My name is Jack Moffett
. I am an Interaction Designer with over ten years of experience. According to Herb Simon
, that makes me an expert, so I must have something worth sharing. I have started this venture as an exercise to spur critical thinking about my chosen profession. I hope that others may find it thought provoking as well.
DesignAday will present a brief thought about Design every weekday.
I mentioned some weeks ago that I’m pushing ahead with the presentation I’m not giving at Interaction 12. To that end, I have put together a survey for designers working with developers. My intent is to find out to what extent the average Interaction Designer is integrated into their software development team. If you are a designer working in the realm of Interaction Design and User Experience, please take the time to participate. The survey is 22 questions, most of which are multiple choice. I’ll be sharing the results here on DesignAday.
While my proposals weren’t accepted for Interaction 12, I’ve decided to go ahead and develop the talks so that they are ready to present elsewhere. After all, one of them is short and practically complete in my head, and the other is a subject that I’m particularly interested in at the moment. To that end, I’d like to gather some information. I’m interested to know how well designers are generally integrated in the software development process.
- As an Interaction Designer (or similar), how integrated are you with your software development team?
- Do you utilize some of the same tools that the developers use?
- Are you tasked through issue tracking software like JIRA?
- Do you record bugs and issues against your product?
- Do you check your work into Subversion, GitHub, or some other repository?
- Do developers consult with you on every UI decision that must be made, from behaviors to buttons and error messages?
- Are there management-sanctioned processes in place that require design involvement?
- How much implementation are you responsible for?
- Do you work directly in the code base?
- Do you participate in code reviews?
- Are you involved in functional testing?
- What kind of relationship do you have with the developers you work with?
- Are you co-located with developers?
Please answer any or all of these questions in the comments.
I was surprised by the list of presentations published yesterday as the program for Interaction 12. My expectation was that there would be a bunch of 10-minute presentations and a small handful of 45-minute presentations. The exact opposite is true. There are 18 10-minute presentations—a fair number—but there will be 37 45-minute presentations! I’m curious to see how many tracks there will be.
It’s a very promising line-up. There’s a nice mix of well-known and unknown presenters and a good variety of topics. A number of the 10-minute topics seem awfully ambitious for the short amount of time. We’ll see how well the presenters do hitting their marks.
Head over to the official conference site and check out the proposals.
Registration for Interaction 12 opened on Friday. It was a bit of a shock for us Americans. With the difference between the US Dollar and the Euro and Ireland’s VAT, the conference is rather pricey—much more so than past years. And then there will be travel and lodging, which I assume will also be more expensive.
That said, the conference is the premiere event for interaction designers and the most relevant conference for the work we do. I count myself lucky that my company is willing to send me to one conference a year. This is the one I want to go to. I’m hoping I’ll be able to save them some money by presenting this year; we’ll hopefully find out by the end of the month.
The first five keynotes were announced to entice us to register, and it is clear that this year’s conference is an international affair. Genevieve Bell, Director of User Interaction and Experience in Intel Labs is originally from Australia. Amber Case, from Oregon, is a cyborg anthropologist and user experience designer. Fabian Hemmert is a design researcher from Germany. Jonas Löwgren co-founded the School of Arts & Communication at Malmö University in Sweden, where he teaches interaction design. Luke Williams is a Fellow at Frog Design, also from the U.S.
It all goes down in Dublin, February 1st through the 4th.
The deadline for speaker submissions to Interaction 12 closed 15 minutes ago. Judging by the Twitterverse, there was a mad rush to get them in. In case you hadn’t noticed, I was on vacation last week. As I do every year, I spent a week at my parents’ log cabin down in West Virginia, so I was completely unplugged. That didn’t stop me from submitting, however. I’ve been working with Uday Gajendar, my fellow CMU alumni, on a 45-minute session. I’d like to share it with you.
Working with Developers for Fun and Profit
In many organizations, there is a struggle between design and digital development. This is unfortunate and unnecessary. While they each have different areas of focus and perform disparate tasks, designers and developers should have a common goal, working towards exceptional products. It is best for all parties involved to not just have a basic understanding of how our pieces fit together, but to develop mutual respect and a place whereby decisions are made on agreements as to what will be best for the project, rather than political ties or job titles.
We will be drawing upon diverse experiences—working within a design group in a large company juxtaposed with a small firm, in which there is only a single designer—to show the benefits of a productively close rapport with digital developers. We will discuss how to foster positive relationships, touching on different types of developers and the consequent roles a designer can play. We’ll discuss collaboration lifecycles in relation to project schedules and design process. We’ll explain how designers can extend their influence, ensuring design integrity and improving final build quality, by learning to use the development team’s tools, such as issue tracking and version control, and integrating them into their own processes. We’ll present examples of design specs and other artifacts that have proven effective in collaborating with developers. Finally, we’ll dive into the benefits and perceived drawbacks of designers learning to code, a contentious yet vital debate.
I’m guessing they had around 400 submissions, though many of those will be for 10-minute sessions, rather than 45. We’ll have stiff competition for very few slots. I think we have a solid proposal and a fighting chance. It is my desire to present information useful to a seasoned professional, rather than those new to the field, as I am often disappointed by the level of knowledge shared at conferences. I think I’ll make it my goal to submit a workshop next year.
It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was making arrangements for hotels and exhibitors for Interaction 11, but here it is the end of June, and the call for presenters for Interaction 12 just went out yesterday. I’m really intrigued to see the schedule they are working up, as they are accepting both 45-minute and 10-minute session proposals. The 10-minute sessions could give a lot more of us the opportunity to present, if briefly. Given the number of applicants in past years, that’s a good thing. I can think of quite a few potential topics that would make a good 10-minute presentation, but aren’t deserving of a longer session. On the other side of the fence, the 45-minute sessions will allow some presenters to give much meatier talks. They’re taking a similar approach with the workshops, asking for both half-day and full-day proposals. This could result in a wide variety of offerings.
Some months back I published a list of topics I was considering for submission. One of those topics was “working with developers”. As it turns out, Uday Gajendar has been working on a similar talk, and we’ve decided to pool our experience. Given the recent discussion on the IxDA forums, I think it’s a timely topic, and with 45 minutes, we’ll have enough time to do a thorough job of it.
It’s also important to note that a video is a required part of the submission this year. I wonder if that will reduce the number of submissions significantly. I unfortunately do not have a video recording of any past talks I’ve given, so I’ll have to make one specifically for the submission. I have a month. Submissions are due July 31st.