Where are all the designers?

20 Feb 2008 - 2:06pm
6 years ago
97 replies
1696 reads
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

Just a quick question: Where are all the interface and software
designers in Silicon Valley? Has everyone just packed up and left or
what? I see more job listings, postings and calls for resumes and yet
there seem to be even fewer people to fill the jobs than ever before.
I used to have trouble hiring at Adobe back in the late 1990s mostly
due to the high experience and training requirements needed to work
on software at that level, but that was before there was an influx of
people and talent into software related products, especially from the
web. And yet, now it seems that there's an even bigger gap in the
designer to available job ratio than every before. Everyone I know is
having trouble filling hiring requirements.

Is it that the job requirements needed to get hired are too high? Not
enough trained designers? Or is it something only happening in
Silicon Valley? Browse the job listings and postings everywhere from
companies in Silicon Valley and it seems we have a distinct lack of
designers ready to fill all the openings.

Opinions?

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

Comments

21 Feb 2008 - 4:36pm
SemanticWill
2007

As I said earlier about B&A to Christina, we need something where designers
can anon post resumes -- either B&A, or maybe here on IxDA someday.
I know we have gatekeepers on our list - but all the recruiters that
actually post here have positions that are completely relevant to the
community -- I would say over 95% relavant. We may not all like the job
descriptions, but they are a lot more relevant than a junior systems analyst
posting - or a life insurance posting.

On Thu, Feb 21, 2008 at 4:32 PM, mark schraad <mschraad at gmail.com> wrote:

> And... the word seems to have gotten out that this position is ill defined
> and pays rather well. Like Andrei, I am getting resumes that are all over
> the mat and hardly qualified. Lots of people with a tech background and
> absolutely no design foundation.
> Mark
>
>
> On Thu, Feb 21, 2008 at 3:52 PM, W Evans <wkevans4 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> >
> > BTW: Has anyone noticed the BIG shift in the last 7 years of a whole
> > crop of
> > new "recruiters" following a new business model. In essence - they have
> > taken the call center business model, extended it to recruiting and
> > outsourced it to India.
>
>

--
~ 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
-------------------------------------------------------

21 Feb 2008 - 4:38pm
bminihan
2007

The biggest consequence I have noticed with this shift is the complete lack
of tact and personal connection that comes from a recruiter who is tied to
the process, and not merely following one.

That is, half of all the offers I receive start with: URGENT, SEND ME YOUR
UPDATED (rewritten) RESUME, 3 REFS & PORTFOLIO THIS AFTERNOON! And end with
a copy/pasted job description without any context for how or why I was
pre-selected for the role. They are almost always very short-term contracts
in places I am nowhere near, and for positions I am unqualified for, with no
rate information.

I know *why* I get these, but it's not necessarily true that every candidate
can and will drop everything at a moment's notice for a 3 month contract IA
project in Debuque, Iowa.

I hesitate to complain, because people are just doing their jobs, and I
might need to move to Iowa some day. But still, it's a little annoying.

Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of W Evans
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:53 PM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Where are all the designers?

BTW: Has anyone noticed the BIG shift in the last 7 years of a whole crop of
new "recruiters" following a new business model. In essence - they have
taken the call center business model, extended it to recruiting and
outsourced it to India. All the initial job board search/keyword matching
and initial screening is done there (with US phone#, business address), and
once the initial screening is done - candidates are passed along to client
facing recruiters in based in the US. I have no idea if this is a long term
trend, but with growth in real wages in call center places like Bangalore -
I can't see this as sustainable, and it may move again to the Philippines.
Just find it interesting - no point to this I guess.

On Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:16:09, dave malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
.............. http://www.ixda.org/help

21 Feb 2008 - 5:43pm
Anonymous

> That is, half of all the offers I receive start with: URGENT, SEND
> ME YOUR
> UPDATED (rewritten) RESUME, 3 REFS & PORTFOLIO THIS AFTERNOON! And
> end with
> a copy/pasted job description without any context for how or why I was
> pre-selected for the role. They are almost always very short-term
> contracts
> in places I am nowhere near, and for positions I am unqualified
> for, with no
> rate information.
>
> I know *why* I get these, but it's not necessarily true that every
> candidate
> can and will drop everything at a moment's notice for a 3 month
> contract IA
> project in Debuque, Iowa.

Bryan,

I think you have every right to complain. I have received the same
type of emails - and receive them frequently. I don't think it is too
much to ask to have some context, and for it to be worded a little
less... impersonally.

I also think recruiters are "shooting themselves in the foot" when
they send this kind of email. For the most part, I now ignore emails
from recruiters who have sent this kind of email in the past. Of
course, I'm not looking for a job right now either.

Which brings me to the original question in this discussion thread.
What I haven't really seen anyone write is that the reason it is hard
to find designers might be because we are happily employed and not in
the market for a job. I live in the Bay Area and really like where I
am working. If there truly are so many great companies for
interaction designers in the Bay Area (or anywhere), the question
becomes one of motivation. How do you get someone who is happily
employed to leave his or her job, or even pay attention when someone
contacts them about a job? It seems to me that the original question
implied that there should be a bunch of people just waiting around
for a great position, and I just don't buy that supposition.

Brett

21 Feb 2008 - 9:59pm
Loren Baxter
2007

I'd like to reiterate Dave's earlier point of a distinct lack in
career path. Fresh out of college, the only two companies in
California I found that were willing to hire junior IxD's were
Google and Intuit. Most other job postings had steep requirements in
terms of experience and degrees. It's a shame that so few are
willing to train younger designers from the start.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170

21 Feb 2008 - 10:47pm
Chris Bernard
2007

Perhaps there's a role for IxDA here and a way to fund its (and our professions) future growth. Something like the 'the deck' but for IxDA jobs? Perhaps this is a tender first step towards tackling broader issues and developing the institutional definitions and broadly accepted standards for what an IxDA designer is. I'll apologize in advance for re-opening that can of worms too. :)

http://www.coudal.com/deck/

Chris Bernard
Microsoft
User Experience Evangelist
chris.bernard at microsoft.com
630.530.4208 Office
312.925.4095 Mobile

Blog: www.designthinkingdigest.com
Design: www.microsoft.com/design
Tools: www.microsoft.com/expression
Community: http://www.visitmix.com

"The future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed." William Gibson

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Loren Baxter
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 1:00 PM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Where are all the designers?

I'd like to reiterate Dave's earlier point of a distinct lack in
career path. Fresh out of college, the only two companies in
California I found that were willing to hire junior IxD's were
Google and Intuit. Most other job postings had steep requirements in
terms of experience and degrees. It's a shame that so few are
willing to train younger designers from the start.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170

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21 Feb 2008 - 11:49pm
Dave Malouf
2005

What a great thread! This is one of the best "definitional" threads of the
last year.

Andrei, I think your articulation of the situation is both brilliant and
off. It is brilliant in that it is open for answers, and tries to give clear
choices. It is off in that it assumes that these are the only two choices,
and that they are somehow in contradiction with each other.

It is hard to know where to begin, b/c as we all know this is a very complex
problem. There are so many insertion points (some outlined in this thread).

I'd like to take on a piece of what Andrei keys in on with our conversations
and it is the notion of being "technology agnostic". ...

I believe that as interaction designers who are interested in the design of
behaviors we can apply our skills to many different arenas where the
behaviors and interactions between humans and products and humans and
systems and well products/systems with other products/systems and humans
with other humans take place.

That being said, our bread and butter, our roots, our strength, our nexus
... blah blah blah, is in the realm of the digital. However, I do not
believe that "digital" is equal to "software". If there is silicon in the
system creating further complexity through algorithms then we have an
important role. So I'm not sure this is "agnostic" or not. I like to think
of all designers as "technology agnostic" in so far as we design without
thought of technology to start, and then design towards technology, not as a
skill, but as a constraint in the design environment (this is probably true
of all designers).

Separation of presentation from behavior is the other big issue (and Charlie
jumps in on the band wagon here). ...

How many people are just builders? There are some people of Bob Vila's
classification (sorry for the US-centric reference) that do it
all--plumbing, electrical, dry-wall, carpentry, painting, foundations,
roofs, flooring, windows, appliances, interior design, architecture,
engineering, etc.? I think you all see where I'm going here. While there are
a few Bob the Builders out there, it is not our expectation that we work
this way. I mean I can't really think of a house with doors and windows and
flooring, but does every builder/contractor have to be able to do their own
flooring? Of course not. They hire our many skills (technical and aesthetic)
as they require them.

I see my role as an interaction designer, to design behaviors. To Charlie's
point, can I do that w/o visual design skills? I think the Interaction08
conference had amazing examples of people who do the behaviors, the story,
the interactions and do it well for their clients and product owners every
day, with success. I'm not referring to wireframe jockeys, but rather
behavioral designers, who understand the aesthetic frameworks that come from
designing aesthetics, calling out a message, and guiding the presentation of
products and systems.

Does this mean that everyone is an interaction designer. Hell NO!!! Just b/c
you practice interaction design doesn't mean that you ARE an interaction
designer. Well, you can if you want. but you could also be a user experience
designer, interface designer, interactive designer, industrial designer,
architect, business analyst, etc. Or you can be an interaction designer.

>From the very beginning of this organization--I think it was Josh Seiden who
strongly encouraged this direction--we said that IxDA was going to be about
a discipline that its members practice, and not about the people themselves.
In this way we can have interface designers, IAs, product designers and heck
even a few interaction designers and be inclusive. (It is so funny that you
think I'm trying to be exclusive in my conversations.)

BUT ... and this is the clincher. Doing this is all well and good, but if
you can't galvanize a clear message (Thanx Liz) around it, you might have to
re-think the strategy and the associated tactics.

I think that IxDA has done well for itself. With nearly 6000+ subscribed! on
THIS list, and who knows how many more using the web site. AND 2000+ folks
who are on the announcement list, It is clear that we are messaging
something out that is resonating with people. What exactly that nuggets is?
To be honest, I don't really know.

Andrei, I think of you as a surgeon, who is looking for the surgeons
organization among the doctors' organization. You practice surgery, which
means you practice medicine, but you only practice a small part of medicine
and you want your part to define all of medicine.

Ok, it is nearly midnight and I know i didn't pull together a coherent or
cogent point in all this, but I actually don't think i can any more. And our
website doesn't have a "save as draft" functionality. So I'm going to send
now. :)

Nighty night folks!

