Less talking, more doing (was: Thoughts on Alan Cooper's Keynote)

13 Feb 2008 - 12:24pm
6 years ago
10 replies
716 reads
dmitryn
2004

Well put Scott. The "us vs. them" grandstanding and vacuous posturing
that has gone on in this thread is completely at odds with the
rootedness in facts and empathy that is supposed to be a cornerstone
of this field.

On a more general note, I'd like to point the list to a blog post I
just came across this morning. It really resonated with my own feeling
of increasing unease regarding the amount of bandwidth that we spend
here on wasteful, antagonizing debates:

http://experiencematters.criticalmass.com/2008/02/13/less-talking-more-doing/

"The Information Architect/Interaction Design field is awash in web
sites and discussion lists, though the former are (unfortunately)
significantly more worthwhile than the latter. The lists are
constantly filled with requests for 'best practices' around the
simplest of interface issues (e.g., "Should I put my text above or to
the left of a form field?"), seemingly endless debates on 'what is
IA?' and, most recently, an impressively daft call—based solely on
anecdotal evidence—for IAs to pursue accreditation...

On the rare occasions that someone does offer up a solution they
created for a project, responses typically range from "It's not that
great" to "How dare you suggest that's the right answer for all
users!" It makes for a nice distraction on a slow work day but the
problem is that all the arguing is getting us nowhere. Debates only
serve to pull IAs away from the real work to be done: improving
customer experience online...

So, fellow architects of information and designers of interaction, I
have a modest proposal for you: UNSUBSCRIBE. Leave the lists, now,
today, this hour, this minute—and don't look back. Stop worrying about
what Joe IA in Ohio is doing with his forms for his customers and come
up with solutions that are right for your customers—be willing to fail
and to learn from that failure. Do it better next time. Stop focusing
on your needs and put that energy toward the needs of your customers."

At the moment, this sounds rather tempting...

Dmitry

On Feb 13, 2008 5:46 AM, Scott McDaniel <scott at scottopic.com> wrote:
> This is all getting petty and silly.
>
> Without experience, I can see how the Agile bit doesn't map fully to a
> desirable design process.
> I'm a bit flummoxed by the bit-by-bit hostility and unwillingness to
> heed the wise words of Egg Chen:
> "We take what we like and leave the rest...like your salad bar!"
>
> I frequent gaming forums...I know unproductive snippiness!
>
> Is there nothing to be gained or learned from Agile, at least in the
> critique of the development process?
>
> Scott
>
> --
> 'Life' plus 'significance' = magic. ~ Grant Morrison
> ________________________________________________________________
>
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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>

Comments

13 Feb 2008 - 12:49pm
Dante Murphy
2006

<snip>
"So, fellow architects of information and designers of interaction, I
have a modest proposal for you: UNSUBSCRIBE. Leave the lists, now,
today, this hour, this minute-and don't look back. Stop worrying about
what Joe IA in Ohio is doing with his forms for his customers and come
up with solutions that are right for your customers-be willing to fail
and to learn from that failure. Do it better next time. Stop focusing on
your needs and put that energy toward the needs of your customers."
</snip>

In the words of Bill Buxton...bullsh*t.

Now, I agree that there is a lot of wasted rhetoric (from my
perspective) on "what is IxDA" and "us vs. them", but there is no way
I'd rather spend my whole day doing things with only *my* tools from
only *my* perspective than gathering information and perspective from my
peers. Sure, you have to wade through a lot of stuff that isn't
important to you to get to what *is*, but that's the essence of nearly
all conversations involving more than two people.

Find a balance, but to suggest "unsubscribing" is more positional wasted
rhetoric.

(And I took the bait.)

Dante Murphy | Director of Information Architecture | D I G I T A S H E
A L T H
229 South 18th Street | Rittenhouse Square | Philadelphia, PA 19103 |
USA
Email: dmurphy at digitashealth.com
www.digitashealth.com

13 Feb 2008 - 12:54pm
jrrogan
2005

Being as it's a slow miserable rainy day in NYC, and I'm reading this post
as yes it's true I'm basically waisting time, but...

I think this forum actually does have insightful info, and does aide my
work. Regarding Agile/scrum, two years ago I asked the question of best
practices and got Bill Butoxn's Alias Wavefront teams best practices doc in
under 30 mins, this is service with a smile.

Of course there's grandstanding, and an "in the know"/"in the in crowd"
sentiment sometimes, with all the posturing and acedemic mumbo jumbo, but
there's often bits of actual useful info inserted in threads as well.

