Is IxD more than software?

20 Aug 2007 - 6:36pm
7 years ago
29 replies
576 reads
Dave Malouf
2005

Ok, I shifted the thread b/c we were getting all mixed up between the
architecture thread and this one.

Andrei,
It seems to me, and I'm just extrapolating, is that you believe that
design in the end is all about form? I wish this was a conversation so
that I can get a yes, no answer from you and then move in different
directions accordingly. For the purposes of this post I'm going to go
with "Yes".

[I do think you believe in strategic design, but this doesn't seem to
be your main craft, or a main part of your argument about interface
vs. interaction design. Were you part of that group on Wikipedia
trying to squash the interaction design entry saying it was just
interface design?]

B/c of that you see that forms should dictate the disciplines of
design and ergo your concentration on interface instead of
interaction. What does this mean? It means from what I can tell is
that behavior is a loose by-product of what you consider to be the
primary effort which is the creation of the interface, the form from
which all behavior is communicated and or otherwise resides. Again, I
really hoped that I could get confirmation before moving on, but alas
I can't so I have to continue with possibly my false assumptions.

Now, reading lots of books that came out 07 on interaction design I
person find this really not to be the case. While software is
definitely a primary form container for interaction designer,
interaction design has to exist in many many many different form
containers. Now, as practice was interaction design used? Probably not
nearly as much as it should, but whenever there is an instrument that
can react in more than 1 way to human influence than there is
interaction design.

Examples:
The layout of a physical keyboard on your mobile device.
The way a button feels, reacts, and responds to touch.
Whether or not to apply haptics.

Now you might say these are all industrial design problems and I have
the following responses:
1. Yea, like this is a primary part of their education? Heck no!
interaction is an after thought compared to ergonomics and at best
resides there if at all.
2. Even if it is part of the ID puzzle, I would say that it the
interaction design part of the ID puzzle the same way similar form
issues are put together to communicate interaction design within
software itself. They co-habitate the same space, THUS why and whereas
IxD is always going to be the "Jew" of design. It is a small part,
never with any real citizenship and relegated to the shtetl for one
off abuse. (Don't mean to offend, but IxD is all about metaphor, and
heck this is the best one that came to me and despite my Arab last
name I am a 100% Eastern European Ashkenazic Jew.)

My point being is that form and behavior while comingled are separatable.

Now here is the Andrei on my shoulder ... I hear a huge "So?!?" ...
"What does this have to do with the every day world of doing design?"

To me there are 4 facets or foundations that live outside of form that
are important for us to understand as interaction designers the same
way that line, shape, color, texture and negative space are for
graphic and industrial designers (volume, space are added for 3D
work). Dan Saffer in his book adds time motion and sound to the pieces
that are important as elements for interaction design, but again
besides time these are all form based.

The foundational elements I'd like to call out (and will in an
upcoming B&A article hopefully this week) are Time. None of the other
experience design disciplines besides maybe as a stretch animator.
Then there is metaphor which exists in communication design and
narrative, but in a very different way. Abstraction is another part of
interaction design that most closely correlates to what Jonas Lowgren
has been calling pliability, but for me is the more related to how far
physical action and virtual reaction are from each other. Think
mapquest vs. google maps when it comes to panning a map. Lastly is the
negative of all the above. Time is most obvious with pause or lack of
response, but there is negativity in all of this.

Gosh, so much of what I'm working on right now (which I can't talk
about) is really about the behavioral need/design first and then
figuring out the appropriate forms for the contexts I'm working in.
Sometimes this mean replacing software with hardware, sometimes this
means the opposite, and sometimes it means combining both.

I DO agree that interaction design to be really deep enough to bother
with the role of interaction designer does require software at some
level even if it is just the firmware built into a remote control for
a TV. I guess that is software in the literal sense, but NOT anything
to do with a GUI. There is a UI, and so interface design is part of
the equation, but so is interaction design as separate from it.

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

Comments

20 Aug 2007 - 7:17pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

Without replying to anything but the title of your thread, the answer is
definitely "yes".

I design more than software. On occasion, I help clients design their
processes, design the touch-points between the company and their customers,
etc. Many, many things can be considered interactions, and they can *all* be
designed.

A few months ago I designed a *deliverable* - a Powerpoint/Keynote template
- entirely so that the interaction between the UX team and the dev teams at
my last employer were smoother and more productive. (Of course, I also
wanted something more efficient, but it was mostly about improving the
interactions.)

I design interactions in all sorts of ways. *Most* of what I do is related
to web apps, but at some future point in my career, *most* of what I could
do just as easily be about designing other types of interactions.

-r-

20 Aug 2007 - 7:32pm
bminihan
2007

I feel the same way about my capabilities, but I can't honestly say I ever
thought to group them all under "interaction design". Maybe I haven't
needed a catch-all for it until now (do I need a catch-all now?).

