Board Blog

The IxDA Board Blog helps the IxDA leadership to communicate with members and the world at large. It also helps the board create a transparent, open approach to its leadership, letting members know just what the board is doing to help the IxDA community.

Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

IxDA website fix progress updates and staying involved

It's been a while since the last official progress update, so I'm hoping to rectify that now.  

There are a number of things happening on the IxDA.org front, including a push to make the progress more open and accessible to members. As a first step we have a new, public, bug tracker at http://tracker.ixda.org. We're using that as a place to organize any issues, improvements, new features, and other site work. You can view the topics to see what we're working on and how it's all prioritized. For now it's publicly viewable, but you have to request an account if you want to get involved in reporting and tracking. You can use the contact form on ixda.org to do that.

Secondly, here's an update on the things we're currently working on:

  • Out-of-office replies:  This is a big annoyance.  We have made a few updates that have helped, but not eliminated it completely.  We're not sure what to try next, but are continually coming up with new ideas.  If you have ideas or want to help out please check out the related thread on Get Satisfaction.
  • Spam:  Still a big issue, we're currently implementing and testing a new moderation queue for the discussions.  This will be ready to go soon and should eliminate list spam.
  • Email digest format:  The next task, after spam is taken care of, is to fix up the email digest formats to be more like the old mailman digests.  I don't have an exact timeline for finishing this yet, but it's coming soon.

 

Beyond those three things we're organizing and prioritizing the list at tracker.ixda.org to decide what to work on next.  

If anybody is interested in volunteering as a moderator, drupal developer, or other, please get in touch using the contact form on ixda.org.

Elizabeth Bacon
2003

Conan update & design doc

Hello IxDA,

In September, we announced the commencement of the implementation phase of IxDA’s major infrastructure project, ever-so-fondly named Conan. Since that time we’ve been working hard with Palantir, a specialist Drupal development company, on refining the detailed scope of the new website and nailing down our design specifications & requirements. That work represents a big step forward, and we’re pleased with the way it has progressed and resulted in a scalable web platform using the Drupal architecture.

The detailed picture we now have of the implementation effort has also afforded us with a better understanding of where and how development time is best spent. Along the way we’ve realized that the scope of work that we used to evaluate the potential development partners who responded to our RFP back in July is substantively different to what we’re now looking to implement. Based on that recognition, we have gone back and discussed the revised scope with Growing Venture Solutions (GVS), another leading Drupal development company & the other finalist in our initial search for a development partner.

Using what we now know, we believe that GVS is the better choice for this project to develop our infrastructure from this point forward, in order for the Conan project to deliver the most possible value to IxDA’s worldwide community. We hope you’ll join us in thanking Palantir for the work they have done to get us to this point. And we hope you will join us in welcoming GVS to the Conan project. Here’s their website: http://growingventuresolutions.com/ We’ll be starting production development with them shortly, and are estimating the effort to take about 12 weeks. With some good luck and wind at our backs, we could have the new website launched by Interaction’10!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to share the Conan Design Doc with you all: http://bit.ly/ConanDesignDoc . This material represents the fruits of over 10 months of work from the all-volunteer IxDA Conan team. We investigated our community’s needs, developed user experience requirements, conceived interaction design & visual design solutions, and conducted a concept feedback round.

If you want to comment on what you see in this material, please talk about it here on list or feel free to send private feedback to me via email. We’ll see what we can do to prioritize new ideas or suggestions within the current project. Else, we’ll create a product backlog, as future extensibility is a HUGE cornerstone of our web platform strategy. Conan is by the community, for the community! :)

Thanks for your attention! Do let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to sharing more news and information as the project proceeds. Onwards & upwards!

Cheers,
Liz, IxDA Vice-President and Conan wrangler

Joe Sokohl
2004

New website launch is IMMINENT

Hey everybody, it’s launch time!

After a herculean effort by so many people, the new IxDA website will launch. We aim to launch it next weekend (Feb 28). Please be sure to read the important steps you need to take to stay connected.

