I like to think that most people are like me - with the exception of decades
of study we'll never be experts in all the relevant fields. But with a bit
of guided instruction, we can become knowledgable in all or most relevant
areas, and we can become superior in 1 or 2. There are many important
disciplines (and related fields) for IxD such as..
1) graphic design theory (art)
2) studying users and use (ethnography, psychology)
3) understanding users, use, and cognition (psychology)
4) information design (information science)
5) interface design
6) technology interchange - both technology-technology and human-technology
7) computer science, automobiles, airplanes, and/or whatever specific domain
you're working in
And i'm certain 20 others that I've omitted. It seems that the development
of a working list of expectations for IxD would be a start for defining our
field. It also seems that lacking a starting point for common understanding,
even if it is fallible, leaves us twisting. We not only need this
information in distinct disciplines but also the knowledge to integrate the
How do we develop a forum for learning about these fields? How do the
experts help the novices? How do we integrate the interdisciplinary
knowledge? How do we prove we actually know what we're talking about?
I think one good start would be to list relevant educational materials -
books, courses, etc. - although this is done ad nauseum throughout the www.
We could also attempt to categorize knowledge for IxD purposes - e.g.
necessary overview, proficiency, and Wow! I'm a smarty!
I've been impressed with the work done on the NCI Web Usability Guidelines
(although practicing and preaching are a bit distant at the moment) -
getting a group of people together to analyze theories and research to
develop "guidelines" subjected to the better judgment of those using them.
What would a first stab at such guidelines look like for IxD? Would
guidelines even be useful?
I'm asking because I need help in areas, and as many posts have indicated,
so do others. Any thoughts on how we should put our collective thoughts
towards furthering IxD education, especially for those of us where returning
to school is not an option in the near or far future?