Similar to yourself, my second project at my current company was designing a
one-page project lifecycle diagram to illustrate UCD & architecture
checkpoints; last year I pitched a proposal to reduce our 8-second page-load
standard down to 4-seconds - a PowerPoint, no less, with six-sigma control
charts; earlier this year I designed a two-stage agile lifecycle diagram
that segregates user research & interface design from enterprise-hardening
offshore development; this summer I designed and executed a survey to gauge
business-unit IT satisfaction with our company's shared services.
Surrounding all of these, I redesigned web applications "for a living" and
considered these other stints as "other duties as assigned".

If I interviewed for a job tomorrow, I haven't the slightest idea whether
these extra tasks would matter to the hiring manager who, from most
positions I've seen advertised, are looking purely for a "visual designer
who can do user research". Regardless whether IxD is broader than software,
companies don't likely know that it is, but they do know how to use it for
other things once they have someone who does it, in-house.

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Robert
Hoekman, Jr.
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2007 8:17 PM
To: David Malouf
Cc: IXDA list
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Is IxD more than software?

Without replying to anything but the title of your thread, the answer is
definitely "yes".

I design more than software. On occasion, I help clients design their
processes, design the touch-points between the company and their customers,
etc. Many, many things can be considered interactions, and they can *all* be
designed.

A few months ago I designed a *deliverable* - a Powerpoint/Keynote template
- entirely so that the interaction between the UX team and the dev teams at
my last employer were smoother and more productive. (Of course, I also
wanted something more efficient, but it was mostly about improving the
interactions.)

I design interactions in all sorts of ways. *Most* of what I do is related
to web apps, but at some future point in my career, *most* of what I could
do just as easily be about designing other types of interactions.

-r-
________________________________________________________________
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20 Aug 2007 - 8:48pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> Regardless whether IxD is broader than software,
> companies don't likely know that it is, but they do know how to use it for
> other things once they have someone who does it, in-house.

Definitely. Usually, people immediately start coming to me with questions
about the behavior of *everything*, from processes to marketing points to
whatever.

If I rolled all this stuff up into a single statement, it would probably be
something like "I design how things work". Simple as that.

-r-

20 Aug 2007 - 9:01pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Aug 20, 2007, at 4:36 PM, David Malouf wrote:

> It seems to me, and I'm just extrapolating, is that you believe that
> design in the end is all about form? I wish this was a conversation so
> that I can get a yes, no answer from you and then move in different
> directions accordingly. For the purposes of this post I'm going to go
> with "Yes".

Interesting approach... I'll play along. I believe the job
*description* should be about form, as that is the most direct,
succinct and accessible way to communicate with people who do not do
what we do. Whenever someone asks you what you do, by saying "I
design software" or "I design clothes" or "I design homes" or "I
design skyscapers" suddenly people know what it is that you do.
Whenever anyone not in the technology sector asks me what I do, I
find that I simply blurt out "I design software" and suddenly they at
least have an understanding of what it is I do without me hemming and
hawing. (As I have stated before, I could easily accept "I design
digital products" and let that encompass software and hardware
combined.)

Does that mean I believe that the design itself is only about form?
Not even close.

But if you go around and say "I design interaction" I'm willing to
bet a lot of people will look at you funny.

> [I do think you believe in strategic design, but this doesn't seem to
> be your main craft, or a main part of your argument about interface
> vs. interaction design. Were you part of that group on Wikipedia
> trying to squash the interaction design entry saying it was just
> interface design?]

No I wasn't, but damn, I wish I could have been! Heh.

And fwiw, I find the easiest way to attack "strategic" design is to
design real things that exemplify your strategy. It's hard to argue
with a real product or prototype while very easy to argue about white
papers, sketches, process, etc. In fact, that's why I tend to favor
building prototypes as part of the process no matter if the project
is bread and butter work or blue sky thinking.

At the end of the day, good design needs no little or no defense. And
good products and prototypes always tend to lead to good design
strategy by example.

> What does this mean? It means from what I can tell is
> that behavior is a loose by-product of what you consider to be the
> primary effort which is the creation of the interface, the form from
> which all behavior is communicated and or otherwise resides.

Maybe my example was unclear, but I didn't say behavior was a loose
by product with my chair example, I stated a customer's emotional
reaction to how the chair feels is a loose by product. (I said,
"That's like trying to say a person who designs a chair is really
designing the way someone feels when they sit down.")

> Examples:
> The layout of a physical keyboard on your mobile device.
> The way a button feels, reacts, and responds to touch.
> Whether or not to apply haptics.

> Now you might say these are all industrial design problems and I have
> the following responses:
> 1. Yea, like this is a primary part of their education? Heck no!
> interaction is an after thought compared to ergonomics and at best
> resides there if at all.

Hunh? You lost me. The layout of a keyboard on your mobile device is
not a part of how industrial design students are taught? The way a
button feels, reacts and responds to touch is not a part of
industrial design? You lost me here. I have no idea how you can claim
that.

