History of Interaction Design training?

29 Oct 2009 - 8:01am
6 years ago
3 replies
1537 reads
Sam Ladner

Hi folks,
I'm a sometimes member of this list so apologies for busting in
without having contributed for some time.

I'm writing an article for Interactions magazine and I would really
like to know how people are typically trained for interaction

I know the IxDA personas were based on a survey, though I haven't
seen the data, so don't know if they would answer my question.

Does anyone have any papers or surveys or data that might help me
answer this question? Ideally, I'd like to compare IxD to
professions such as law or accounting, in terms of degrees,
standardized tests, apprenticeships, and designations.


29 Oct 2009 - 12:45pm
Dave Malouf

I would be very cautious about this topic.
We don't even know definitively what an Interaction Designer is, let
alone how we were all educated.

While we are some 30 years into our existence (depending on what you
consider a "start date") the reality is that most of us
a) got to "interaction designer" in the most convoluted of paths
2) don't even have the title of "interaction designer"

I would ask you, before submitting your research question, what is
the focus of intention of the research you want to do? Cmoparison to
what end? Why those professions? What similarities do they have to

I find it odd that you wouldn't rather look at say other better
defined design positions such as graphic designer and industrial
designer and maybe even architecture (most formalized, requiring

This is a topic though I have been giving a ton of attention to
lately. I was at a little mini-summit during IDSA in Miami last month
and it was depressing how even a solid design discipline like
Industrial Design is STILL struggling with core issues of "what
should we be teaching?" ... It really speaks to the state of
complexity of the world we now live in.

Anyway, that's my take. It obviously didn't answer your question,
but I feel it adds to the conversation your question implies.

-- dave

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Posted from the new ixda.org

29 Oct 2009 - 6:27pm
C Martin

I agree with Dave. I work in both software and architectural.

When working in software, I am a 'Usability Engineer'. I am not a
developer - I work with developers. I don't work with code. This
has been some what of a tripping point at times. I have seen more
than one company desperate to solve a chronic usability problem, but
reluctant to higher a consultant like me because I won't also build

As a 'usability engineer', I design and communicate requirements,
negotiate priorities and possibilities, and advocate usability
issues. Usability issues can encompass a very wide range of issues,
such as: human error, manufacturing cost, safety, satisfaction, work
flow, speed and communication. None of which is coding. What I need
to know about coding, I generally learn from the developers I work

Design-build has its advantages in some situations and not others.
When the builder is also the designer, conflict of interest is always
an issue that must be balanced. Design-build creativity and usability
can either suffer or flourish.... it depends....

When working in architectural, I can be a 'Usability Consultant' or
'architectural designer'. Again, I am not a civil engineer or
structural engineer - but I work with engineers and a design team, to
negotiate the design needs of the end-client, human behavior, physics
and budget.

I am educated in mechanical design (associates) and psychology BS.

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Posted from the new ixda.org

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