concepts)
Interaction design (function-level interaction principles
and concepts)
Interface design (GUI component-level interaction
principles and concepts)
Information architecture/design (content structure/presentation
principles and concepts)

Business Skills
Project management
Time management
Stakeholder/client management
Basic business writing (letters, email, meeting notes, summaries)

Communications Skills
Rhetoric/persuasive writing
Expository writing and composition
Technical writing
Public speaking/presenting

Interpersonal Skills
Mediation & facilitation
Active listening
Interviewing/observation
Team-building/collaboration

Usability Skills
Knowledge of user testing methods and principles
Knowledge of cognitive psychology principles

Media Skills
Handling bit-depth, pixel density, and resolution issues
Managing color palettes
Icon (pixel-level) design
GUI/screen layout and composition
Page layout and composition
Animation
Sound design
Prototyping (Paper, Visual Basic, HTML, Director, Flash, etc.)
Knowledge of file formats and tradeoffs

Technical Skills
Understanding of basic computer/programming principles, tools,
technologies
GUI development principles, tools, technologies
Database principles, tools, technologies
Understanding of software/hw development processes (specs, coding,
testing, etc.)
Knowledge of existing/new technologies and constraints

Tools Skills
PowerPoint
Visio
PhotoShop/Fireworks
Illustrator/Freehand
Director/Flash
MS Word/Framemaker
Adobe Acrobat

Personal Skills
Empathy
Passion
Humor
Skepticism
Analytical thinking
Ability to synthesize information (identify salient points)
Ability to visualize solutions (before they are built)

Good luck with your IxD quest!

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bronwyn Boltwood [mailto:arndis at magma.ca]
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2004 12:03 AM
To: InterDesign List
Subject: [ID Discuss] How to Get Into Interaction Design?

Hello everybody,

In order to pay the rent, I've been doing first-level tech support for the
past
2.5 years, and I'm sick of it. In my current job, I am chronically
frustrated
by systemic problems that I am unable to fix but am forced to clean up the
messes from.

Naturally interaction design has captured my interest. I may have an
aptitude
for it: I wrote a critique of and new interaction and site design for a
rather
horrible account ordering site used by the company I support, back in 2002,
before I even knew that interaction design existed. (You can see it at
http://web.ncf.ca/ae771/gordon-fix.html if you like.) It was one of the
most
enjoyable and fruitful projects I've ever put my hand to, despite the
company
completely ignoring it. That's why I'm looking for more information about
getting employed in the field. You're the best people I could think of to
ask
how to do this. The career counselling firm I'm working with, while good,
doesn't know that much about this area since it is quite new.

So, how do you get into interaction design and/or similar user experience
disciplines?
- What skills and characteristics are critical to competence and
success in
this field?
- Is a particular (type of) degree de rigeur? (Mine is a Bachelor
of
Humanities degree, which is Carleton University's high-class liberal arts
program here in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.)
- What background is required? What is helpful? How many years of
experience
are necessary to be hired at a junior level?
- What is a normal day or week like for you, as an interaction
designer? What
do you love about your work? What do you hate?
- How did you get into the field? Is that still a good way to do
it? Are
there any methods you would recommend? Is there anyone in the Ottawa area
whom
I should talk to about this?
- Does being highly intelligent, passionate about good design, and
willing to
educate myself informally make any difference to my chances of getting into
the
field? I can't afford another degree without going further into debt.
- What books, sites, or other resources should I be reading/using to
learn more
about interaction design, aside from this list? Where can I learn about the

fundamental methods and concepts, to become a better designer and make
myself
more employable?
- Can you suggest any other careers that center around writing,
design
(preferably of systems or processes), and problem-solving that might suit
me?

Thank you all for any help you might send my way!
Bronwyn Boltwood
http://www.livejournal.com/users/arndis/

16 Jan 2004 - 12:44pm
Adrian Liem
2004

It would be great if anyone responding to these questions about how to get
into Interaction Design could reply-all (or if it's not too much to ask, cc
me to your reply. I hope you don't mind, Bronwyn, those were really good
questions!). I'm learning more about this field everyday and want to learn
more and more. I imagine there are others on this list who are in the same
position. Thanks!

Adrian

19 Jan 2004 - 5:10am
Narey, Kevin
2004

Robert, this is excellent. It made me wince a little at what more I should
learn to become more of a well rounded Interaction Designer.....

Although this list is extensive, I would add one further aspect to it:

Having a broad understanding of the legal implications that your work could
potentially face, really does make peoples ears prick up and helps them
provide a good business case for employing your skills. In the UK the
Disability and Discrimination Act Part III supports the use of products and
services by all. It is anticipated that this law will be heavily used by the
visually impaired this year where public websites are concerned.

Kind regards

KN

-----Original Message-----
From: Reimann, Robert [mailto:Robert_Reimann at bose.com]
Sent: 16 January 2004 18:32
To: InterDesign List
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] How to Get Into Interaction Design?

This article I wrote some time back might answer
some of your questions:

http://www.cooper.com/newsletters/2001_06/so_you_want_to_be_an_interaction_d
esigner.htm

Also, here's a rather lengthy list of skills that I've found
to be of use in interaction design. Note that it's pretty
unlikely to find all these skills in a single person.