-- dave

21 Feb 2008 - 11:49pm
Dave Malouf
2005

What a great thread! This is one of the best "definitional" threads
of the last year.

Andrei, I think your articulation of the situation is both brilliant
and off. It is brilliant in that it is open for answers, and tries to
give clear choices. It is off in that it assumes that these are the
only two choices, and that they are somehow in contradiction with
each other.

It is hard to know where to begin, b/c as we all know this is a very
complex problem. There are so many insertion points (some outlined in
this thread).

I'd like to take on a piece of what Andrei keys in on with our
conversations and it is the notion of being "technology agnostic".
...

I believe that as interaction designers who are interested in the
design of behaviors we can apply our skills to many different arenas
where the behaviors and interactions between humans and products and
humans and systems and well products/systems with other
products/systems and humans with other humans take place.

That being said, our bread and butter, our roots, our strength, our
nexus ... blah blah blah, is in the realm of the digital. However, I
do not believe that "digital" is equal to "software". If there is
silicon in the system creating further complexity through algorithms
then we have an important role. So I'm not sure this is "agnostic"
or not. I like to think of all designers as "technology agnostic" in
so far as we design without thought of technology to start, and then
design towards technology, not as a skill, but as a constraint in the
design environment (this is probably true of all designers).

Separation of presentation from behavior is the other big issue (and
Charlie jumps in on the band wagon here). ...

How many people are just builders? There are some people of Bob
Vila's classification (sorry for the US-centric reference) that do
it all--plumbing, electrical, dry-wall, carpentry, painting,
foundations, roofs, flooring, windows, appliances, interior design,
architecture, engineering, etc.? I think you all see where I'm going
here. While there are a few Bob the Builders out there, it is not our
expectation that we work this way. I mean I can't really think of a
house with doors and windows and flooring, but does every
builder/contractor have to be able to do their own flooring? Of
course not. They hire our many skills (technical and aesthetic) as
they require them.

I see my role as an interaction designer, to design behaviors. To
Charlie's point, can I do that w/o visual design skills? I think the
Interaction08 conference had amazing examples of people who do the
behaviors, the story, the interactions and do it well for their
clients and product owners every day, with success. I'm not
referring to wireframe jockeys, but rather behavioral designers, who
understand the aesthetic frameworks that come from designing
aesthetics, calling out a message, and guiding the presentation of
products and systems.

Does this mean that everyone is an interaction designer. Hell NO!!!
Just b/c you practice interaction design doesn't mean that you ARE
an interaction designer. Well, you can if you want. but you could
also be a user experience designer, interface designer, interactive
designer, industrial designer, architect, business analyst, etc. Or
you can be an interaction designer.

>From the very beginning of this organization--I think it was Josh
Seiden who strongly encouraged this direction--we said that IxDA was
going to be about a discipline that its members practice, and not
about the people themselves. In this way we can have interface
designers, IAs, product designers and heck even a few interaction
designers and be inclusive. (It is so funny that you think I'm
trying to be exclusive in my conversations.)

BUT ... and this is the clincher. Doing this is all well and good,
but if you can't galvanize a clear message (Thanx Liz) around it,
you might have to re-think the strategy and the associated tactics.

I think that IxDA has done well for itself. With nearly 6000
subscribed! on THIS list, and who knows how many more using the web
site. AND 2000 folks who are on the announcement list, It is clear
that we are messaging something out that is resonating with people.
What exactly that nuggets is? To be honest, I don't really know.

Andrei, I think of you as a surgeon, who is looking for the surgeons
organization among the doctors' organization. You practice surgery,
which means you practice medicine, but you only practice a small part
of medicine and you want your part to define all of medicine.

Ok, it is nearly midnight and I know i didn't pull together a
coherent or cogent point in all this, but I actually don't think i
can any more. And our website doesn't have a "save as draft"
functionality. So I'm going to send now. :)

Nighty night folks!

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170

22 Feb 2008 - 4:26am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Feb 21, 2008, at 8:49 PM, David Malouf wrote:

> What a great thread! This is one of the best "definitional" threads
> of the
> last year.

Not possible. I started the thread, remember?

> Andrei, I think your articulation of the situation is both
> brilliant and
> off. It is brilliant in that it is open for answers, and tries to
> give clear
> choices. It is off in that it assumes that these are the only two
> choices,
> and that they are somehow in contradiction with each other.

I'm of the opinion that if you have a hard enough time getting even
two job definitions right, then don't try more. Sure... there are
other choices... but can we please keep the problem simpler until
things get under control first?

> I believe that as interaction designers who are interested in the
> design of
> behaviors we can apply our skills to many different arenas where the
> behaviors and interactions between humans and products and humans and
> systems and well products/systems with other products/systems and
> humans
> with other humans take place.

That's definitely what I meant by "technology agnostic." More on this
below.

> That being said, our bread and butter, our roots, our strength, our
> nexus
> ... blah blah blah, is in the realm of the digital. However, I do not
> believe that "digital" is equal to "software". If there is silicon
> in the
> system creating further complexity through algorithms then we have an
> important role.

I'm not sure how "silicon in the system creating further complexity
through algorithms" as a distinction is really any different from
"software." All software is at its core is basically algorithms and
logic. In fact, learning how to create algorithms is one of the main
classes you have to pass on the road to engineering and writing
software. So I'm pretty sure we are saying the same thing when we
both use "digital" as a term.

I like to use "software" because it's more readily understood outside
the confines of engineers and people who do interface design. And
it's a lot easier to say than "when there's silicon in the system
creating further complexity through algorithms."

> So I'm not sure this is "agnostic" or not.

"Digital" is definitely technology specific and not agnostic in the
sense that it separates what an interaction designer might do with an
iPhone versus a traditional analog phone. Once you assume digital, I
think you are very much tying yourself to technology. Specifically,
software since it is software that allows interaction to exist in a
meaningful way in digital products, as opposed to designing the
interaction of something not digital.

> I like to think
> of all designers as "technology agnostic" in so far as we design
> without
> thought of technology to start, and then design towards technology,
> not as a
> skill, but as a constraint in the design environment (this is
> probably true
> of all designers).

That use of the word "technology" is speaking about specific types of
digital technology, often times software platform choices. And the
kind of agnosticism you speak of certainly exists in all forms of
design. Graphic designers deal with it in developing branding
solutions, where the brand solution has to cross printed business
systems, packaging, commercials and web promotions. It's also the
topic of my "Think from center" presentation.

But that kind of "technology agnostic" concept is different than what
I meant by using the phrase. Again... more on that below.

> Does this mean that everyone is an interaction designer. Hell NO!!!
> Just b/c
> you practice interaction design doesn't mean that you ARE an
> interaction
> designer. Well, you can if you want. but you could also be a user
> experience
> designer, interface designer, interactive designer, industrial
> designer,
> architect, business analyst, etc. Or you can be an interaction
> designer.

Exactly.

But this is the problem. People are now basically swapping what
*used* to be called "interface" design or even "user experience"
design with "interaction" design and calling it a day. That has to
stop. All it's doing is creating a lot more confusion in the job
market where there was already confusion from the folks who dropped
in and used any number of job titles they felt like that month in the
late 1990s.

(And then in the future once it's all sorted out, I can write a
thread called "Where are all the Interface Designers" and people will
know I mean "interface designers" and not "interaction designers."
And heck, some of the interaction designers in the list when I write
that can see what skills they would need to develop or learn to
become an interface designer if they perceive an overload of
interaction designers in the field and a lack of interface designers.
Win win!)

> BUT ... and this is the clincher. Doing this is all well and good,
> but if
> you can't galvanize a clear message (Thanx Liz) around it, you
> might have to
> re-think the strategy and the associated tactics.

I'm certainly glad to hear to hear you say that...

> Andrei, I think of you as a surgeon, who is looking for the surgeons
> organization among the doctors' organization. You practice surgery,
> which
> means you practice medicine, but you only practice a small part of
> medicine
> and you want your part to define all of medicine.

But then you do this again! Stop it!

Please?

You keep defining me as a niche or a specialist, when that is only
true if you believe that "digital" is a niche and that it lives as
only an aspect of some larger ecosystem. From everything you say, I
think its clear you think digital is a niche of some larger picture.

However, if you believe that "digital" and "software" are fundamental
for a particular type of designer, as I do, then what I do is not a
niche at all since "digital" and "software" are quite broad and large
domains, much in the same way graphic design and industrial design
are large domains. I can do any and all aspects of digital and
software design no matter what market a software product is aimed at.
I've designed everything from photography software, illustration
programs, desktop publishing products, business enterprise systems,
B2B enterprise software, tech support software, invitation
applications, a social gaming network, television 3D graphics,
animation software, my own blog, and on and on... That breadth of
product design experience is not "a small part" of the digital domain.

Not at all!

At the same time, some that define themselves as "interaction
designers" can only do a portion of the design tasks needed for the
same job that I've done as an interface designer. In that sense, I'm
the general practitioner while people who define themselves as
interaction designers are the specialists.

And to be clear... This is true if you tie yourself to digital and
software like I do, which is why I bring up the concept of
"technology agnostic" in my definitions in this thread. To me, this
is basically the differentiator.

I think a lot of people are at a crossroads of what kind of designer
they want to be. There will be plenty who want to stick with being
interaction designers, the specialists in behavior who happen to
enjoy digital, but may some day move into other domains. But there
are also plenty who want to move more towards what I'm talking about:
specifically focusing on digital and software design. For those that
want to do that, they need to be prepared to learn a lot of different
skills than what is expected of interaction designers as they are
defined today. Skills that have to do with coding and prototyping,
aesthetics and behavior as it relates to humans interacting with
software.

What needs to happen, in my opinion, is that those of you that want
IxD to be technology agnostic and *not* tied to digital simply need
to make that a well known accepted definition, and then find a way to
make sure it is understood that an interaction designer is very much
a specialist within the realm of digital. But the kind of specialist
that can cross various problem domains past digital to have a broader
impact. Companies can hire interaction designers then to work on
*specific* aspects of their software products that only require a
certain set of skills, teamed up with others of course, while also
asking those interaction designers to take a crack at seeing how the
product experience extends into the shopping experience at the local
Mall or perhaps how customers get support help within the company
when the product has problems.

