Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I had the opportunity to speak on a panel last night at the RCA entitled Issues in Interaction Design - Me and My Users. It was the first of an evening seminar series chaired by Bas Raijmakers and featured presentations by Bill Gaver (RCA), Roger Coleman (RCA), Martin Bontoft (Ideo), Gill Wildman and Nick Durrant (Plot). Short presentations covered the issues faced by designers and researchers in industry and academia around the questions:
What is the role of the user in the design process?
Can we have complex users with personalities and still talk about products and mass production?
Where is the boundary between the designer and the user?
Discussion with the audience of design students and researchers circled around the variety of methodologies and techniques available, the identity of ‘users’ and ‘non-users’ as well as the meaning and history of the term ‘users’, the value of design in the research process and how failure is often more acceptable in prototyping than in research. The group then headed to the bar, as any good panel should, where the discussion continued. The next two sessions will be about Thinking Through Making and Designer Science.

-kat