What sets the 'best' interaction designers apart?

2 Feb 2007 - 12:36pm
38 weeks ago
97 replies
6125 reads
bhekking
2006

Hi all -

In your experience, what qualities set the 'best' (defined as you like)
interaction designers apart?

In hiring, what design exercises have you found effective in identifying the
'best' interaction designers?

Thanks,
Bret Hekking

____________________________________________________________________________________
Food fight? Enjoy some healthy debate
in the Yahoo! Answers Food & Drink Q&A.
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Comments

5 Feb 2007 - 3:25pm
Dave Malouf
2005

iPod!

sorry, couldn't resist.

But seriously, I have found that my greatest efforts in design are when I
push my engineering team to think outside of their previously enclosed
box. They have to hunt for new ideas and realize new ways of doing things.

I think Writely and Oddpost are great examples of pushing the envelopes.
Goggle Maps, etc. I mean no one thought about using AJAX like that with
images before Google Maps did it. It might have been an engineering driven
concept which is great (great ideas can come from anyone), but it is about
someone deciding that what was "normal" isn't good enough.

The other mode I work in, is pulling ideas from other mediums into my own.
I have done a ton of application innovation (I.e. innovating in my
particular product space, not generally for the world) b/c I took ideas
from other venues and tried to apply them to my application regardless of
what my engineering team thought was "doable". I sold the idea on its
merits for adding value to the stakeholders involved, and they in turned
pushed engineering to figure it out or at least tell us it wasn't
feasible. Remarkably about 50% of the time, it is indeed feasible after
research is done. I like those odds.

-- dave

-- dave

Ari Feldman wrote:
> Ok, fair enough. Please cite some examples of this. I can cite a few
> myself
> where being forced to push the frontiers complicated and delayed projects.
> I'm all for using cool technology and design techniques but when warranted
> not for the sake of doing them because they were possible.
>
>
>
> On 2/5/07, Phillip Hunter <phillip at speechcycle.com> wrote:
>>
>> Ari wrote:
>>
>> >...it's not about pushing new frontiers - it's about creating usable
>> and
>> effective solutions to >existing problems.
>>
>> I have found that the true solutions to many existing problems involve
>> pushing new frontiers of design. It is often the accepted practice that
>> prolongs the existence of these problems.
>>
>> Phillip
>>
>>
>
>
> --
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
> http://www.flyingyogi.com
> ________________________________________________________________
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David Malouf
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5 Feb 2007 - 3:45pm
Alder Yarrow
2004

Interaction designers who know how to code don't think like coders, they
think like interaction designers. They don't talk like coders, they talk
like designers.

But in my experience the ideas they come up with for products (web
interactions, device interactions, software Uis) are far better* than folks
who have the same level of professional experience but do not know how to
actually build things in the medium they are designing for. Period.

* Do we need to get into a discussion about what "better" or "best" actually
means? As the owner of a firm that offers these services, better means to
me:

1. They produce designs that solve the problems of my clients and which my
clients love
2. They work with a team members (internally and client) in such a way that
the end design actually gets (and can be) implemented and works
3. They require the least mentoring and direction from me

Alder

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of David
Malouf
Sent: Monday, February 05, 2007 12:25 PM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] What sets the 'best' interaction designers
apart?

But seriously, I have found that my greatest efforts in design are when I
push my engineering team to think outside of their previously enclosed box.
They have to hunt for new ideas and realize new ways of doing things.

5 Feb 2007 - 3:50pm
.pauric
2006

When pushing boundaries it is important to have a backup plan. Where the
envelope cant go that far, or project constraints dictate, a designer should
have less adventurous proposals at the ready.

I would refine the 'experience of coding' IxD quality to be: An
understanding the boundaries between the technologically possible and
impossible and an ability to create designs that sensibly fall in between
those two for a given project and its constraints.

5 Feb 2007 - 4:07pm
Dave Malouf
2005

pauric wrote:
> I would refine the 'experience of coding' IxD quality to be: An
> understanding the boundaries between the technologically possible and
> impossible and an ability to create designs that sensibly fall in between
> those two for a given project and its constraints.

This I can agree with, totally. But this is not necessarily something i
have to come into a job with, but can be acquired during my work, like
acquiring business domain knowledge while doing research.

I think of technical knowledge as being akin to market vertical knowledge.
A great designer can move from retail > finance > pharma > ????

-- dave

5 Feb 2007 - 4:35pm
Phillip Hunter
2006

Ari,

I'd be happy to give examples, but I design in the area of speech
interaction. While many concepts and challenges parallel the web/desktop
world, details often do not. If you're really interested in spoken language
frontier pushers, I'll be happy to send them, though.

And I agree that new for the sake of new is not something foist upon
risk-averse-afraid-of-change clients. We often try worthy-but-unproven
ideas in safe areas of the product or with a small percentages of users
before we push them out. We get statistically significant data to back up a
decision to move ahead or pull back.

Phillip

_____

From: Ari Feldman [mailto:ari1970 at gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, February 05, 2007 3:18 PM
To: phillip at speechcycle.com
Cc: Mark Schraad; discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] What sets the 'best' interaction designers
apart?

Ok, fair enough. Please cite some examples of this. I can cite a few myself
where being forced to push the frontiers complicated and delayed projects.
I'm all for using cool technology and design techniques but when warranted
not for the sake of doing them because they were possible.

On 2/5/07, Phillip Hunter <phillip at speechcycle.com> wrote:

Ari wrote:

>...it's not about pushing new frontiers - it's about creating usable and
effective solutions to >existing problems.

I have found that the true solutions to many existing problems involve
pushing new frontiers of design. It is often the accepted practice that
prolongs the existence of these problems.

Phillip

--
----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.flyingyogi.com

5 Feb 2007 - 4:36pm
Ari
2006

On 2/5/07, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
>
> iPod!
>
> sorry, couldn't resist.
>
> But seriously, I have found that my greatest efforts in design are when I
> push my engineering team to think outside of their previously enclosed
> box. They have to hunt for new ideas and realize new ways of doing things.

Sure, it's always good to do so if you feel that you have solution that
would solve a problem.

I think Writely and Oddpost are great examples of pushing the envelopes.
> Goggle Maps, etc. I mean no one thought about using AJAX like that with
> images before Google Maps did it. It might have been an engineering driven
> concept which is great (great ideas can come from anyone), but it is about
> someone deciding that what was "normal" isn't good enough.

These are good examples. A lot of Google's innovation comes from their
engineering team, since you're allowed to spend 20% on your own pet
projects. That approach is genius.

The other mode I work in, is pulling ideas from other mediums into my own.
> I have done a ton of application innovation (I.e. innovating in my
> particular product space, not generally for the world) b/c I took ideas
> from other venues and tried to apply them to my application regardless of
> what my engineering team thought was "doable". I sold the idea on its
> merits for adding value to the stakeholders involved, and they in turned
> pushed engineering to figure it out or at least tell us it wasn't
> feasible. Remarkably about 50% of the time, it is indeed feasible after
> research is done. I like those odds.

I hear that and respect that approach. Hopefully, everyone brings something
into the mix to build a better mouse trap - functionally and/or visually.