> My point being is that form and behavior while comingled are
> separatable.

You can treat anything in design as separable, but in doing so, you
run the risk of making the design irrelevant. In fact, most bad
design in the technology sector comes from exactly where people or
product teams create too much separation between the various tensions
that naturally come from form and function working off each other.

> Then there is metaphor which exists in communication design and
> narrative, but in a very different way. Abstraction is another part of
> interaction design that most closely correlates to what Jonas Lowgren
> has been calling pliability, but for me is the more related to how far
> physical action and virtual reaction are from each other. Think
> mapquest vs. google maps when it comes to panning a map. Lastly is the
> negative of all the above. Time is most obvious with pause or lack of
> response, but there is negativity in all of this.

I won't disagree with this except to say those are things I've dealt
with as an interface designer since I started doing this back in
1990. Except I've always considered these things an inherent part of
interface design, co-existing with graphic design and organizational
structure issues at the same time. A large part of this difference of
viewpoint by the way I think comes the fact I'm come from a
generation of software and interface designers who cut our teeth on
traditional desktop client application design, and the web comes
along and re-invents everything we had already been doing for quite
some time, renaming a bunch of things that as far as I'm concerned
weren't mislabeled to begin with. And now look what people are doing!
Everyone is recreating the wheel again, even going as far as Adobe
has with AIR to put the web apps right back onto the desktop directly.

Funny how that stuff circles back.

> Gosh, so much of what I'm working on right now (which I can't talk
> about) is really about the behavioral need/design first and then
> figuring out the appropriate forms for the contexts I'm working in.
> Sometimes this mean replacing software with hardware, sometimes this
> means the opposite, and sometimes it means combining both.

And in the end... what do you have? Would it perhaps be... a
*product* of some sort?

> I DO agree that interaction design to be really deep enough to bother
> with the role of interaction designer does require software at some
> level even if it is just the firmware built into a remote control for
> a TV. I guess that is software in the literal sense, but NOT anything
> to do with a GUI. There is a UI, and so interface design is part of
> the equation, but so is interaction design as separate from it.

What I think you are getting at is the "digital" component, and what
digital now allows us to do that was not possible before, and *THAT*
is where we have the newer, cooler and still evolving pieces that are
not well defined in industrial design. Often times, the "digital"
component is software, with or without an interface at the human
interaction level. In fact, I'm not sure how one gets digital without
a software component to be honest. That's a much different
conversation to have, and is very much worth it.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

20 Aug 2007 - 9:36pm
Robert Reimann
2003

On 8/20/07, Andrei Herasimchuk <andrei at involutionstudios.com> wrote:
> On Aug 20, 2007, at 4:36 PM, David Malouf wrote:
> > Examples:
> > The layout of a physical keyboard on your mobile device.
> > The way a button feels, reacts, and responds to touch.
> > Whether or not to apply haptics.
>
> > Now you might say these are all industrial design problems and I have
> > the following responses:
> > 1. Yea, like this is a primary part of their education? Heck no!
> > interaction is an after thought compared to ergonomics and at best
> > resides there if at all.
>
> Hunh? You lost me. The layout of a keyboard on your mobile device is
> not a part of how industrial design students are taught? The way a
> button feels, reacts and responds to touch is not a part of
> industrial design? You lost me here. I have no idea how you can claim
> that.

Well, it depends on the ID program you're talking about, but no, this
is not always part of an industrial designer's education. At my
company (and it sounds like at Moto as well) this is a problem for
IxD, not ID.

> A large part of this difference of
> viewpoint by the way I think comes the fact I'm come from a
> generation of software and interface designers who cut our teeth on
> traditional desktop client application design, and the web comes
> along and re-invents everything we had already been doing for quite
> some time, renaming a bunch of things that as far as I'm concerned
> weren't mislabeled to begin with. And now look what people are doing!
> Everyone is recreating the wheel again, even going as far as Adobe
> has with AIR to put the web apps right back onto the desktop directly.
>
> Funny how that stuff circles back.

Well, I come from that world as well. UI design back then was a craft;
many people were of course quite talented at it, but it was not a discipline
with a collected body of knowledge (principles, practices, and patterns) to
call on. Now that is starting to change. That said, I completely empathize
with the web reinventing wheels (and usually making them square in the
process). I'm glad to see those days are also nearing a close as web
technologies mature and IA and IxD drift closer together.

> What I think you are getting at is the "digital" component, and what
> digital now allows us to do that was not possible before, and *THAT*
> is where we have the newer, cooler and still evolving pieces that are
> not well defined in industrial design. Often times, the "digital"
> component is software, with or without an interface at the human
> interaction level. In fact, I'm not sure how one gets digital without
> a software component to be honest. That's a much different
> conversation to have, and is very much worth it.