Core Skills
Research techniques (online and paper-based)
Ethnography and discovery (studying user goals, motivations,
work patterns)
User modeling (persona and scenario creation;
role-playing)
Product design (product-level interaction principles
and concepts)
Interaction design (function-level interaction principles
and concepts)
Interface design (GUI component-level interaction
principles and concepts)
Information architecture/design (content structure/presentation
principles and concepts)

Business Skills
Project management
Time management
Stakeholder/client management
Basic business writing (letters, email, meeting notes, summaries)

Communications Skills
Rhetoric/persuasive writing
Expository writing and composition
Technical writing
Public speaking/presenting

Interpersonal Skills
Mediation & facilitation
Active listening
Interviewing/observation
Team-building/collaboration

Usability Skills
Knowledge of user testing methods and principles
Knowledge of cognitive psychology principles

Media Skills
Handling bit-depth, pixel density, and resolution issues
Managing color palettes
Icon (pixel-level) design
GUI/screen layout and composition
Page layout and composition
Animation
Sound design
Prototyping (Paper, Visual Basic, HTML, Director, Flash, etc.)
Knowledge of file formats and tradeoffs

Technical Skills
Understanding of basic computer/programming principles, tools,
technologies
GUI development principles, tools, technologies
Database principles, tools, technologies
Understanding of software/hw development processes (specs, coding,
testing, etc.)
Knowledge of existing/new technologies and constraints

Tools Skills
PowerPoint
Visio
PhotoShop/Fireworks
Illustrator/Freehand
Director/Flash
MS Word/Framemaker
Adobe Acrobat

Personal Skills
Empathy
Passion
Humor
Skepticism
Analytical thinking
Ability to synthesize information (identify salient points)
Ability to visualize solutions (before they are built)

Good luck with your IxD quest!

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bronwyn Boltwood [mailto:arndis at magma.ca]
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2004 12:03 AM
To: InterDesign List
Subject: [ID Discuss] How to Get Into Interaction Design?

Hello everybody,

In order to pay the rent, I've been doing first-level tech support for the
past
2.5 years, and I'm sick of it. In my current job, I am chronically
frustrated
by systemic problems that I am unable to fix but am forced to clean up the
messes from.

Naturally interaction design has captured my interest. I may have an
aptitude
for it: I wrote a critique of and new interaction and site design for a
rather
horrible account ordering site used by the company I support, back in 2002,
before I even knew that interaction design existed. (You can see it at
http://web.ncf.ca/ae771/gordon-fix.html if you like.) It was one of the
most
enjoyable and fruitful projects I've ever put my hand to, despite the
company
completely ignoring it. That's why I'm looking for more information about
getting employed in the field. You're the best people I could think of to
ask
how to do this. The career counselling firm I'm working with, while good,
doesn't know that much about this area since it is quite new.

So, how do you get into interaction design and/or similar user experience
disciplines?
- What skills and characteristics are critical to competence and
success in
this field?
- Is a particular (type of) degree de rigeur? (Mine is a Bachelor
of
Humanities degree, which is Carleton University's high-class liberal arts
program here in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.)
- What background is required? What is helpful? How many years of
experience
are necessary to be hired at a junior level?
- What is a normal day or week like for you, as an interaction
designer? What
do you love about your work? What do you hate?
- How did you get into the field? Is that still a good way to do
it? Are
there any methods you would recommend? Is there anyone in the Ottawa area
whom
I should talk to about this?
- Does being highly intelligent, passionate about good design, and
willing to
educate myself informally make any difference to my chances of getting into
the
field? I can't afford another degree without going further into debt.
- What books, sites, or other resources should I be reading/using to
learn more
about interaction design, aside from this list? Where can I learn about the

fundamental methods and concepts, to become a better designer and make
myself
more employable?
- Can you suggest any other careers that center around writing,
design
(preferably of systems or processes), and problem-solving that might suit
me?

Thank you all for any help you might send my way!
Bronwyn Boltwood
http://www.livejournal.com/users/arndis/

_______________________________________________
Interaction Design Discussion List
discuss at interactiondesigners.com
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http://discuss.interactiondesigners.com
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Questions: lists at interactiondesigners.com
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This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential
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19 Jan 2004 - 9:42am
Robert Reimann
2003

Kevin,

Great point, I'm adding it to my list. Related to
that, understanding a bit about intellectual property
law probably couldn't hurt either.

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From: Narey, Kevin [mailto:Kevin.Narey at gedas.co.uk]
Sent: Monday, January 19, 2004 5:10 AM
To: Reimann, Robert; InterDesign List
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] How to Get Into Interaction Design?

Robert, this is excellent. It made me wince a little at what more I should
learn to become more of a well rounded Interaction Designer.....

Although this list is extensive, I would add one further aspect to it:

Having a broad understanding of the legal implications that your work could
potentially face, really does make peoples ears prick up and helps them
provide a good business case for employing your skills. In the UK the
Disability and Discrimination Act Part III supports the use of products and
services by all. It is anticipated that this law will be heavily used by the
visually impaired this year where public websites are concerned.