-- dave
>
>
> -- dave
>
>
> Ari Feldman wrote:
> > Ok, fair enough. Please cite some examples of this. I can cite a few
> > myself
> > where being forced to push the frontiers complicated and delayed
> projects.
> > I'm all for using cool technology and design techniques but when
> warranted
> > not for the sake of doing them because they were possible.
> >
> >
> >
> > On 2/5/07, Phillip Hunter <phillip at speechcycle.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> Ari wrote:
> >>
> >> >...it's not about pushing new frontiers - it's about creating usable
> >> and
> >> effective solutions to >existing problems.
> >>
> >> I have found that the true solutions to many existing problems involve
> >> pushing new frontiers of design. It is often the accepted practice
> that
> >> prolongs the existence of these problems.
> >>
> >> Phillip
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> > --
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------
> > http://www.flyingyogi.com
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
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> >
>
>
> --
> --
> David Malouf
> dave at ixda.org
> http://ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
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----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.flyingyogi.com

5 Feb 2007 - 5:52pm
Michael Micheletti
2006

Hi David,

Outside thinking is good, and an engineering-centric mindset is not a good
default state for a designer. Total agreement.

What I'm thinking of though is more along the lines of professional
development for a designer - knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, and
working on things you need help in.

For instance, I'm good with a variety of design skills, but don't have a lot
of experience with formal usability testing and research, so I'm back in
grad school (UW) to catch up on these areas. Designers with strong academic
backgrounds are doubtless way ahead of me here, but they may want to develop
coding skills, or graphic production skills, in order to become more capable
and well-rounded.

I think of a designer as a kind of total package. There's a core of
interaction, behavior, and clear communications at the heart of our craft,
but this is informed by code, graphics, music, art, wisdom, humanities,
observational powers, and all manner of life experiences.

Michael

On 2/5/07, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
>
> But seriously, I have found that my greatest efforts in design are when I
> push my engineering team to think outside of their previously enclosed
> box. They have to hunt for new ideas and realize new ways of doing things.
>

5 Feb 2007 - 8:31pm
Fredrik Johanss...
2006

Hypothetically, if there would exist three candidates for a job, with the
same age and the same degree of experience. One more design-ish, one more
code-ish and one in-between. Whom would you choose?

I think what Dave is trying to say is that the time spent on learning code
is less valuable than the time spent on learning new IxD-methods and tools
or getting inspiration, perhaps even from other domains, for instance. We
are all bound to choose how we spend our time. The question is which road we
should take to get the most out of it and become the 'better' Interaction
Designer?

I would say, it depends on the rest of the team. It's probably more likely
that late-adopter-teams/companies needs (read understands) the more code-ish
candidate while early-adopter-teams/companies needs the more design-ish
candidate.

What we all strive for (at least I do) is to be innovative as hell with the
resources at hand and I believe the design-ish candidate, in collaboration
with the other team members, would more likely do the job better.

/Fredrik Johansson Oviedo

6 Feb 2007 - 12:11am
Michael Micheletti
2006

Ah, one of those wiggly "it depends" answers is called for. And I agree with
you that the right candidate is the one who best complements the team.

If your team is filled with great prototypers and practical thinkers, go
design-ish. If you're in a large company full of specialists, go full-tilt
design-ish all the way, unless you need someone to bridge gaps and
translate, then go in-betweenish. If you're in a small shop full of
generalists with way too much to do, someone who can fill multiple roles
will fit in well. If you're a design shop full of creative thinkers but
you're having implementation woes, you probably want an engineering-savvy
person around. Other situations might call for academics with research
backgrounds, or usability professionals, or design writers.

And be prepared to drift from your desired point on the arc if one candidate
of whatever background unites and energizes your team. Because team dynamics
("human factors") make such a huge difference in whether projects succeed or
not, and whether or not everybody working all those hours has fun.

Michael

On 2/5/07, Fredrik Johansson Oviedo <fredrik.oviedo at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hypothetically, if there would exist three candidates for a job, with the
> same age and the same degree of experience. One more design-ish, one more
> code-ish and one in-between. Whom would you choose?
>

6 Feb 2007 - 6:39am
dszuc
2005

"adding value to the stakeholders involved"

Yes!

Putting the *user hat* on : One approach is to use existing UI
standards/approaches to facilitate a move towards innovative elements (big
and small). In other words, provide a UI playground where users feel safe,
looks like something they have seen or used before BUT introduces new &
exciting ways to do stuff over time.

Users gain confidence and provides little steps to something great!

Cool discussion.

Rgds,

Daniel Szuc
Principal Usability Consultant
Apogee Usability Asia Ltd
www.apogeehk.com
'Usability in Asia'

The Usability Toolkit - http://www.sitepoint.com/books/usability1/

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of David
Malouf
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 4:25 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] What sets the 'best' interaction designers
apart?

iPod!

sorry, couldn't resist.

But seriously, I have found that my greatest efforts in design are when I
push my engineering team to think outside of their previously enclosed box.
They have to hunt for new ideas and realize new ways of doing things.

I think Writely and Oddpost are great examples of pushing the envelopes.
Goggle Maps, etc. I mean no one thought about using AJAX like that with
images before Google Maps did it. It might have been an engineering driven
concept which is great (great ideas can come from anyone), but it is about
someone deciding that what was "normal" isn't good enough.

The other mode I work in, is pulling ideas from other mediums into my own. I
have done a ton of application innovation (I.e. innovating in my particular
product space, not generally for the world) b/c I took ideas from other
venues and tried to apply them to my application regardless of what my
engineering team thought was "doable". I sold the idea on its merits for
adding value to the stakeholders involved, and they in turned pushed
engineering to figure it out or at least tell us it wasn't feasible.
Remarkably about 50% of the time, it is indeed feasible after research is
done. I like those odds.

-- dave

-- dave

Ari Feldman wrote:
> Ok, fair enough. Please cite some examples of this. I can cite a few
> myself where being forced to push the frontiers complicated and
> delayed projects. I'm all for using cool technology and design
> techniques but when warranted not for the sake of doing them because
> they were possible.
>
>
>
> On 2/5/07, Phillip Hunter <phillip at speechcycle.com> wrote:
>>
>> Ari wrote:
>>
>> >...it's not about pushing new frontiers - it's about creating usable
>> and
>> effective solutions to >existing problems.
>>
>> I have found that the true solutions to many existing problems
>> involve pushing new frontiers of design. It is often the accepted
>> practice that prolongs the existence of these problems.
>>
>> Phillip
>>
>>
>
>
> --
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
> http://www.flyingyogi.com
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
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> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
--
David Malouf
dave at ixda.org
http://ixda.org/

________________________________________________________________
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6 Feb 2007 - 8:29am
.pauric
2006

"if there would exist three candidates for a job, with the
same age and the same degree of experience. One more design-ish, one more
code-ish and one in-between. Whom would you choose?"

All things being equal on paper I would looks towards the one who can best
communicate their ideas.

I would feel that they dont necessarily need to be the best skills match for
the team, but the one the team likes the most. The sum of a happy team
being greater than that of the individual parts.

I'm a firm believer that in many unenlightened organisations it is up to the
designer to instigate change, or at least demonstrate good design practices,
in a way that ads value/roi without adding overhead to programs/projects.

6 Feb 2007 - 9:41am
Cian
2007

To be slightly provocative, I'm going to suggest a different reason
why coding skills might be useful.

Somebody who can't code in some environment, has no way of prototyping
their ideas beyond static screen shots. Is there not a danger that if
somebody cannot prototype, explore their ideas beyond this level, then
they will be not fully understand the medium. I guess a good analogy
for me would be a filmmaker who had only ever worked with storyboards
- sure they're a useful prototyping tool, but there are significant
and important differences between a storyboard and a finished film.

How can you understand interaction, if you have never directly created
interactive systems?

