How "high-touch" is IxD (was are we an early indicator...)

19 Dec 2009 - 8:15am
4 years ago
1 reply
725 reads
bminihan
2007

This discussion sparked a question I've wondered about for awhile, so
I thought I'd ask the group:

How "high-touch" is the interaction design discipline?

In other words, when I build web development teams, I often find that
my back-end developers can work remotely, almost as much as they want,
as long as I have one or two local senior developers for strategy
meetings.

On the other hand, I usually need my own designer and usability folks
really close at hand, and work-at-home days for them are usually few
and far between. I'd LOVE to be a telecommuting designer, but would
have a hard time hiring someone for such a collaborative role.

I ask because I get a lot of offers for very short-term positions some
five states away, and would love to telecommute, but I know that I
would have a hard time swallowing that pill as the hiring manager, so
I don't blame others for turning away remote designers. NYC companies
seem to have made this a big point in their job postings, f'rinstance.

Flipping the question around, with all of the smart "virtual
collaboration tools" lying around, what are we missing, in order to
make telecommuting a realistic possibility for our profession?
Nothing on the market seems to affordably provide that tactile sense
of "we're working together" as much as just sitting next to each other
in an office.

Apologies if this is off-topic...

Bryan Minihan

On Dec 19, 2009, at 2:56 AM, Eric Reiss wrote:

> Our sector certainly SHOULD recover faster. With all the layoffs of
> real
> people, web-based self-service should be very appealing to businesses.
>
>
>
> However, each market is dramatically individual so there is no way to
> generalize. At a time where it was virtually impossible to find decent
> interaction folks in London, Copenhagen's largest shop fired half
> its staff
> (about 80 people).
>
>
>
> We've been looking for folks for several months now in various
> markets we
> serve, but with little success. The folks with real talent are few
> and far
> between.
>
>
>
> Cheers,
>
> Eric
>
> -----------------------
> Eric Reiss
> CEO
> The FatDUX Group
> Copenhagen, Denmark
> <http://www.fatdux.com/> http://www.fatdux.com
> office: (+45) 39 29 67 77
> mobile: (+45) 20 12 88 44
> skype: ericreiss
> twitter: @elreiss
>
>
>
> FatDUX is an official sponsor of the
> Usability Professionals' Association
> <http://www.upassoc.org> http://www.upassoc.org
>
> -----------------------
>
> If you received this in error, please let us know and delete
> the file. FatDUX advises all recipients to virus scan all
> emails, and to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables
> daily.
>
>
>
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Comments

19 Dec 2009 - 2:04pm
DanP
2006

> Flipping the question around, with all of the smart "virtual
> collaboration tools" lying around, what are we missing, in order to
> make telecommuting a realistic possibility for our profession?
> Nothing on the market seems to affordably provide that tactile sense
> of "we're working together" as much as just sitting next to each
> other in an office.

Hi Bryan,

I agree, there's no shortage of tools on the market to allow for
remote collaboration. I've worked with a number of them from
writeboards to sharepoints, and they all seem to work well for a fair
price.

From personal experience:

- The beginning of many projects is a human endeavor requiring that
people become familiar and comfortable working with each other. The in-
person meeting is still a preferred way to gauge each other, bond in a
direct way and put a face to a voice. People are behind productivity
and that's the first step for me. As a result I always fly or walk to
most locations to form bonds and share the human experience.

- There are going to be points along any project where people need to
come together in person. The week before freezing a design...
communicating a design to upper management for buy-in... examples of
critical times when in person presence is preferred.

I've always thought that the periods in between should be flexible
regarding in-person contact on a day-to-day basis. On the occasions I
was not able to allow my colleagues (or not allowed myself) to work
remotely, it was due to a lack of clear timelines and deliverables,
frenetic project management leading to stressful daily activity rather
than balanced individual contribution or teams that are made up of
junior members that need mentorship on a regular basis. On occasion,
nothing more than a personal preference.

Personal preference here - any chance that I can allow people to stay
off the roads, conserve and work in an environment that is best suited
to their productivity... not to mention expanding the reach and
experience of a team - I take it.

All the best,
-Dan

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