Code-named Conan, the new IxDA.org site contains features that take IxDA to a new level:

  • New spaces for local groups, including local events, discussions, and jobs
  • Enhanced discussion area featuring better threading, media sharing, searching, and syndication
  • Resources about interaction design
  • Job board for posting job positions and finding
    opportunities, including those at Coroflot
  • Membership directory that enables you to connect with mentors or protégés
  • Enhanced profile creation and control
  • Unified conference information

IxDA considers this new website to be a global platform that furthers our mission and offers great potential for future extensions envisioned by our active community of practice. As we launch this exciting site, we know there might be some minor glitches and growing pains. Please be patient. We will be channeling your feedback through Get Satisfaction, so stay tuned for that information.

IMPORTANT STEPS
When the new site launches, we need existing members to take a simple step to get access and continue your participation. We need you to visit the new website in order to request a password.

1. In the header of the new site, select “Request password.”

2. Enter the email address associated with your IxDA Discussion subscription. The system
will generate a password and send it to you.

3. To log in to the site, follow the link in the email you receive. Then you should change your password to one that you want to use. By following this process, your member profile will reflect all your previous activity at IxDA.org.

New members need to create a fresh account, following these steps:

1. In the header, select “Become a member.”

2. Complete the member profile fields and submit the form.

3. When you receive a confirmation email, just follow the process as it outlines.

PROJECT BACKGROUND
Creating Conan took the work of this entire community. Not only did you step in to contribute in June 2009 to support funding, but many of you helped out by giving input and ideas.

Starting in 2007, the IxDA Board of Directors began discussing how to create a new, extensible platform for the association. In the fall of 2008, then-VP Liz Bacon stepped up to lead the project as Creative Director & Project Manager. Along with Nasir Barday, the team worked on refining a vision of what the site should do…and be.

That November, 26 IxDA members answered the public call for participation. Managing a team this size was awesome and a bit terrifying. From the end of 2008 until February 2009, the Conan team surveyed the community about the existing ixda.org, and defined the project goals. Liz then divided up the Conan team into feature teams. The team created a release plan involving research, requirements definition, design, RFP and development phases.

The spring and summer of 2009 saw evaluation of technical options, with the team finally settling on Drupal as an extensible, open-source CMS solution. In addition, the team finalized the interaction design for the site. We want to thank the 13 most active contributors who stayed engaged the whole way through: Alok Nandy, Atul Thanvi, Chong Lee Khoo, Jason Pamental, Jonathan Knoll, Rich Rogan, and most especially Neil Cadsawan, Maria De Monte, Mayur Karnik, Shiva Reddy, Tonia Bartz, and Miek Dunbar.

From May to June 2009, we considered RFP responses from 13 leading Drupal development companies. We conducted a community fundraiser to support the Conan project, and raised about $15,000. This ultimately covered about 25% of the development costs.

Last August, the Conan team shared design concepts with the IxDA community. More than 80 people participated in the ConceptShare review phase with great input: thank you’s to the 40 or so who provided comments! We refined the site design significantly.

After a false start with one technology vendor, in October 2009 the team turned to Growing Venture Solutions (GVS) with hope in our hearts. We were always impressed by their commitment to Drupal and their understanding of our requirements. At this time, we also established another, broader team of IxDA volunteers to review the development phase progress. As GVS completed each 2-week sprint, we recorded the demo session and shared it with that team.

As Conan lead Liz Bacon said: “Working with GVS has been an unmitigated pleasure. Our collaboration has been nearly effortless. and they helped us to find the right solutions for our needs wherever there were any questions. I’ve been especially impressed at their ongoing efforts to involve the community in review of development progress. I can’t say enough good things about their whole team.”

We are thrilled to be launching this new platform to support our community of practice.


Elizabeth Bacon
2003

Conan update & design doc

Hello IxDA,

In September, we announced the commencement of the implementation phase of IxDA’s major infrastructure project, ever-so-fondly named Conan. Since that time we’ve been working hard with Palantir, a specialist Drupal development company, on refining the detailed scope of the new website and nailing down our design specifications & requirements. That work represents a big step forward, and we’re pleased with the way it has progressed and resulted in a scalable web platform using the Drupal architecture.

