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Job description for an interaction designer

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  • Brian O'Byrne
    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
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 9, 2004
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      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.

      Thanks,
      Brian.
      --
      Brian O'Byrne, Statesoft Ltd.
      Tel: +353 1 4498 151, +353 86 240 4719
      http://www.statesoft.ie/
    • Ron Vutpakdi
      ... to ... This is a somewhat flippant answer, and I wouldn t write a job description in this way. But, that said, your request reminded me of something that
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 9, 2004
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        --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Brian O'Byrne <bobyrne@s...>
        wrote:
        > 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.
        >

        This is a somewhat flippant answer, and I wouldn't write a job
        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."
        http://www.designbyfire.com/000012.html

        The above quote reminds me of a Heilein quote from _Time Enough for
        Love_:
        "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
        able to:
        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
        agile team.

        Ron
      • Dave Cronin
        We just reworked our job descriptions since we re back in hiring mode. Here s how we put it (more info at
        Message 3 of 3 , Sep 9, 2004
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          We just reworked our job descriptions since we're back in hiring mode.

          Here's how we put it (more info at
          http://www.cooper.com/company/interaction_designer.asp

          INTERACTION DESIGNER

          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
          appropriate.

          What does it take to be a Cooper interaction designer?

          Empathy
          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
          use it.

          Improvisation
          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: agile-usability@yahoogroups.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.
          >
          > Thanks,
          > Brian.
          > --
          > Brian O'Byrne, Statesoft Ltd.
          > Tel: +353 1 4498 151, +353 86 240 4719
          > http://www.statesoft.ie/
          >
          >
          >
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