This is the thesis of _About Face_ (and Alan's _The Inmates are
Running the Asylum_) digital products are products that contain
computers, and thus software. They are thus products for whom the
(software-mediated) behavior, not the form, becomes the most defining
characteristic.

Robert.

--
Robert Reimann
President, IxDA

Manager, User Experience
Bose Corporation
Framingham, MA

20 Aug 2007 - 10:23pm
Jeff Howard
2004

I believe that people see software as the primary vector for
interaction design simply because it's one of the few ways we're
able to conceive of delivering solutions with the requisite
interactivity and complexity.

But software isn't the only way to deliver complex, refined
experiences. Interactions with other humans can be just as complex,
with degrees of subtlety that software can't begin to match.
Likewise, physical envionments can be overwhelming complex and
immersive. Interactions within these spaces can be designed if we
step up.

My argument is that the complexity of the problem space is the
governing factor, not its digital quotient. Many interaction
designers are already familiar with human-centered design principles.
Nothing about those principles prevents them from being extended to
areas of human interaction outside the world of software. It's not a
difficult conceptual leap to go from watching people make mistakes on
expedia.com to watching people make mistakes in an actual airport. We
have only to embrace the toolkits necessary for effecting change in
the domains of the social and the environmental.

Here are a couple more examples to look up:

R&D Comes to Services: Bank of America's Pathbreaking Experiments
In-depth look at a five-step process that Bank of America has used to
create new service concepts for retail banking.

Servicescapes: The Impact of Physical Surroundings on Customers and
Employees
Detailed account of how Scandinavian Airline Systems used design
principles to improve their customer's experience with the airline.

The tools used to define human interactions with physical and social
systems don't differ all that much from what many software designers
already know. Interaction Designers deliver wireframes and flow
diagrams; it's not prohibitively more difficult to deliver something
called a Service Blueprint. Look up Mary Jo Bitner's paper called
"Service Blueprinting: A Practical Tool for Service Innovation" on
Google. It's a technique that's been around for over twenty years
and you could build one with Omnigraffle tomorrow.

There are skills that interaction designers do need to improve on to
be effective outside the world of bits. But I propose that the
hurdles are no greater than those many have already surmounted by
moving from other design disciplines to interaction design. There's
a shift in perspective necessary to think in terms of analog world
touchpoints and processes rather than checkboxes and radio buttons.
But I believe it can be done.

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=19536

20 Aug 2007 - 11:31pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

Robert Reimann wrote:

> This is the thesis of _About Face_ (and Alan's _The Inmates are
> Running the Asylum_) digital products are products that contain
> computers, and thus software. They are thus products for whom the
> (software-mediated) behavior, not the form, becomes the most defining
> characteristic.

How is behavior, driven by a digital or software component, agnostic from the
form? Or at least enough so that the form is not integral in defining the behavior?

Let me put it this way, how are the "behaviors" of the iPhone ever separated
from the icon design, the slim outer casing of the product, the multi-touch
display, the slick transitional animations that also provide feedback, the way
the phone informs you of a call, or swivels to match the landscape or portrait
modes that occur when you interact with it... etc?

I understand at an academic or even philosophical level what one can mean by
claiming "behavior" is somehow technology agnostic, but in practical terms, it
never works for me.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

20 Aug 2007 - 11:36pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Aug 20, 2007, at 11:23 PM, Jeff Howard wrote:

> There's
> a shift in perspective necessary to think in terms of analog world
> touchpoints and processes rather than checkboxes and radio buttons.
> But I believe it can be done.

And is being done more and more often. Last semester, my Graphic
Design students designed a service. They designed an event for high
school students interested in pursuing careers in the visual arts.
They defined a problem through research into the needs of students,
teachers, parents, etc. They worked with all of the stakeholders in
the university and community. They used a service blueprint to
explore all of the touchpoints between the attendees, the speakers,
and the "backstage" participants. They convinced the administration
to fund their efforts. The event was extremely successful, bringing
in many times more potential applicants to the school than they have
been able to attract for past events. Other programs in the
university expressed interest in having the design program help with
their events.

I was teaching the students the same processes I use on a daily basis
to design desktop software and web applications. Sure, there was a
website for the event, but that was probably the smallest piece of
Interaction Design that was done for the project.

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

Things should be as simple as possible,
but no simpler.

- Albert Einstein

21 Aug 2007 - 1:44am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> I understand at an academic or even philosophical level what one can mean by
> claiming "behavior" is somehow technology agnostic, but in practical terms, it
> never works for me.

Let me clarify my own post... I understand how *defining* behavior is technology
agnostic, but I don't understand how *designing* a product with those behavioral
definitions is technology agnostic, and so much so that it can be separated from
the form. (As expressed as an interface, traditional industrial design, etc.)