The detailed picture we now have of the implementation effort has also afforded us with a better understanding of where and how development time is best spent. Along the way we’ve realized that the scope of work that we used to evaluate the potential development partners who responded to our RFP back in July is substantively different to what we’re now looking to implement. Based on that recognition, we have gone back and discussed the revised scope with Growing Venture Solutions (GVS), another leading Drupal development company & the other finalist in our initial search for a development partner.

Using what we now know, we believe that GVS is the better choice for this project to develop our infrastructure from this point forward, in order for the Conan project to deliver the most possible value to IxDA’s worldwide community. We hope you’ll join us in thanking Palantir for the work they have done to get us to this point. And we hope you will join us in welcoming GVS to the Conan project. Here’s their website: http://growingventuresolutions.com/ We’ll be starting production development with them shortly, and are estimating the effort to take about 12 weeks. With some good luck and wind at our backs, we could have the new website launched by Interaction’10!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to share the Conan Design Doc with you all: http://bit.ly/ConanDesignDoc . This material represents the fruits of over 10 months of work from the all-volunteer IxDA Conan team. We investigated our community’s needs, developed user experience requirements, conceived interaction design & visual design solutions, and conducted a concept feedback round.

If you want to comment on what you see in this material, please talk about it here on list or feel free to send private feedback to me via email. We’ll see what we can do to prioritize new ideas or suggestions within the current project. Else, we’ll create a product backlog, as future extensibility is a HUGE cornerstone of our web platform strategy. Conan is by the community, for the community! :)

Thanks for your attention! Do let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to sharing more news and information as the project proceeds. Onwards & upwards!

Cheers,
Liz, IxDA Vice-President and Conan wrangler


Elizabeth Bacon
2003

Conan project update: implementation phase begins

Hello IxDA,

Here’s a friendly neighborhood IxDA website redesign project update! On August 24th, I met with the team at Palantir – the Drupal development company and our partner on the Conan project – to formally launch the implementation phase of Conan. Since that time, we have been working closely with the team at Palantir to tighten the scope of the project; refine our designs and requirements; and develop a project timeline.

In June your generosity helped raise over $15,000 to contribute towards the cost of this project. Those funds, combined with funds earned from our conference in Feb – Interaction09 – are being put to hard use. I am working closely with Palantir to ensure that these funds are spent for the greatest benefit to you.

Volunteers from around the world have been contributing their time throughout the course of the Conan project, which has been going strong since December ‘08. In small ways and large, these volunteers have contributing their expertise to improve the quality of the new platform and helped to keep the overall project costs down. I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve contributed thus far!

There is a lot of work still to be done, however, and we could use your help. Right now we need assistance with the work required to code and integrate the HTML/CSS themes into Drupal. This is a major component of the project; if we do this ourselves it will lighten the financial load on the project and enable Palantir to implement our envisioned feature set more fully. So I would ask you to consider, if you have skills in this area, to lend a hand.

Over the next few months you will see more from the Conan team as we get deep into the implementation. A beta version of the site is due for release at the end of the year, with the official launch of the new site due out in late January – just in time for Interaction10.

Learn more:

  • If you’d like to lend a hand on the project for Drupal theming, please contact me at ixd(at)elizabethbacon(dot)com.
  • If you would like to catch up on the Conan project history, please visit http://www.ixda.org/blog/tag/conan/
  • And if you would like to learn more about Drupal development partner, Palantir, please visit their Web site at http://www.palantir.net/

Once again, I thank all of our volunteers, contributors, and you, the community, for your ongoing support.

Regards,
Liz / IxDA Vice-President & Conan lead

Steve Baty
2009

IxDA Board Retreat – August 2009

Hello IxDA,

The Board of Directors of the IxDA met recently – over the weekend of August 14-16 – to discuss the progress the organization is making towards its mission to advance the discipline of interaction design. We’d like to share with you some of our discussions and decisions from that weekend.