Cian

On 2/5/07, Ari Feldman <ari1970 at gmail.com> wrote:
> i agree. the more you know about the particular limits of a given
> technology, the better.
>
> of course, the best interaction designers don't do things in a vacuum - you
> take a pass, run it by the developers and other constituencies (as
> required), make revisions and then set things into motion.
>
> the worst thing is when you have designers who know nothing about what's
> possible (technically) and they design things accordingly.
>
>
>
> On 2/5/07, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> > On Feb 4, 2007, at 4:10 PM, Jared M. Spool wrote:
> >
> > > If it's collaboration, as you say, and not service, then learning
> > > coding/technology-platform skills can only help, I would think, in
> > > that it gives you a short-cut for communication and a deeper
> > > understanding of the issues on both sides of the fence.
> > >
> > > As the management of the group, you could say, "Designers design,
> > > developers develop, ne'er the 'tween shall meet." But, I don't see
> > > that as an effective management approach.
> >
> > I'm one of those people who doesn't believe you have to code to be a
> > great designer. I do believe that understanding the frameworks your
> > development team is using, or even being able to code in them (if
> > even a little bit) makes you a better design. Speaking from
> > experience, it gives you the ability to push back on issues when Dev
> > says "Um, we can't do that." By knowing the environment, you can say
> > "What if we did X? Wouldn't that work?" And if you really need to,
> > you can show them a working prototype and say "We'll, I know this
> > isn't final, and it's nowhere near as good as you guys can do, but
> > here's a prototype of doing X."
> >
> > Not a necessity, but definitely a benefit.
> >
> >
> > Cheers!
> >
> > Todd Zaki Warfel
> > Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
> > Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
> > ----------------------------------
> > Contact Info
> > Voice: (215) 825-7423
> > Email: todd at messagefirst.com
> > AIM: twarfel at mac.com
> > Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
> > ----------------------------------
> > In theory, theory and practice are the same.
> > In practice, they are not.
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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> >
>
>
>
> --
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
> http://www.flyingyogi.com
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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6 Feb 2007 - 10:03am
.pauric
2006

"How can you understand interaction, if you have never directly created
interactive systems?"

The same could be asked of this guy. Do you have to be an injection molding
specialist to be able to build a desk out of lego?
<
http://www.ericharshbarger.org/cgi-bin/photo.cgi?desk_21.jpg+lego/images/desk
>

A desk is a desk, an interface is an interface, regardless of the underlying
components.

That all said, I'm am in a much stronger position when I can hand code
exactly what I want.

6 Feb 2007 - 10:10am
Robert Reimann
2003

Re: Designers needing to know how to code

I have worked with a lot of interaction designers, and hired many as
well, with educations as diverse as cartography, industrial design,
astrophysics, history, computer science (my own education) and
creative writing. I have to admit that I have not seen much of a
correlation between design talent and coding capability.

I have however observed that designers with significant coding
backgrounds do seem to be good at handling projects that aim to tame
high complexity (e.g., big transactional web applications, etc), but
also that they tend to think a little bit more inside the box-- they
are a bit less inclined to push the limits of what *might* be done
technically, which I think is a good aim for design as long as it is
in the service of the user (and ultimately the business).

The most important aspect of "knowing code" is, as I think others have
pointed out, the ability to discuss the design implementation
intelligently with developers; to know when to push them, and when to
compromise.

The other aspect of "coding" is prototyping. In my group, some
designers have interactive protoyping skills. But we also have a
dedicated prototyping role that allows us to leverage our designs much
more effectively and efficiently. Separating the roles allows
designers to spend more time perfecting the concept and structure
while still directing and participating in the visual presentation.
Yes, there are a few designers out there who can do it all
excellently. But if you can't find one, or have a lot of simultaneous
projects, division of labor makes a lot more sense, IMHO.

--
Robert Reimann
President, IxDA

Manager, User Experience
Bose Corporation
Framingham, MA

6 Feb 2007 - 10:12am
Cian
2007

Not really. The medium could be flash, Processing, Visual Basic, or
whatever. As long as it shares the basic qualities of the medium
you're working in.
I'd be suspicious of a product designer who didn't work in some form
of 3D material, even if it was foam.

The key thing is interaction. I'm not sure that's something you can
explore creatively, if you are unable to work in some form of
interactive medium.

On 2/6/07, pauric <radiorental at gmail.com> wrote:
> "How can you understand interaction, if you have never directly created
> interactive systems?"
>
> The same could be asked of this guy. Do you have to be an injection molding
> specialist to be able to build a desk out of lego?
> <
> http://www.ericharshbarger.org/cgi-bin/photo.cgi?desk_21.jpg+lego/images/desk
> >
>
> A desk is a desk, an interface is an interface, regardless of the underlying
> components.
>
> That all said, I'm am in a much stronger position when I can hand code
> exactly what I want.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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>

6 Feb 2007 - 10:51am
Dave Malouf
2005

What if you are designing consumer electronics, remote controls, a
washer/dryer, a soda vending machine, etc., etc.?

where is the "code here"?

As to the foam comment. You're kidding right? The properties of foam bear
little resemblence to plastic, except it is a form. Weight, texture,
luminence, etc. don't translate at all.

Anyway, I think Robert really said it best for me.

I can code. It helps me in my life, But I don't see how it makes me a
better DESIGNER. I say this as my career grows, I my technical expertise
to become less and less relevant to the work I do as an IxD.

M work with engineers has become more collborative so that interactive
protoypes are done by us as a group and not only by me. And often I
protoype my work in methods that require less and less code. Tools are just
getting better.

Dave

Dave

...... Original Message .......
On Tue, 6 Feb 2007 15:12:00 +0000 Cian <cian.oconnor at gmail.com> wrote:
>Not really. The medium could be flash, Processing, Visual Basic, or
>whatever. As long as it shares the basic qualities of the medium
>you're working in.
>I'd be suspicious of a product designer who didn't work in some form
>of 3D material, even if it was foam.
>
>The key thing is interaction. I'm not sure that's something you can
>explore creatively, if you are unable to work in some form of
>interactive medium.
>
>On 2/6/07, pauric <radiorental at gmail.com> wrote:
>> "How can you understand interaction, if you have never directly created
>> interactive systems?"
>>
>> The same could be asked of this guy. Do you have to be an injection
molding
>> specialist to be able to build a desk out of lego?
>> <
>>
http://www.ericharshbarger.org/cgi-bin/photo.cgi?desk_21.jpg+lego/images/desk
>> >
>>
>> A desk is a desk, an interface is an interface, regardless of the
underlying
>> components.
>>
>> That all said, I'm am in a much stronger position when I can hand code
>> exactly what I want.
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>>
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>(Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
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>Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
___
David Malouf
dave (at) ixda.org
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/

6 Feb 2007 - 10:55am
.pauric
2006

"As long as it shares the basic qualities of the medium you're working in."

I dont think anyone is in disagreement about the advantages of understanding
a specific medium, how that aids you on many levels when working with a
team, having an appreciation of how it can be to your detriment in blinding
you to the possibilities.

What I do think is at issue here is perspective. Its an inside out or
outside in debate. Which monkey do you have on your back? the user or the
system.

I say: start with a blank canvass, put the ideal solution down, then start
iterating within the given constraints. Not the other way around.

6 Feb 2007 - 10:59am
Alder Yarrow
2004

> The same could be asked of this guy. Do you have to be an injection
> molding specialist to be able to build a desk out of lego?
> <
> http://www.ericharshbarger.org/cgi-bin/photo.cgi?desk_21.jpg+lego/imag
> es/desk

In this analogy, coding is not the equivalent of knowing about injection
molding. Coding is the equivalent of having built things with Legos before.
As opposed to just sketching a lego desk or laying it out in Visio...

Alder

6 Feb 2007 - 11:16am
.pauric
2006

Might be a bad analogy, but to me...

html elements are put together by a coder to create interface building block
as specified by the interface designer

The html coder can happily go about his work without ever knowing what the
final interaction will be.

The lego designer only has to make sure the parts fit together, us kids play
with the parts to create what our imagination dictates.

