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Interface design, 2002: Perspectives

IX.2 March 2002
Page: 109
Digital Citation

Coming together to explore the intersections of HCI, experience design, and information architecture


back to top  Experience Design and HCI

The Experience Design community within the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) is one such community. Founded in 1914, the purpose of AIGA is to further excellence in communication design as a broadly defined discipline, as a strategic tool for business, and as a cultural force. The fact that many within this community approach HCI—and design—very differently from many within the SIGCHI community was revealed on stage at CHI99 in my interview of Experience Design community co-founder and current AIG President Clement Mok and SIGCHI stalwart Jakob Nielsen [1].

AIGA uses the term experience design to describe a community of practice—not a single profession, and designing effective experiences requires many different types of professionals with a broad range of knowledge. The community currently consists of design strategists and planners; brand strategists; user and usability researchers; information architects; information and graphic designers; and interface, interaction, and software designers. The community focuses on digital experience but is mindful that human experience is not confined to the computer screen.

The community began in 1998 when a small group of design practitioners (who had previously designed tangible media but whose work was now primarily digital) got together to discuss new issues that had become critical in daily practice but were not being addressed in a concentrated manner in other communities or professional organizations. (Visit http://experience.aiga.org for more information.)

Many within this community are also visible within SIGCHI, where they have participated in Birds of a Feather groups, special interest groups, DIS conferences, and a variety of venues and sessions at CHI conferences. BayCHI and other SIGCHI local chapters have offered numerous programs focused on experience design. Interactions has featured articles written by members of the Experience Design community.

In 2000 the SIGCHI Executive Committee appointed two adjunct chairs to make sure that SIGCHI was meeting the needs of its design community. Among their several initiatives, the appointed chairs—Jonathan Arnowitz (who produced the Dutch Design Day event following CHI2000) and Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson (who produced the special issues on design of interactions)—and SIGCHI statesman Austin Henderson approached AIGA Experience Design chair Terry Swack and AIGA Executive Director Ric Grefé. They successfully proposed a cooperating society agreement between SIGCHI and AIGA that would explore and extend the concept of design activities from the different perspectives of each organization. Elizabeth is the SIGCHI liaison to AIGA, and Terry is the AIGA liaison to SIGCHI.

The first activity to come from this partnership is the CHI 2002/AIGA Experience Design Forum (www.formandcontent.net/chi2002/forum.htm), a two-day event that takes place immediately before the CHI2002 technical program, just like a workshop or tutorial. The forum is designed to explore the intersections between the HCI and Experience Design communities; it has been balanced for practitioners, researchers, and educators. Keynote speakers are John Rheinfrank, Michel Beaudouin-Lafon and Wendy Mackay, and Ramana Rao. Panel discussions include "Designing a User-Centered Design Practice," "Research, Analysis, and Design," and "Design Education in the 21st Century." In-depth design cases will be presented and then published in the AIGA Experience Design Case Study Archives and in the ACM Digital Library.

back to top  Information Architecture and HCI

Another community that overlaps with HCI–and with Experience Design—is the Information Architecture (IA) community. Information architects design the underlying structure and navigation for systems of content and interactions, to help users of those systems access and manage information. This growing community is not yet well established and is increasingly seeking a center.

As is true for members of the Experience Design community, many within the IA community are also visible within SIGCHI. They too have participated in Birds of a Feather groups, special interest groups, DIS conferences, and a variety of venues and sessions at CHI conferences. BayCHI and other SIGCHI local chapters have offered programs focused on information architecture. Interactions has featured articles written by members of the IA community.

Late in 2001, Lou Rosenfeld invited a group of people to form a committee to address how to create an organization for information architects. Dubbed the Interfaith Council, this group includes prominent information architects and people from organizations that already serve the community. I am on this 21-person council, as are representatives of AIGA Experience Design, the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the Usability Professionals Association (UPA), and the American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T, which has hosted an IA summit each year beginning with 2000).

This year, meetings addressing the needs of the IA community, and exploring the relationships between it and the other communities previously mentioned, will take place in association with the third ASIS&T IA summit in March, the SIGCHI/Experience Design Forum in April, the STC conference in May, and the Usability Professionals' Association conference in July. (See www.info-arch.org/progress to keep up with developments in this area.)

back to top  Design and HCI

Many different perspectives exist on what design is and how it should be done, as reflected in this special issue of interactions and in the previous two special issues on design. In much of my work, helping various kinds of professionals respect and value those different perspectives has been crucial to their successful collaboration [3]. Hence, it is very good to see SIGCHI increasingly acknowledge those differences and facilitate the process of understanding and benefiting from them [4].

back to top  SIGCHI Design Goals

The following goals were crafted in March 2001 by Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson and Ian McClelland to clarify the path SIGCHI is taking to bring design forward:

SIGCHI should better represent the skills, activities, and processes required to design computational technologies that people use. We are motivated to improve the capability of the SIGCHI community to influence the quality of interfaces people experience when using all forms of computational technologies.

