Thursday, December 13, 2007

Interactions 08 in the Garden of Good and Evil

An interview with Dan Saffer ...

"In 2003, design luminary Bruce Tognazzi called for interaction designers to get their collective act together and become a force for better software design. As a result, a small group of impassioned professionals kick-started what is now the Interaction Design Association (IxDA).

After being hard at work starting the organization and getting local groups off the ground to seed its growth, the IxDA is now inviting people interested in interaction design to join the community in person at Interaction 08, the first IxDA conference.

... Boxes & Arrows: In the User Experience as Communities of Practice presentation, Andrew Hinton discusses how the different practices in UX relate and overlap with each other.

The IxDA is a good example of an organization that emerges because one of those communities feels under-supported, also exemplified by the IA Institute, which at first glance would potentially fall under the aegis of UPA, CHI, or AIGA. Tell us a little about how that fits with what you’re doing at the IxDA.

Dan Saffer: The IxDA is definitely the AK47 of the UX world! Inexpensive, networked, and built of mostly off-the-shelf parts. It’s designed for conversation, not for instruction, and it is constantly evolving. That’s why we want to keep the barrier to entry and participate low, even if it means some risks to the organization (like running out of money).

When Bruce “Tog” Tognazzi first did his call to arms to create a professional organization, I think the founders of the IxDA (at that time the Interaction Design Group) did look around at all these large organizations and ask, “Could we live there?” And the answer was always, on closer look, no. Most of those organizations overlap our organization in some ways, but there is still a monstrous piece in the center of the Venn diagram that was empty and that was where our interests lie.

We aren’t human-computer engineers, usability professionals, information architects, or industrial or graphic designers, even though we have a lot in common with all of those groups. We’re professional designers, not engineers or researchers or testers, and what we design is behavior–how systems behave in response to human action. The combination of interaction and design really set us apart from what existed.

And aside from that, we simply wanted a different kind of organization, a 21st century organization, designed and built differently, focused on the members and how to best serve them and not some self-perpetuating organization. The conference isn’t being done just because some people wanted to do it, but because it is a vessel to serve the needs of our members in the best way we know how."    (Continued via Boxes and Arrows)    [Usability Resources]

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