Embedded Interaction Design?

6 Jan 2008 - 1:28am
6 years ago
15 replies
460 reads
DanP
2006

Happy New Year All!

I was hoping to tap the collective consciousness with a career
direction question... I'm keen to work on projects that have a
hardware component as the deployment platform: Cell, GPS, PDA, Set
Top, embedded, etc... I just feel better suited to this realm based
on experience and Industrial Design training... I've been getting a
LOT of call for web work, but prefer to stay focused on my chosen
area of expertise.

How can I communicate this to prospective contracts, hiring managers
or would-be suitors? Is it sufficient to say "I prefer to do embedded/
hardware based IxDN" ? Is there a succinct subcategory of Interaction
Design that best defines this area? I hope this isn't too limiting;
there certainly appears to be a great call for it based on my
interactions with products...

It's my hope to influence a shipping (hard) product in my contracting
moving forward.

Thanks for any input and all the best,
-Dan

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Dan Peknik * Interaction/Industrial Design
NASA Ames Research Center * Moffett Field, CA.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Comments

6 Jan 2008 - 9:06am
.pauric
2006

Hi Dan, my work experience has been almost exclusively embedded CLI,
html and hardware interfaces, with a smidgen of ID. As I look
towards changing employer the one thing thats helped me avoid too
many recruiters proposing areas I do not want to be in is to clearly
document my electronic engineering background. Then the 2nd layer,
portfolio, has lots of examples of both my professional work and some
of my spare time designs. I use coroflot for this and its been a
tremendous resource to point to when I'm in an interview
http://coroflot.com/public

Now, I cant speak for the ID freelance realm but there's two things
I've noticed here on the East Coast of the USA.

Hardware based interaction design positions are few and far between.
However, companies looking to fill those positions are finding a
dearth of talent.

Hope this helps, I've been at the same place for the last 12 years
so I'm not an expert in the intricacies of getting hired (o;

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24209

6 Jan 2008 - 10:07am
Dan Saffer
2003

One thing I might note is that most people, especially those outside
our field like hiring managers, aren't going to understand what the
term "embedded" means. I'd say, "My interest and expertise is in
mobile devices and consumer electronics, not web." Much clearer IMHO.

Dan

6 Jan 2008 - 1:20pm
Dave Malouf
2005

To Pauric's point.
East coast and Can't find anyone who has this experience out here we
can hire. We need people who are already doing this work who want to
move (we will relocate) to Long Island, NY (or NYC with a big
commute; like I do).

There is lots of people doing medical devices on the east coast, but
when say lots, not nearly enough to build a substantial IxD for
hardware community around.

But to your real question, I agree w/ Dan ... Just say it. And no,
you will still always get recruiters who will call you. I get TONS of
developer positions b/c I have HTML somewhere on my resume and well
that means "developer". Or, since I worked for Documentum, I get
calls for DCTM developers. Recruiters of the worst kind are hacks w/o
any suffistication who just see you as a commodity like a brick. They
search for keywords and if the right ones show up you are meat to be
hunted. (thus the term head hunter). Sorry to all the good recruiters
on this list, but way way way too many recruiters (especially the
offshored variety) do the rest of you a REAL disservice and well, it
tarnishes your good name. You might want to do something about it.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24209

6 Jan 2008 - 1:22pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Oh, not hiring contractors. Just full-time. And ppppplease! be a
designer and not a researcher/usability expert. Either have a design
school degree or a kick-ass 5-8 year portfolio to make up for the
lack of a degree that explains WHY you understand design education
methods and practices such as sketching, studio, critique, etc.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24209

6 Jan 2008 - 6:12pm
Michele Marut
2005

"There is lots of people doing medical devices on the east coast"

agree

"but when say lots, not nearly enough to build a substantial IxD for
hardware community around."

How do you define substantial?

In the past two years at Respironics, I've only worked on one medical
product that did not have both significant hardware and software
elements. Also, I know there are at least several consultancies
staying very busy with embedded medical product design.

This is definitely an area with tons of potential for IxD growth.

My two cents

Michele

6 Jan 2008 - 8:25pm
Dave Malouf
2005

HI Michelle,
This is the area of LARGEST growth around the world for IxD. That is
not what I was speaking about. What I was speaking about is the
critical mass of practitioners to create and maintain a community of
practice around. I hope this isn't really true, but I do feel like I
have a pretty good sense of the pulse of the east coast IxD community.
There are maybe 3 or 4 agencies worth a hoot with substantial IxD
practices between DC and Boston, and well we all know there is like
NO! Nada! None! education community on the east coast outside of CMU
in IxD, except for the bachelor program out of Savannah that has a
minor in IxD as part of their ID program.

But back to your point. There are lots of hardware companies I can
think of on the EC that have IxD: Bose, Boston Science, Respironics,
Motorola EMb, to name a few, but in total this is nothing compared to
the number of practitioners who are doing pure software/web (is there
really a difference anymore?) split between informatics (marketing,
and other information management tools) and task based software.