I think I've on the wrong discussion list now (o;

On 2/6/07, Alder Yarrow <alder at alderyarrow.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> > The same could be asked of this guy. Do you have to be an injection
> > molding specialist to be able to build a desk out of lego?
> > <
> > http://www.ericharshbarger.org/cgi-bin/photo.cgi?desk_21.jpg+lego/imag
> > es/desk
>
>
> In this analogy, coding is not the equivalent of knowing about injection
> molding. Coding is the equivalent of having built things with Legos
> before.
> As opposed to just sketching a lego desk or laying it out in Visio...
>
>
> Alder
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
Job type: In house
Field: Embedded & physical interfaces. Web/cli

6 Feb 2007 - 11:22am
Ari
2006

well, in theory yes but most of us are confined by time, resource and/or
technical constraints.

for ex: i can design a pretty funky time machine but that doesn't mean it's
feasible.

real products and systems have very real constraints so the challenge in
most situations imagination is crucial to coming up with the best solution
within the limits imposed on you.

On 2/6/07, pauric <radiorental at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Might be a bad analogy, but to me...
>
> html elements are put together by a coder to create interface building
> block
> as specified by the interface designer
>
> The html coder can happily go about his work without ever knowing what the
> final interaction will be.
>
> The lego designer only has to make sure the parts fit together, us kids
> play
> with the parts to create what our imagination dictates.
>
> I think I've on the wrong discussion list now (o;
>
> On 2/6/07, Alder Yarrow <alder at alderyarrow.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> > > The same could be asked of this guy. Do you have to be an injection
> > > molding specialist to be able to build a desk out of lego?
> > > <
> > > http://www.ericharshbarger.org/cgi-bin/photo.cgi?desk_21.jpg+lego/imag
> > > es/desk
> >
> >
> > In this analogy, coding is not the equivalent of knowing about injection
> > molding. Coding is the equivalent of having built things with Legos
> > before.
> > As opposed to just sketching a lego desk or laying it out in Visio...
> >
> >
> > Alder
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Job type: In house
> Field: Embedded & physical interfaces. Web/cli
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.flyingyogi.com

6 Feb 2007 - 11:24am
Alder Yarrow
2004

All analogies are bad.

Though I disagree with your point about whether coders need to know what the
final interaction will be. That is true only at the most abstracted
micro-module level. A coder of any kind (HTML, C#, VisualBasic, Flash, etc.)
that doesn't know the final interaction that he is enabling will generate
crappy (non optimized, non abstracted, inflexible, and potentially
breakable) code.

Alder

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of pauric
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:17 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] What sets the 'best' interaction designers
apart?

Might be a bad analogy, but to me...

html elements are put together by a coder to create interface building block
as specified by the interface designer

The html coder can happily go about his work without ever knowing what the
final interaction will be.

The lego designer only has to make sure the parts fit together, us kids play
with the parts to create what our imagination dictates.

I think I've on the wrong discussion list now (o;

6 Feb 2007 - 11:28am
Dave Malouf
2005

How do we separate the craft of creating interfaces from the ability to
design interfaces?

Most traditional UX groups (if they are an actual group at all) in my
opinion (time to be provocative) craft interfaces and don't design them.

Now there is success in doing craft, but that doesn't make you a designer.

If all I'm doing is mixing patterns, widgets, and controls and placing
them in a flow to match current technological understandings, I would
suggest then all you are doing is craft and you might as well just let a
good UI Engineer do it for you. They cost less and work faster. ;)

-- dave

Ari Feldman wrote:
> well, in theory yes but most of us are confined by time, resource and/or
> technical constraints.
>
> for ex: i can design a pretty funky time machine but that doesn't mean
> it's
> feasible.
>
> real products and systems have very real constraints so the challenge in
> most situations imagination is crucial to coming up with the best solution
> within the limits imposed on you.
>
>
>
> On 2/6/07, pauric <radiorental at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> Might be a bad analogy, but to me...
>>
>> html elements are put together by a coder to create interface building
>> block
>> as specified by the interface designer
>>
>> The html coder can happily go about his work without ever knowing what
>> the
>> final interaction will be.
>>
>> The lego designer only has to make sure the parts fit together, us kids
>> play
>> with the parts to create what our imagination dictates.
>>
>> I think I've on the wrong discussion list now (o;
>>
>> On 2/6/07, Alder Yarrow <alder at alderyarrow.com> wrote:
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > > The same could be asked of this guy. Do you have to be an injection
>> > > molding specialist to be able to build a desk out of lego?
>> > > <
>> > > http://www.ericharshbarger.org/cgi-bin/photo.cgi?desk_21.jpg+lego/imag
>> > > es/desk
>> >
>> >
>> > In this analogy, coding is not the equivalent of knowing about
>> injection
>> > molding. Coding is the equivalent of having built things with Legos
>> > before.
>> > As opposed to just sketching a lego desk or laying it out in Visio...
>> >
>> >
>> > Alder
>> >
>> >
>> > ________________________________________________________________
>> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>> >
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Job type: In house
>> Field: Embedded & physical interfaces. Web/cli
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
>> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
>> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>>
>
>
>
> --
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
> http://www.flyingyogi.com
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
--
David Malouf
dave at ixda.org
http://ixda.org/

6 Feb 2007 - 11:31am
Cian
2007

Basic position I'm arguing from:
a) Designers learn through playing/exploring a medium.
b) Our medium is primarily interaction, hence designers need to learn
through exploring interaction.
c) I don't think you can learn/understand a medium through simulation
(this is not an argument about whether one can design through
simulations).
d) The only way that I am aware of that you can really explore
interaction, is through building interactive applications - be it in
flash, Visual C++, Processing, webapps, etc.

i.e. - I'm not sure how anyone can gain sufficient understanding of
the medium without having the ability to construct working (however
primitive) examples of their ideas. Otherwise all you will have is a
theoretical understanding, which seems inappropriate (the standard is
not that high. Both processing and Flash are fairly straightforward to
pick up at a prototyping level).

I'm not arguing that all code experience is useful, or relevant. If
all you've ever done is write network drivers in C++, or SQL code -
that's not useful.

As for the foam comment. Would you prefer that the designer had no
experience of working in a 3D medium, or some experience? Obviously
experience with plastic would be better, but foam at least is a 3D
material.

Cian

On 2/6/07, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
> What if you are designing consumer electronics, remote controls, a
> washer/dryer, a soda vending machine, etc., etc.?
>
> where is the "code here"?
>
> As to the foam comment. You're kidding right? The properties of foam bear
> little resemblence to plastic, except it is a form. Weight, texture,
> luminence, etc. don't translate at all.
>
> Anyway, I think Robert really said it best for me.
>
> I can code. It helps me in my life, But I don't see how it makes me a
> better DESIGNER. I say this as my career grows, I my technical expertise
> to become less and less relevant to the work I do as an IxD.
>
> M work with engineers has become more collborative so that interactive
> protoypes are done by us as a group and not only by me. And often I
> protoype my work in methods that require less and less code. Tools are just
> getting better.
>
> Dave
>
>
> Dave
>
>
>
>
> ...... Original Message .......
> On Tue, 6 Feb 2007 15:12:00 +0000 Cian <cian.oconnor at gmail.com> wrote:
> >Not really. The medium could be flash, Processing, Visual Basic, or
> >whatever. As long as it shares the basic qualities of the medium
> >you're working in.
> >I'd be suspicious of a product designer who didn't work in some form
> >of 3D material, even if it was foam.
> >
> >The key thing is interaction. I'm not sure that's something you can
> >explore creatively, if you are unable to work in some form of
> >interactive medium.
> >

6 Feb 2007 - 11:35am
Ari
2006

Cian: amen!

