Lately I have been thinking about frameworks and methods in HCI, this was also something I discussed during my lecture (pretentious much).
I believe that Interaction Designers and the title itself has a hard time standing on its own. You can’t “just” be an Interaction Designer (well you can, but I’m trying to make a point so bare with me). Or actually how do you even define what an Interaction Designer does. But we can limit it to being able to communicate between designers and developers, and understanding how to optimise design so it speaks to the human brain, to have knowledge how to communicate the best way possible to the users (not so much hands on, more theoretical). Just to be clear, I have not made any studies regarding this, but I need to define a couple of variables before getting into the discussion, otherwise it can be a little hard to understand where my starting point is.
Well that was putting it a little easy, but I think you get it. In my experience it is quite hard to be “only” an Interaction Designer, or at least you need some other skills to back it up, you might be a Interaction Designer with focus on creating design (hands on designer with an Interaction Design background, not the same as a web designer), or you might be an Interaction Designer leaning more towards developing (we could call it a technical Interaction Designer), maybe as an Front End developer (it seems closes), or maybe working with SEO.
But I do think in the future it will be that way, because creating design without any sort of well grounded motivation won’t happen. Because the competition is too hard to make non relevant products. Or well, I’m speaking a little against studies and third and fourth wave HCI, which brings up that apps and such doesn’t need to be relevant to a certain purpose anymore, it just needs to create exceptional experience (games for example). But hey, developing products which will have a huge target group but also needs to solve a certain task, still needs to stay relevant to it’s goal.
I have tried different kinds of HCI frameworks, different kinds of methods for collecting and analysing data, different kinds of methods for brainstorming and prototyping, and different kinds of methods for UX reviews, user evaluations and participatory design. But the biggest problem from my point of view is that HCI borrows too much theory from other fields, such as psychology (it’s relevant, so bare with me), critical design (which feels way to artsy), social science and also computer and system science. The problem is that neither of these frameworks is developed only with HCI in mind. To quote myself “HCI needs to find a framework which is easier to apply, scientifically grounded but much more applicable and adaptable for small projects within design processes but also as relevant in a major project. Theoretical frameworks and methods which is not borrowed from other fields, a framework just of HCI and created for interaction-design first handed”
Yes I just quoted myself, like the narcissistic weirdo I am.
So it would be nice to take some time to experiment a little and see what one can come up with. We will see, I might not do anything about this, it was just a thought. But I do think it would be wise to step away a little from all of those other fields.