–Engage

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

Tell me your IxDA stories

I’m working on a little project about IxDA (The Interaction Design Association). As one of its primary founders, I often am in a position to represent IxDA to a much wider audience, or to communicate with other communities as a non-official representative. It’s an awkward position to be in, but it is also fun (I must admit).

That being said, I am very aware that my view of IxDA is warped by my personal experience. So before this next venture I’m about to begin, I’d like some perspective for you all.

Below in the comments please add your story. What  has IxDA meant to you? Is there a story where the context of IxDA helps shapes some sort of epiphany, relationship, business transaction, design, joy, etc. that would not have existed at all or as easily with out IxDA in the picture?

I look forward to your stories. Be as brief or as long as you want. Some of these stories in part or in whole may be used in the project I’m working on.

And THANX! in advance.

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  • http://www.graphpaper.com Christopher Fahey

    Are you familiar with Jan Jursa’s UX Storytellers project?

    http://uxstorytellers.blogspot.com/

  • Angel Anderson

    Hi Dave,

    This is a great idea and I’m looking forward to seeing what you compile. Here’s my story:

    I came to Interaction Design by way of journalism in the mid-90s when I mistook HTML for Word Perfect reveal codes(!) and fell madly in love with the internet. I created dozens of small (and sadly atrocious!) sites for local businesses, while reading everything I could about usability, design, etc. Most of my work in the 90s makes me cringe but by 2003, I had designed several decent enterprise software applications. I was enjoying my work but I was also frustrated. It was really hard to explain my job and my job titles were completely mis-aligned with what I actually did: Project Manager, Product Manager, etc. I didn’t have any formal design training and I’m a piss-poor graphic designer so I wasn’t really sure where I fit in the world of creating digital product. Not being able to confidently name and describe my role, left me feeling a crisis of confidence. I felt like something was missing.

    In those days, I was the lone designer and my work was always being inserted as an afterthought. The requirements would be given to the dev team and they would already be building when the director of development brought me into the project. I tried to explain why this was backwards but got nowhere. I felt like I was taking crazy pills! I made an effort to be-friend the developers so they would bring me in earlier, and thankfully, one of them recommended Alan Cooper’s book, The Inmates are Running the Asylum. Finally, I felt like my ideas about flipping the process where validated. Doing a search for a pattern mentioned in About face lead me to stumble onto IxDA.org.

    IxDA.org discussion list quickly became my #1 resource for all things interaction, and it gave me the piece of mind that I’m not alone, that others are struggling with the same design and format challenges, business communication issues, etc. I lurked for ages before I finally felt confident enough to start posting. When the first Interaction conference in 2008 was announced I knew I had to attend.

    That first conference was a magic point in my career. Straight from the airport I headed to the Pirate House for the first local leader’s workshop where I met Josh Seiden, Dani Malik, Pauric O’Callaghan, MJ Broadbent, Niklas Wolkert and a dozen others who where running face-to-face groups in their cities. They were so helpful and encouraging! Meeting them made me sure that I wanted to start my own local group and their advice helped me formulate a plan to make it happen. The conference was kick-ass in every way. The speakers, the venue the food, and most of all the people. It was exhilarating to meet hundreds of other people who where my flavor of curious, empathic, techno-phile, sci-fi loving, nerdy awesome. It was like finding my secret family!

    When I returned home, I started working to organize my first local event. Dave, you personally helped me by introducing me to Jennifer Bove at HUGE and suggesting that HUGE host my first event. It was incredibly helpful because I was really nervous about pitching a company to sponsor such a thing and also, I had applied for a job at HUGE (one of the top interactive agencies in LA) a few month prior and had been soundly ignored. The opportunity to plan and pull-off a large event with the company I was dying to work for that was an incredible gift! I worked with HUGE LA staff to orchestrate two back-to-back events on process and user research and luckily HUGE finally took notice of me and hired me as a senior interaction designer. Thanks to IxDA, I am now confident in my career, have many close friends in the IxDA community, and I am gainfully employed at my favorite Los Angeles agency!

    I continue to look to the IxDA community for guidance, support, and occasionally entertainment. The Los Angeles IxDA face-to-face group has been meeting regularly with an average attendance of 75 and I am now honored to be on the Interaction ’11 planing committee as Global/Local Chair. I am so incredibly grateful that the IxDA is helping push our discipline forward and has helped me develop true friendships with other designers all over the the world.

    Feel free to edit this down. I could go on and on about how much I love the IxDA!

  • http://isomorpho.us Jeremy Yuille

    Hey there dave,
    for me IxDA connects me with a global community that has practice at its core. As an academic, this is sometimes a breath of fresh air.

    The gatherings that IxDA helps catalyze, like the annual conference, are a way to connect ideas about where the profession is right now, and where we (as professionals) would like to see it going. So that brings up elements of reflection, and invaluable feedback into the way I go about my day to day business of teaching design.

    As a Director, the overwhelming quality that I identify with IxDA is that of initiative. You get this, so I don’t need to describe it here in detail.

  • dave

    Thanx Jeremy & Angel for your stories.
    Chris, I wanted to let you know I was very familiar w/ UX Storytellers as i am a contributors to the project. But I’m not looking for generic UX stories. I’m looking for how IxDA specifically as a community has made a difference to your life. It may not be relevant to some, but it is relevant to many.
    – dave

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