Andrei

21 Aug 2007 - 7:28am
stauciuc
2006

This sounds to me like a very good definition of what we do. How about we
keep it? :)

On 8/21/07, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <robert at rhjr.net> wrote:
>
>
>
> If I rolled all this stuff up into a single statement, it would probably
> be
> something like "I design how things work". Simple as that.
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
>
>

--
Sergiu Sebastian Tauciuc
http://www.sergiutauciuc.ro/en/

21 Aug 2007 - 9:33am
Dave Malouf
2005

Talk about a useless definition that is too broad beyond belief.

One of the things that in my mind gas always kept things together for
IxDA us that we always said we are a part of a greater whole. We as
practitioners always do more than IxD, but that does not mean that IxD
defines everything that we do.

Some of us have roles that are much more narrow than others. Often
this is about your career level or if you work on your own, or the
size of the enterprise you work for.

Any definition we do have needs to be focused on interaction design
and not on interaction designers.

David Malouf
dave at synapticburn.com
http://synapticburn.com
http://beta.ixda.org
(Sent from my iPhone)

On Aug 21, 2007, at 8:28 AM, "Sebi Tauciuc" <stauciuc at gmail.com> wrote:

>
> This sounds to me like a very good definition of what we do. How
> about we keep it? :)
>
>
> On 8/21/07, Robert Hoekman, Jr. < robert at rhjr.net> wrote:
>
>
> If I rolled all this stuff up into a single statement, it would
> probably be
> something like "I design how things work". Simple as that.
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
>
>
>
>
> --
> Sergiu Sebastian Tauciuc
> http://www.sergiutauciuc.ro/en/

21 Aug 2007 - 10:13am
Steven Pautz
2006

Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> Let me clarify my own post... I understand how *defining* behavior is
> technology
> agnostic, but I don't understand how *designing* a product with those
> behavioral
> definitions is technology agnostic, and so much so that it can be
> separated from
> the form. (As expressed as an interface, traditional industrial design,
> etc.)
>

I believe this is about removing alternatives and separations which exist
naturally -- not about separating (or avoiding separating) different facets
or expressions.

At the beginning of a project (and potentially well into it) there are
countless potential alternatives for nearly every aspect of the final
product: form, behavior, technology, market, purpose, product team, etc.
Although all these aspects will *eventually* (hopefully) be inextricably
united into a cohesive whole, until that point is reached there is -- by
definition -- a good bit of "wiggle room".

A single behavior can potentially exist through any of several forms, and a
single form can support any of several behaviors -- just as a single form
(or behavior) can be implemented via multiple technologies and a single
technology can implement many forms (or behaviors). The potential
independence and separation exist *until we remove it*. The eventual
creation of a final product will collapse these alternatives into a final
solution, but this collapsing requires each facet to be clamped down; the
"wiggle room" replaced with (hopefully) thoughtful selection.

It's not that the process of designing behavior is separate from designing
form, I believe, but rather that behavior and form must both be addressed
and 'clamped down' such that they *aren't* separate. This clamping process
must occur for all facets, and this requires many different ways of thinking
and working -- none of which may be performed in isolation. Clamping down
one facet requires consideration of all other facets, of course.

So (with apologies for rambling,) although getting the form right certainly
requires attending to behavior -- and vice versa, both potentially quite a
lot -- it's not the same thing because it addresses a different need of the
project, a different facet of the product. And this requires a different
mindset and manner of seeing the world -- and thus a different potential
specialization or role.

---------------------------
Steven Pautz

"There are 118 golf holes here. All I have to do is eliminate the 100."
~Perry Maxwell

21 Aug 2007 - 10:30am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> Talk about a useless definition that is too broad beyond belief.
>

Tell us how you really feel, David.

Perhaps someone with a narrower focus should (and often does) have a
different title, if for no other reason, so we can keep the definition of
IxD clear.

-r-

21 Aug 2007 - 10:44am
Dave Malouf
2005

Ixd != design or ux
It is its own thing. Your definition (or description) means nothing
except maybe what you can tell your grandmother orsimilar lay person
at a party. It means nothing at the business or practice level.

- dave

- dave

David Malouf
dave at synapticburn.com
http://synapticburn.com
http://beta.ixda.org
(Sent from my iPhone)

On Aug 21, 2007, at 11:30 AM, "Robert Hoekman, Jr." <robert at rhjr.net>
wrote:

>
> Talk about a useless definition that is too broad beyond belief.
>
> Tell us how you really feel, David.
>
> Perhaps someone with a narrower focus should (and often does) have a
> different title, if for no other reason, so we can keep the
> definition of IxD clear.
>
> -r-
>

21 Aug 2007 - 10:51am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

OK, I'll take the bait. I want to see your argument for this one.

Ixd != design or ux

Huh? How on Earth does Interaction *Design* not equal *design* or play a
part in UX?

-r-

21 Aug 2007 - 11:08am
Dave Malouf
2005

Sorry to be so forceful, but I know that we've been there time and
again and I'd is not valuable for any organization to form itself at
the level of design except for people who are at a very high level and
usually purely strategic.