Ari

On 2/6/07, Cian <cian.oconnor at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Basic position I'm arguing from:
> a) Designers learn through playing/exploring a medium.
> b) Our medium is primarily interaction, hence designers need to learn
> through exploring interaction.
> c) I don't think you can learn/understand a medium through simulation
> (this is not an argument about whether one can design through
> simulations).
> d) The only way that I am aware of that you can really explore
> interaction, is through building interactive applications - be it in
> flash, Visual C++, Processing, webapps, etc.
>
> i.e. - I'm not sure how anyone can gain sufficient understanding of
> the medium without having the ability to construct working (however
> primitive) examples of their ideas. Otherwise all you will have is a
> theoretical understanding, which seems inappropriate (the standard is
> not that high. Both processing and Flash are fairly straightforward to
> pick up at a prototyping level).
>
> I'm not arguing that all code experience is useful, or relevant. If
> all you've ever done is write network drivers in C++, or SQL code -
> that's not useful.
>
> As for the foam comment. Would you prefer that the designer had no
> experience of working in a 3D medium, or some experience? Obviously
> experience with plastic would be better, but foam at least is a 3D
> material.
>
> Cian
>
> On 2/6/07, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:
> > What if you are designing consumer electronics, remote controls, a
> > washer/dryer, a soda vending machine, etc., etc.?
> >
> > where is the "code here"?
> >
> > As to the foam comment. You're kidding right? The properties of foam
> bear
> > little resemblence to plastic, except it is a form. Weight, texture,
> > luminence, etc. don't translate at all.
> >
> > Anyway, I think Robert really said it best for me.
> >
> > I can code. It helps me in my life, But I don't see how it makes me a
> > better DESIGNER. I say this as my career grows, I my technical
> expertise
> > to become less and less relevant to the work I do as an IxD.
> >
> > M work with engineers has become more collborative so that interactive
> > protoypes are done by us as a group and not only by me. And often I
> > protoype my work in methods that require less and less code. Tools are
> just
> > getting better.
> >
> > Dave
> >
> >
> > Dave
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ...... Original Message .......
> > On Tue, 6 Feb 2007 15:12:00 +0000 Cian <cian.oconnor at gmail.com> wrote:
> > >Not really. The medium could be flash, Processing, Visual Basic, or
> > >whatever. As long as it shares the basic qualities of the medium
> > >you're working in.
> > >I'd be suspicious of a product designer who didn't work in some form
> > >of 3D material, even if it was foam.
> > >
> > >The key thing is interaction. I'm not sure that's something you can
> > >explore creatively, if you are unable to work in some form of
> > >interactive medium.
> > >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.flyingyogi.com

6 Feb 2007 - 11:36am
Alder Yarrow
2004

OK Dave. As punishment for being provocative, you have to give us
definitions of Design and Craft.

Alder

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of David
Malouf
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:29 AM
To: Ari Feldman
Cc: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] What sets the 'best' interaction designers
apart?

How do we separate the craft of creating interfaces from the ability to
design interfaces?

Most traditional UX groups (if they are an actual group at all) in my
opinion (time to be provocative) craft interfaces and don't design them.

Now there is success in doing craft, but that doesn't make you a designer.

If all I'm doing is mixing patterns, widgets, and controls and placing them
in a flow to match current technological understandings, I would suggest
then all you are doing is craft and you might as well just let a good UI
Engineer do it for you. They cost less and work faster. ;)

-- dave

Ari Feldman wrote:
> well, in theory yes but most of us are confined by time, resource
> and/or technical constraints.
>
> for ex: i can design a pretty funky time machine but that doesn't mean
> it's feasible.
>
> real products and systems have very real constraints so the challenge
> in most situations imagination is crucial to coming up with the best
> solution within the limits imposed on you.
>
>
>
> On 2/6/07, pauric <radiorental at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> Might be a bad analogy, but to me...
>>
>> html elements are put together by a coder to create interface
>> building block as specified by the interface designer
>>
>> The html coder can happily go about his work without ever knowing
>> what the final interaction will be.
>>
>> The lego designer only has to make sure the parts fit together, us
>> kids play with the parts to create what our imagination dictates.
>>
>> I think I've on the wrong discussion list now (o;
>>
>> On 2/6/07, Alder Yarrow <alder at alderyarrow.com> wrote:
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > > The same could be asked of this guy. Do you have to be an
>> > > injection molding specialist to be able to build a desk out of lego?
>> > > <
>> > > http://www.ericharshbarger.org/cgi-bin/photo.cgi?desk_21.jpg+lego
>> > > /imag
>> > > es/desk
>> >
>> >
>> > In this analogy, coding is not the equivalent of knowing about
>> injection
>> > molding. Coding is the equivalent of having built things with
>> > Legos before.
>> > As opposed to just sketching a lego desk or laying it out in Visio...
>> >
>> >
>> > Alder
>> >
>> >
>> > ________________________________________________________________
>> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org List Guidelines
>> > ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/ List Help
>> > .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/ (Un)Subscription
>> > Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org Home
>> > ....................... http://ixda.org/ Resource Library
>> > ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>> >
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Job type: In house
>> Field: Embedded & physical interfaces. Web/cli
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org List Guidelines
>> ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/ List Help ..................
>> http://listhelp.ixda.org/ (Un)Subscription Options ...
>> http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
>> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
>> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org Home
>> ....................... http://ixda.org/ Resource Library ...........
>> http://resources.ixda.org
>>
>
>
>
> --
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
> http://www.flyingyogi.com
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org List Guidelines
> ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/ List Help ..................
> http://listhelp.ixda.org/ (Un)Subscription Options ...
> http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org Home
> ....................... http://ixda.org/ Resource Library ...........
> http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
--
David Malouf
dave at ixda.org
http://ixda.org/

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org List Guidelines ............
http://listguide.ixda.org/ List Help ..................
http://listhelp.ixda.org/ (Un)Subscription Options ...
http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
Questions .................. lists at ixda.org Home .......................
http://ixda.org/ Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

6 Feb 2007 - 11:37am
Dave Malouf
2005

Cian wrote:
> Basic position I'm arguing from:
> a) Designers learn through playing/exploring a medium.
> b) Our medium is primarily interaction, hence designers need to learn
> through exploring interaction.
> c) I don't think you can learn/understand a medium through simulation
> (this is not an argument about whether one can design through
> simulations).
> d) The only way that I am aware of that you can really explore
> interaction, is through building interactive applications - be it in
> flash, Visual C++, Processing, webapps, etc.

I really like how you put this.
It reminds me of the ID courses I took where in studio you have to make
things to experience them.

I think others though were speaking a bit differently, but I agree with
the sentiment that you are speaking of here.

There is another means of experiencing though that I find really useful
and that is through playing with existing creations and then
deconstructing them into patterns.

I think both are very useful.

It matches well to the craft thing I addressed previously. What is the
real craft of IxD? Is it to create prototypes or documentation? I'm not
exactly sure which one it is.

-- dave

--
--
David Malouf
dave at ixda.org
http://ixda.org/

6 Feb 2007 - 12:16pm
.pauric
2006

Ari & Alder. I whole heartedly agree with everything on this topic.
However an issue with the discussion is the mix of theory and
practicalities. I would consider myself an expert on constraints having
survived a 15,000 to 1600 'downsizing', working with engineers who dont
speak English for a company that hasnt turned a profit since 2001. I
design, I code, I field support calls and make the freakin coffee.

However, if something is true in theory, and you take away all the
real-world practicalities, then it is still true. In theory a coder could
build something without ever seeing the final result. In theory you can
design something without ever getting your hands dirty.

In reality.... I dont think you can pin down what makes a good interaction
designer without looking at where they work, who they work for and what they
work on.

