How to transition from technical writer tointeraction designer?

11 Feb 2008 - 6:12pm
6 years ago
5 replies
745 reads
Becubed
2004

Technical communication to IxD is not an uncommon transition, but you'll need to pick up new skills along the way and invest some time developing them. I agree with previous remarks that courses are a viable alternative instead of returning to school.

IMHO the best way to make this transition is to join an organization where you can support the design process directly -- in fact, participate in it -- by filling a role such as "design communicator" as coined by Cooper, I believe. This would allow you to essentially apprentice with experienced designers.

It's a logical transition: at some point, you're bound to get sick of describing how to work around poorly designed products and simply FIX them instead!

BBB

Comments

12 Feb 2008 - 5:55am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 12 Feb 2008, at 00:12, Robert Barlow-Busch wrote:

> Technical communication to IxD is not an uncommon transition, but
> you'll need to pick up new skills along the way and invest some
> time developing them. I agree with previous remarks that courses
> are a viable alternative instead of returning to school.
>
> IMHO the best way to make this transition is to join an
> organization where you can support the design process directly --
> in fact, participate in it -- by filling a role such as "design
> communicator" as coined by Cooper, I believe. This would allow you
> to essentially apprentice with experienced designers.
[snip]

The Society for Technical Communication has a UX SIG, plus a mailing
list that's open to all (bias warning - I'm a moderator :-) The OP
might want to take a look - you'll find a bunch of folk who have made
similar transitions there.

http://www.stcsig.org/usability/

Cheers,

Adrian

12 Feb 2008 - 7:15am
whitneyq
2010

In addition to all the other excellent suggestions (including the STC
UUX group), you might want to consider the Open University post grad
course User Interface Design and Evaluation. It's distance learning,
and can be taken from anywhere in the world

Full details in the online prospectus:
http://www3.open.ac.uk/courses/bin/p12.dll?C01M873

I think you'll find your technical communication skill very valuable
in interaction design.

--
Whitney Quesenbery
www.wqusability.com

12 Feb 2008 - 7:23am
martinpolley
2007

Hi Robert (Bob?),

IMHO the best way to make this transition is to join an organization where
> you can support the design process directly -- in fact, participate in it --
> by filling a role such as "design communicator" as coined by Cooper, I
> believe. This would allow you to essentially apprentice with experienced
> designers.

Interesting. This is not an approach I had considered. I will
*definitely *investigate
it further.

It's a logical transition: at some point, you're bound to get sick of
> describing how to work around poorly designed products and simply FIX them
> instead!

Exactly! You hit the nail on the head.

Thanks very much,
--
Martin Polley
Technical Communicator
+972 52 3864280
<http://capcloud.com/>

12 Feb 2008 - 9:31am
martinpolley
2007

Hi Adrian,

<snip>

> The Society for Technical Communication has a UX SIG, plus a mailing
> list that's open to all (bias warning - I'm a moderator :-) The OP
> might want to take a look - you'll find a bunch of folk who have made
> similar transitions there.
>
> http://www.stcsig.org/usability/
>
> </snip>

What an excellent resource. (And one that I was not aware of. Probably
because I'm not an STC member -- my employer does not see the business
value...)

And the first article to catch my eye in the latest newsletter is called
"Using Technical Communication Skills in User Experience" by Teresa Putkey.
It describes, among other things, how to make the move from tech writer to
UX professional. Talk about perfect timing!

Thanks a lot,

--
Martin Polley
Technical Communicator
+972 52 3864280
<http://capcloud.com/>

13 Feb 2008 - 2:54am
martinpolley
2007

Hi Whitney,

I didn't think of checking out the OU. Thanks for the tip -- looks
interesting.

Thanks,
--
Martin Polley
Technical Communicator
+972 52 3864280
<http://capcloud.com/>

On Feb 12, 2008 3:15 PM, Whitney Quesenbery <whitneyq at gmail.com> wrote:

> In addition to all the other excellent suggestions (including the STC
> UUX group), you might want to consider the Open University post grad
> course User Interface Design and Evaluation. It's distance learning,
> and can be taken from anywhere in the world
>
> Full details in the online prospectus:
> http://www3.open.ac.uk/courses/bin/p12.dll?C01M873
>
> I think you'll find your technical communication skill very valuable
> in interaction design.
>
> --
> Whitney Quesenbery
> www.wqusability.com
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