Then those designers that realize what they want to do is more
holistic aspects of just the software design itself can choose to
move towards interface or software design, where there they can get
into the full, total and complete design of software; the look and
feel, the behaviors, the systems design, all of that stuff. To me,
that road leads to everyone being happy, knowing full well what it is
they do or what it is they might want to do.

Remember... I'm the one who actually *wants* to defined by digital as
the bedrock and core of the this area of the design world. Others,
like you, Dan Saffer, Jeff Howard and a few others, seem to want to
be something other than just digital. That's great and I wish you all
the best of luck, but you (and I mean the singular "you" here, Dave)
really have to stop making claims I'm the niche and you're not when
it honestly has a everything to do with the base level assumption of
the what defines the domain.

So when I say "technology agnostic," I'm trying to say some want
interaction design to not be tethered to digital or software, which
has very big implications on what the actual skill set is to be
expected of interaction designers. That's fine! I say more power to
you! If that's what IxD is all about, then great.

However -- and this is a very *big* however -- I simply ask those
that call themselves "interaction designers" know this and help
others outside of the design field to understand this. And know that
in the realm of software and interface design, they are the surgeons,
the specialists, not the generalists or the ones who are aiming to be
holistic designers in the realm of digital or software design.

So maybe I should be asking... Where are all the software and
interface designers?

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

22 Feb 2008 - 4:26am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Feb 21, 2008, at 8:49 PM, David Malouf wrote:

> What a great thread! This is one of the best "definitional" threads
> of the
> last year.

Not possible. I started the thread, remember?

> Andrei, I think your articulation of the situation is both
> brilliant and
> off. It is brilliant in that it is open for answers, and tries to
> give clear
> choices. It is off in that it assumes that these are the only two
> choices,
> and that they are somehow in contradiction with each other.

I'm of the opinion that if you have a hard enough time getting even
two job definitions right, then don't try more. Sure... there are
other choices... but can we please keep the problem simpler until
things get under control first?

> I believe that as interaction designers who are interested in the
> design of
> behaviors we can apply our skills to many different arenas where the
> behaviors and interactions between humans and products and humans and
> systems and well products/systems with other products/systems and
> humans
> with other humans take place.

That's definitely what I meant by "technology agnostic." More on this
below.

> That being said, our bread and butter, our roots, our strength, our
> nexus
> ... blah blah blah, is in the realm of the digital. However, I do not
> believe that "digital" is equal to "software". If there is silicon
> in the
> system creating further complexity through algorithms then we have an
> important role.

I'm not sure how "silicon in the system creating further complexity
through algorithms" as a distinction is really any different from
"software." All software is at its core is basically algorithms and
logic. In fact, learning how to create algorithms is one of the main
classes you have to pass on the road to engineering and writing
software. So I'm pretty sure we are saying the same thing when we
both use "digital" as a term.

I like to use "software" because it's more readily understood outside
the confines of engineers and people who do interface design. And
it's a lot easier to say than "when there's silicon in the system
creating further complexity through algorithms."

> So I'm not sure this is "agnostic" or not.

"Digital" is definitely technology specific and not agnostic in the
sense that it separates what an interaction designer might do with an
iPhone versus a traditional analog phone. Once you assume digital, I
think you are very much tying yourself to technology. Specifically,
software since it is software that allows interaction to exist in a
meaningful way in digital products, as opposed to designing the
interaction of something not digital.

> I like to think
> of all designers as "technology agnostic" in so far as we design
> without
> thought of technology to start, and then design towards technology,
> not as a
> skill, but as a constraint in the design environment (this is
> probably true
> of all designers).

That use of the word "technology" is speaking about specific types of
digital technology, often times software platform choices. And the
kind of agnosticism you speak of certainly exists in all forms of
design. Graphic designers deal with it in developing branding
solutions, where the brand solution has to cross printed business
systems, packaging, commercials and web promotions. It's also the
topic of my "Think from center" presentation.

But that kind of "technology agnostic" concept is different than what
I meant by using the phrase. Again... more on that below.

> Does this mean that everyone is an interaction designer. Hell NO!!!
> Just b/c
> you practice interaction design doesn't mean that you ARE an
> interaction
> designer. Well, you can if you want. but you could also be a user
> experience
> designer, interface designer, interactive designer, industrial
> designer,
> architect, business analyst, etc. Or you can be an interaction
> designer.

Exactly.

But this is the problem. People are now basically swapping what
*used* to be called "interface" design or even "user experience"
design with "interaction" design and calling it a day. That has to
stop. All it's doing is creating a lot more confusion in the job
market where there was already confusion from the folks who dropped
in and used any number of job titles they felt like that month in the
late 1990s.

(And then in the future once it's all sorted out, I can write a
thread called "Where are all the Interface Designers" and people will
know I mean "interface designers" and not "interaction designers."
And heck, some of the interaction designers in the list when I write
that can see what skills they would need to develop or learn to
become an interface designer if they perceive an overload of
interaction designers in the field and a lack of interface designers.
Win win!)

> BUT ... and this is the clincher. Doing this is all well and good,
> but if
> you can't galvanize a clear message (Thanx Liz) around it, you
> might have to
> re-think the strategy and the associated tactics.

I'm certainly glad to hear to hear you say that...

> Andrei, I think of you as a surgeon, who is looking for the surgeons
> organization among the doctors' organization. You practice surgery,
> which
> means you practice medicine, but you only practice a small part of
> medicine
> and you want your part to define all of medicine.

But then you do this again! Stop it!

Please?

You keep defining me as a niche or a specialist, when that is only
true if you believe that "digital" is a niche and that it lives as
only an aspect of some larger ecosystem. From everything you say, I
think its clear you think digital is a niche of some larger picture.

However, if you believe that "digital" and "software" are fundamental
for a particular type of designer, as I do, then what I do is not a
niche at all since "digital" and "software" are quite broad and large
domains, much in the same way graphic design and industrial design
are large domains. I can do any and all aspects of digital and
software design no matter what market a software product is aimed at.
I've designed everything from photography software, illustration
programs, desktop publishing products, business enterprise systems,
B2B enterprise software, tech support software, invitation
applications, a social gaming network, television 3D graphics,
animation software, my own blog, and on and on... That breadth of
product design experience is not "a small part" of the digital domain.

Not at all!

At the same time, some that define themselves as "interaction
designers" can only do a portion of the design tasks needed for the
same job that I've done as an interface designer. In that sense, I'm
the general practitioner while people who define themselves as
interaction designers are the specialists.

And to be clear... This is true if you tie yourself to digital and
software like I do, which is why I bring up the concept of
"technology agnostic" in my definitions in this thread. To me, this
is basically the differentiator.

I think a lot of people are at a crossroads of what kind of designer
they want to be. There will be plenty who want to stick with being
interaction designers, the specialists in behavior who happen to
enjoy digital, but may some day move into other domains. But there
are also plenty who want to move more towards what I'm talking about:
specifically focusing on digital and software design. For those that
want to do that, they need to be prepared to learn a lot of different
skills than what is expected of interaction designers as they are
defined today. Skills that have to do with coding and prototyping,
aesthetics and behavior as it relates to humans interacting with
software.

What needs to happen, in my opinion, is that those of you that want
IxD to be technology agnostic and *not* tied to digital simply need
to make that a well known accepted definition, and then find a way to
make sure it is understood that an interaction designer is very much
a specialist within the realm of digital. But the kind of specialist
that can cross various problem domains past digital to have a broader
impact. Companies can hire interaction designers then to work on
*specific* aspects of their software products that only require a
certain set of skills, teamed up with others of course, while also
asking those interaction designers to take a crack at seeing how the
product experience extends into the shopping experience at the local
Mall or perhaps how customers get support help within the company
when the product has problems.

Then those designers that realize what they want to do is more
holistic aspects of just the software design itself can choose to
move towards interface or software design, where there they can get
into the full, total and complete design of software; the look and
feel, the behaviors, the systems design, all of that stuff. To me,
that road leads to everyone being happy, knowing full well what it is
they do or what it is they might want to do.

Remember... I'm the one who actually *wants* to defined by digital as
the bedrock and core of the this area of the design world. Others,
like you, Dan Saffer, Jeff Howard and a few others, seem to want to
be something other than just digital. That's great and I wish you all
the best of luck, but you (and I mean the singular "you" here, Dave)
really have to stop making claims I'm the niche and you're not when
it honestly has a everything to do with the base level assumption of
the what defines the domain.

So when I say "technology agnostic," I'm trying to say some want
interaction design to not be tethered to digital or software, which
has very big implications on what the actual skill set is to be
expected of interaction designers. That's fine! I say more power to
you! If that's what IxD is all about, then great.

However -- and this is a very *big* however -- I simply ask those
that call themselves "interaction designers" know this and help
others outside of the design field to understand this. And know that
in the realm of software and interface design, they are the surgeons,
the specialists, not the generalists or the ones who are aiming to be
holistic designers in the realm of digital or software design.

So maybe I should be asking... Where are all the software and
interface designers?

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

21 Feb 2008 - 10:09pm
Scott McDaniel
2007

I think many are getting ideas on an upper level, but not how they
relates to the more
junior levels. And/or there are paths to get to that route now, even
if not ideally
centralized on precisely what IxD "is." Not that we apparently know that well.

On Thu, 21 Feb 2008 18:59:48, Loren Baxter <loren.baxter at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'd like to reiterate Dave's earlier point of a distinct lack in
> career path. Fresh out of college, the only two companies in
> California I found that were willing to hire junior IxD's were
> Google and Intuit. Most other job postings had steep requirements in
> terms of experience and degrees. It's a shame that so few are
> willing to train younger designers from the start.
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
>
>
> 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
>

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

22 Feb 2008 - 9:35am
Todd Warfel
2003

Start your own firm, live where you want.

Yes, it's hard work finding business, but if you're dedicated and
willing to cut your teeth on some less sexy work for a while, after
2-3 years, it really won't matter where you live. Our firm is based
out of Philadelphia (lots of culture, affordable housing, great food,
history, little over an hour from NYC and DC) and have two clients
here in Philly and all the rest are across the country in NYC,
Chicago, LA, Denver, and even the south.

While I think NC is beautiful, I simply couldn't live there—there's
not enough culture for me. I ran into the same thing while I was up at
Cornell in Ithaca. I loved the natural beauty, but the lack of culture
killed it for me.

