Workplace and Career

How does a user interface designer know that a given design will work? How does anybody develop enough confidence in a design to move it toward the real world? The methods designers use to evaluate user interfaces require training and experience. But the people who need to hire designers are unlikely to have those skills. How do the people who are paying the bills know they are getting good answers?

I recently started a new job. The group I manage is new and all the people on my team have recently been transferred into this group. Additionally, each person has spent a lot of time in the recent past working on individual, solitary projects, and has not regularly been part of a collaborative team.

The efforts to define our field and our role are understandable by-products of our economic times and of forces in our contexts of practice. What are the pressures behind this quest for definition? What are the options (and potential advantages) of refusing to pigeonhole ourselves?

Little Boxia has just turned two. Look how proud she stands, barely wobbling at all! See how she toddles around, smearing food on the walls! So independent, so curious and wait… did she just say “no!”? No, no, no! Here they come… the terrible twos.

February 26th, 2004

Planning your future

A few years ago, a manager of mine gave me the assignment to work on a five-year career plan. I had never created a career plan before (not even to plot out goals for the coming year), so I was completely unprepared for how and why I should do this.

At the beginning of 2004, Boxes and Arrows, takes a moment to reflect back on the predictions made for 2003 and where we landed at year’s end. Feeling optimistic, we also invited our peers in the community to share some of their professional resolutions for the new year.

In 1934, years before Vannevar Bush dreamed of the memex, decades before Ted Nelson coined the term “hypertext,” Paul Otlet envisioned a new kind of scholar’s workstation: a mechanical desk that would let users search, read, and write their way through a vast database stored on millions of 3×5 index cards.

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