The other reason is to create an org that works at bringing other orgs
together--like uxnet.

Aiga and idsa are trying yo form themselves around "design" but I
would question their results and whether they are ending up doing a
bigger disservice to their broader constituentcy.

David Malouf
dave at synapticburn.com
http://synapticburn.com
http://beta.ixda.org
(Sent from my iPhone)

On Aug 21, 2007, at 11:44 AM, David Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:

> Ixd != design or ux
> It is its own thing. Your definition (or description) means nothing
> except maybe what you can tell your grandmother orsimilar lay person
> at a party. It means nothing at the business or practice level.
>
> - dave
>
> - dave
>
> David Malouf
> dave at synapticburn.com
> http://synapticburn.com
> http://beta.ixda.org
> (Sent from my iPhone)
>
> On Aug 21, 2007, at 11:30 AM, "Robert Hoekman, Jr."
> <robert at rhjr.net> wrote:
>
>>
>> Talk about a useless definition that is too broad beyond belief.
>>
>> Tell us how you really feel, David.
>>
>> Perhaps someone with a narrower focus should (and often does) have
>> a different title, if for no other reason, so we can keep the
>> definition of IxD clear.
>>
>> -r-
>>

21 Aug 2007 - 11:43am
Jeff Howard
2004

Robert Hoekman, Jr. wrote:
> Perhaps someone with a narrower focus should
> (and often does) have a different title, if for no other
> reason, so we can keep the definition of IxD clear.

I agree with this. I also agree that interaction design isn't as
broad an umbrella as design. And since we're inexplicably using
programming syntax now, here's what I believe:

Interaction Design != UI Design
Interaction Design != Interface Design
Interaction Design != Software Design

Interaction Design includes those things, but I don't believe that a
least common denominator approach is going to solve any problems.

Also, from a previous thread:
Experience Design != User Experience Design
Experience Design != Service Design

I agree with Andrei on his definition of experience design. Talk
about cognitive dissonance.

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the improved ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=19536

21 Aug 2007 - 11:48am
bminihan
2007

The only business or practice people who understand what I mean when I say "I design the interactive elements (software, processes, widgets) between people and what they want to get done" are...drum roll...interaction designers.

Everyone else at the business level tells me I "design things that work". My preferred version of this is "I don't build the [insert relevant thing here], I make it better." (apologies to TDK or whoever coined the slogan). My VP, CIO, senior managers, customers, clients, users, project managers, developers, testers, BAs, etc all prefer the simpler version. Anything more complex and we all get into semantic discussions about our roles, and our org chart starts looking like a verbal rorschach test.

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

---- David Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> Ixd != design or ux
> It is its own thing. Your definition (or description) means nothing
> except maybe what you can tell your grandmother orsimilar lay person
> at a party. It means nothing at the business or practice level.
>
> - dave
>
> - dave
>
> David Malouf
> dave at synapticburn.com
> http://synapticburn.com
> http://beta.ixda.org
> (Sent from my iPhone)
>
> On Aug 21, 2007, at 11:30 AM, "Robert Hoekman, Jr." <robert at rhjr.net>
> wrote:
>
> >
> > Talk about a useless definition that is too broad beyond belief.
> >
> > Tell us how you really feel, David.
> >
> > Perhaps someone with a narrower focus should (and often does) have a
> > different title, if for no other reason, so we can keep the
> > definition of IxD clear.
> >
> > -r-
> >

--

21 Aug 2007 - 11:46am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Aug 21, 2007, at 8:13 AM, Steven Pautz wrote:

> At the beginning of a project (and potentially well into it) there
> are countless potential alternatives for nearly every aspect of the
> final product: form, behavior, technology, market, purpose, product
> team, etc. Although all these aspects will *eventually* (hopefully)
> be inextricably united into a cohesive whole, until that point is
> reached there is -- by definition -- a good bit of "wiggle room".

Agreed.

> It's not that the process of designing behavior is separate from
> designing form, I believe, but rather that behavior and form must
> both be addressed and 'clamped down' such that they *aren't*
> separate. This clamping process must occur for all facets, and this
> requires many different ways of thinking and working -- none of
> which may be performed in isolation. Clamping down one facet
> requires consideration of all other facets, of course.

I think this is a good explanation. It makes sense and even though
people on this list might not believe it, I actually operate this way
myself. I find the "clamping" down" part though causes the most
problems in any design, as too many people silo themselves into one
segment to the point of completely shutting out the others. If I
hear another interaction designer in my lifetime tell me they don't
draw icons I'm gonna have words with the IxDA itself... 8^)

> So (with apologies for rambling,) although getting the form right
> certainly requires attending to behavior -- and vice versa, both
> potentially quite a lot -- it's not the same thing because it
> addresses a different need of the project, a different facet of the
> product. And this requires a different mindset and manner of seeing
> the world -- and thus a different potential specialization or role.