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.

22 Feb 2008 - 9:42am
bminihan
2007

From another perspective, I've been thinking it would be nice if careers
like ours (highly visual, many different disciplines, clearly discernable
results) couldn't benefit from a site like IMDB. You know...you go there to
find out what an actor's film credits are, and if you recognize it or want
to learn more, go get the film to watch them work.

More and more these days, my resume cannot possibly reflect the breadth and
depth of my work, and my portfolio only (at best) represents snapshots in
time of my projects. If I had a single chronological database to list my
projects and let others associate themselves with those projects, recruiters
and others could see how big some of these projects are and get a better
picture of what I (and my fellow team mates - whether they're developers,
designers, human factors, managers, testers, etc) can do. They could also
see growth over time better than I could represent it in my resume ("I can't
believe she worked on Pets.com...but then she moved on to Basecamp, how cool
is that!"). Then, my resume could focus on the business results, and link
to IxDB for the full story of my work.

It's just an idea, but I envy those folks in the movie industry =]

Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

22 Feb 2008 - 9:44am
Matt Nish-Lapidus
2007

Hi,

Dave, you've said things like this is the past on the list, and while
I understand what you're saying conceptually, there's some fuzziness
because of the comparatively young age of IxD.

A lot of people here started off as other types of designers, or as
other things all together... so if you start your career as an
interface designer, or an interface developer and want to become and
interaction designer, at what point do you stop being an interface
designer that does some interaction design and become an interaction
designer that does some interface design?

On Thu, Feb 21, 2008 at 11:49 PM, David Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> Does this mean that everyone is an interaction designer. Hell NO!!! Just b/c
> you practice interaction design doesn't mean that you ARE an interaction
> designer. Well, you can if you want. but you could also be a user experience
> designer, interface designer, interactive designer, industrial designer,
> architect, business analyst, etc. Or you can be an interaction designer.

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

22 Feb 2008 - 9:55am
bminihan
2007

I agree with you regarding NC.we have our culture fans who claim we DO have
culture, and it's here, but sprinkled around and nowhere near as rich as the
larger areas, Philadelphia included. It's not why people move here, though,
and I have the exact same feeling about Philadelphia. I have plenty of
designer/UCD friends up there, and my wife and I seriously considered moving
there for the reasons you mention. The two biggest problems for us were a)
it's not close enough to what we'd call "a good beach" and b) it's closer to
her family (in Boston) than NC but not close enough for the support we're
looking for.

People have different priorities and reasons for being where they are and
going where they do. I'm slowly inching my way towards adopting the "be
your own boss" path, but I'm from a "company shop" family and have a really
hard time releasing my need to identify with a company to learn the art of
finding business leads and networking. I'm getting better, but it's tough,
and takes time to get used to. More likely than not, I'll be forced to jump
in with both feet when something pushes me in that direction (another
downturn in the market most likely).

Bryan

http://www.bryanminihan.com

22 Feb 2008 - 10:08am
Chris Bernard
2007

Wow that's a really interesting idea. IMDB is kind of the 'LinkedIn' for the entertainment profession.

Chris Bernard
Microsoft
User Experience Evangelist
chris.bernard at microsoft.com
630.530.4208 Office
312.925.4095 Mobile

Blog: www.designthinkingdigest.com
Design: www.microsoft.com/design
Tools: www.microsoft.com/expression
Community: http://www.visitmix.com

"The future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed." William Gibson

-----Original Message-----
From: Bryan Minihan [mailto:bjminihan at nc.rr.com]
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 8:43 AM
To: Chris Bernard; 'Loren Baxter'; discuss at ixda.org
Subject: RE: [IxDA Discuss] Where are all the designers?

>From another perspective, I've been thinking it would be nice if careers
like ours (highly visual, many different disciplines, clearly discernable
results) couldn't benefit from a site like IMDB. You know...you go there to
find out what an actor's film credits are, and if you recognize it or want
to learn more, go get the film to watch them work.

More and more these days, my resume cannot possibly reflect the breadth and
depth of my work, and my portfolio only (at best) represents snapshots in
time of my projects. If I had a single chronological database to list my
projects and let others associate themselves with those projects, recruiters
and others could see how big some of these projects are and get a better
picture of what I (and my fellow team mates - whether they're developers,
designers, human factors, managers, testers, etc) can do. They could also
see growth over time better than I could represent it in my resume ("I can't
believe she worked on Pets.com...but then she moved on to Basecamp, how cool
is that!"). Then, my resume could focus on the business results, and link
to IxDB for the full story of my work.

It's just an idea, but I envy those folks in the movie industry =]

Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Chris
Bernard
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 10:48 PM
To: Loren Baxter; discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Where are all the designers?

Perhaps there's a role for IxDA here and a way to fund its (and our
professions) future growth. Something like the 'the deck' but for IxDA jobs?
Perhaps this is a tender first step towards tackling broader issues and
developing the institutional definitions and broadly accepted standards for
what an IxDA designer is. I'll apologize in advance for re-opening that can
of worms too. :)

http://www.coudal.com/deck/

Chris Bernard
Microsoft
User Experience Evangelist
chris.bernard at microsoft.com
630.530.4208 Office
312.925.4095 Mobile

22 Feb 2008 - 10:13am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Feb 22, 2008, at 9:44 AM, Matthew Nish-Lapidus wrote:

> at what point do you stop being an interface designer that does some
> interaction design and become an interaction designer that does some
> interface design?

You don't. There's overlap. It's nearly impossible to do interaction
design without doing some interface design—the reverse is also true.
They're co-dependent on each other. If you're designing the interface,
then you're going to start getting into the weeds of interaction.
Likewise, if you're designing the interaction, you're going to start
getting into the weeds of the interface.

Now, you might hand that off to someone else to spit and polish, but
in reality, you can't do one w/o impacting the other.

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.

22 Feb 2008 - 10:19am
SemanticWill
2007

"Now, you might hand that off to someone else to spit and polish, but
in reality, you can't do one w/o impacting the other."

As much as I try to limit the definitions of the practice, I can't limit the
practitioner. Depending on what I am working on - I may do nothing more than
interview people, do user research and write personas. I might do just
wirerframes based on functional specs and requirements. I might do
Wireframes and interaction design. Right now I am doing wireframes,
interaction design, visual design (yep!), and coding the front end html and
css -- because in a room with 3 other people, thats it - and they are all
hard core SE, I am the only one that can. So huge overlap. And I wouldn't
want it any other way.

On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 10:13 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at toddwarfel.com>
wrote:

>
> On Feb 22, 2008, at 9:44 AM, Matthew Nish-Lapidus wrote:
>
> > at what point do you stop being an interface designer that does some
> > interaction design and become an interaction designer that does some
> > interface design?
>
> You don't. There's overlap. It's nearly impossible to do interaction
> design without doing some interface design—the reverse is also true.
> They're co-dependent on each other. If you're designing the interface,
> then you're going to start getting into the weeds of interaction.
> Likewise, if you're designing the interaction, you're going to start
> getting into the weeds of the interface.
>
> Now, you might hand that off to someone else to spit and polish, but
> in reality, you can't do one w/o impacting the other.
>
>
> 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.
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
-------------------------------------------------------

22 Feb 2008 - 10:19am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Feb 22, 2008, at 9:55 AM, Bryan Minihan wrote:

> I agree with you regarding NC…we have our culture fans who claim we
> DO have culture, and it’s here, but sprinkled around and nowhere
> near as rich as the larger areas, Philadelphia included. It’s not
> why people move here, though, and I have the exact same feeling
> about Philadelphia.

And just to be clear, NC does have culture, just not the kind of
culture I need. Likewise, the diverse culture of a large city isn't
for everyone. My family is split between LA and a small town in
Indiana. My parents and younger sister don't want/need/desire the
diverse culture of a large coastal city day-to-day. My older sister
does inner-city work and is steeped in it. My in-laws are Egyptian
immigrants, so I've got mountains of a different culture several times
a month and love it.

There are things I really like about Philadelphia and things I don't.
But until I buy my own island and design my own community, I think
I'll always have a love-hate relationship wherever I live :).

> [...]I’m slowly inching my way towards adopting the “be your own
> boss” path, but I’m from a “company shop” family and have a really
> hard time releasing my need to identify with a company to learn the
> art of finding business leads and networking.

It's not for everyone. Lots of people should never start their own
company—the paperwork alone will drown you. But if you can handle the
paperwork, or outsource it, and are disciplined enough to stay
scheduled and balance hunting down work with doing the work, then it's
something to consider.

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.

22 Feb 2008 - 10:21am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Feb 22, 2008, at 10:19 AM, W Evans wrote:

> So huge overlap. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

That's why I love my job.

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.

22 Feb 2008 - 10:22am
Dave Malouf
2005

On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 9:44 AM, Matthew Nish-Lapidus <mattnl at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Hi,
>
> Dave, you've said things like this is the past on the list, and while
> I understand what you're saying conceptually, there's some fuzziness
> because of the comparatively young age of IxD.

Are we really that Young? I mean the term has been floated around for
decades at this point? Yes, we are relatively young compared to graphic or
industrial design, but I really feel we gotta get over this problem. It's
like some out of college who doesn't take responsibility for their taxes b/c
they are "young". Feels like a crock at this point, no? I'm not picking on
your Matt, but on the entire community. I think the best way to grow up is
to act like it, no?

A lot of people here started off as other types of designers, or as
> other things all together... so if you start your career as an
> interface designer, or an interface developer and want to become and
> interaction designer, at what point do you stop being an interface
> designer that does some interaction design and become an interaction
> designer that does some interface design?

I Think Todd is right that there is overlap. But I do believe that there are
umbrellas and there are distinctions.
So for me an "interaction designER" is someone who's primary focus is on
"interaction design". So for me, this fits nicely, but also not completely
accurrately as I also do "experience planning" which to me is a very
strategic engagement but some would call "interaction design" out right.
About 60% of my job though is "interaction design". I do direction of UI
Design (the presentation layer) and I also do research and planning in the
remaining 40% (not counting administrative stuff). for me I see my pole of
my "T shape" as "interaction design", so I call myself an "interaction
design". I will say though that the more experienced I become and the
"higher up" I go in the chain the more strategic my work becomes and it
becomes more about the total experience, than about the "interactions" or
'behaviors" of the solutions I work on.

