Job description for an interaction designer
- This is a question that I think will help some latecomers to this
field, like myself, understand what the more experienced folks here
value in an interaction designer.
If you were to advertise a vacancy for an interaction designer role to
participate in an agile team, what would you put in it? Include a
description of the role and the qualities you would value in
Brian O'Byrne, Statesoft Ltd.
Tel: +353 1 4498 151, +353 86 240 4719
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Brian O'Byrne <bobyrne@s...>
> This is a question that I think will help some latecomers to thisto
> field, like myself, understand what the more experienced folks here
> value in an interaction designer.
> If you were to advertise a vacancy for an interaction designer role
> participate in an agile team, what would you put in it? Include aThis is a somewhat flippant answer, and I wouldn't write a job
> description of the role and the qualities you would value in
description in this way.
But, that said, your request reminded me of something that was
recently posted on the interaction designers mailing list, a quote
from an article by Andrei Herasimchuk (an interaction designer
formerly with Adobe):
"Should an interface designer be expected to not only provide unique
visual solutions to a project in terms of aesthetic appeal, but also
be able to break down the complex interaction problems or large
database navigational problems? You bet. An interface designer should
be able to draw icons and symbols, layout complex information,
determine pleasing color systems, create the visual language that
flows through a product, create a taxonomy, architect a framework,
understand how to optimize a workflow, know the best way to create
graceful error handling, and organize content so that it can be
consumed for its intended purpose."
The above quote reminds me of a Heilein quote from _Time Enough for
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion,
butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance
accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders,
give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new
problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight
efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects."
The serious part of my answer is that any interaction designer that
I'd hire should be able to handle the pure design part, but also be
work effectively as part of a team(s)
fits together well with the team
communicate effectively in person, before a group, and on paper
juggle multiple priorities / projects
understand when to be firm and when to give way
is very adaptable to changes (in direction, project, duties, etc)
Of course, one could argue that list is appropriate for *anyone* on an
- We just reworked our job descriptions since we're back in hiring mode.
Here's how we put it (more info at
A Cooper interaction designer is responsible for leading the definition
of product form and behavior. In collaboration with their design
communicator partners, our interaction designers conduct stakeholder and
user interviews; define personas, scenarios, and requirements; develop
and present interaction frameworks; and see the design all the way
through to detailed pixel specifications. Interaction designers also
collaborate with visual designers and industrial designers, when
What does it take to be a Cooper interaction designer?
Cooper designers are insatiably curious about how other people work,
live, and think. They enjoy meeting potential users of a product, and
they think about design by visualizing themselves as the people who will
Our designers need the ability to brainstorm potential solutions to a
problem. More importantly, Cooper designers can take those ideas, screen
out the bad ones, and focus on the good ones. In Cooper's collaborative
environment, a designer needs the ability to brainstorm on her feet,
without ego attachment to any particular idea.
Strong visualization skills
Cooper designers have to work at multiple levels of a design problem,
from high-level concept to nitty-gritty interaction details. A Cooper
designer is the kind of person who sees a blank whiteboard and itches to
fill it with ideas.
Superb communication skills
A Cooper designer needs to demonstrate grace under pressure. We don't
have studio-only designers; Cooper designers work directly with our
clients to create solutions and lasting relationships. As consultants,
we present complex concepts with ease, and we're always prepared to
answer the hard questions.
Back at the studio, a Cooper designer needs the ability to convey design
solutions through sketches. We have Visual Designers on staff who
specialize in making everything look great, but you must have a firm
grasp of basic visual design principles and practices. Our designers
must be comfortable with common visual design tools like FireWorks,
Photoshop and PowerPoint.
A desire to design
To put it plainly, Cooper Interaction Designers design. We don't have
openings for human factors specialists, ergonomics engineers, usability
testers, programmers, graphic artists, animators, or model fabricators.
We're looking exclusively for permanent staff to work full-time at our
San Francisco office. We are building our company to last, so we are
looking for people who will last.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Brian O'Byrne [mailto:bobyrne@...]
> Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2004 2:45 AM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [agile-usability] Job description for an interaction designer
> This is a question that I think will help some latecomers to
> this field, like myself, understand what the more experienced
> folks here value in an interaction designer.
> If you were to advertise a vacancy for an interaction
> designer role to participate in an agile team, what would you
> put in it? Include a description of the role and the
> qualities you would value in applicants.
> Brian O'Byrne, Statesoft Ltd.
> Tel: +353 1 4498 151, +353 86 240 4719
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