Workplace and Career

What the design student needs is a design course that stresses usability, human factors, and clarity, instead of the typical branding and interpretation problems they usually encounter in their other design classes. James Spahr recounts a year of teaching at Pratt Institute that attempts to cross those boundaries.

Polar Bear book co-author Peter Morville shares the inside stories about the making of the new edition—from its original scribblings on an airsick bag to the ideas that didn’t make it in—and his thoughts about how the field has changed since their book was first published.

Ivy-covered halls are filling up again with eager students of the user experience fields ready to change the world (or at least to study out the recession). But are these programs really teaching them what they need to know?

Part of me feels for Jakob Nielsen for the grief he’s taken over deciding to work with Macromedia after declaring “Flash 99 percent bad.” After all, the pressures and temptations to provide simple answers to complex issues are ones we all face in our professional practices.

Not so long ago, on my personal site I posted a little entry on design. And a comment was made: “IA is not design.” This sentence has sat vibrating in my head for months. It speaks of bravado in the face of fear. But why should Information Architects fear design?

Part 1: My entrée into the web world—Spaceland, or “Hyperspace”—was not a smooth one; in fact, it was downright mind-bending. My personal journey from designing and writing for print media to becoming an information architect for websites conjures up images of Flatland, written by Edwin A. Abbott, an English clergyman, educator, and Shakespearean scholar (1884).

Attending conferences often crystallizes the direction of a career or confirms choices made as people meet and communities bond over similar goals. It isn’t often that you hear about someone throwing off the mantle of a title or dropping out of a discipline altogether. David Heller explains why he feels the title IA isn’t appropriate to what he does anymore.

A recent book captures a larger movement within the academic field of human-computer interaction away from its traditions of behavioral science and engineering towards “interaction design.” But re-labeling isn’t enough, it also requires a shift in philosophical foundations as well as professional practice, and the language of HCI is not the best place to look for inspiration.

At the end of April, the AIGA Experience Design sig will hold its first joint Forum as part of CHI 2002. Intended to be the first of several collaborative ventures to bring the Experience Design communities of practice together, the success of the forum marks a milestone in the life of the AIGA ED group.

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