The Organization

The role of the Board of Directors for the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) is multifaceted. We are charged with overseeing the work of furthering the mission & vision of the organization, which is to advance the practice of interaction design.

We pursue our mission through the IxDA community, which is founded on the principles of open participation, inclusiveness, and volunteer-led programs and initiatives. This community can only thrive if we support it with:

  • a sustainable infrastructure, operations & support; which in turn enables IxDA to
  • catalyze community, focused on the theory and practice of interaction design; and to
  • grow awareness of interaction design in the broader design and business communities.

The Retreat

The annual retreat provides the opportunity for the Board of Directors to gather together from around the world. We spent two full days discussing the challenges ahead; reflecting on the effectiveness of our past efforts; re-evaluating the mission, vision, strategy & priorities of the organization; and planning for the coming period.

This year’s retreat was held in San Francisco — a city with a strong IxD community (the IxDA SF local group lists around 900 members) and a convenient destination for the international members of the Board. The retreat was held at the San Francisco office of Cooper, who generously donated the use of their space to the Board for the weekend. We would like to thank them for their gracious gift and generous hospitality.

During the weekend we dedicated sessions to:

  • an around-the-table of what a sustainable organization looks like and the main challenges we see ahead
  • the progress and status of the Conan project (IxDA’s new website platform)
  • a discussion on local groups, including a report from community lead Tonia M. Bartz
  • a meeting with the local community to discuss general issues, organized by IxDA SF leaders
  • roles and responsibilities of the board, volunteers and the potential need for paid staff support
  • tactical means of achieving organizational strategies
  • objectives, responsibilities and deadlines

The Themes

Over the course of the weekend some clear themes emerged, which helped guide and shape our decisions.

The first is that, right across the world, interaction design is experiencing an explosion of interest, activity and exposure. This is occurring at an academic level with new graduate programs in interaction design being formed, and with demand from the academic community for appropriate publication channels. It is also apparent from the growth in the number of design practitioners identifying themselves as interaction designers, or articulating an interest in interaction design practice. The IxDA LinkedIn group now lists over 13,000 members and continues to grow steadily. The number, size and vibrancy of the IxDA global community of local groups – now over 80 groups worldwide – is further testament to the passion and energy amongst the community around interaction design.

The second theme is that members of the Board feel a great deal of pressure balancing the day-to-day requirements of their roles with the pressures of work, family and other responsibilities. Presently, the Board is often tasked with more tactical work and is less able to be more strategic and visionary in approach. As the organization grows in size and scope and the importance of interaction design grows with it, we need tolook at ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Board through the use of paid assistance in the form of virtual accounting, legal & administration staff.

A third theme was ‘money complicates everything’. We recognise the need for the organization to be placed on a more stable financial footing, which is more predictable and — as a result — better able to be planned against. And yet IxDA was founded on principles of open access and participation which would seem to preclude a paid membership model. We are dedicated to having no barrier to entry to the core value IxDA provides, but at the same time can see opportunities for paid services and access to discounts and offers from partners that would not be made freely available.

Of course, the Interaction conference played an important part in our discussions. The annual IxDA conference — with Interaction’10 to be held in Savannah, Georgia, USA from Feb 4-7, 2010 — provides the opportunity for those interested in interaction design to come together to talk, laugh and learn from each other. The conference is critical to the ongoing success of the organization and furthering of our mission.

Lastly, we recognized that the work of volunteers needs to be better structured and rewarded so that the community can be made aware of these contributions and can show its appreciation for the work of volunteers across the organization. We continue to observe amazing work being done at a local level — consider the formation of more than 60 local groups in the past year alone — as well as working directly with volunteers at a global level for conference organisation, Conan, mentoring, education, communication, and outreach programs.

