Kevin Cheng  

Resolutions 2004

January 2nd, 2004 by Kevin Cheng :: see related comic

Happy New Year everyone! Iím not actually one for resolutions myself. My feeling is that if you want to do something, an arbitrary date isnít going to make it any more or less likely that youíll find the motivation to do it and if youíre going to make resolutions anyways, wouldnít your own birthday be a far better point to benchmark yourself?

Having said that, Iíll go right ahead and contradict myself by looking at whatís ahead for myself, OK/Cancel and maybe even the industry.

Personally, Iím hoping to complete my little hiatus from industry and return to the real world near the end of the year. During that time, Iíll hopefully do some interesting research (in what I have still to decide) and make the most of my time in London by seeing more of Europe before returning to North America. If anyone has recommendations on places that are ďmust seeĒ, donít hesitate to let me know.

OK/C has only been around for a short time but has been moderately successful in reaching out to the audience we hoped to reach. Tom and I have a ton of ideas we are working on, not all of which I will share until we are ready to.Some ideas you already know about, like making T-shirts available, possibly with a strip on the shirt. Designs are still pending but we have finally found some decent potential suppliers that can make them at a fairly affordable rate. The other major addition weíve been working on is the idea of having a forum for more in depth discussions, both regarding topics we bring up and ones anyone else wants to talk about. On this front, I still have some reservations, partially because forums are notoriously bad in signal:noise ratios and partially because I just donít know how many people would use it. There are at least half a dozen mailing lists I can think of that try to serve similar purposes (I should probably list them out some time) but maybe a forum would give a better sense of a community?

Finally, looking ahead for our industry, Iíll drop a few thoughts. I feel like we are at a stage similar to technologists a decade ago. That is, recognition of the need for HCI and HMI is rising fast. More and more education programs are targeted towards this specialization and, as soon as the economy picks up (which I believe itís showing signs of doing), there wonít be enough graduates to fill the jobs. Obviously, it wonít be as impossibly euphoric as the dot com boom but I feel like the opportunities are certainly out there. We do mention, with tongue firmly implanted in cheek, the trend towards outsourced development in India and China. The move of programmers has been happening for a few years now but weíre starting experimentation with other positions to see what can be partially or fully moved abroad: call centres, help desks, technical support, and yes, even HCI. It will be interesting to see how companies that try this fare. I have my theories on some methodologies and roles that could work but thatís for another day Ö

Of course, what everyone really wants to know if what my predictions are so they can point out how wrong I was come next year. Who am I to disappoint? In 2004, Apple still wonít reveal the killer product that will bring down the evil PC empire and convert all the unenlightened to the righteous path. TabletPCs will have slightly disappointing sales and marketing executives may finally realize they could target ARTISTS and design their product around this marginally tapped market. Jared Spool and his UIE cohorts will debunk two more Nielsen Alertbox ďrulesĒ but fail to provide sufficient documentation on their research methodology for any analytical reader to determine the validity of EITHER claim. Don Normanís new book will release (technically, released end of 03) and become an instant classic, appearing on every UI related website as a recommended book while we at OK/C start selling the iTeaJuicer X.

I canít wait for 2005.


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OK/Cancel is a comic strip collaboration co-written and co-illustrated by Kevin Cheng and Tom Chi. Our subject matter focuses on interfaces, good and bad and the people behind the industry of building interfaces - usability specialists, interaction designers, human-computer interaction (HCI) experts, industrial designers, etc. (Who Links Here) ?