I understand this, but where I differ is that I think people in this
field need to be taught to have that way of thinking as yet another
tool. Not the as the primary or only way of thinking. To put it this
way, graphic designers can be taught to think in term of the grid
exclusively, but to then not understand type or color actually
changes their work on the grid.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

21 Aug 2007 - 11:55am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> Everyone else at the business level tells me I "design things that work".

This has been my experience as well. This is why I was so surprised when
David said that my description of interaction design "means nothing at the
business or practice level".

For me, it's the only description that has translated in any real way.

On the bright side, it actually *helps* me that the description is so loose.
It means I can step into designing a development or business process without
anyone thinking twice about it. After all, I'm the guy who designs how
things work, right?

-r-

21 Aug 2007 - 12:52pm
Dave Malouf
2005

do you work with other designers?
If I was another designer on the team, GD or ID or CD or Architect or
IA and I heard that definition I would be way pissed off.

If you work alone then great! its wonderful, but once you have to
start splitting up the booty, you need to move on.

For most designers (under 5 years of experience) they work with
others, they don't work strategically and they probably are only a
piece of the puzzle.

-- dave

On 8/21/07, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <robert at rhjr.net> wrote:
>
>
> > Everyone else at the business level tells me I "design things that work".
>
>
> This has been my experience as well. This is why I was so surprised when
> David said that my description of interaction design "means nothing at the
> business or practice level".
>
> For me, it's the only description that has translated in any real way.
>
> On the bright side, it actually *helps* me that the description is so loose.
> It means I can step into designing a development or business process without
> anyone thinking twice about it. After all, I'm the guy who designs how
> things work, right?
>
> -r-
>
>

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

21 Aug 2007 - 12:57pm
Dave Malouf
2005

On 8/21/07, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <robert at rhjr.net> wrote:
> OK, I'll take the bait. I want to see your argument for this one.
>
>
> > Ixd != design or ux
>
> Huh? How on Earth does Interaction *Design* not equal *design* or play a
> part in UX?
>

Being a PART of something does not make it EQUAL to something.

IxD is a part of UX and a part of Design (notice the big "D"), but
they are not synonyms for each other.

I hate, loath, HUGE pet peeve, when people use particulate terms to
mean generalizations.
Web != Internet
Usability != User Experience
IA != User Experience
etc. etc.

If you want to grow a practice, a discipline a career path, you need
to respect all the pieces to the path to seniority and can't overlook
the steps we need to take to grow.

This is why IxDA has always focused on IxD as a PART of UX (thus our
support for UXNet) and is not synonymous to it.

As a practice most of us especially mid & sr people do UX or just
plain design, but we focus or have a pull or affinity towards the IxD
side of that design due to the types or projects we work on (or the
history we've had).

BTW, If your business and engineering folks don't understand
"interaction" then you haven't been doing a good job of evangelizing
the value of IxD. Yes, we design things to make them work ... but heck
SO DO THEY!!! Why keep you around? B/c you do it better? hmmm? that
seems like a one-way trip to off-shoring your job real soon or worse,
going back 15 years to a time when they didn't think they needed you.

-- dave

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

21 Aug 2007 - 1:11pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> Being a PART of something does not make it EQUAL to something.

Ah - I see what you mean now. Thanks for clarifying.

I hate, loath, HUGE pet peeve, when people use particulate terms to
> mean generalizations.
> Web != Internet
> Usability != User Experience
> IA != User Experience

Wow - what a waste of time. Sorry to be so frank about it, but man, don't
you have better things to worry about? The world is not going to change just
because it stresses you out. That's an uphill battle I'd never want to
fight. It's tough enough just trying to get *this* group to agree on a
definition. :)

The only thing you can control in this world, Mr. Malouf, is the way you
deal with it. You're causing your own pain here.

BTW, If your business and engineering folks don't understand
> "interaction" then you haven't been doing a good job of evangelizing
> the value of IxD.

Quite the contrary. Everyone I've worked with has understood what I do very
clearly. They just lack a convenient description for it. Much in the same
way that *we* lack a convenient description for it.

At my last full-time position (I'm starting my own biz now), I started as
the one and only interaction designer, convinced everyone it had value,
proved it, and then built up a team and wedged it into a process where
previously everything was decided by engineers.

I think I've got a handle on evangelizing IxD.

-r-

21 Aug 2007 - 1:26pm
Jeffrey Stansberry
2007

I've been rolling around the idea of trying on Robert's definition
of "I design how things work" for the next time I had to explain
what exactly (well, vaguely honestly) I do. Call it superb timing,
but this just happened not an hour ago.

I'm on the phone with a technologically literate woman who knows
that I'm into software & web-app development when I'm hit with
"Tell me. What is it that you do at [company name]?" "Well, I
design how things work," I said.

This is immediately followed with deafening silence. I, not willing
to chase that silence, wait for the clarification question. "Oh, so
you write software?" she says. "Uhm, not quite."