So, in theory we're all going to be right until the sun sets.
In reality this could turn out to be a debate with no end.

6 Feb 2007 - 1:23pm
jayeffvee
2007

I'm sorry -- did Jared say that developers are my customers?

No. I'm their customer.

The chain goes: client has needs > I propose a solution > somebody
builds it. The need flows from the left, with conversations,
negotiations and much education going on in the relays.

At least, that's the way I'm used to working. It sounds harsh, I know
-- and in truth, the best projects and the best products happen when
everyone feels like a partner in the effort.

But I never feel as though developers are my customers. Do you folks?

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Jared M. Spool
Sent: Sunday, February 04, 2007 3:52 PM
To: dave at ixda.org
Cc: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] What sets the 'best' interaction designers
apart?

On Feb 4, 2007, at 3:30 PM, David Malouf wrote:

> Being able to speak
> HTML, MySQL, JS, Java, etc. has in many instances been a detriment
> and not a
> help b/c engineers feel designers who can code are steppin' on
> their toes
> (at best) or at worst, want to pass the buck on the pieces that
> they find
> the least interesting (the GUI) and expect the design team to produce
> release level code.

Isn't that just bad design/engineering management? Is that really a
problem that the designer actually knows how to code? This feels to
me like it's a cultural issue that is group-specific and could be
resolved with a good design/engineering manager.

> I often think that the expectation is there for IxD b/c soooo many
> people in
> IxD Can (they often came from technology backgrounds themselves)
> and they
> have seen it as an advantage tot heir careers. But it just doesn't
> scale in
> the long term growth of a discipline.

I find this negative reaction to having a skill as curious. It's
almost as if the people who don't have the skill are showing their
insecurities by reacting so strongly to this idea.

If designs are my products and developers are my customers, it makes
sense that the more I know about my customers and their environments/
capabilities, the better I'm going to serve their needs. In this
context, to say, "they should learn the language of design" is the
equivalent of telling car owners that they should know how to build a
transmission so they can drive to work.

Of course, this begs the issue: does design serve development or does
development serve design? :)

If you don't have a skill, how do you know that having it would not
help you?

Jared

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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6 Feb 2007 - 4:41pm
Alder Yarrow
2004

Depends on whether you're on the "client side" or "agency side" and how the
company is structured.

On the agency side, IT is always a customer.

Alder

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Vermette, Joan
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 10:24 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] What sets the 'best' interaction designers
apart?

But I never feel as though developers are my customers. Do you folks?

6 Feb 2007 - 7:15pm
Adrian Howard
2005

On 6 Feb 2007, at 18:23, Vermette, Joan wrote:

> I'm sorry -- did Jared say that developers are my customers?
>
> No. I'm their customer.
>
> The chain goes: client has needs > I propose a solution > somebody
> builds it. The need flows from the left, with conversations,
> negotiations and much education going on in the relays.
>
> At least, that's the way I'm used to working. It sounds harsh, I know
> -- and in truth, the best projects and the best products happen when
> everyone feels like a partner in the effort.
>
> But I never feel as though developers are my customers. Do you folks?

Yup :-)

The developers are going to build stuff - whether I do anything or
not. Part of my job is to persuade them to build better stuff. I need
to make sure that they take on board the design concepts that will
help them produce a better product.

I don't want to order people to do "the right thing". I want folk to
_want_ to do "the right thing". That, in my experience anyway,
results in better results. To do that the developers need to buy what
I'm selling.

Cheers,

Adrian

6 Feb 2007 - 8:48pm
Mark Schraad
2006

User, Consumer, Customer

The customer or client pays the bills.
The user, well, uses the end product.
As a designer and design document producer, the developer is the
consumer of my work.

Mark

On Feb 6, 2007, at 1:23 PM, Vermette, Joan wrote:

> I'm sorry -- did Jared say that developers are my customers?
>
> No. I'm their customer.
>
> The chain goes: client has needs > I propose a solution > somebody
> builds it. The need flows from the left, with conversations,
> negotiations and much education going on in the relays.
>
> At least, that's the way I'm used to working. It sounds harsh, I know
> -- and in truth, the best projects and the best products happen when
> everyone feels like a partner in the effort.
>
> But I never feel as though developers are my customers. Do you folks?
>
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
> Jared M. Spool
> Sent: Sunday, February 04, 2007 3:52 PM
> To: dave at ixda.org
> Cc: discuss at ixda.org
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] What sets the 'best' interaction designers
> apart?
>
>
> On Feb 4, 2007, at 3:30 PM, David Malouf wrote:
>
>> Being able to speak
>> HTML, MySQL, JS, Java, etc. has in many instances been a detriment
>> and not a
>> help b/c engineers feel designers who can code are steppin' on
>> their toes
>> (at best) or at worst, want to pass the buck on the pieces that
>> they find
>> the least interesting (the GUI) and expect the design team to produce
>> release level code.
>
> Isn't that just bad design/engineering management? Is that really a
> problem that the designer actually knows how to code? This feels to
> me like it's a cultural issue that is group-specific and could be
> resolved with a good design/engineering manager.
>
>> I often think that the expectation is there for IxD b/c soooo many
>> people in
>> IxD Can (they often came from technology backgrounds themselves)
>> and they
>> have seen it as an advantage tot heir careers. But it just doesn't
>> scale in
>> the long term growth of a discipline.
>
> I find this negative reaction to having a skill as curious. It's
> almost as if the people who don't have the skill are showing their
> insecurities by reacting so strongly to this idea.
>
> If designs are my products and developers are my customers, it makes
> sense that the more I know about my customers and their environments/
> capabilities, the better I'm going to serve their needs. In this
> context, to say, "they should learn the language of design" is the
> equivalent of telling car owners that they should know how to build a
> transmission so they can drive to work.
>
> Of course, this begs the issue: does design serve development or does
> development serve design? :)
>
> If you don't have a skill, how do you know that having it would not
> help you?
>
> Jared
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
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> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
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> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

7 Feb 2007 - 10:11am
bhekking
2006

> The developers are going to build stuff - whether I do anything or
> not. Part of my job is to persuade them to build better stuff. I need
> to make sure that they take on board the design concepts that will
> help them produce a better product.

This has also been my experience (in software companies) - what we call
'interaction design' happens whether we're involved or not, and it's part of my
job to demonstrate value when I have the opportunity to do so.

If I don't, stuff gets built anyway, but what gets built is not as 'good'
(usable, desirable, effective, etc).

Of course, orgs value this kind of quality to various extents, so mileage will
vary.

- Bret Hekking

____________________________________________________________________________________
Bored stiff? Loosen up...
Download and play hundreds of games for free on Yahoo! Games.
http://games.yahoo.com/games/front

7 Feb 2007 - 11:25am
Robert Reimann
2003

I think it is wise for designers to treat developers as customers in
the sense that designers must be responsible for providing developers
with adequate information to construct their design concepts
faithfully. Designers must also be responsible for supplying concepts
that are feasible to implement in the first place (which is not the
same as being *easy* to implement).

However, developers have a similar responsibility to designers to do
their best to execute a design faithfully, and to ask questions and
seek feedback when the design is ambiguous or when a technical
roadblock is encountered.

I am convinced that many if not most of the failures of design
implementation result from a failure of one or both parties to
recognize and accept these responsibilities.

Robert.

