ADMIN: (read this before posting) RE: Interaction designvs. Usability -> differencesincompetency

20 Jul 2004 - 10:48am
672 reads


I am going to disagree with you here, moderate me if you will. While I agree that the focus is interaction design, this kind of title talk *is* important, since part of what we are trying to do is convince the "outside world" of the validity of our discipline. If I find over and over that "software engineers" respond better to the same suggestions when I give them under the title of "usability engineer" as opposed to "interaction designer" (I do the same thing regardless of my title) I think that is important for others to know in their quest to introduce design into the software process.


Erika Orrick
erika at


From: David Heller [mailto:dave at]
Sent: Tue 7/20/2004 10:46 AM
To: 'Interaction Designers'
Subject: ADMIN: (read this before posting) RE: [ID Discuss] Interaction designvs. Usability -> differencesincompetency

Ok folks, if people are just going to flat ignore me I am going to be forced to put the list on moderation.

did that get everyone's attention?

First off, we are not here to talk about titles. We have learned over and over that title talk just angers people and gets everyone no where.

We are here to talk about interaction design as a discipline and NOT as a title given to a person to describe their role. That being said we are not going to discuss other discipline's titles either. But as a rule, since this community is about interaction design, the term interaction designer is more cleanly understood than other discpline's titles as those who practice primarily (but not exclusively) interaction design as defined on our web site (; new expanded definitions coming soon).

Things worthy of talking about in this thread are working on multifaceted teams.
How do traditional usability professional (akin to Nielsen and Spool) use usability techniques to innovate and design? This is particularly interesting since these leaders of usability don't actually do innovation, to quote Jared Spool, "I'm not a designer." How do these techniques compliment interaction design techniques such as Contextual Inquiry and Goal-Directed processes.
What are the international ramifications of our day-to-day practice?

But please, please, please, lets skip the whole title talk. While I do think titles are important, I do believe this is an issue for the entire UX community and NOT one specific to this organization nor to interaction design.

-- dave


From: at [ at] On Behalf Of Erika Orrick
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 11:17 AM
To: Dan Saffer; Elizabeth Buie; Interaction Designers
Subject: RE: [ID Discuss] Interaction design vs. Usability -> differencesincompetency

It has been my experience that Usability Engineer = Interaction Designer. People seem to be more familiar with the UE term (techies like Engineer v. Designer).


Erika Orrick
erika at


From: Dan Saffer [mailto:dan at]
Sent: Tue 7/20/2004 10:00 AM
To: Elizabeth Buie; 'Interaction Designers'
Subject: Re: [ID Discuss] Interaction design vs. Usability -> differences incompetency

On Jul 20, 2004, at 10:11 AM, Elizabeth Buie wrote:

> Usability *testers* can only test things that are already
> created. Usability *engineers* may also design them.

Please enlighten me then as to what usability engineers do: how their
process differs from that of interaction designers. Are they creating
products from scratch or simply modifying existing designs to solve
usability problems? My guess is that anyone who is a "usability
engineer" and doing the former is really practicing interaction design
under a different title.


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