The Strategies

We also identified five areas of focus for the Board over the coming six months, which, taken together, directly support and reach closer towards our collective mission. These are:

  • To deliver the Conan website project smoothly and effectively, including the transition over from the current platform
  • To investigate options for introducing virtual administrative support to the Board so that more time can be spent on directing the large-scale programs, initiatives and strategy of IxDA and the IxD community
  • To identify and investigate options for introducing a tiered model of membership whereby a contribution of money, or time through volunteer programs, could be rewarded in some way
  • To expand the level of support and “official” guidance provided to local groups around the world so that they can more readily form, grow, and conduct local events
  • To continue to grow the mentoring program; the education initiative and accompanying outreach to colleges and universities around the world; pursue partnerships with Mozilla Labs & Johnny Holland to conduct design challenges that span engineering and design disciplines; and generally provide platforms for collaboration (beyond Conan) to connect isolated pockets of interaction design interest

In addition, the Board and organizers of IxD10 will direct some efforts towards reaching out beyond the existing IxDA community to attract design and UX practitioners who do not immediately identify themselves as interaction designers to the conference.

These areas of strategic focus represent just the beginning of our ongoing efforts. We see IxDA operating at a tipping point, representing a juncture with tremendous potential for the growth of interaction design and the IxD community to help make the world a better place. To meet the pressing and future needs of our community, IxDA must grow as well — by being smarter, more efficient and doing more with less — and by matching the energy, passion and talent of the interaction design community with the same level of passion and energy from the IxDA Board.

The next Board meeting will be held (via conference call) in a few weeks’ time in early September. At that time we’ll be able to update you on some of the items above, and begin to layer more detail onto these initiatives.

Thanks,

Steve Baty

Note:  Travel expenses were paid with IxDA operational funds. coming out of the conference.  All funds raised during the recent fundraiser are marked specifically for the Conan infrastructure project and were not utilized for this retreat.

Elizabeth Bacon
2003

IxDA website project update: it’s a go!

Dear IxDA community & those who care about us,

Firstly, THANK YOU again to all the IxDA supporters from around the globe who contributed financially during our recent fundraising drive. IxDA garnered $15,813, over half-way towards our ambitious goal of $30,000 to support the IxDA.org website redesign project (code-named Conan).

Some folks have been wondering if the Conan project will be able to continue despite not reaching our fundraising goal. I’m happy to announce that the project is very much a GO! The fundraiser was not the determining factor for this project. We started out with conference funds underwriting the effort. The money raised makes a significant difference to the impact that Conan has on our upcoming conferences fund and especially our ability to remain safely solvent during these four months before the Interaction’10 conference registration opens. (See http://interaction.ixda.org for info on that front.) Every dollar raised during the drive counts enormously; the funds have provided more surety around both the Conan project and the Interaction’10 conference, where previously one or the other may have been put at risk.

Principally, the fundraiser provided IxDA with the flexibility to choose the very best vendor for the Conan project. And to that end, we are enormously pleased to announce that we have selected Palantir (http://www.palantir.net/) as our development partner for this project.

Palantir is a highly-respected development firm filled with Drupal rockstars, people who authored & maintain core Drupal modules, have written books about Drupal, and worked so that Drupal can improve its overall user experience. Palantir is extremely supportive of IxDA, and provided us with a non-profit rate as well as opportunities to collaborate on theming in order to provide us with a competitive proposal that met all of our requirements. We are thrilled to move forward with extreme confidence that our new website technology will be built by some of the most capable Drupal developers on the planet Earth.

Again, in addition to elevating our online discussion capabilities in various ways, our new website will:

  • Provide a dedicated Careers area, including resources for hiring managers
  • Create local group mini-sites with local leaders announcements, local discussions and job postings as well as local member directory
  • Present a calendar of IxDA events with RSVP tools
  • Provide searchable global member directory
  • Allow members to display desired personal information in their profiles, affiliating yourself with Local Groups and including external feeds
  • Integrate conference access from main site
  • Create space for mentoring program and educational resources
  • Provide better visibility for all of IxDA’s important initiatives
  • Enhance the media library to better serve content from Interaction conferences and local group events
  • Refresh content for Home page & About Us sections to provide clearer paths to participate

In the coming week or so, please look for an announcement to participate in reviewing the conceptual designs being created for Conan by the all-volunteer IxDA team. We will be seeking community input and hopefully validation of our visual design & interaction design proposals before we fully engage with Palantir. In two-three months after development kicks off, we’ll also be seeking your inputs to vett the alpha or beta version of the new site.