--
Robert Reimann
President, IxDA

Manager, User Experience
Bose Corporation
Framingham, MA

On 2/6/07, Vermette, Joan <Joan.Vermette at fmr.com> wrote:
> I'm sorry -- did Jared say that developers are my customers?
>
> No. I'm their customer.
>
> The chain goes: client has needs > I propose a solution > somebody
> builds it. The need flows from the left, with conversations,
> negotiations and much education going on in the relays.
>
> At least, that's the way I'm used to working. It sounds harsh, I know
> -- and in truth, the best projects and the best products happen when
> everyone feels like a partner in the effort.
>
> But I never feel as though developers are my customers. Do you folks?
>
>

7 Feb 2007 - 11:59am
Ari
2006

Agreed but I wouldn't use the word customers. Rather, design and development
are collaborators. Good designers provide developers with as much info as
possible and don't dictate but suggest and be flexible when compromises may
be necessary. Similarly, good developers will ask designers questions and as
you pointed out, try to implement the design according to its original
spirit.

All too often, one or both parties fail - e.g. developers execute without
asking questions even if something doesn't make sense and designers lack
flexibility to compromise.

Compromise between form and function is critical for products seeing the
light of day.

On 2/7/07, Robert Reimann <rmreimann at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> I think it is wise for designers to treat developers as customers in
> the sense that designers must be responsible for providing developers
> with adequate information to construct their design concepts
> faithfully. Designers must also be responsible for supplying concepts
> that are feasible to implement in the first place (which is not the
> same as being *easy* to implement).
>
> However, developers have a similar responsibility to designers to do
> their best to execute a design faithfully, and to ask questions and
> seek feedback when the design is ambiguous or when a technical
> roadblock is encountered.
>
> I am convinced that many if not most of the failures of design
> implementation result from a failure of one or both parties to
> recognize and accept these responsibilities.
>
> Robert.
>
> --
> Robert Reimann
> President, IxDA
>
> Manager, User Experience
> Bose Corporation
> Framingham, MA
>
>
> On 2/6/07, Vermette, Joan <Joan.Vermette at fmr.com> wrote:
> > I'm sorry -- did Jared say that developers are my customers?
> >
> > No. I'm their customer.
> >
> > The chain goes: client has needs > I propose a solution > somebody
> > builds it. The need flows from the left, with conversations,
> > negotiations and much education going on in the relays.
> >
> > At least, that's the way I'm used to working. It sounds harsh, I know
> > -- and in truth, the best projects and the best products happen when
> > everyone feels like a partner in the effort.
> >
> > But I never feel as though developers are my customers. Do you folks?
> >
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.flyingyogi.com

7 Feb 2007 - 12:26pm
bhekking
2006

> All too often, one or both parties fail - e.g. developers execute without
> asking questions even if something doesn't make sense and designers lack
> flexibility to compromise.
>
I'd like to let developers and designers off the hook a bit since collaboration
won't happen unless it's rewarded by those who have the power and money. You
get the behavior you reward.

Like it or not, we're change agents first, designers second (at least where
I've worked). One of my career objectives is to find/create an envrionment in
which I can be a designer first.

- Bret Hekking

____________________________________________________________________________________
It's here! Your new message!
Get new email alerts with the free Yahoo! Toolbar.
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7 Feb 2007 - 12:42pm
Ari
2006

I never considered myself a change agent. That sounds way cool. I just
figure out how shit will or should work and get it built. The great thing is
that I was able to design something that no one ever built before and it
actually worked!

However, it only happened by collaborating with all team members.

On 2/7/07, Bret Hekking <bhekking at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> > All too often, one or both parties fail - e.g. developers execute
> without
> > asking questions even if something doesn't make sense and designers lack
> > flexibility to compromise.
> >
> I'd like to let developers and designers off the hook a bit since
> collaboration
> won't happen unless it's rewarded by those who have the power and money.
> You
> get the behavior you reward.
>
> Like it or not, we're change agents first, designers second (at least
> where
> I've worked). One of my career objectives is to find/create an envrionment
> in
> which I can be a designer first.
>
> - Bret Hekking
>
>
>
>
> ____________________________________________________________________________________
> It's here! Your new message!
> Get new email alerts with the free Yahoo! Toolbar.
> http://tools.search.yahoo.com/toolbar/features/mail/
>

--
----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.flyingyogi.com

7 Feb 2007 - 2:33pm
Robert Reimann
2003

Agreed that the best outcomes occur when designers and developers
collaborate (in a way that respects each role), and their only agenda
is creating the best product/experience possible for users (within
good business parameters).

And an excellent point about designers needing to know when, where,
and how to compromise.

Robert.

--
Robert Reimann
President, IxDA

Manager, User Experience
Bose Corporation
Framingham, MA

On 2/7/07, Ari Feldman <ari1970 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Agreed but I wouldn't use the word customers. Rather, design and development
> are collaborators. Good designers provide developers with as much info as
> possible and don't dictate but suggest and be flexible when compromises may
> be necessary. Similarly, good developers will ask designers questions and as
> you pointed out, try to implement the design according to its original
> spirit.
>
> All too often, one or both parties fail - e.g. developers execute without
> asking questions even if something doesn't make sense and designers lack
> flexibility to compromise.
>
> Compromise between form and function is critical for products seeing the
> light of day.

7 Feb 2007 - 2:47pm
Pierre Roberge
2005

Maybe this has been mentionned before but I think that a great
interaction designer needs to go wide first, deep second instead of the
opposite. I come from a computer science background and have been doing
interaction design since 96 and I still need to consciously stop myself
from going deep first, wide second.

The propensity to go deep first might come from my background but may
also come from the fact that I like to design simple and powerful
behavior so maybe that comes from that too.

Pierre Roberge
IS Development Team
Business Analyst - User Experience Designer
etfsinc.com

----------
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entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or
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you have received this in error, please contact the sender and delete
the material from any computer. Unless otherwise stated, opinions
expressed in this e-mail are those of the author and are not endorsed
by the author's employer.

etfs inc. L'information transmise ne s'adresse qu'au particulier ou a
l'organisme a qui il est dirige. Il peut contenir des renseignements de
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est celle de son auteur et n'est pas endossee par l'employeur de la
personne qui l'exprime.

7 Feb 2007 - 3:03pm
jayeffvee
2007

I think that there's an aspect of 'going wide' that we may have missed
when we were talking earlier about empathy...though it was hinted at in
the list that included 'well-traveled' as a quality of a good
interaction designer...I think a crucial quality in any designer is an
ability to be multi-empathic -- that is, the ability to look at an
experience, an interface, from a multiplicity of perspectives, and in a
diversity of contexts. This is a quality of someone who is
interculturally competent, as well, which is where the 'well-traveled'
bit links in.

Did I miss mention of this earlier in the discussion? There have been
quite a few emails to keep up with in this thread. Forgive me if I
missed it?

And Pierre, is this anything like what you meant?

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Pierre Roberge
Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 2:47 PM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] What sets the 'best' interaction designers
apart?

Maybe this has been mentionned before but I think that a great
interaction designer needs to go wide first, deep second instead of the
opposite. I come from a computer science background and have been doing
interaction design since 96 and I still need to consciously stop myself
from going deep first, wide second.

The propensity to go deep first might come from my background but may
also come from the fact that I like to design simple and powerful
behavior so maybe that comes from that too.

Pierre Roberge
IS Development Team
Business Analyst - User Experience Designer
etfsinc.com

----------
etfs inc. The information transmitted is intended only for the person or
entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or
privileged material. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other
use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon this information by
persons or entities other than the intended recipient, is prohibited. If

you have received this in error, please contact the sender and delete
the material from any computer. Unless otherwise stated, opinions
expressed in this e-mail are those of the author and are not endorsed
by the author's employer.

etfs inc. L'information transmise ne s'adresse qu'au particulier ou a
l'organisme a qui il est dirige. Il peut contenir des renseignements de
nature privilegiee et/ou confidentielle . Si le lecteur de ce message
n'est pas le destinataire vise, ni l'employe ou le mandataire charge de
la livraison au destinataire vise, il est par la presente avise que
toute dissemination, distribution ou transcription de cette
communication est strictement interdite. Si vous avez recu la presente
communication par erreur, veuillez nous en aviser immediatement par
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moins d'avis contraire, toute opinion exprimee dans le present courriel
est celle de son auteur et n'est pas endossee par l'employeur de la
personne qui l'exprime.