But the highest growth need right now for IxD is definitely, IMHO,
not just embedded, but straight hardware IxD as well.

So I agree w/ you, but I don't think you are addressing the issue of
"critical mass" the way I meant the term.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=24209

6 Jan 2008 - 11:05pm
DanP
2006

Thanks Pauric, Dan, Dave, Michele - I appreciate the feedback. I
think the straightforward approach is best and will update my
portfolio towards that end. Also, re-assess medical as a target area.

I've had excellent interactions with recruiters in the past and it
can be a symbiotic relationship. It's a tough field to pin down and I
want to be as specific as possible. There will be confusion, but I
can minimize it.

All the best,
-Dan

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Dan Peknik * Interaction/Industrial Design
NASA Ames Research Center * Moffett Field, CA.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

On Jan 5, 2008, at 10:28 PM, dnp607 wrote:

> Happy New Year All!
>
> I was hoping to tap the collective consciousness with a career
> direction question... I'm keen to work on projects that have a
> hardware component as the deployment platform: Cell, GPS, PDA, Set
> Top, embedded, etc... I just feel better suited to this realm based
> on experience and Industrial Design training... I've been getting a
> LOT of call for web work, but prefer to stay focused on my chosen
> area of expertise.
>
> How can I communicate this to prospective contracts, hiring managers
> or would-be suitors? Is it sufficient to say "I prefer to do embedded/
> hardware based IxDN" ? Is there a succinct subcategory of Interaction
> Design that best defines this area? I hope this isn't too limiting;
> there certainly appears to be a great call for it based on my
> interactions with products...
>
> It's my hope to influence a shipping (hard) product in my contracting
> moving forward.
>
> Thanks for any input and all the best,
> -Dan
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Dan Peknik * Interaction/Industrial Design
> NASA Ames Research Center * Moffett Field, CA.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

7 Jan 2008 - 2:40pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Jan 6, 2008, at 10:20 AM, dave malouf wrote:

> Sorry to all the good recruiters
> on this list, but way way way too many recruiters (especially the
> offshored variety) do the rest of you a REAL disservice and well, it
> tarnishes your good name.

99.9% of all recruiters ruin it for the rest of them.

Jared

10 Jan 2008 - 9:27am
ldebett
2004

Dave wrote:
"and well we all know there is like NO! Nada! None! education community on
the east coast outside of CMU in IxD, except for the bachelor program out of
Savannah that has a minor in IxD as part of their ID program."

Um, Dave, Bentley College outside of Boston has the HFID
program<http://www.bentley.edu/idcc/courses_grad_mshfid.cfm>that has
produced quite a large number of practicing IxD graduates.

10 Jan 2008 - 9:43am
Todd Warfel
2003

And this program has been around for years. I recall looking into it
over 7 years ago when I lived in Boston.

I'm not sure about the other programs, but at Bentley, you're not
allowed to enter their program until you have at least 2 years of
industry experience, even if you've done your undergrad there. They
make you leave, get 2 years, then come back. This prevents them from,
to quote the advisor I spoke to at Bentley, "having anyone who's
green" in their program.

On Jan 10, 2008, at 9:27 AM, Lisa deBettencourt wrote:

> Um, Dave, Bentley College outside of Boston has the HFID
> program<http://www.bentley.edu/idcc/courses_grad_mshfid.cfm>that has
> produced quite a large number of practicing IxD graduates.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
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.

10 Jan 2008 - 10:23am
Dave Malouf
2005

And I'll be clearer ... I looked at the coursework there.
This is an academic program. There is no studio at all. How can you
have a design program w/o studios.
To me this is the bear minimum requirement. Not project work. That is
not the same as studio.

Also, how can you have a course of study in Information Design without
studio work specifically in
Typography
Color
Graphic Design
Iconography
Semiotics
Symbology
etc. etc.

But with interaction design, I'd expect studios in
pacing
abstraction & physicality
metaphor
etc.

-- dave

On Jan 10, 2008 9:43 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com> wrote:
> And this program has been around for years. I recall looking into it over 7
> years ago when I lived in Boston.
>
> I'm not sure about the other programs, but at Bentley, you're not allowed to
> enter their program until you have at least 2 years of industry experience,
> even if you've done your undergrad there. They make you leave, get 2 years,
> then come back. This prevents them from, to quote the advisor I spoke to at
> Bentley, "having anyone who's green" in their program.
>
>
> On Jan 10, 2008, at 9:27 AM, Lisa deBettencourt wrote:
>
> Um, Dave, Bentley College outside of Boston has the HFID
> program<http://www.bentley.edu/idcc/courses_grad_mshfid.cfm>that has
>
> produced quite a large number of practicing IxD graduates.
>
>
> Cheers!
>
> Todd Zaki Warfel
> President, Design Researcher
> 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.
>

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

10 Jan 2008 - 10:34am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 10 Jan 2008, at 15:23, David Malouf wrote:

> And I'll be clearer ... I looked at the coursework there.
> This is an academic program. There is no studio at all. How can you
> have a design program w/o studios.
> To me this is the bear minimum requirement. Not project work. That is
> not the same as studio.