Is the solution to the issue to say that everyone should call themselves
"X", like lawyer or doctor? Maybe, but I'm not convinced yet. There are so
many different environments and different cultures and I'm not sure one
solution fits all. Even in industrial design, you get industrial designer,
product designer, and even a few others. Graphic designers also have
"information designer", "communications designer", "typographer", etc.

-- dave

>
>
> On Thu, Feb 21, 2008 at 11:49 PM, David Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Does this mean that everyone is an interaction designer. Hell NO!!!
> Just b/c
> > you practice interaction design doesn't mean that you ARE an
> interaction
> > designer. Well, you can if you want. but you could also be a user
> experience
> > designer, interface designer, interactive designer, industrial
> designer,
> > architect, business analyst, etc. Or you can be an interaction
> designer.
>
>
> --
> Matt Nish-Lapidus
> work: matt at bibliocommons.com / www.bibliocommons.com
> --
> personal: mattnl at gmail.com
>

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

22 Feb 2008 - 10:00am
Diarmad
2007

> it would be nice if careers couldn't benefit from a site like IMDB

I have found www.linkedin.com to be adequate for this job though I realise its usefulnes is highly dependent on having a dense network in your geographical area, e.g. many London clients have found me through this site but most of my Dublin clients are not registered.

22 Feb 2008 - 10:38am
Dave Malouf
2005

Ok, back to Andrei ...

Digital vs. Software. Ok, then we are in agreement. I was thinking of
"software" more specifically, meaning that which is presented
through a screen, but if you want software to mean anything running
through silicon, great. Of course, a lot happens on the firmware
level and I'm not sure you expect prototypers to be working on
firmware when they are doing prototyping, right? I was thinking of
software as that which is "touchable" by the end-user, and exists
within UI Frameworks, not all software. I mean my car has software,
but I don't really think of it is "soft" as it is all embedded on
ROMs. Even my Radio/CD player/iPod Interface in my Car has a
"screen" of LEDs, but I wouldn't consider this "software design"
though it is definitely in the realm of non-production prototyping,
really easily (BTW, this horrible system is an example of the
eco-system design most needing of an interaction designer and NOT an
interface designer, but that's a long story.)

But if in your mind, its all "software" then we are in agreement
about scope. We are also in agreement about the "agnostic" piece as
well.

Part of the reason for my take is that I just got out of a
conversation with my manager who was reacting to my piece on Core77
based on his 20-30 odd years experience as a practicing industrial
designer where "interactions" was a core component to the solutions
he worked on, whether it was a vacuum cleaner, a bank teller machine,
or many other devices that were designed and used way before the
ubiquity of the transistor in everything in the world.

I think the other aspect of the discussion is that I think, knowing
what you expect in terms of coding skills, you are limiting your
hiring to people who work on "screen software" design. I mean, what
is the purpose of having good PHP/JavaScript skills if you are
designing a TV remote control. You'll never be doing the type of
prototyping you have discussed in previous postings. You CAN! do
prototyping of a remote control with those skills, but they would not
be at the level of fidelity that I've heard you mention before. They
would be more akin to abstractions, and not representative of
real-use, so I think that is what has skewed my interpretation of
your message of "software".

But it sounds like we are good! Now I'm sure there are others on
this list who would like to think of interaction design more
generically. But I think once you leave the digital world of some
sort of transistors, you are just talking about "design" generally
or maybe 'experience' design.

We'll see.

-- dave

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170

22 Feb 2008 - 10:58am
Mary Austin-Keller
2007

I think this is a serious problem with both our area and the general
software industry. There are so few junior job postings. Most are for 3-5
years or more. Yet, how do you get those 3-5 years without year 1! Yes, I
have 3-5 years experience, but I think we all are doing ourselves a
disservice by not hiring junior folks. If you're out there hiring, try to
consider a junior position, even as a contractor position if necessary.
It'll make your senior folks happier, as they can grow in their management
skills plus ensure that when you really do need someone with experience,
they're out there to find. Not to mention that in a few years, you'll have
that senior person who you KNOW can do the job.

Unfortunately I'm not the one who hires in my company, so I can only send
out this e-mail and hope others can. :)

Cheers,
~Mary
--
Mary Austin-Keller
mary at maryaustin-keller.com

On 2/21/08 6:59 PM, "Loren Baxter" <loren.baxter at gmail.com> wrote:

> I'd like to reiterate Dave's earlier point of a distinct lack in
> career path. Fresh out of college, the only two companies in
> California I found that were willing to hire junior IxD's were
> Google and Intuit. Most other job postings had steep requirements in
> terms of experience and degrees. It's a shame that so few are
> willing to train younger designers from the start.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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

22 Feb 2008 - 11:02am
SemanticWill
2007

"Yet, how do you get those 3-5 years without year 1! Yes, I
have 3-5 years experience, but I think we all are doing ourselves a
disservice by not hiring junior folks. If you're out there hiring, try to
consider a junior position, even as a contractor position if necessary."

I knwo businesses are out to make a profit - obviously - but I concur and
think we have an obligation, just like the old craft/guilds - since this is
a practice and craft - to bring on and train up junior and entry level
designers. We have a moral responsibility also to speak, give workshops, and
help each other grow the profession. I am not calling for anything formal
like a code of conduct, or codified practice-community volunteers - but if
we can - not only should we - we must.

On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 10:58 AM, Mary Austin-Keller <
uxlists at maryaustin-keller.com> wrote:

>
> I think this is a serious problem with both our area and the general
> software industry. There are so few junior job postings. Most are for
> 3-5
> years or more. Yet, how do you get those 3-5 years without year 1! Yes,
> I
> have 3-5 years experience, but I think we all are doing ourselves a
> disservice by not hiring junior folks. If you're out there hiring, try to
> consider a junior position, even as a contractor position if necessary.
> It'll make your senior folks happier, as they can grow in their management
> skills plus ensure that when you really do need someone with experience,
> they're out there to find. Not to mention that in a few years, you'll have
> that senior person who you KNOW can do the job.
>
> Unfortunately I'm not the one who hires in my company, so I can only send
> out this e-mail and hope others can. :)
>
> Cheers,
> ~Mary
> --
> Mary Austin-Keller
> mary at maryaustin-keller.com
>
>
> On 2/21/08 6:59 PM, "Loren Baxter" <loren.baxter at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > I'd like to reiterate Dave's earlier point of a distinct lack in
> > career path. Fresh out of college, the only two companies in
> > California I found that were willing to hire junior IxD's were
> > Google and Intuit. Most other job postings had steep requirements in
> > terms of experience and degrees. It's a shame that so few are
> > willing to train younger designers from the start.
> >
> >
> > . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> > Posted from the new ixda.org
> > http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > 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
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
-------------------------------------------------------

22 Feb 2008 - 11:24am
Dave Malouf
2005

One of the things I've been exposed to at Motorola is our HR thinking
in terms of the industrial design group. Recruitment is a journey that
often begins with bachelor corporate sponsored projects at schools
that the management have deep relationships with.

I mention this b/c in the software world, I have seen little college
outreach like this except from the big boys (and not in design, only
in engineering), and NONE from agencies/consultancies. It seems that
creating relationships early and often is a great recruitment
practice and often pays itself back:

corporate sponsored projects with programs of interest
Internships
college outreach
Jr. hiring
...

These are key elements for us to creating the type of eco-system of
career development. It's done every day already. why not us?

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170

22 Feb 2008 - 11:30am
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

> On 2/21/08 6:59 PM, "Loren Baxter" <loren.baxter at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> I'd like to reiterate Dave's earlier point of a distinct lack in
>> career path. Fresh out of college, the only two companies in
>> California I found that were willing to hire junior IxD's were
>> Google and Intuit. Most other job postings had steep requirements in
>> terms of experience and degrees. It's a shame that so few are
>> willing to train younger designers from the start.

On Feb 22, 2008, at 7:58 AM, Mary Austin-Keller wrote:

> I think this is a serious problem with both our area and the general
> software industry. There are so few junior job postings. Most are
> for 3-5
> years or more. Yet, how do you get those 3-5 years without year
> 1! Yes, I
> have 3-5 years experience, but I think we all are doing ourselves a
> disservice by not hiring junior folks. If you're out there hiring,
> try to
> consider a junior position, even as a contractor position if
> necessary.
> It'll make your senior folks happier, as they can grow in their
> management
> skills plus ensure that when you really do need someone with
> experience,
> they're out there to find. Not to mention that in a few years,
> you'll have
> that senior person who you KNOW can do the job.

FWIW... Involution is looking for both senior and junior level folks,
although we only post officially for senior level positions. Just be
ready to reset your expectations on salary and such. And be ready to
get tossed into the water cold without easing in. The market moves so
fast these days that people look for senior positions because the
timelines have gotten out of control on the speed to market issue.

But you guys are right. It's definitely a big problem and needs to be
corrected in our industry.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

22 Feb 2008 - 11:56am
Charlie Kreitzberg
2008

Liz, you asked:

"So, what are some of the best means we (IxDA) could employ to
communicate the IxD message & self-definition with recruiters, HR
departments, education, business leaders, etc.?"

I think that is a very important question. It cuts to the core of
what IxDA must do if it is to become the spokes-organization for our
profession. I think there are real dangers here. Andrei Herasimchuk
said it clearly in a recent post:

"...it's dangerous for designers to silo themselves -- because
-- the need to have multiple people do the job of the design and
the economics of building digital products will simply not be
viable."

In other words, we will get to the point where companies simply want
to add a "user friendly" person to the team. Not an
interaction designer, a usability specialist, an information
architect, and a visual designer. These distinctions are too fine for
the external facing world; they only serve to confuse.

How do we get to a simple job description? Here are my top 10 ideas
(for today):

1. Acknowledge that our external facing position needs to be simple
and comprehensible to a non-practitioner.

2. Select a simple term that encompasses the profession of designing
the presentation layer and use it consistently. Call it
human-centered design (my choice) or user experience design, or user
friendly design or usability or come up with another term, it does
not really matter. But make certain that whatever term we select
resonates with those who manage businesses and hire.

3. Change "I am" to "I do." Instead of saying
"I am an interaction designer or I am a usability
professional," say (for example) "I am a human-centered
designer or a user experience designer. I do interaction design,
information architecture and usability testing but I do not do visual
design." Of course, modify the "I do's" to suit
each individual's skill set.

