July 29, 2003
Dirk on ID
In case you were wondering, no, I hadn't missed Dirk's Information Design: The Understanding Discipline over on Boxes and Arrows. I'd been holding off because it raises a bunch of issues for me that I'm hoping to mull over and write up, perhaps a bit more formally than a blog entry. There's another, somewhat related concept I've also been bouncing back and forth in my brain, and that's looking at how diffusion of innovation theory (the framework for my master's thesis) applies to this issue of having UCD-related work "valued" by business. More later (she hopes).
But two quick comments about Dirk's article. First, I'm less inclined than Dirk to see information design as THE overarching discipline. I like that he argues it (it creates some opposition to others who would claim it :), but I think that it is hard not to tar ID with the same brush that others have been: when something has such a strong tactical component (the "little" piece), it is (IMO) a Sisyphean task to create real consensus among disparate groups that it is "the" overarching discipline (yet to be contrary, I'm not sure that creating new titles works either).
The other comment is related to the ID as director analogy. Dirk no longer believes in that, preferring instead to say that "information design is the integrator that brings other disciplines together to create excellent information solutions."
Hmmm...isn't a director an integrator who brings disciplines together to create an excellent information solution? Anyways, I don't want to beat this into the ground. But that said, I'm annoyed that I didn't write down what Sydney Pollack said in the commercial for the Alfred Hitchcock episode of his "Essentials" series on TMC. It was something to the effect that one of the things that made Hitchcock stand out as a director was his use of the medium to add to the story. It struck me as an interesting possibility for the ID as director concept.
IDblog is Beth Mazur tilting at power law windmills. A little bit Internet, a little bit technology, a little bit society, and a lot about designing useful information products. Send your cards and letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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