— 4 August 2003 —
Tog (Bruce Tognazzini, principal of NN/g) steps up to bat with his article this month. The only problem is that no one’s pitching.
As I first voiced in my comment on WebWord, what gives? How many times must we have a call to arms in order to be taken more seriously? Yes, I do prefer “interaction” to “interface,” but I don’t get bent out of shape over it. And guess what… neither do my customers. (The term client is dead, btw, please stop using it and use “customer” instead.)
I just spoke with the guy who sits next to me about starting movements for the sake of starting movements. Unfortunately, I cannot think of any at the moment. Let me know if you can think of any. I blame it on Monday and lack of coffee, but don’t misconstrue that as an excuse (see post below).
What I found funny about my conversation with the guy next to me (besides his initial question, “What’s a Tog?”) was that he thinks of architects as those who design things. Wonderful things. But then they take that design to an engineer, and get told why it won’t work.
As an (insert “I” word here) designer, I work with many levels of customer. In no particular order: Project manager, end user, developer (engineer), tester (not usability), other projects, my boss… All are important, and all must have an understanding of what I do and how to work with me. A title give the introduction, but it is working successfully with designers that makes people understand when and how to use them. And if it is successful they are happy to do it.
Titles are only good for business cards, resumes, and placeholders on Gantt charts. It’s the people who do the work, and educate the customer along the way, that continue to make designers and usability professionals successful and sought after.
Bitching about how no one takes us seriously means (to me) that no one takes you seriously. Boo hoo.
And do we really need one more “society” which produces material, and conferences that few can afford to attend? Don’t get me wrong, I love going to CHI and UPA conferences. I love User Experience Magazine.
I actually think that the real problem is that we are too splintered. Tog’s idea runs on the premise that information architects, interaction and interface designers, usability professionals, tech writers, blahblahblahs, seem to think that they are different. We have the same purpose: make “it” easy, efficient and satisfactory to all levels of customer.
Tog’s idea would do well to focus on more interaction between the societies, and less on the rank-and-file. We know what we do. We communicate that. Get the societies together, and then there is power to educate within and without. With society-level interaction we can be better at communicating to the level of customer that many of us never interact with: CxO. That’s where many of us probably need the most help. How does a CIO know it’s important to have an information architect on board and not just some developers (no offense devs, I love you!)?
I want to start a movement too. Well, other than my Designers Without Borders idea. I am still working on that. No, the movement aujourd’hui is simple: Don’t listen to Tog.
DLT. It’s just that simple.