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
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7 Feb 2007 - 3:13pm
Adrian Howard
2005

On 7 Feb 2007, at 15:11, Bret Hekking wrote:

>> The developers are going to build stuff - whether I do anything or
>> not. Part of my job is to persuade them to build better stuff. I need
>> to make sure that they take on board the design concepts that will
>> help them produce a better product.
>
> This has also been my experience (in software companies) - what we
> call
> 'interaction design' happens whether we're involved or not, and
> it's part of my
> job to demonstrate value when I have the opportunity to do so.
>
> If I don't, stuff gets built anyway, but what gets built is not as
> 'good'
> (usable, desirable, effective, etc).
[snip]

Indeed. When that happens I find it's usually my fault. Developers
are generally pretty keen on building good products in my experience.
When they don't is often because the goals have not been communicated
well.

Cheers,

Adrian

7 Feb 2007 - 4:01pm
Pierre Roberge
2005

Joan said:

I think that there's an aspect of 'going wide' that we may have missed
when we were talking earlier about empathy...though it was hinted at in
the list that included 'well-traveled' as a quality of a good
interaction designer...I think a crucial quality in any designer is an
ability to be multi-empathic -- that is, the ability to look at an
experience, an interface, from a multiplicity of perspectives, and in a
diversity of contexts. This is a quality of someone who is
interculturally competent, as well, which is where the 'well-traveled'
bit links in.

Did I miss mention of this earlier in the discussion? There have been
quite a few emails to keep up with in this thread. Forgive me if I
missed it?

And Pierre, is this anything like what you meant?

My reply:

I agree with what you are saying. I see a lot of people that dislike
contemplating/reframing a problem just for the sake of understanding it
better instead of trying to find the first solution that comes to mind.
Putting out fires quickly was often rewarded in the places I worked and
that makes it more difficult to work in a different manner. So yes, the
multiplicity of perspectives comes into play a lot in defining what
there is to solve. Also the traits of patience/confidence in one's
ability/resistance to stress help a lot.

Pierre Roberge
IS Development Team
Business Analyst - User Experience Designer

----------
etfs inc. The information transmitted is intended only for the person or
entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or
privileged material. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other
use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon this information by
persons or entities other than the intended recipient, is prohibited. If
you have received this in error, please contact the sender and delete
the material from any computer. Unless otherwise stated, opinions
expressed in this e-mail are those of the author and are not endorsed
by the author's employer.

etfs inc. L'information transmise ne s'adresse qu'au particulier ou a
l'organisme a qui il est dirige. Il peut contenir des renseignements de
nature privilegiee et/ou confidentielle . Si le lecteur de ce message
n'est pas le destinataire vise, ni l'employe ou le mandataire charge de
la livraison au destinataire vise, il est par la presente avise que
toute dissemination, distribution ou transcription de cette
communication est strictement interdite. Si vous avez recu la presente
communication par erreur, veuillez nous en aviser immediatement par
courriel et detruire le document de tout ordinateur le contenant. A
moins d'avis contraire, toute opinion exprimee dans le present courriel
est celle de son auteur et n'est pas endossee par l'employeur de la
personne qui l'exprime.

7 Feb 2007 - 4:34pm
.pauric
2006

"Developers are generally pretty keen on building good products"

No question, nobody really wants to build cr at p.

What makes a good developer? someone who enjoys problem solving at a
technical level.
Are these technical problems aligned with the building interfaces? not
always.

So, for me, a lot of conversations with engineers involve translating
interface issues in to enjoyable technical problems. Or at least presenting
them as issues that need solving, NEVER as blatant requirements.

To do that you would be well equipped to have a solid understanding on code
and a grasp of the high level architecture of the systems you are working
on. In addition, an ability to credibly communicate those on a 1:1 level
with developers/coders/engineers.

regards - pauric

7 Feb 2007 - 6:39pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Feb 6, 2007, at 10:23 AM, Vermette, Joan wrote:

> I'm sorry -- did Jared say that developers are my customers?
>
> No. I'm their customer.
>
> The chain goes: client has needs > I propose a solution > somebody
> builds it. The need flows from the left, with conversations,
> negotiations and much education going on in the relays.

For the record, what I was saying was one COULD construe that
developers are the customers of your design product. (Inotherwords,
if you don't produce something developers can effectively work off
of, then the result doesn't work.)

It's just one perspective of how the development process works, but
not necessarily the only one.

Jared

7 Feb 2007 - 6:43pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Feb 6, 2007, at 9:16 AM, pauric wrote:

> I would consider myself an expert on constraints having
> survived a 15,000 to 1600 'downsizing', working with engineers who
> dont
> speak English for a company that hasnt turned a profit since 2001.

Hey man, is it time to be looking at some of those job openings
posted on the list??

Jared

8 Feb 2007 - 4:39am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 7 Feb 2007, at 21:34, pauric wrote:

> "Developers are generally pretty keen on building good products"
>
> No question, nobody really wants to build cr at p.
>
> What makes a good developer? someone who enjoys problem solving at a
> technical level. Are these technical problems aligned with the
> building
> interfaces? not always.
>
> So, for me, a lot of conversations with engineers involve translating
> interface issues in to enjoyable technical problems. Or at least
> presenting
> them as issues that need solving, NEVER as blatant requirements.
[snip]

That's interesting - since it's pretty much the opposite of what I
try and do :-) I find developers are pretty good and finding
interesting technical problems.

Rather than try to translate the interface issues into technical
tasks, I explain the design decisions that caused particular
interface decisions. I find this effective because:
* Once they understand the why, they _want_ to implement it
* It gives them a better understanding of the customer and end-user,
so they're less likely to make decisions that affect them badly in
the places where I've been ambiguous
* It makes it more likely that the code will embody the deeper design
concepts of the interface, rather than the surface detail. Making
future maintenance of the product much easier.

Cheers,

Adrian

8 Feb 2007 - 5:10am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 7 Feb 2007, at 17:26, Bret Hekking wrote:

>> All too often, one or both parties fail - e.g. developers execute
>> without
>> asking questions even if something doesn't make sense and
>> designers lack
>> flexibility to compromise.
>>
> I'd like to let developers and designers off the hook a bit since
> collaboration
> won't happen unless it's rewarded by those who have the power and
> money. You
> get the behavior you reward.
[snip]

Absolutely. This, for me, is the biggest challenge in bringing
usability issues to development groups. When your reward system is
all about meeting deadlines and ticking off technical tasks, rather
than building features with business value, it's hardly surprising
things don't work well.

> Like it or not, we're change agents first, designers second (at
> least where
> I've worked). One of my career objectives is to find/create an
> envrionment in
> which I can be a designer first.

Check. Please insert my usual "I find agile development processes
work well" rant here :-)

Cheers,

Adrian

8 Feb 2007 - 9:23am
.pauric
2006

"I find developers are pretty good and finding interesting technical
problems..... I explain the design decisions that caused particular
interface decisions."

You are right, I made the mistake of generalising my experience. I'll
refine my statement by saying I work with both software and hardware
engineers on physical, CLI & web interfaces. While some of those guys have
an appreciation of UCD, others find UI work quite uninteresting, an
afterthought. Its to the 'uninterested' that I find myself spinning UI
issues in to technical challenges.

Thanks for the correction.

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