Kind regards

KN

-----Original Message-----
From: Reimann, Robert [mailto:Robert_Reimann at bose.com]
Sent: 16 January 2004 18:32
To: InterDesign List
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] How to Get Into Interaction Design?

This article I wrote some time back might answer
some of your questions:

http://www.cooper.com/newsletters/2001_06/so_you_want_to_be_an_interaction_d
esigner.htm

Also, here's a rather lengthy list of skills that I've found
to be of use in interaction design. Note that it's pretty
unlikely to find all these skills in a single person.

Core Skills
Research techniques (online and paper-based)
Ethnography and discovery (studying user goals, motivations,
work patterns)
User modeling (persona and scenario creation;
role-playing)
Product design (product-level interaction principles
and concepts)
Interaction design (function-level interaction principles
and concepts)
Interface design (GUI component-level interaction
principles and concepts)
Information architecture/design (content structure/presentation
principles and concepts)

Business Skills
Project management
Time management
Stakeholder/client management
Basic business writing (letters, email, meeting notes, summaries)

Communications Skills
Rhetoric/persuasive writing
Expository writing and composition
Technical writing
Public speaking/presenting

Interpersonal Skills
Mediation & facilitation
Active listening
Interviewing/observation
Team-building/collaboration

Usability Skills
Knowledge of user testing methods and principles
Knowledge of cognitive psychology principles

Media Skills
Handling bit-depth, pixel density, and resolution issues
Managing color palettes
Icon (pixel-level) design
GUI/screen layout and composition
Page layout and composition
Animation
Sound design
Prototyping (Paper, Visual Basic, HTML, Director, Flash, etc.)
Knowledge of file formats and tradeoffs

Technical Skills
Understanding of basic computer/programming principles, tools,
technologies
GUI development principles, tools, technologies
Database principles, tools, technologies
Understanding of software/hw development processes (specs, coding,
testing, etc.)
Knowledge of existing/new technologies and constraints

Tools Skills
PowerPoint
Visio
PhotoShop/Fireworks
Illustrator/Freehand
Director/Flash
MS Word/Framemaker
Adobe Acrobat

Personal Skills
Empathy
Passion
Humor
Skepticism
Analytical thinking
Ability to synthesize information (identify salient points)
Ability to visualize solutions (before they are built)

Good luck with your IxD quest!

Robert.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bronwyn Boltwood [mailto:arndis at magma.ca]
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2004 12:03 AM
To: InterDesign List
Subject: [ID Discuss] How to Get Into Interaction Design?

Hello everybody,

In order to pay the rent, I've been doing first-level tech support for the
past
2.5 years, and I'm sick of it. In my current job, I am chronically
frustrated
by systemic problems that I am unable to fix but am forced to clean up the
messes from.

Naturally interaction design has captured my interest. I may have an
aptitude
for it: I wrote a critique of and new interaction and site design for a
rather
horrible account ordering site used by the company I support, back in 2002,
before I even knew that interaction design existed. (You can see it at
http://web.ncf.ca/ae771/gordon-fix.html if you like.) It was one of the
most
enjoyable and fruitful projects I've ever put my hand to, despite the
company
completely ignoring it. That's why I'm looking for more information about
getting employed in the field. You're the best people I could think of to
ask
how to do this. The career counselling firm I'm working with, while good,
doesn't know that much about this area since it is quite new.

So, how do you get into interaction design and/or similar user experience
disciplines?
- What skills and characteristics are critical to competence and
success in
this field?
- Is a particular (type of) degree de rigeur? (Mine is a Bachelor
of
Humanities degree, which is Carleton University's high-class liberal arts
program here in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.)
- What background is required? What is helpful? How many years of
experience
are necessary to be hired at a junior level?
- What is a normal day or week like for you, as an interaction
designer? What
do you love about your work? What do you hate?
- How did you get into the field? Is that still a good way to do
it? Are
there any methods you would recommend? Is there anyone in the Ottawa area
whom
I should talk to about this?
- Does being highly intelligent, passionate about good design, and
willing to
educate myself informally make any difference to my chances of getting into
the
field? I can't afford another degree without going further into debt.
- What books, sites, or other resources should I be reading/using to
learn more
about interaction design, aside from this list? Where can I learn about the

fundamental methods and concepts, to become a better designer and make
myself
more employable?
- Can you suggest any other careers that center around writing,
design
(preferably of systems or processes), and problem-solving that might suit
me?

Thank you all for any help you might send my way!
Bronwyn Boltwood
http://www.livejournal.com/users/arndis/

_______________________________________________
Interaction Design Discussion List discuss at interactiondesigners.com
--
to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest):
http://discuss.interactiondesigners.com
--
Questions: lists at interactiondesigners.com
--
Announcement Online List (discussion list members get announcements already)
http://interactiondesigners.com/announceList/
--
http://interactiondesigners.com/

**********************************************************************
gedas united kingdom limited
Registered in England no. 1371338

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential
and it may be privileged.

It is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is
addressed.

If you have received this in error, please contact the sender and delete the
material immediately.
**********************************************************************

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