IxDA is nothing without its members, and I thank you again for your support and contributions to date. Onwards & upwards!

Cheers,
Liz
IxDA Vice-President

Elizabeth Bacon
2003

Conan community feedback processed

Dear IxDA,

I want to thank everybody who stepped up to participate in the recent round of feedback on the design concepts presented for IxDA Conan, our website redesign project. In addition to the members of the Conan team themselves, about 60 IxDA members asked to review designs in the ConceptShare system. Special thanks for the most cogent & detailed feedback from IxDA members goes to Maureen Murphy & Shilpas Shukla!

As the Creative Director & Project Manager of Conan, I have reviewed all the feedback and produced a set of design change recommendations as well as questions that need to be answered. These items are becoming work items that will be addressed by the design teams. Please feel free to take a look at the processed feedback published online at: http://docs.google.com/View?id=df6bq4tg_0ffzp5s3p

One issue raised repeatedly by reviewers that I’d like to address in this forum questioned our intention to utilize the existing visual design.

Firstly, it was a tactical mistake for us to represent the Home page as identical with today’s visual design; we will in fact be re-considering the layout and organization of this page to reflect the new, dynamic community contents that will be delivered with the new site. (Unfortunately, the design concepts for this page were not completed in time for this feedback round.)

However, it is a deliberate strategic decision on the part of the IxDA leadership team to minimize our risk on this major initiative by using our existing visual design. The current style of the website was professionally procured in 2007. When we surveyed our membership in December 2008 about various aspects of the current website in order to inform the Conan feature list & prioritization thereof, the visual design was judged to be the most successful aspect of the site. Adopting the adage of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” we have chosen principally to devote our resources to the interaction design and development challenges of the redesign project. The most urgent driver for this project has always been the technical instability of the current website’s discussion forum coupled with the extreme growth of our members & local groups.

Nevertheless, the Conan team intends to push the envelope on the visual design, based on the questioning feedback in this area. We all tend to agree that the overall look is too sterile or corporate, and we want to bring more life to the site in keeping with the vibrancy of our community. We also will reconsider the layout of the top-level navigation in relation to the logo, log-in fields and search functionality, and will ensure that second- and third-level navigation is clearly comprehensible and well-integrated with the page design.

Thanks again for your support of this initiative, which creeps ever closer to reality. Spare a kind thought for all the volunteers making this project happen! I believe that we’ll probably release a couple areas of the site for additional review of revised design concepts, and I hope you’ll help us polish it further when we release alpha/beta versions during the development phase. Just let me know if you have any questions in the meantime!

Cheers,
Liz


Anonymous

Four more hours, keep it up!

We only have four more ours left in our “Give a Little Back” support drive.   Keep it up, and thank you for your generous support!

http://bit.ly/1979o5

Janna DeVylder
2006

Thank you for your support

Since Sunday, together as a community we have raised $15,813, by 717 contributions!  This includes the $600 match by the IxDA Board, as you well-exceeded the call.

We can’t thank you enough, and are thankful that so many of you stepped up to chip in.

What’s next:

We’ll be holding the drawing for the last IxD’10 registration later this evening, as well as the 40 books from Morgan Kaufmann, and the licenses from ArtinSoft and the Usability Kit from Apogee Usability Asia.

Be on the look out for an official thank you, and a request for us to publicly acknowledge your support.

We’ll soon be creating a space where we can keep you updated specifically about our infrastructure project, where the money is going, who we choose to work with and opportunities for you to participate.

While we are now officially closing our support drive, you can still contribute, but now we will spare your inboxes.

http://bit.ly/1979o5

If you have any ideas or feedback, or want to get more involved, let us know!

Thank you again!

Janna DeVylder
President, IxDA

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