Archive for the 'Community' Category

2013 IA Summit in Review

Today I return to the office after an extended weekend in Baltimore for the 2013 IA Summit. In spite of the expected lag from a weekend of discussing IA and catching up with friends, I want to capture some of my thoughts from the week, while still fresh.


Overall Reactions

This was an amazing Summit. Thank you to Kevin, Crystal, and Giles as well as the entire volunteer committee for putting on a great show. Having been involved with organizing the conference in 2012 , I know what goes into an event like this and the dedication shows through.

A special thank you to everyone who attended The F Word…Fail and provided any feedback throughout my preparation and presentation.

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Is Failure Necessary?

I have gone through the last few years waiting for the other shoe to fall. Moving from in-house to consulting, I have been continually tossed into the deep and and I have made it out still kicking – to some degree or another. Still, for the memorable past I have had the notion that I cannot truly succeed until I have tasted failure. As I socialize this idea with my friends and mentors, I question what type of failure is necessary.

A certain level of honor has become associated with martyrdom lately. Is figuratively “dying” to prove a point an efficient way to create forward progress for your team or yourself?

– Ian Smile, @endashes
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On Dropping the Adjective Before Design

Dan Willis, also known as @uxcrank on Twitter, gave the third keynote at Midwest UX in Columbus, Ohio (slides available here). Discussing how we artificially break down our profession, Dan encourages us to take the adjective before design in our title and drop it. During Q&A, Joe Sokohl (@mojoguzzi) challenges this direction, stating we need the adjectives. Joe points out that there are differences between fashion designers and web designers, architects and automobile designers, and we need the adjective to understand what type of work we do. Due to time, the conversation between Dan and Joe was limited. I leave my additional thoughts below.
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Midwest UX and Fresh Blood

Last weekend I attended the Midwest UX conference in Columbus, Ohio. I have attended CHI conferences, IDEA conferences, Interactions and local TEDx events. This conference stands out though as one of the more unique.

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What We Are, On Design Titles

I need to start with a disclaimer: I do not like the What is my title, what is our field called, what is it that we do discussions that are always existing within IxD proffesional communities. Call yourself what you want, what gets you work, and what makes you happy. If you can speak to your work, that is enough.

Still, I have to call out an entertaining observation. Thursday I was at TEDxPhilly. Sitting in a row during one session was myself, Amber DeRosa, Lori Cavallucci, and Greg Siegal. During one of the pre-talk pauses we were introducing ourselves to others in our vicinity. Being asked what we do, I introduced myself as an ‘interactions designer’. Amber then introduced herself as a ‘UX architect’. Now as I said, I am not one to split hairs. All four of us are members of PhillyCHI, and Greg even works in the same office as me. But it was the prime opportunity to see how the rest of our crowd identifies. So, trolling the waters, I cautiously asked what Lori and Greg call their work. Lori said she is a ‘UX designer’ and Greg, knowing an answer that would just itch said ‘Designer with a capital D’.

Again, we all do the same work, but all with different flavors. None of these are wrong (though the capital D thing needs to go away). Each one of our job descriptions are synonyms for the same thing, and each one of us can muster a good fake argument as to which title as actually right. But it doesn’t matter. We all knew that. And after a brief laugh we continued on with the TED Talks.

Why I am writing this? Stop with the define yourself questions and the titles. Find one that makes you happy, stick to it, be done.

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