This issue is the third annual special issue of interactions to bring together practitioners and academicians involved in user interface design. Once again, I am very grateful to Steven Pemberton, interactions Editor-in-Chief, and Ken Korman, Executive Editor, for their encouragement and assistance in this project, and to all of the contributors who shared their philosophies, their practices, and examples of their work. There is something challenging, interesting, and unique in every piece. I am also indebted to Peter Hoddie, President, and Mike Kellner, Director of Engineering, at Generic Media for graciously allowing me to produce another special issue. Their support of this effort in turn supports our discipline, and this sets a great example.
Over the last three years we've had over 50 submissions to the special issues on interface design, representing a broad cross-section of our field, from consultants to software companies to universities. CHI2002 brings even more design-oriented interests to the SIGCHI conference this year, including our design FORUM, a joint event conducted with the Experience Design special interest group of the American Institute for Graphic Arts (AIGA). Reflecting on the umbrella term used by the AIGA group, I thought I'd look through our past submissions to see what we call people who "do interaction design" and whether there are any patterns in naming.
The most significant finding here is that practitioners generally divide into different skill sets, the predominant division being interaction vs. graphic designers, and frequently usability engineers (but never usability designers!). We have seen, and will see, more job titles that are descriptive of related skills: information architects (indicative of the ever-growing focus on Web design), product designer (reflecting the increased inclusion of industrial design in HCI at CHI), and UX, or User eXperience, a newer and more inclusive term broader than interaction design and usually the name of a group. Where do you think it will shift next? Will we simplify, and call it all Experience Design (as AIGA has termed it), or will we specialize and create more and different titles with new skills and new methods to address new technologies? Drop us a line at email@example.com and let us know what you thinkand what you call what you do!
This year's special issue is bigger than ever, and we've included some material we hope you'll find thought-provoking and controversial. We look forward to having another special issue next yearso start thinking now about what you would say about your own practice.
Generic Media, Inc.
Adjunct Chair for Design PolicySIGCHI Executive
Guest Editor, interactions
Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson is a product designer and educator. She spent several years researching collaborative technology at Pacific Bell and joined US WEST Advanced Technologies in 1992 to conduct applied research in video-mediated communication. She joined Apple Computer as a senior designer in 1994, working on OpenDoc (component software technology), the MacOS, and QuickTime (media-enabling technology). She recently left Apple to join Peter Hoddie, former chief architect of QuickTime, in his streaming media startup, Generic Media. She designed Generic's Web-based asset management and on-demand transcoding service interface, a desktop transcoding application, and a Palm OS video player.
Elizabeth has taught HCI and multimedia design and development at the University of San Francisco since 1990, where her students develop multimedia projects for nonprofit organizations. She has also taught HCI in the Art + Design department of the University of California at Santa Cruz since 1997.
Elizabeth is a member of the editorial board of interactions and produces an annual special issue on interface design. For the past two years she has served SIGCHI as adjunct chair of design policy, bringing together designers from various communities.
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