I'll draw an analogy to TV, what's amazing about TV is not how many bad
programs there are, but rather that there ARE good programs put out at any
consistency at all, (it's tough to always tell a good story).

And it's tough to come up with good relevant real world information. An open
forum brings out both nonsence and diamonds for you to mine. I couldn't get
the diamonds just working hard and doing a good job in iscolation.

Rich

--
Joseph Rich Rogan
President UX/UI Inc.
http://www.jrrogan.com

13 Feb 2008 - 2:05pm
Kel Smith
2007

I didn't take the "unsubscribe" recommendation literally (that
struck me more as an emphatic attempt to get their point across). I
do grow weary of topics that endure long past their expiration date.
I also agree that idiopathic chest-pounding shouldn't be interpreted
as advocation on behalf of our users.

I think Rich states it best - there is good stuff to be found if
you're in the right place with the right people. I personally have
no use for endless "is not/are too" debates, so I don't bother.
However, the guidance I've received from IxDA colleagues has always
been timely, respectfully delivered and relevant. I'm grateful that
folks here will take the time to provide their perspective on
technical or political issues common to our practice.

As with all things, use your personal filter and consider the source.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25870

13 Feb 2008 - 3:08pm
Dave Malouf
2005

I find it really funny that the article tells people to unsubscribe,
but then to read the web site? yes, the format and interaction design
is different, but the content is exactly the same. Heck! I don't even
use the email list any more, except to start new threads.

in general, one of the themes of the conference is to find a balance
between thinking & doing. You need to do both. This is my place to
think. I do my job as well.

The other place to "do" is well make the list what you want it to
be. The list and the site and the entire organization exists b/c of
those who take the time to make it happen. I often see people bring
up great topics "feeding" the list.

It is unfortunate that from time to time there is polarity within
conversations, but these in my mind often lead to really instructive
information.

For example, for me the "agile" discussion most recently led to me
understanding a much more broader interpretation of Agile. One that I
don't find too valuable, but one that helps me understand why some
are attracted to it and others are not. Sometimes, it takes a good
fist fight to find out something powerful about each other. It is
scary, sometimes boring, but isn't that what design is all about.
exploring so many different permutations of an idea till you get AT
the crux of it? It is and has been for me.

I'm sorry and concerned when I read calls for "unsubscription",
but with 5000 subscribers, I think it is hard to keep everyone
happy.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25870

13 Feb 2008 - 3:10pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

I couldn't agree more. I've learned so much form this list and the
community. I met people in Savannah that I wouldn't know at all if
not for this list.

BUT, I also agree that there is a lot of needless debate about
questions that nobody here can wholey answer. So I just filter those
out and read only topics that are genuinely helpful and interesting.
That kind of filtering is a skill that everybody, especially
designers, should have. Really, must have to survive in this type of
society.

On Wed, 13 Feb 2008 12:05:07, Kel Smith <ksmith at lerningkerv.com> wrote:
> I didn't take the "unsubscribe" recommendation literally (that
> struck me more as an emphatic attempt to get their point across). I
> do grow weary of topics that endure long past their expiration date.
> I also agree that idiopathic chest-pounding shouldn't be interpreted
> as advocation on behalf of our users.
>
> I think Rich states it best - there is good stuff to be found if
> you're in the right place with the right people. I personally have
> no use for endless "is not/are too" debates, so I don't bother.
> However, the guidance I've received from IxDA colleagues has always
> been timely, respectfully delivered and relevant. I'm grateful that
> folks here will take the time to provide their perspective on
> technical or political issues common to our practice.
>
> As with all things, use your personal filter and consider the source.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25870
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

--
Matt Nish-Lapidus
work: matt at bibliocommons.com / www.bibliocommons.com
--
personal: mattnl at gmail.com

13 Feb 2008 - 3:14pm
SemanticWill
2007

I will tell you something that really excites me - this discussion has
brought more people into the discussion than many we have had in months -
and that is a great thing. People I don't recognize are posting some very
passionate, articulate arguments and that can only make this list better.