Can you define what you mean by "studio" here ?

Curiously,

Adrian

10 Jan 2008 - 10:19am
Dave Malouf
2005

No offense Lisa, but this is NOT a Design School program.
It has no design school eco-system to connect with.
There are other HF and HCI programs that abound, but not true IxD
programs like CMU.

-- dave

On Jan 10, 2008 9:27 AM, Lisa deBettencourt <ldebett at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dave wrote:
> "and well we all know there is like NO! Nada! None! education community on
> the east coast outside of CMU in IxD, except for the bachelor program out of
> Savannah that has a minor in IxD as part of their ID program."
>
> Um, Dave, Bentley College outside of Boston has the HFID program that has
> produced quite a large number of practicing IxD graduates.
>

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

10 Jan 2008 - 10:42am
ldebett
2004

Well, Dave, that's not what you said. You said there is no "education
community" on the east coast.

And do go easy - Bentley does not claim to be a "design program". The
program is called "Human Factors in Information Design" which means it
covers the Human side of Information Design: cog sci (how we take in and
process info), info vis (including the foundations of graphic design such as
color issues, gestalt principles, design fundamentals, etc),
globalization/localization/cultural issues (including iconography and
symbology), prototyping, usability testing, managing a team, project
management, etc. It's very hands-on and not just theory. The graduates can
perform excellently in IxD/IA/InfoDes/UX roles (product, software, web,
wayfinding, retail, etc.) because they design based on human principles of
mental and physical interaction with the world and the objects in it. And
then can test the heck out of it.

You may even want to speak to the director to try recruiting for the
position you are trying to fill there at Motorola. ;-)

~Lisa

On Jan 10, 2008 10:23 AM, David Malouf <dave at ixda.org> wrote:

> And I'll be clearer ... I looked at the coursework there.
> This is an academic program. There is no studio at all. How can you
> have a design program w/o studios.
> To me this is the bear minimum requirement. Not project work. That is
> not the same as studio.
>
> Also, how can you have a course of study in Information Design without
> studio work specifically in
> Typography
> Color
> Graphic Design
> Iconography
> Semiotics
> Symbology
> etc. etc.
>
> But with interaction design, I'd expect studios in
> pacing
> abstraction & physicality
> metaphor
> etc.
>
> -- dave
>
>
> On Jan 10, 2008 9:43 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com> wrote:
> > And this program has been around for years. I recall looking into it
> over 7
> > years ago when I lived in Boston.
> >
> > I'm not sure about the other programs, but at Bentley, you're not
> allowed to
> > enter their program until you have at least 2 years of industry
> experience,
> > even if you've done your undergrad there. They make you leave, get 2
> years,
> > then come back. This prevents them from, to quote the advisor I spoke to
> at
> > Bentley, "having anyone who's green" in their program.
> >
> >
> > On Jan 10, 2008, at 9:27 AM, Lisa deBettencourt wrote:
> >
> > Um, Dave, Bentley College outside of Boston has the HFID
> > program<http://www.bentley.edu/idcc/courses_grad_mshfid.cfm>that has
> >
> > produced quite a large number of practicing IxD graduates.
> >
> >
> > Cheers!
> >
> > Todd Zaki Warfel
> > President, Design Researcher
> > 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.
> >
>
>
>
> --
> David Malouf
> http://synapticburn.com/
> http://ixda.org/
> http://motorola.com/
> ________________________________________________________________
> *Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
> February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
> Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

10 Jan 2008 - 10:51am
Todd Warfel
2003

In reference to Bentley's program...

On Jan 10, 2008, at 10:23 AM, David Malouf wrote:

> This is an academic program. There is no studio at all. How can you
> have a design program w/o studios.
> To me this is the bear minimum requirement. Not project work. That
> is not the same as studio.

Yes this is one downfall of the program. I think their attempt at
addressing this is to not allow green people into the program. So,
entrants into the program do have real world experience. I would agree
with you, however, that this still doesn't ensure studio experience
(working at/w a design studio). But it is a step in the right direction.

Are there programs out there that do require studio work? I think
Chris' group at GravityTank work with IIT, but I'm not sure that IIT
has a requirement that you have studio work as part of your program.

> Also, how can you have a course of study in Information Design
> without studio work specifically in
> Typography
> Color
> Graphic Design
> Iconography
> Semiotics
> Symbology
> etc. etc.

Surprisingly, many do, which is why I think we're cranking out lots of
designers who don't know the basic foundations of design—sadly.

I'm currently reading 79 Short Essays on Design (Bierut) and this is
one of the points highlighted in the book. Lots of designers out
there, very few have any grasp of typography, color, etc. or know who
greats like Rand, Eames, Olivetti, or Thomas Watson Jr. are. Sad. Very
sad.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
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.

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