10 July 2013

Can we please move forward?

I like listening to Patsy Cline or watching Gone with the Wind on occasion. But lately, I haven’t felt all that nostalgic.

Watching new products as they are released and reviewing a ton of interaction design work recently I am struck by the observation that a large part of our industry is stuck. They simply aren’t progressing.

As one tiny example... why are we still focused and utilizing menus and buttons so prevalently. Front end code has advanced... we can now make objects actionable... but why aren’t we? Have we flatlined? Have we forgotten Fitt’s Law? Or did you ever learn it in the first place?

There is huge demand for people that can organize and design the plans for software. So much demand in fact that a large part of our field is now staffed by people that don’t have adequate training or experience. They are smart, quick to pick up on patterns, and often very good with clients - but they don’t know how to explore, invent, or take risk, and they don’t have enough foundational understanding of human cognition, behavior, or the notion of context.

While the industry (UX, iX, IA, whatever) is maturing, we aren’t yet mature and we shouldn’t stop innovating. Those huge libraries of patterns, styles, and standards out there aren’t ‘safe, aren’t stabilizing... they are stagnating.