People encounter and interact with computational technologies in many forms such as devices, services, or systems. The technologies will be used by people as independent individuals and as members of groups. Design practice involves practitioners in the application of the skills and the processes required to synthesize appropriate solutions, and design education. We do not attempt to define designers.

It is the intent of SIGCHI to encourage the participation of those directly engaged in the actualization of HCI principles in the design and development of computer artifacts people use, and in the user experience of computational technology.

Further, SIGCHI actively encourages individuals and organizations engaged in the practice of HCI design to participate through contributions to conferences, workshops, seminars, and other events; contributions to publications; and participation in the leadership of SIGCHI through the functions of the Executive Committee, Extended Executive Committee, and Advisory Committee.

Current Domain
SIGCHI is concerned with the public and personal use of systems and computer-mediated interpersonal communication as conceptualized, designed, and implemented by practitioners working in academic, commercial, and industrial settings where the core and integrating concern is the quality of the intersection between people and the use of computational technologies and where, critically, social responsibility and the betterment of "quality of life" is a shared ethical goal.

Expansions to the SIGCHI Domain should be consistent with the above, should focus on those specialists involved in designing and developing the technologies that mediate between people and the core computational technologies, should focus on those specialists that cover the human and usage aspects, as well as the practice of design, and may overlap with other societies and other ACM SIGs. Among our primary challenges and issues with regard to design are:

  • Evaluating the quality of interaction
  • Enabling technology
  • Graphical and auditory (olfactory?) displays
  • Design of products with dynamic properties
  • Portable, wearable, and mobile technology for personal use
  • Social challenges in the workplace related to design
  • Sociotechnical ecology (systems of people and their tools and the consequences of this interaction, e.g., privacy and cooperation)
  • Universal accessibility
  • Development of design practice
  • User experience design

back to top  References

1. Anderson, R. Conversations with Clement Mok & Jakob Nielsen, and with Bill Buxton & Clifford Nass. interactions 7, 1 (2000), pp. 46–80.

2. Anderson, R. 1996-2001 CHI Local SIGs Column Sampler. SIGCHI Bulletin (November–December 2001), pp. 5 and 11.

3. Anderson, R. and Braiterman, J. Strategies for making e-business more customer-centered. In J. Bawa, P. Dorazio, & L. Trenner (eds.), The Usability Business: Making the Web Work, Springer-Verlag London Ltd., 2001.

4. Dykstra-Erickson, E., Mackay, W., and Arnowitz, J. Trialogue on design (of). interactions 8, 2 (2001), pp. 109–117.

back to top  Author

Richard I. Anderson

Richard Anderson provides guidance and direction to organizations, teams, and individuals needing to learn, adopt, or develop collaborative, user-centered techniques and strategies for experience design, contextual discovery, business strategy development, product conceptualization, and usability engineering. Richard started and led the User Research and Experience Strategy discipline at Studio Archetype and Sapient, and the Experience Center at Viant. For many years he has taught a popular, full-semester course on user-centered Design and usability engineering through the University of California at Berkeley Extension. He has also worked as an independent consultant, a human factors specialist, an interaction designer, a business analyst, a programmer, and a researcher.

Richard was SIGCHI's local chapters chair for more than five years, during which he oversaw the development and expansion of SIGCHI's local chapters to nearly 60 chapters in nearly 30 countries worldwide. He was BayCHI's first elected chair and has been BayCHI's program chair for more than 10 years. In these roles, and in his work, he has facilitated the exploration, development, and integration of multiple professional communities.

back to top  Figures

UF1Figure. Richard I. Anderson

back to top  Sidebar: Skills Found in AIGA Experience Design Community of Practice

Many of the following skills are also found in SIGCHI and other communities. AIGA Experience Design members are designers who are interested in exploring new boundaries of their professions as they are evolving across multiple disciplines.

  • Application design (software, kiosks, Web, CD, multichannel)
  • Brand management
  • Brand strategy
  • Content development and writing
  • Design strategy and planning
  • Exhibit design
  • Experience strategy
  • Graphic design
  • Interaction design
  • Information architecture
  • Information design
  • Interactive data visualization
  • Interactive television
  • Pervasive computing
  • Product design
  • Product management
  • Product marketing
  • Product strategy
  • Project management and production
  • Retail interior design
  • Restaurant design
  • Software engineering
  • Theme park ride design
  • Transportation design
  • Usability testing and researching
  • User research
  • Virtual reality
  • Visual systems design
  • Interface design (hardware, mobile device, etc.)
  • Interface design (software, embedded computing, etc.)
  • Web interface design
  • Web interface development and coding

back to top 

©2002 ACM  1072-5220/02/0300  $5.00

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The Digital Library is published by the Association for Computing Machinery. Copyright © 2002 ACM, Inc.

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