4. Get together with the other human-centered associations and work
on #2 together. Get over the politics and work with the key
organizations to define the human-centered design profession. While
we are at it, we may want to include the business analysts and
technical writers. Later we can focus on the differences among us but
not until we have a unified way to present ourselves to the outside
world.

5. Think big about IxD. It is easy to make the mistake of putting
ourselves in a box that will limit us later, thinking we are
distinguishing ourselves from the competition. I see IxD as having
responsibility for the conceptual design of the product, its
usability and the overall user experience. Be prepared to lead and
realize that the profession is evolving under our feet --
don't fall into the trap of narrow thinking.

6. Get clear about the theory and foundation of our profession. In
this regard, I have come to realize that we come from different
backgrounds and have not fully integrated with each other. For
example, I am perhaps typical of the older designer: a cognitive
psychologist with a computer science background and I identify
strongly with the usability profession. Many Ix Designers have come
through design schools, hold an MFA or similar degree and identify
with the design professions. That is all to the good. But we need to
integrate our thinking to include both design and cognitive
psychology.

7. Bring the developers in. At the end of the day, it is the
developers who will create what we design. We need to help them
understand the value we bring to them and how we fit into their
world.

8. Define process and best practice. We need this not only for
ourselves but to integrate our work into the larger product
development cycle.

9. Build and use metrics. We are unique among the design professions
in that we have a tool to measure the quality of our designs --
it's usability testing. If you are a good designer, then you
should be able to demonstrate that empirically. I realize this is an
oversimplification and not complete. But at the end of the day, that
is how we can ensure quality.

10. Learn about business. We will always be working with MBA's
as well as developers. Part of our role is to bridge the divide
between them. To do that we need to understand both worlds.

It is clear from the many posts on this topic and on the IxDA list in
general that there is a great deal of interest in defining who we are
and what we do. We need to do is to move beyond the discussion into
constructive action. And, IMO, we need to be cognizant of the fact
that this is a dangerous process. We need to get it right. Once we do
that, we need to educate the HR folks so that they understand who we
are and what we are about -- but that's a topic for another
day.

Best,

Charlie

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170

22 Feb 2008 - 11:57am
Charlie Kreitzberg
2008

Sorry about the %u2013 in the post above. I believe those are
quotation marks.

Charlie

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170

22 Feb 2008 - 12:01pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Feb 22, 2008, at 7:38 AM, dave malouf wrote:

> Digital vs. Software. Ok, then we are in agreement. I was thinking of
> "software" more specifically, meaning that which is presented
> through a screen, but if you want software to mean anything running
> through silicon, great.

Yes. Also, as a point of clarification, the television remote example
to me can be treated in the same way I think of different levels of
software.

Web sites are basically software, but very limited in interaction
possibilities until recently, as accepted forms of Javascript
interaction have become more of the norm. The amount of and type of
design that goes into web sites without Javascript to supplement the
interaction possibilities is an order of degree less than what goes
into designing a desktop application. That's not meant as a
qualitative assessment on the differences in designing a web site
versus desktop applications. It's just a way to understand scale and
scope of what's possible with the platform choice.

I tend to focus most of my attention on software with screens, but
software is software, even if it lacks a robust screen display. The
television remote example is one that has levels depending on how
robust the television display is used in conjunction with the remote.
The more the television screen is used, like with a TiVO, the more it
becomes a higher order of interface design.

Further, As an interface designer, one has to be very well aware of
both the limitations of the platform one is designing on, as well as
what kind of input model is being used, even the hardware. I think a
lot of that got lost in the web craze.

Let's return to one of the core input interactions of the interface
design for so long: Cut, Copy and Paste. It just so happens that C
and X are right next to each other on the keyboard in the lower left
quadrant, making it convenient to assign a mnemonic to Copy and Cut
while also making it easy to use with one hand. But V? Not really a
mnemonic. It as only chosen because it was easy to reach and right
near the X and C keys. That kind of understanding of the hardware and
input device and how it needs to be used within the software is
fairly critical with interface design.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

22 Feb 2008 - 12:11pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Andrei, I understand your problem, but hiring junior staff without
first putting in protections for them is a huge waste of time.

I realize that small orgs like yours have limited resources, but
maybe that just means, stick w/ sr. staff. the "cold water"
approach is just "mean" IMHO and as human centered empathetic
people, you'd think we would want to treat all aspects of our human
capital with the same respect we give to our end-users, no?

I don't mean to really pick on Andrei here. Way! too many
organizations big and small do not have good career path planning and
follow the "cold water" model. It just leads to failure time and
time again, and actually becomes a drain on management resources in
other ways, as well as direct out-of-pocket expenses due to overly
high attrition rates. The Ad World is famous for Jr. level burnout in
the creative space.

What can orgs like Andrei's do to get the human capital they need
and get the high pressure jobs done that they are competing for? I
know a lot of orgs that REFUSE to take on the pressure of their
clients. What they are doing is taking the pressure off their own
internal corps and putting it outside. They aren't willing to feel
the pain themselves, so they hire it out. In a sense, Andrei, you are
just being colonized by "the man" when you take on projects like
those. Not ALL projects are at this high pace, and not all
organizations are putting "time to market" first. *See Alan
Cooper's keynote for more*.

-- dave

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170

22 Feb 2008 - 12:38pm
dmitryn
2004

Amen Dave.

An organization that claims to practice human-centric design without
having a human-centric approach to developing its people is either
hypocritical, or has misplaced its priorities, or both.

Dmitry

On Fri, 22 Feb 2008 09:11:01, dave malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> Andrei, I understand your problem, but hiring junior staff without
> first putting in protections for them is a huge waste of time.
>
> I realize that small orgs like yours have limited resources, but
> maybe that just means, stick w/ sr. staff. the "cold water"
> approach is just "mean" IMHO and as human centered empathetic
> people, you'd think we would want to treat all aspects of our human
> capital with the same respect we give to our end-users, no?

22 Feb 2008 - 12:59pm
Anjali Arora, NYU
2004

I think Dave has put this very well. This fact is often times overlooked in our focus on the obvious competitive elements ( we'll do it faster, cheaper, etc)

This was what i was telling a colleague this morning explaining my skepticism of UXD managers who have not practiced the discipline themselves. I can't tell you how many times in my contract work I have worked with UX team leads who are clueless about how designers create; hence, when push comes to shove, the shove usually being absurd deadlines or pushback from developers, design is usually the first casualty. More so when the UX manager himself/herself has no convictions regarding design, coming as they are from the project management side or development side of things. The latter to my mind is also a huge problem with the state of the industry right now: not enough qualified UX managers out there.

-Anjali

----- Original Message -----
From: dave malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com>

> I realize that small orgs like yours have limited resources, but
> maybe that just means, stick w/ sr. staff. the "cold water"
> approach is just "mean" IMHO and as human centered empathetic
> people, you'd think we would want to treat all aspects of our human
> capital with the same respect we give to our end-users, no?
>
> I don't mean to really pick on Andrei here. Way! too many
> organizations big and small do not have good career path planning and
> follow the "cold water" model. It just leads to failure time and
> time again, and actually becomes a drain on management resources in
> other ways, as well as direct out-of-pocket expenses due to overly
> high attrition rates. The Ad World is famous for Jr. level burnout in
> the creative space.
>

22 Feb 2008 - 1:03pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Hi Charlie,
I shuddered when I read your top 10.
I wrote 5 pages and deleted all b/c I was really upset when writing
it.

I think that you need to re-think the above in the context of IxDA a
bit more. The pull to generalize and break down walls feels noble,
but it is in that light of UPA and CHI trying to own UX that IxDA was
born. It didn't work and doesn't work b/c it doesn't respect the
REAL differentiation of culture and practice and discipline that
exists among *designers* from other parts of the UX puzzle.

The other big piece is that people ARE succeeding as interaction
designers who partner with form makers/designers and engineers. Your
supposition that it is just about the "interface" is wrong. i agree
w/ Andrei's approach b/c he thinks about it from the direction of his
practice, but I disagree with the approach when thinking about the
discipline of interaction design. The model does not scale across all
practices and all cultural types. There is great need to have experts
in behavior separate from expert in form and thus there is a definite
definable discipline called "interaction design" separate from
research, structure (IA), form, and validation. They all inform and
guide each other, but they are not each other.

It seems that you are looking for a UXNet model. They are about to up
the ante on their message and value proposition, so your message may
be more in line with theirs.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170

22 Feb 2008 - 1:05pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Feb 22, 2008, at 9:38 AM, Dmitry Nekrasovski wrote:

> An organization that claims to practice human-centric design without
> having a human-centric approach to developing its people is either
> hypocritical, or has misplaced its priorities, or both.

Ok... hold on one quick minute... Now you guys are being borderline
offensive.

Involution being small and working with high profile clients in
Silicon Valley companies, is looking for junior level people who
actually want to be tossed into the water and allowed to let nothing
hold them back except their drive and their raw passion for how much
they want to learn and grow. I'm more than happy to help people learn
what takes most 4-6 years in academic environments in 1-2 years, but
I simply don't have the time or the ability to ease people into this
stuff. You have to hit the ground running. And this is only the case
when the background of the designer is lacking in specific training
for a specific skill needed to address whatever design problem they
are up against.

Translation: If you never learned how to use Illustrator to draw
wireframes docs, be very ready to do so very quickly if you work with
me because our wireframes are actual large format posters that have
high print production values. If you never learned how to use
Photoshop to make pixel-perfect screen comps that can actually
confuse even yourself that you are looking at the real product from
time to time, then be very ready to learn how to do so as that's part
of our design process. And if you never learned how to code HTML+CSS
+JS, get ready to learn some of that as well very quickly, as I'm
looking for designers who want to get under the hood and tinker with
their work, not simply be confined to drawing mockups and throwing
them over the wall to someone else. So if you don't have some of
those skills or didn't get a chance to learn specific ones at other
jobs or at school, all I'm saying is you'd be on a fast path to catch
up and gain them at Involution.

Is that right for everyone? No. Could I take a different approach if
Involution weren't in Silicon Valley? Probably. But at the same time,
I'm only asking people to work how I work, and to get up to speed as
fast as humanly possible.

