Cultural change is the first job of most design managers ...

18 Mar 2005 - 6:39am
860 reads
Dave Malouf

I received the below message. I bet Jakob Nielsen gets a gazillion of such
e-mails every day. Anyway, the gist of it is ... "How dare you claim to lead
us if your site looks like such crap?" Like I said, I bet Jakob gets a
gazillion of these every day.

So after my message is my response tot his person. The gist of that is to
say ... 1) I'm not the web site designer; 2) if you did see what I do, you
would have many similar critiques, but as a new design manager at an
organization with design, technology, and cultural legacies, my first call
to order is for cultural change so that I CAN do the design work that you
would expect from someone like me. This work is slow and very very painful.
But for many "innies" of companies that just don't "get design" but
desparately know they need it so they hire you, this is the first part of
the job. It will never be on any job description, but it is always there.
Since I'm quoting this person, in all fairness I will quote my original
response as well under his. But I thought this might start an interesting
thread about cultral change as a big part of our job.

Oh! And how many of us software designers, look at our web sites (marketing
side) and just wince? When I was at Documentum I would try to work with the
web team there, but: 1) they were in a different building; 2) I was usually
too busy to give it any real attention; 3) While they liked advice, they
didn't like too much of it.

-- dave

-----Original Message-----
Hi Dave,

I happened to visit Intralinks website through your site Synapticburn.
The news & Events column really confused me a lot due to following

- The news items randomly arrange themselves with each page refresh.
[no order by date]
- The news items go to either an outside link or to a PDF doc.
[THere is no indications for the same]

Through IxD, I look at you as an experienced person from whom I can
learn. But these observation make me rethink about my beliefs about
usability aspects. As per what I've read across, should'nt there be
some sort of indication of PDF doc format or link going to external
site. [This is not about critisizing your/anyones work. Just a call
to know the reason behind this design. Is there a purpose/trend that
I'm not aware of..!]

----- end forward -----

----------start my reply ---------------

You assume that I have anything to do with or any control over our marketing
face at IntraLinks. That is not what I do. I do our application.

Now that being said ... If you were able to look at our application, you
would be just as confused. Why is that? Well, I came here under 2 years ago
and have inherited an application and a business culture that is just, well,
yucky. I am in the process of doing the first work of a designer--cultural
change and this takes a very long time to do.

As for the web site, there is a great designer here who has this on her
mark. Of course like me she has the mission of cultural change first and
then design second. (or should I say, artifact design second).

----------end reply---------------

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