About using Architecture as a model

29 Jan 2004 - 1:25am
10 years ago
4 replies
430 reads
Greg Petroff
2004

I read this list religously. Love the discussion even
if I almost never post.

The practice of Architecture seems to be popular model
to try and use to distinguish the emerging disciplines
in interaction design/ia/ucd etc.

There are some things to note when using architectural
practice as a model.

First it is mush more complex then most people
characterize. Most architects can produce structural
calcualtions at some level. Do they? Not often but
they know it well eneough to be able to lead the
Architectural Engineer.

Many Architects are multidiciplinary, They design the
"building program" , organize the spatial
relationships, create an aesthetic design, lighting,
interior design, determine the means of construction
and sometimes building it as well. It takes along
time to become an architect (school and
practice)because there are so many diferent aspects to
master and understand.

Some Architects specialize in an aspect of the overall
field. Some are cost leaders, some are
customer/service driven, some are driven by aethetic
discovery and theoretical interests.

In large firms there are people who are good at
design, others good in detailing building systems and
construction technologies, yet others good at
producing construction documents. They are all
architects,they just have different strengths, skills
and interests.

What I am getting at is in the quest to find
distinction between the various fields we loose sight
of the fact that are some who practice all in their
work to some level and others who do only one aspect
of the effort.

Where Architectural Practice benefits is there is a
shared "description of the process" that is known by
all even if it is practiced very differently by
individuals.

I would love to talk more about process then titles.
The public has a good notion of what architects do.
But they do not understand the process or sub
specialities. The proffesional org for Architecture
(AIA) spends alot of time describing the basic
methodology of professional practice to help
architects explain the value of their services to
clients and to help clients understand what it means
to do it well for different types of projects.

We would benefit from describing the
activities(process) that make for good work and
describe how some practioners are generalists who
provide services across the board and how others
specialize into the sub disciplines.

Greg Petroff, AIA ,(yes I am an architect and no I do
not practice any more) user interface design
generalist, interaction design newbee and my favorite
"Creative Technologist".

=====
Gregory Petroff

gpetroff at vizrt.com
+1 212 560 0708 tel
+1 212 560 0709 fax
+1 646 387 2841 mobile

Comments

29 Jan 2004 - 2:08am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jan 28, 2004, at 10:25 PM, Gregory Petroff wrote:

> We would benefit from describing the
> activities(process) that make for good work and
> describe how some practioners are generalists who
> provide services across the board and how others
> specialize into the sub disciplines.

Indeed we would. Its been something that is a long time in coming in
this field.

Andrei Herasimchuk
andrei at adobe.com

work: http://www.adobe.com
personal: http://www.designbyfire.com

29 Jan 2004 - 4:51am
Alexey Kopylov
2004

On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 22:25:00 -0800 (PST)
Gregory Petroff <g_petroff at yahoo.com> wrote:

There is a stable position in the computer game industry --
Game Designer. Persons with Game Designers title lead the
project like arhitects and are specialized in all aspects
(include UI design) of game development like the ones.
>From this point of view the game industry went far from
software development mainstream.

----
Alexey Kopylov
UIDesign Group
http://uidesign.ru

> Some Architects specialize in an aspect of the overall
> field. Some are cost leaders, some are
> customer/service driven, some are driven by aethetic
> discovery and theoretical interests.
> =====
> Gregory Petroff
>
> gpetroff at vizrt.com
> +1 212 560 0708 tel
> +1 212 560 0709 fax
> +1 646 387 2841 mobile

29 Jan 2004 - 10:30am
Coryndon Luxmoore
2004

Andrei, I feel your pain. I have long argued that for an
interface/experience/interaction to be successful we need to embrace both
the functional and the aesthetic to achieve a successful outcome. I have
used over the years product design as the model to make this case (this
betrays my ID background of course!)

I see this as a little more successful for a couple of reasons.

1) Software is generally understood and sold as a product. Even software at
the enterprise level like SAP is sold as a discreet product though one could
argue that it is closer to buying a building

2) Software interfaces currently are experienced through a physical product
and frequently have to integrate with the physical product (i.e. computer,
handheld, ipod)

3) As interfaces become more pervasive throughout all aspects of physical
product our practice will need integrate with those who design (and maybe
dare I say even include executing) physical product.

4) The discipline has a design process which can scale effectively from one
person in a studio working on tabletop products to a large corporation which
designs complex mechanical products

5) The product design discipline must work with all the same stakeholders as
a interface/interaction designer does. Marketing, users, engineering, sales

6) Product design has a process and tradition that works that we can use as
a reference point in developing and enhancing our own software design
process

Those who argue that it is impossible to master both the aesthetic and the
functional are copping out. It is possible, there are many wonderful product
designers who prove it every day. Success at this requires that the designer
focus on doing both. In a field like product design, where there is such a
diverse skill set for a diverse set of industry applications, a successful
professional must specialize based on the needs of that industry. By doing
this you will be able to tailor your skills to match the needs of a
successful product design in your industry. This results in product
designers that border on engineers, those who "just" make things look good,
but the vast majority fall somewhere between the two.

It has been my experience that software development processes and
corporations have a tendency to see function and aesthetics as separate.
This is so pronounced in some cases that I have been told that I am not
allowed to work an aspects of a solution because I am an "IA" not a graphic
designer or I am a interface (read graphic) designer and not a software
engineer. This has created a large number of professionals out there who are
more specialized on function or aesthetics than would be ideal for a truly
successful interface/interaction designer.

This seems to me to leave us in a bit of a conundrum. Do we try and define
our jobs and profession based on what we as individuals do today? Or, do we
define what is required for a successful interface and grow our own skill to
meet the challenge?

I believe that we have to take on the challenge as a profession to fight
this current tendency to divide function and aesthetics and rise to the meet
the challenge of tackling all aspects of a successful interface. This
requires all of us to work hard to grow our skills, grow the understanding
of design in the industry, and agreeing on key aspects of successful design.
By doing this we will all know what we need to learn and do to rise to this
challenge.

--Coryndon

-----Original Message-----
From:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.
com] On Behalf Of Andrei Herasimchuk
Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2004 2:09 AM
To: Interaction Discussion
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] About using Architecture as a model

On Jan 28, 2004, at 10:25 PM, Gregory Petroff wrote:

> We would benefit from describing the
> activities(process) that make for good work and describe how some
> practioners are generalists who provide services across the board and
> how others specialize into the sub disciplines.

Indeed we would. Its been something that is a long time in coming in this
field.

Andrei Herasimchuk
andrei at adobe.com

work: http://www.adobe.com
personal: http://www.designbyfire.com

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29 Jan 2004 - 11:52am
ralph lord
2004

My business partner and I use an architect analogy, not as a direct 1:1
matching comparison in all aspects of software and construction, but as
a broad high-level way to get people to think about the need to have
someone who works between the users (buyers) and the developers
(builders) and is responsible for the behavior of the product. Our
focus has been on teams where there is NO, that is NONE, NADA, ZILCH
history of any interaction design and no team roles responsible for user
experience, interaction design or even the UI (other than the
developers). The broad analogy communicates the intended point that
someone needs to be focusing on the qualitative aspects of the system
rather than having an almost exclusive focus on the quantitative
aspects.

Ralph Lord

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