But to make some wild implications I'm some ogre is way over the line.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

22 Feb 2008 - 1:17pm
Dave Malouf
2005

I'll apologize for my part.
I think part of the issue of these discussions is that "practice"
is so unique. As an enterprise software guy for 10 years now, I got
this in spades. But on this list, we try to engage in discussions
that can be generalized outside of the individual organizational
experience and used across working environments. So it is hard to get
the full picture and thus reactions like these.

So again, I'm sorry for my part in any "Ogre" implications, but I
do have to say you do remind me of Shrek a little bit. Of course,
Dirk is no Donkey in any sense of the metaphor. ;)

I think I get what you are saying about finding passionate and
engaged people who want to hit the ground running. That part I
wouldn't ever want to get in the way of.

I think what hit a nerve w/ me was maybe your unfortunate choice of
words -- "cold water". I think "hit the road running" is more of
what you meant and in the context of this discussion has a lot more
merit and value. I think Juniors should always take this point of
view and anyone would be well rewarded to have access to someone like
you and Dirk to work with at such an early point in their careers.

To my point, I think find it amazing how few organizations though
want the "hit the ground running" approach, but would rather the
"cold deep water" approach. My colleague is doing a research paper
for DMI on the topic of young hires in the general design setting and
it is just amazing the results she is finding (go to the DMI
conference to learn more). What I have seen at Moto EMb Design I
haven't seen anywhere else. it is the most nurturing junior designer
environment I have seen. People really get mentored as they enter the
studio. They are also given LOTS of opportunity to hit the ground
running. But they do so with LOTS of support. For designers, we have
an amazingly low attrition rate.

I wish I could find a good way to emmulate this and achieve my other
goals of building the IxD group here on Long Island (my biggest
obstacle is big hair, strip malls, and 50 miles between the office
and NYC).

Again Andrei, sorry for my part in what turned a bit nasty.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170

22 Feb 2008 - 1:17pm
Cindy Alvarez
2004

WOW. I missed Dave's original comment and all I can say is, wow. I'm
certainly glad that my early jobs didn't seek to "protect" me from learning
a lot, and quickly.

There are certainly some things I wouldn't throw at junior staff.
High-pressure client-facing meetings is one of them.
...Actually, I can't think of a lot more. I've been very happy with the
ability that the smart people I've hired have shown to turn problems into
design solutions, and if that means reading a bunch of books or learning a
new software tool or skill to have the framework to come up with that
solution, that's what they do.

Cindy

dave malouf wrote:

the "cold water"
approach is just "mean" IMHO and as human centered empathetic
people, you'd think we would want to treat all aspects of our human
capital with the same respect we give to our end-users, no?

On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 10:05 AM, Andrei Herasimchuk <
andrei at involutionstudios.com> wrote:

>
> Is that right for everyone? No. Could I take a different approach if
> Involution weren't in Silicon Valley? Probably. But at the same time,
> I'm only asking people to work how I work, and to get up to speed as
> fast as humanly possible.
>
> But to make some wild implications I'm some ogre is way over the line.
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>
> Principal, Involution Studios
> innovating the digital world
>
> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
> c. +1 408 306 6422
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

22 Feb 2008 - 1:15pm
Robert Skrobe
2008

Hi Andrei,

On Wed, Feb 20, 2008 at 11:06 AM, Andrei Herasimchuk <
andrei at involutionstudios.com> wrote:

> Just a quick question: Where are all the interface and software
> designers in Silicon Valley? Has everyone just packed up and left or
> what? I see more job listings, postings and calls for resumes and yet
> there seem to be even fewer people to fill the jobs than ever before.

For what it's worth, the Northwest (Seattle area) is desperate for
information architects, yet most of qualified ones are already employed, are
students learning the discipline, or too senior for the positions in
question.

In terms of interaction/interface designers, there's a big demand for them
here with mobile and casual gaming. A friend of mine who's an interaction
designer was recently asking me if I knew anyone looking for work.

Yours,
Robert
Principal IA, IGN.com

22 Feb 2008 - 1:35pm
dmitryn
2004

Andrei,

My original statement was meant very generically, and not at all as an
ad hominem attack on you or your organization. If it came across as
such, my sincere apologies.

I am all for hiring people who are passionate about their work and
challenging them early and often. To me, companies who under-utilize
their staff's potential are just as guilty of not being human-centric
as those that burn out their people with impossible demands. In fact,
I currently find myself in exactly the former situation, and am
actively looking for a workplace where my skills and talent can be put
to better use.

Dave's response makes the point I wanted to make in a more nuanced
way: there is a difference between the "cold water" and "hit the
ground running" approach. "Cold water" is what my original criticism
was directed at; "hit the ground running" is absolutely to be expected
in the fast-evolving field we work in, and can be a great stimulus for
professional development and personal growth.

Dmitry

On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 10:05 AM, Andrei Herasimchuk
<andrei at involutionstudios.com> wrote:
>
> On Feb 22, 2008, at 9:38 AM, Dmitry Nekrasovski wrote:
>
> > An organization that claims to practice human-centric design without
> > having a human-centric approach to developing its people is either
> > hypocritical, or has misplaced its priorities, or both.
>
>
> Ok... hold on one quick minute... Now you guys are being borderline
> offensive.

22 Feb 2008 - 3:07pm
stauciuc
2006

>
> FWIW... Involution is looking for both senior and junior level folks,
> although we only post officially for senior level positions.

> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>

Applying to a position takes me at least half a day (that includes some
research and the customized letter of intent).
In general, I prefer not to waste my time applying for a senior level
position hoping that they'll also take juniors

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

22 Feb 2008 - 3:07pm
Charlie Kreitzberg
2008

Hi David:

" I shuddered when I read your top 10.
I wrote 5 pages and deleted all b/c I was really upset when writing it."

I assume you were not shuddering with delight? Really, I am sorry to have
caused you distress; that was certainly not my intention.

" I think that you need to re-think the above in the context of IxDA a bit
more. The pull to generalize and break down walls feels noble, but it is in
that light of UPA and CHI trying to own UX that IxDA was born. It didn't
work and doesn't work b/c it doesn't respect the REAL differentiation of
culture and practice and discipline that exists among *designers* from other
parts of the UX puzzle."

I understand that your emotion comes from frustration at the unwillingness
of other organizations to recognize that some designers are coming from a
different place. To me, that is more an educational process than anything
else. I was a UPA Board member for some years; that does not make me hostile
to IxDA in any way. Obviously, since I am participating fully with you all.
In any organization you will find people who are narrow-minded; some will
change with exposure to new ideas others will never shift.

Nor do I have any problem with there being multiple organizations
representing people with different styles, skills or focus. I think that
people should be free to join IxDA, join UPA, join SIGCHI -- personally I am
a member of all three -- and put their effort where it works for them.

Again, let me say I understand your pain and frustration. I often feel the
same way when interacting with professional associations which are difficult
groups to manage since everyone is a volunteer. Where perhaps we differ is
in the assumption that we have to be at odds with other organizations and
that this type of split is good for the profession. It is not.

I have written many words on this list, trying to make the case that we are
one profession with different emphases and we, the practitioners, should be
free to move around and acquire all the skills that make us as effective
designers as possible. That's not about being noble. It is about defining us
in a way that maximizes our impact and income.

The process of politics is a frustrating and painful one. Personally, I
don't particularly enjoy it. But at the end of the day we need to reconcile
and work together because we have common goals and need to present a common
front to the outside world.

On a personal note, I am very grateful that you played a major role in
creating IxDA. I think that the large number of people who have signed up
for the list is proof that there was a need for this organization and that
its existence makes sense. Now we have to take the next steps to grow into
the kind of organization that can truly be effective for its membership.

In my opinion, that will not happen if we are focused on proving that we are
different from everyone else. By all means, we should be clear what we stand
for and advocate for the type of design and profession that we want to be.
But I feel we have bigger and more important battles to fight. Quoting again
what you said, " It didn't work and doesn't work b/c it doesn't respect the
REAL differentiation of culture and practice and discipline that exists
among *designers* from other parts of the UX puzzle." I will accept that
perhaps it didn't work. I don't believe that it cannot work. I believe that
we should dedicate significant effort to making it work. The payoff will
benefit us all.

Best,

Charlie

22 Feb 2008 - 3:28pm
Dave Malouf
2005

On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 3:07 PM, Charles B. Kreitzberg <
charlie at cognetics.com> wrote:

> In my opinion, that will not happen if we are focused on proving that we
> are
> different from everyone else. By all means, we should be clear what we
> stand
> for and advocate for the type of design and profession that we want to be.
> But I feel we have bigger and more important battles to fight. Quoting
> again
> what you said, " It didn't work and doesn't work b/c it doesn't respect
> the
> REAL differentiation of culture and practice and discipline that exists
> among *designers* from other parts of the UX puzzle." I will accept that
> perhaps it didn't work. I don't believe that it cannot work. I believe
> that
> we should dedicate significant effort to making it work. The payoff will
> benefit us all.
>

Let's just say I disagree and arrogantly so, admittedly. Since I'm no longer
a board member, or vice-president, I've been taking a more free position
with my language on this list.

I very unhumbly believe that IxD is the future of all UCD. not usability,
not IA, not visual design, not industrial design, no HCI research. it is why
I have been passionately focused on IxDA for almost 5 years (
http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=1415621296&channel=1274129191).

Jeff Howard and I have different paths to where we got where we are, but the
design of interactions at a systemic level to me and understanding
interaction system design as an act of aesthetic creation is THE key
differentiator of organizations of all types around the world. Understanding
the complex field surrounding interaction as a distinct practice and design
discipline is my own personal mission and the one that I hope IxDA continues
to be about.

To do so IxDA needs to stay focused on differentiating, defining, advancing
and advocating IxD.

I disagree w/ your economic premise in so far as I believe the call towards
UX is one that is LESS valuable. it is too generic, and it too easily feels
to many that it can be replicated easily. It is the story of MS, and not the
story of Apple (to be economically simple).