Then it hits me... How do you clarify a rather vague notion of
"designing how things work" for a layperson without undermining the
importance or value of your position. So I said, "I design how things
work or react when you interact with them to make for a better user
experience and a better product." She instantly understood, citing
some examples of things I would do on a day to day basis.

No, I'm not trying to usurp previous definitions of IxD, nor do I
care if there is a "standard" or comprehensive definition of IxD.
When put into context (software, web-app, tangible product, etc.) a
simple definition emphasizing *interaction* and the user's role to
produce a better product seemed to make perfect sense. Quick! Someone
do some usability testing on the new definition! :P

JTS

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=19536

21 Aug 2007 - 7:12pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> "Tell me. What is it that you do at [company name]?" "Well, I
> design how things work," I said.
>
> This is immediately followed with deafening silence.

Haha! That is the funniest thing I've read all day.

Yes, I agree that my description needs clarifying. After all, what's the
point of designing how things work if there's no goal of making them better?

So, "I design interactions between <people and objects, companies and
customers, people and web apps> with the goal of improving user
experiences."

-r-

22 Aug 2007 - 12:20pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

Here's one from the Interaction08
site<http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Jx8Syhywkw_2bumLuV1KJZGQ_3d_3d>
:

"... the behavior of products and services in response to human action".

It's narrower than what I said before, but it's pretty nice nonetheless.

-r-

On 8/21/07, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <robert at rhjr.net> wrote:
>
>
> "Tell me. What is it that you do at [company name]?" "Well, I
> > design how things work," I said.
> >
> > This is immediately followed with deafening silence.
>
>
> Haha! That is the funniest thing I've read all day.
>
> Yes, I agree that my description needs clarifying. After all, what's the
> point of designing how things work if there's no goal of making them better?
>
>
> So, "I design interactions between <people and objects, companies and
> customers, people and web apps> with the goal of improving user
> experiences."
>
> -r-
>

--

-Robert Hoekman, Jr.-
Interaction Designer / Usability Specialist
Author of "Designing the Obvious" (New Riders)
Blog: www.rhjr.net/theblog

22 Aug 2007 - 12:56pm
Jeffrey Stansberry
2007

"... the behavior of products and services in response to human
action".

Well, this definition is considerably more focused (just products &
services), but I can't buy into the "action" only portion of the
definition. Excluding services, using the term action pigeonholes me
[read: us] into designing "events" or something specifically
initiated/triggered by the user.

We're responsible for designing first impressions and then some, all
before the user ever "touches" our product. We can design products
that latch on to you, grab your attention, lead you to where we want
you to go, imply it's intended use, and give you an overall
impression of the product... all just by viewing the damned thing.
This can happen within a few seconds of initial viewing before the
user even "interacts" with the product in the traditional sense.

I guess... I guess I like to think of what we do as "I try to design
how *people* behave in response to the product or service." This
concept is hard for me to clarify in type but essentially involves an
inside-looking-out perspective.

After all, isn't that what UCD is all about: getting an anticipated
and desired response from your users given a specific context?

Haha, there is no end to this discussion is there?

JTS

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=19536

22 Aug 2007 - 1:26pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> We're responsible for designing first impressions and then some, all
> before the user ever "touches" our product. We can design products
> that latch on to you, grab your attention, lead you to where we want
> you to go, imply it's intended use, and give you an overall
> impression of the product... all just by viewing the damned thing.
> This can happen within a few seconds of initial viewing before the
> user even "interacts" with the product in the traditional sense.

Wow - I just wrote something very much like this statement the other day.
Uncanny.

I guess... I guess I like to think of what we do as "I try to design
> how *people* behave in response to the product or service."

I'm not sure we can design how people behave. We can *guide* them towards
behaving a certain way, but they *always* do things in a way we never
expect.

-r-

23 Aug 2007 - 10:17am
Stew Dean
2007

On 21/08/07, Jeffrey Stansberry <jstansberry at quietspider.com> wrote:

> I'm on the phone with a technologically literate woman who knows
> that I'm into software & web-app development when I'm hit with
> "Tell me. What is it that you do at [company name]?" "Well, I
> design how things work," I said.
>
> This is immediately followed with deafening silence. I, not willing
> to chase that silence, wait for the clarification question. "Oh, so
> you write software?" she says. "Uhm, not quite."

Thanks for the informal user testing of the concept Jeffrey,

It got me thinking of how I describe what I do, usualy I have to add
in the context of working with techies and designers (using the
standard lay terms most folks understand). I do indeed use the term
'I design how {insert current interactive media here} works' or
replace 'works' with 'are used'. Then mention interface and and 'I
architect { big websites / interactive TV applicaitons / etc } kinda
like a real architect draws up the plans for a real building. Then
others build it.'

Not short or snappy but usualy get's the idea across. That's the thing
about sound bites, they can throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Viva context.

--
Stewart Dean

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