On Feb 13, 2008 4:10 PM, Matthew Nish-Lapidus <mattnl at gmail.com> wrote:

> I couldn't agree more. I've learned so much form this list and the
> community. I met people in Savannah that I wouldn't know at all if
> not for this list.
>
> BUT, I also agree that there is a lot of needless debate about
> questions that nobody here can wholey answer. So I just filter those
> out and read only topics that are genuinely helpful and interesting.
> That kind of filtering is a skill that everybody, especially
> designers, should have. Really, must have to survive in this type of
> society.
>
>
> On Wed, 13 Feb 2008 12:05:07, Kel Smith <ksmith at lerningkerv.com> wrote:
> > I didn't take the "unsubscribe" recommendation literally (that
> > struck me more as an emphatic attempt to get their point across). I
> > do grow weary of topics that endure long past their expiration date.
> > I also agree that idiopathic chest-pounding shouldn't be interpreted
> > as advocation on behalf of our users.
> >
> > I think Rich states it best - there is good stuff to be found if
> > you're in the right place with the right people. I personally have
> > no use for endless "is not/are too" debates, so I don't bother.
> > However, the guidance I've received from IxDA colleagues has always
> > been timely, respectfully delivered and relevant. I'm grateful that
> > folks here will take the time to provide their perspective on
> > technical or political issues common to our practice.
> >
> > As with all things, use your personal filter and consider the source.
> >
> >
> > . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> > Posted from the new ixda.org
> > http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25870
> >
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > 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
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Matt Nish-Lapidus
> work: matt at bibliocommons.com / www.bibliocommons.com
> --
> personal: mattnl at gmail.com
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

--
~ will

"No matter how beautiful,
no matter how cool your interface,
it would be better if there were less of it."
Alan Cooper
-
"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"
-------------------------------------------------------
will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------

13 Feb 2008 - 4:22pm
Scott McDaniel
2007

Oopsie,
Well, to be clear my point was certainly not for anyone to disengage -
this list just led me
to what feels to be a career course changing conference!
I was frustrated with what seemed like what had become a religious
argument of sorts.

>From my own position, I just couldn't see where folks such as myself
could gain value from
either Agile or anti-Agile arguments with how they were stated.
The discussion has moved further in several threads, for which I am
most thankful!

I've just been asked to bring together ideas on concepts discussed at
int08 to present to our
Strategic Process Executive Vice Person, so I admit being greedy
trying to draw out points
to my own interests this week. I'll be presenting him with a copy of
~The Inmates Are Running the Asylum~
with my story, along with a bundle of hope and frustration over how
things have been (or haven't been)
managed. Curses! I'd paid my own way and used my own PTO to avoid
writing up anything!
But hopefully this will mean Good Things.

Scott

--
'Life' plus 'significance' = magic. ~ Grant Morrison

13 Feb 2008 - 5:50pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Feb 13, 2008, at 4:10 PM, Matthew Nish-Lapidus wrote:

> BUT, I also agree that there is a lot of needless debate about
> questions that nobody here can wholey answer.

I completely disagree that there's any needless debate!

(Oh, wait. That was needless, wasn't it?)

Damn.

Jared

13 Feb 2008 - 7:21pm
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

Is this the right room for an argument?

On Feb 13, 2008 6:50 PM, Jared M. Spool <jspool at uie.com> wrote:
>
>
> On Feb 13, 2008, at 4:10 PM, Matthew Nish-Lapidus wrote:
>
>
> BUT, I also agree that there is a lot of needless debate about
>
> questions that nobody here can wholey answer.
> I completely disagree that there's any needless debate!
>
> (Oh, wait. That was needless, wasn't it?)
>
> Damn.
>
> Jared

--
Matt Nish-Lapidus
work: matt at bibliocommons.com / www.bibliocommons.com
--
personal: mattnl at gmail.com

13 Feb 2008 - 9:08pm
David Armano
2007

As both Gabby's co-worker and someone who works along side many
different disciplines%u2014I think she intended to make her point
dramatic so as to get us thinking. Let's look for inspiration in
things besides documents and best practices. Let's resist the urge
to "naval gaze" (it happens in all communities). Let's learn from
others in our discipline as well as what the construction worker or
police officer on the street can teach us.

Saying bullshit is a cop-out. In my presentation I stressed both
thinking doing as Dave mentions here. I personally believe in the
power of community. I also believe in the power of stepping outside
of it. Both are needed.

Speaking only for myself%u2014I interpreted her post as an attempt to
remind us of the importance of balance.

David Armano
:: VP, Creative
http://darmano.typepad.com

C R I T I C A L M A S S
225 N. Michigan Ave.
Suite 2050
Chicago, IL 60601

http://www.criticalmass.com

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=25870

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