(BTW, did you get that Andrei? before you asked me to speak for IxDA. I'm
just like you now...Just another verbose pain in the butt waiting for his
turn to get "moderated".[all in good fun])

--dave

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

22 Feb 2008 - 4:12pm
sava
2007

I recently graduate from an inter-disciplinary program that included classes and projects in HCI, User Experience and some amount of IxD - and I'm looking for jobs in IxD and User Experience. But I've encountered the same problem as someone noted earlier - most of these jobs require 3-5 years 'relevant' experience and some amount of technical knowledge (CSS, Javascript, etc.) This is disheartening for those of us who are new to the area but are trying to find a way to break in. I'm even offering myself as an intern because my focus is on the experience rather than the money (some amount would be good because I really need to eat!)

Having said that, I have realized that one of the things people looking for jobs in this domain need to be able to do is define themselves adequately. After analyzing some of the my failed interviews and lack of responses to emails, I realize that I need to spend more time 'correctly' pitching the skills I have. I know I have them, I just haven't been successful in highlighting them or talking about them in a way that makes it worthwhile for someone looking for a more experienced person to consider investing a little time and effort on. Of course, this is after one is able to get past recruiting firms and/or HR!

As has also been noted in this thread, people come from different backgrounds and find their way to IxD - it would be interesting for the would-be community members to learn of these journeys and be encouraged to follow something they feel deeply about...

22 Feb 2008 - 4:31pm
Charlie Kreitzberg
2008

**David said "Let's just say I disagree and arrogantly so, admittedly. Since
I'm no longer a board member, or vice-president, I've been taking a more
free position with my language on this list."

I am not certain that anything I say will influence your thinking on this
subject.

**David said: "I very unhumbly believe that IxD is the future of all UCD.
not usability, not IA, not visual design, not industrial design, no HCI
research. it is why I have been passionately focused on IxDA for almost 5
years."

Actually, if you had read my points more carefully you would see that I
agree with you. Take another look at the point that reads "Think Big." But
with respect, Dave, I have also been in interaction design a long time -- in
my case for over 30 years -- and I am as passionate about it now as I was 30
years ago. I have lived though a lot of stuff trying to make the case that
what we do matters and also invested a lot of time in helping organizations
grow.

I have a lot to say about the relationship of Ix and its relationship to the
other elements you mention above. What is frustrating is that it seems
almost impossible to make progress because we keep getting dragged into the
same, old, pointless argument. I passionately agree that IxD is the future
of all UCD. But I also believe that any design that is not usable is
useless. Any design that does not present content well is also pretty much
useless. And HCI research has a lot to offer designers. My goal is to
integrate all of these elements. In that process, IxD will become stronger,
not weaker.

**David said: "Understanding the complex field surrounding interaction as a
distinct practice and design discipline is my own personal mission and the
one that I hope IxDA continues to be about. To do so IxDA needs to stay
focused on differentiating, defining, advancing and advocating IxD."

Great. I think that is right except perhaps for the word "differentiating."
I would replace it with "integrating." But as Robert Frost said "that has
made all the difference."

With respect, Dave, I don't think you are really hearing what I am saying. I
have come to that conclusion because your rebuttals to my position seem (to
me) to be missing the point I am trying to make. Perhaps I am not being
clear. If so, I apologize.

I believe you are fighting the wrong battle. What I find dispiriting about
that is that I support a lot of your basic ideas. But you are, IMO, going a
bit too far and not listening quite hard enough.

I appreciate your energy and insight. Although I consider myself a seasoned
designer, I have learned a lot from the people on this list. As an older
designer, I run the risk of staying focused in yesterday. Connecting with
people on this list helps me understand current thinking, passion and
issues. I thank you all for that. By the same token, being a younger
designer means that you may not yet have had all the experiences that have
led me to my current conclusions.

Again, I want to thank you for having worked to create this group and for
all you put into the conference. That has made a difference to me.

I guess that I will leave it to others to decide if what I am saying has
value.

Best,

Charlie

22 Feb 2008 - 7:32pm
Jim Leftwich
2004

I'm glad to see the passion in the voices here. They represent a
wide range of experiences and viewpoints. Issues as complex and
potentially contentious as definition and identity are difficult to
explore within the significant constraints of a text-based forum.
Those of us that have participated in online forums for a couple of
decades or more have seen this again and again.

One of the amazingly wonderful things about Interaction08 in Savannah
was the opportunity to have higher bandwidth discussions about these
issues with people face to face. Sometimes one-on-one and sometimes
in small groups. I was particularly impressed by the diversity of
practice and experience that was represented there, even if not all
were of equal slices of our big pie.

First off, I would suggest that the arguments that we see today have
been around for a long time. They are not likely to be resolved
today, nor in the near term. In the mean time, I'd encourage
seeking both common ground as well as an appreciate and respect for
the practices and experiences of those that approach Interaction
Design in different ways.

I also think that personal experiences and histories are important as
single datapoints that altogether make up the Interaction Design
cloud, with it's actual non-regular topology and distribution. Yes,
there are areas of the cloud that contain many doing a similar thing
or practicing in a similar way. But outliers, particularly if they
identify as or have long practices as Interaction Designers, are also
important. Perhaps they serve an underserved sector. Perhaps they
have developed a valuable approach that others would benefit from by
learning about.

Much of the work of Interaction Designers involves the digital and/or
software, but not always. When practicing as an Interaction Designer
on the development of equipment and equipment environments, there are
often non-digital elements that people interact with. Design of these
as part of the whole, even when other parts may indeed involve digital
or software components, is also Interaction Design. I know that I am
not alone among those who have experience practicing Interaction
Design in products and enviroments who will continue to see our
identies as Interaction Designers in these terms. And this is as it
should be.

What the Building Architects, Industrial Designers, and Graphic
Designers do correctly as groups however, is put the focus on the
work, not the words, definitions, and identities. If the work of
Interaction Design escapes beyond defined boundaries, then it's the
work that will have the greatest impact in the real world and will
serve as the best example for others to learn from.

Given the sheer joy and relief at finally feeling "home" that I
sensed among so many of the Interaction08 attendees, I'm just not
worried at all that our great organization is in danger of losing out
to other organizations out of a lack of narrow definition.

Embrace the diversity. Spotlight the real-world work. Seek to map
the work and experiences of our members. Recognize the value of the
outliers rather than discarding them as not representative.

James Leftwich, IDSA
CXO
SeeqPod, Inc.
6475 Christie Avenue, Ste. 475
Emeryville, CA 94608
http://www.seeqpod.com

Orbit Interaction
Palo Alto, California USA
mobile: (650) 387-2550
Skype: jimwich
jleft at orbitnet.com
http://www.orbitnet.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/jimwich
Director, IxDA / http://www.ixda.org

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170

24 Feb 2008 - 1:05pm
Dwayne King
2005

On Feb 21, 2008, at 7:26 AM, Dan Saffer wrote:

> Location still matters.

I don't know. We're based in Portland Oregon, we do some local work
but most of our revenue comes from San Francisco and Washington D.C.

It makes for a fair amount of plane travel and web conferencing, but
all in all it allows us to live where cost of living is reasonable,
quality of life is high an keeps our rates in check to be more
competitive than a lot of the NYC and SF groups.

That said, finding people is tough in Portland also. It seems supply
and demand is out of whack.

best regards,
Dwayne

6 Mar 2008 - 3:37pm
russwilson
2005

I know this thread is probably over-cooked, but I think it's absolutely
ludicrous to
suggest that whether or not you get to do "interesting work" depends on your
geographic location. Job/project opportunities may be more abundant in
cities,
but the "interestingness" of the work comes more from the individual than
the
work itself.

- Russ
blog: http://www.dexodesign.com

On Sun, Feb 24, 2008 at 12:05 PM, Dwayne King <pinpointlogic at mac.com> wrote:

>
> On Feb 21, 2008, at 7:26 AM, Dan Saffer wrote:
>
> > Location still matters.
>
>
> I don't know. We're based in Portland Oregon, we do some local work
> but most of our revenue comes from San Francisco and Washington D.C.
>
> It makes for a fair amount of plane travel and web conferencing, but
> all in all it allows us to live where cost of living is reasonable,
> quality of life is high an keeps our rates in check to be more
> competitive than a lot of the NYC and SF groups.
>
> That said, finding people is tough in Portland also. It seems supply
> and demand is out of whack.
>
> best regards,
> Dwayne
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

--
Russell Wilson
Vice President of Product Design, NetQoS
Blog: http://www.dexodesign.com

7 Mar 2008 - 8:10pm
Peter Knocke
2008

I love and hate this thread.

There have been many great points made about the tradeoffs of working
in a vibrant area, about what interactive design is, and how horrible
it can be to find the right job. But as I read this thread it pains
me.

I%u2019m a recent graduate of a European design school and I%u2019m
currently looking for employment. I am that young kid who would
gladly live in a cardboard box to be out in the valley and working on
exciting projects, yet so far there%u2019s only been rejections and
glimpses of future contractor work. So it%u2019s quite hard to see
the disconnect.

I%u2019d like to offer up one observation. Just as the IxD community
has had trouble defining Interactive Design, my school had difficulty
choosing the types of projects to develop throughout the program.
Since the field is so varied, we touched upon many types of
interactive design projects while never delving too deep into the
technical aspects of each category. Instead an overall emphasis on
theory, process, and the artistic elements of interactive design were
stressed as those elements can be applied to any possible future
project. While, I believe, this was an apt way to instruct the
program at this current point in time, it has left us students with a
lagging technical skill set. The backgrounds of the student body were
as diverse as one could imagine and therefore students as still able
to only apply for positions similar to their previous backgrounds.
As I currently browse jobs, many jobs emphasize simply the web nature
of interactive design and therefore the only students from my school
who would fit into the mold that HR builds are those who already had
a background in web development and programming. Perhaps this is
another element to think about. There are schools attempting to
teach the discipline, but until the categories are defined further,
it will be hard to train students on a highly technical level. I
would like to see companies start to give a little and realize
something along the lines of what Andrei said where interactive
designers do not code and also work along side of graphic designers.
So far it seems that this mentality would surely lead to a rejection
email.

Also, in general, I am saddened to see that the areas of experience
design, environmental design, and installation design are less
prevalent in the United States than over in Europe. In my mind this
is quite ironic, because as usual, the funding for substantial and
innovative projects could easily be found stateside. Also, I would
say that a fair amount of my classmates prefer these areas as opposed
to UI/IA design.

But if anyone has suggestions for the unemployed side of this debate,
please send them over. I agree that it would be nice to have a simple
and secure resume posting system on here. I don%u2019t believe
I%u2019m the only inactive designer around here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=26170

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