Do most interaction designers also deliver graphicaldesign

11 May 2005 - 3:22am
9 years ago
4 replies
266 reads
Peter Boersma
2003

Mal asked:
> Back onto topic, when you guys deliver your part of the interaction, do
> you typically also get invovled with the design aspects? I am assume
> that a large part of your backgrounds would be in design.

Just to balance the other messages:

No I do not normally engage in the visual design aspects. That's what visual
designers are for (most of them are much beter at it than I am).

The projects that I've been working on in recent years have either had a
well-established styleguide that included interaction and visual design
standards that I could work with (meaning I could include some known visual
elements on the wireframes) or required a new visual style to be developed,
by a visual designer (meaning my wireframes were black & white until visual
esigne elements were signed off).

Peter
--
Peter Boersma - Senior Information Architect - EzGov
Rijnsburgstraat 11 - 1059AT Amsterdam - The Netherlands
t: +31(0)20 7133881 - f: +31(0)20 7133799 - m: +31(0)6 15072747
mailto:peter.boersma at ezgov.com - http://www.ezgov.com

Comments

12 May 2005 - 6:33am
Dave Malouf
2005

I'd like to frame this discussion in a different way (maybe).

Regarding Wendy's list of "designer" quotes:
I would call that list of quotes as much a reaction to engineering's control
over a solution, and the lack of proper designer education among Usability
Professionals than egotism and protectionism. Most usability engineers and
even most of the Interaction Designers who I have interviewed over the last
period at best have formal training in HCI which is never part of the design
schools at universities, but rather a combined program of psych and comp
sci. To me at least here in the US, if this is our primary educational
system for developing IxDers we are in big trouble. I know there is an IxD
program @ CMU, but that is the exception that proves the rule. Even most of
the design schools out there don't have IxD programs, or the product design
programs don't really have enough on the digital side of the solutions they
design for.

Industrial Design programs usually have a requirement in materials science
because as Jim said we need to be designing the complete solution. My
industrial design profressor told us stories about working with the
manufacturing engineers, and said that his best solutions came when he
understood the science of what he was doing. Many designers didn't take that
time and had a harder time communicating. My point here is that a single
wholistic (hate the term generalist) designer will probably be better about
communicating their ideas with more detail.

BTW, in Europe there are at leave 5 IxD programs that I can think of and
they are all a part of design schools. When it comes to IxD I agree w/ Jim
that Europe probably has a leg up on us.

I find that the problem w/ the emergence of IxD is that it emerged in
terminology from engineering and not design. It carries that stigma with it.

BTW, I think Jim's comment about disruptive solutions coming from a single
source is so true. All too often NOT from designers. I often wonder if IxD
is really an innovative discipline, or a discipline focused on making
innovative ideas better: iPod comes screaming to mind, so does Palm.

-- dave

12 May 2005 - 9:49am
Wendy Fischer
2004

I would describe those quotes as more in context of an organizational struggle between 4 groups of design with different philosophical approaches to interaction/graphic design with the primary question being "which design group had ownership of the product design decision making process?"

I would say that educational programs for HCI tend to be skewered towards software development process. Upon entering the job market, I had a firm foundation in software engineering lifecycle and UCD process. However, I've been in several organizations now, and I've picked up on a product design process along the way. There is a part of me that's wavering gong back to school and either picking up an MBA or further education in graphic design/industrial design; I haven't decided what will serve me more.

Maybe it's also just a fundamental difference in approach of design process as approached in design firms versus software development companies. Most development companies tend to be either very engineering or product management oriented, very few are focused on design as the company focus.

12 May 2005 - 2:31pm
Billie Mandel
2005

Hi all -

Dave said:
> My point here is that a single wholistic (hate the term generalist) designer will
> probably be better about communicating their ideas with more detail.

I agree with Dave and with Luke about the value of
"wholistic/generalist" thinking in our field. There's an important
distinction, though, between "wholistic/generalist" *thinking* and a
generalist *production process*. It's immensely valuable for me as an
IxD to know how to code SQL and PHP, to produce graphics in Photoshop
and Illustrator, and to write formal business requirements. That does
not mean that it's any good for the product for me to be doing all
these things.

Some engineers are having a similar dialogue within their own
discipline. I discussed this recently with a group of engineers after
a presentation on Agile Software Development. The presenter had
argued that the best development team was one of generalists - that
everyone should be able to code, do software architecture, IxD -
nearly everything except visual design, which they defined narrowly.

Both my lead engineer and I agreed that it helps us that he knows
something about design and that I know something about code, but that
our product is better because he does his job and I do mine. I would
say the same for the visual designer.

- Billie

PS - I love your renaissance analogy, Luke. This is the holy grail of
professions for me, since I get to do technology work that also
involves my art and social science background. Who knew that I would
ever use a political psychology degree outside academia??

23 May 2005 - 3:55pm
Thomas Vander Wal
2004

I hire visual designers to focus on this element. They have the
expertise and it is a very important layer in the whole success of
design process. There are many UX designers with the chops to perform
as a visual designer, so it depends on the size of the project and the
skill sets.

All the best,
Thomas

On 5/11/05, Peter Boersma <peter.boersma at ezgov.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> Mal asked:
> > Back onto topic, when you guys deliver your part of the interaction, do
> > you typically also get invovled with the design aspects? I am assume
> > that a large part of your backgrounds would be in design.
>
> Just to balance the other messages:
>
> No I do not normally engage in the visual design aspects. That's what visual
> designers are for (most of them are much beter at it than I am).
>
> The projects that I've been working on in recent years have either had a
> well-established styleguide that included interaction and visual design
> standards that I could work with (meaning I could include some known visual
> elements on the wireframes) or required a new visual style to be developed,
> by a visual designer (meaning my wireframes were black & white until visual
> esigne elements were signed off).
>
> Peter
> --
> Peter Boersma - Senior Information Architect - EzGov
> Rijnsburgstraat 11 - 1059AT Amsterdam - The Netherlands
> t: +31(0)20 7133881 - f: +31(0)20 7133799 - m: +31(0)6 15072747
> mailto:peter.boersma at ezgov.com - http://www.ezgov.com
>
>
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