Core77 article - The Strategic arc of interaction design

4 Aug 2010 - 1:03am
4 years ago
5 replies
2025 reads
Steve Baty
2009

An article of mine was published by core77 yesterday and I'm interested in hearing your reactions. Does the article resonate with you? What did I miss? Get wrong/right?

Designers of interactions have the opportunity to move their purview beyond the shallow plane of interaction into the design of systems, organisational capability and culture; to tackle very complex problems and affect profound and lasting change.

The article is available here: http://bit.ly/dxG5J9

Let me know what you think.

Steve

Comments

4 Aug 2010 - 4:44am
fj
2010

Serendipituous enough, the UX Twittersphere yesterday passed around an article, "Losing Faith in UX" at http://www.goinvo.com/losing-faith-in-ux/ , that, in between a personality fight, basically had as its key point that UX is not Strategy Thinking, that other people inside the organization already see Strategy Thinking as their area, and that UXers should... I am not sure what we should do, but it sounded like "Go back into your wireframing box". Certainly not assume that we are The Chosen to do this larger or strategic thinking.

So the basic synthesized lesson here is: yes we do have the opportunity to think bigger than just the screen when looking at a service offering, and we should take it if we are truly System Thinkers, but like all our UX work, we need to find all stakeholders first, and approach from a sense of humility, learning, and creating satisfaction.

4 Aug 2010 - 9:07am
Dave Malouf
2005

@fj I'm not sure I see the connection btw the two articles.
I think your reading of @docbaty's piece is a bit off. It is not just a piece talking about UXers are about strategy, but explaining the deep connectins and collaborations that need to take place to be strategic and tactical. There are too many who are doing Service Design or Interaction Design of Services in this role already. And "humility" as you put it is exactly the philosophical tenet at the core of designign for services that is taking place.

-- dave

4 Aug 2010 - 12:03pm
.pauric
2006

I'm reminded of an interview with Kevin Kelly where he talks, albeit somewhat tangentially to Steve's point, about the exponential growth in ways we interact with each other as individuals and groups as well as with the technological systems themselves.  He did take the focus of the conversation out a level to something I didn't pick up on from Steve's article and thats the idea of 'defaults'.. the sum of the settings (to us interaction designers) that affect people's behavior and which can in turn change the structure of the system.  E.g. Facebook's m.o. of overstepping accepted privacy norms and then pulling back slightly has changed what many of us are comfortable with sharing online.

Back to Steve's article, in collaboration with the other designed planes of a system we can steer the user's mental model and in turn guide them to a different model - for better or worse.

Start watching 3 minutes in
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIe124iPTrU

regards /pauric

5 Aug 2010 - 8:09am
mschraad
2010

Inherent to both articles is the notion that ux, interaction, designers... (specific role aside) are capable of leading efforts and contributing the to shape of product strategy. I believe that this is more a result of a 'customer focused' approach to working that the specific design function within the team. More and more product managers are finding themselves a bit behind and out of sync with the process. Product managers need to augment their traditional mba approach. They need to assess customer needs and market trends, and bring opportunities and problems to light. The team then needs to define and act on that situation. In short, product managers need to add customer insight to their role in order to regain relevance. Designers should be facilitating or helping with that transition, not posturing to assume that role.

5 Aug 2010 - 9:05am
Dave Malouf
2005

I think there is a different take on all this.It seems to me that what Steve is talking about is how thinking about behavior transcends "the interface" and faces multiple aspects of an entire business. We used to talk about this as "experience design". That the emotional connection to a system is engaged at multiple points through that system and not just at the final point. Nothing really new here, right?
What feels new to me is not this whole notion of "strategic", but that Steve is calling for ixd tactics to be placed at these touch points as well. It is not an ownership gambit, but an inclusion gambit. And not inclusion for its own sake, but an explanation that for the same reasons IxDs bring value to the interface for developers and visual designers, the same is true for other types of touch points as well. 
But even more generally, what we are seeing is a push that design practices be placed on more and more facets of the total business ecology.
What does all this come down to? (@ashdonaldson is going to love this.) Just "human factors". right. It is that we are the design practice that focuses on all aspects of the human being that makes us valuable. Behavior, cognition, perception, social relationships, etc. are what we are experts in applying towards design consideration. 
Let's just be intentional and rigorous in our work throughout the entire system ecology and not just focus on the final point. These are tactical actions and not strategic, though the strategy has to be formed to allow for it.
In the end, this is just converged design and no more limited to IxD than to ID or to Arch or GD. The reality is that "design" is no longer really in practice able to be separated once you start thinking about services. All disciplines are necessary and once you become senior enough in any of these disciplines you should be able to add both strategic and tactical value.
-- dave

On Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 9:10 AM, mschraad <mschraad@gmail.com> wrote:

Inherent to both articles is the notion that ux, interaction, designers... (specific role aside) are capable of leading efforts and contributing the to shape of product strategy. I believe that this is more a result of a 'customer focused' approach to working that the specific design function within the team. More and more product managers are finding themselves a bit behind and out of sync with the process. Product managers need to augment their traditional mba approach. They need to assess customer needs and market trends, and bring opportunities and problems to light. The team then needs to define and act on that situation. In short, product managers need to add customer insight to their role in order to regain relevance. Designers should be facilitating or helping with that transition, not posturing to assume that role.

((
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