Complementary skillsets?

21 Aug 2009 - 2:46am
4 years ago
4 replies
319 reads
Roundand
2009

Hi,
I have many years of programming and technical communication and I'm
currently learning Interaction Design on an Open University course (
http://is.gd/2rpHx) which ends in October.

Because we all have to prioritise our time, I'd be interested in your
opinions about which of the following interests might best help me make the
transition into interesting IxD work:

- Building executable wireframes in JQuery or Silverlight - I'm a
competent programmer with skills in .Net, JScript and XML
- Analytics - I'm not a statistician but I do know the difference between
linear regression and a chi-squared test (and I know which I'd use for A/B
testing or test-and-learn)
- Physical computing - I am itching to do some Arduino
- Narrative - I have done - and loved - improvised drama and I'll shortly
be filling this in with a two-day course in story-telling

Many thanks for your time and thoughts -

Francis.
--
"Tigers walk behind me, they're there to remind me - I'm lost but I'm not
afraid" David Byrne and Brian Eno: Life is long

Comments

21 Aug 2009 - 8:15am
Chris Heckler
2007

Maybe you could combine several of these interests and work on a user
test with prototypes or wireframes you create. Being able to test
your solutions with your intended audience is something that is a big
part of all IXD work and is such a great learning experience. It
would also give you a good case study for a portfolio if you could
describe your work from concept to an end product.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44904

21 Aug 2009 - 8:53am
Roundand
2009

Thanks for the suggestion. However, given that I'm holding down a day job
and have a family at home, I think I am going to have to focus my efforts on
one or maybe two of these if I'm to have any realistic chance of walking the
walk as well as talking the talk.
On the other hand, you've certainly set an interesting creative challenge...

2009/8/21 Chris Heckler <chris.heckler at tbe.com>

> Maybe you could combine several of these interests and work on a user
> test with prototypes or wireframes you create. Being able to test
> your solutions with your intended audience is something that is a big
> part of all IXD work and is such a great learning experience. It
> would also give you a good case study for a portfolio if you could
> describe your work from concept to an end product.
>
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44904
>
>
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--
"Tigers walk behind me, they're there to remind me - I'm lost but I'm not
afraid" David Byrne and Brian Eno: Life is long

21 Aug 2009 - 9:48am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 21 Aug 2009, at 08:46, Francis Norton wrote:

> Hi,
> I have many years of programming and technical communication and I'm
> currently learning Interaction Design on an Open University course (
> http://is.gd/2rpHx) which ends in October.
>
> Because we all have to prioritise our time, I'd be interested in your
> opinions about which of the following interests might best help me
> make the
> transition into interesting IxD work:
>
> - Building executable wireframes in JQuery or Silverlight - I'm a
> competent programmer with skills in .Net, JScript and XML
> - Analytics - I'm not a statistician but I do know the difference
> between
> linear regression and a chi-squared test (and I know which I'd use
> for A/B
> testing or test-and-learn)
> - Physical computing - I am itching to do some Arduino
> - Narrative - I have done - and loved - improvised drama and I'll
> shortly
> be filling this in with a two-day course in story-telling

Define "interesting IxD work" :-) What do you find interesting?

If I have to pick one from the list I'd probably pick "narrative". It
seems closest to dealing with people - and I have a soft spot for
storytelling and stories as a way to talk about design.

As a somebody who has spent a lot of time (and still does) doing
development I can understand the fascination of the prototype building
and analytics (and the Arduino too - I _so_ want to have the spare
time to play with them :-)

They'd all be useful skills for somebody doing interaction design
work. Along with a whole bunch of others things of course.

I think the biggest thing that will help you, which is only implicitly
on the list, is actually doing design. Right from finding somebody
with a problem to having a prototype product in a real persons hands
and watching them use it.

Then you'll see what you did horribly wrong. Then you can go get
better at that bit. Getting better at the things you're terrible at
will make you a better designer. Being better designer will get you
more interesting work.

For me, and this may not be true for you of course, the people side
was the biggest problem when I started getting involved with UX work.
I was fairly good at solving a problem. Quite bad at picking the right
problem to solve. Very bad at working with folk to figure out what the
right problem was, or where I had gone wrong.

Once I'd figured that out I spent some time working at usability
testing, facilitation, reading up on ethnographic stuff, talking to
customer support and technical communicators, etc. That all helped.
I'm less terrible at those things now (which of course just highlights
the other things I'm still terrible at :-)

Of course - if you can find somebody with a nice problem that you
could solve by spending some time playing with some Arduino - that's
just gravy!

Cheers,

Adrian
--
http://quietstars.com - twitter.com/adrianh - delicious.com/adrianh

22 Aug 2009 - 3:22am
Roundand
2009

Thank you Adrian - I've been assuming I'll get an opportunity to do
some IxD at work, but if I can't work out how to get it as a result
of me completing this course with an adequate grade then I seriously
need a Plan B. And, as you point out, I should be pushing ahead with
some IxD project or another regardless.

Of course this doesn't necessarily preclude pursuing my other
interests, and it's interesting that the executable prototypes and
narrative options seem to be mentioned most, on and off the list.

I almost didn't mention narrative, so I'm learning something
unexpected here. Thanks, everyone.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44904

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