Looking at the summaries of position papers submitted to the CHI2005 Development Consortium about an umbrella organization for User Experience, I sure hope something positive will come out.
Some statements (e.g. those by Jonathan Grudin, John Zapolski and possibly Arnie Lund) sound rather gloomy: Jonathan mentions "an unusual situation" and John says that "the focus of the group needs to shift". I think they are referring to the fact that a lot of groups are fighting over who should own the User Experience and while the fight is going on, little progress, especially in the area of promotion of the field, can be made.
It looks like a lot of topics will have to be discussed over two days to cover the interests of all attendees. I count at least 10:
- uniting professional organizations
- uniting professional knowledge (Keith's personalized portal)
- raising the status of the UX profession
- finding UX's place in academia
- co-ordinating and professionalizing conferences
- fighting competition for resources (volunteers? teachers?)
- fostering local ambassadors
- fixing differences in terminology
- publishing UX research
- valuation of (research) publications
One organization that I hold dearly (I am an advisor to the board and even ran for a place in that board) is missing from the list: the Information Architecture Institute (IAI). When the IAI advisors met during the IA Summit we discussed a lot of the same subjects, sometimes with a smaller IA focus but often enough in the wide UX sense.
What happened? Didn't we get invited? Don't we want to take part in the conversation? I am sure some of the advisors see Information Architecture as central to the field of UX (especially those who call it BIG IA instead of UX). I only put it at the center to make a point, as I explained in my original post about the t-model. But one way or the other, the IA Institute has an interest in the outcome of the discussion.
Oh, and of course I do I hope that some of the business aspects that I added to the t-model, applied to UX (UX ROI, selling UX, UX's organizational impact, managing UX and UX processes), will also be discussed.
Who will invite the IA Institute to the table and who will add business aspects to the agenda?
Update: (April 15, 2005): A first report of the Development Consortium acknowledges IAI and it seems the Institute was represented informally. Good! The slides from the associated CHI Panel identify a list of "first projects" that will help establish an umbrella environment for all organizations (and hopefully practitioners!) to flourish. I am confident that the IAI will review these and see which ones can be picked up. As the last slide says: Engage!