What are your Interaction Designer tasks?

23 Mar 2013 - 12:04pm
51 weeks ago
2 replies
2411 reads

Hi everyone!

I just started working in a UX team as a Interaction Designer together with one more Interaction Designer and a Content Strategist. My company didnt have a UX team until recently so we are all a bit confused on what our tasks are, should be doing.  We are now working on a elevator pitch and a job description which is trickier that we thought. (I found this thread which was useful http://www.ixda.org/node/18648 ) 

I wanted to ask you all, as an ID, what are your tasks? And I do not mean in general but what you actually do, like "I do ----- by creating a ----file with ----- software and then ----.........."  
That is: what do you produce? why? which format? What software do you use? and to who do you present it to?. 

Also, I have a question about the line between of what a Content Strategists, Interaction Designer and a Information Architect do when it comes to reponsibilities and tasks.

Thanks for taking time reading this and thanks in advance for replying :)

I looked through the threads in this discussion forum and couldnt find the answer to my questions but if I missed it and it already exists out there, please let me know and I'll delete this thread.




28 Mar 2013 - 1:54pm

A truly complex issue you are undertaking and without a better understanding of your company, the managment structure, culture, goals, attitudes, routines, people, etc... I'd not be able to answer.  Could you perhaps find companies similar to the one you work for that have ID teams established and speak with their managers on what they did to become established?

While you may find incredibly strong arguments for implementing one process over another, remember that its people who have to implement this process. Understanding how those people think and work will be crucial when determining the daily tasks and deliverables. You can deliver a mental model of your target customer or a wireframe of a particular feature but if the rest of the team (Product Managers, Marketing, Stakeholders...) never used such tools, they will not know how to contribute the feedback you need and may feel confused, intimidated or otherwise put out by such deliverables. Start with some simple tools or methodolgies and see how they resonnate with your team. If appropriate, show a video of a customer trying to use your product to complete a task it was designed for to ilustrate how the customer perceives it.

If you have chosen a career as an Interaction Designer, it means you are empathetic of other people, and the process you are looking to design for your company should serve your team much in the same way that your designs serve customers of your business.

I would like to learn a little more about your company so that  Imay offer something a bit more in line with what you requested. I am currently trying to build out a User Research and User Testing team at my company and have just been throwing ideas out to try as I learn what can work in our culture. A culture with a fetish for fast results.


17 Apr 2013 - 9:43pm
John Frederick ...
Hi Adam (and everyone too),

I think my answer would make more sense if I provide the following context first: I have been using PowerPoint, Word, Acrobat Professional, JavaScript and the Acrobat/JavaScript API since June 2009. Until recently, I did not realize that what I have been doing may be considered Interaction Design.

My target document format is PDF. This means that any interaction design prototype I create will be in PDF with the associated JavaScript codes at the field and document level. I do things “from scratch”. This means that when I began in June 2009, if I want a set of “radio buttons” in my prototype, I describe the process of interacting with “radio buttons” first, and then I create the visual design for the “buttons”. To describe the process, I use PowerPoint and then save it as PDF. To create the visual design, I use PowerPoint and then save it as PDF. Next I encode the process logic using Notepad in terms of JavaScript. Then I combine the JavaScript code with the PDF files I created earlier using the Acrobat/JavaScript API and Acrobat XI Professional into a PDF document: the prototype.

Since 2009 I have “created” several “low-level” interaction designs (such as the radio button process logic); I sometimes reuse them instead of describing the process logics first.

In other words:

  1. What do I produce?

    I produce PDF files with text, graphics, field objects (or AcroForm objects) and JavaScript codes.

  2. Why?

    I want my readers to interact with PDF documents in certain ways. For example, a reader clicks something and images appear/disappear.

  3. Which formats? What software do I use?

    I work with formats generated by the authoring tools I use: .docx (Word 2013), .ppt (PowerPoint 2013), .pdf (Acrobat XI Professional), .txt (Notepad).

  4. To whom do I present this to?

    The PDF document would be presented to the client who asked for a design of their “new system”.

  5. What are the differences in the responsibilities and tasks among a Content Strategist, an Interaction Designer and an Information Architect?

    I don’t know. The definition for “Interaction Designer” is probably still changing even within the context of activities related to the development of graphical user interfaces in computers.

On a higher level, I describe my interaction design using some graphics notation. I often begin with paper and pen to describe my initial designs and then use PowerPoint later on. Then I translate the graphics description into JavaScript code; in other words, I program the process logic. Then I create some visual graphics to give my prototype an initial “face” or “presentation” or “view” or “content”. Then I combine the graphics with codes to create the interactive prototype. I should probably point out that the “prototypes” I produce are all interactive.

I hope this helps. Any comments about my comments are welcome!


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