IxD – can you do it alone?



This article outlines the basics of Interaction Design and states one of the 5 tenets of goal driven design as “Work in teams of 2”.

It goes on to say

Lastly, interaction designers should never work in a silo. Collaboration with others, which Alan Cooper calls a “design communicator,” is key. Though the design communicator Alan envisioned in 1999 was typically a copywriter intended to provide marketing copy for products, today that has expanded to include a project manager, content strategist, information architect, and many others.

I’m curious to hear from IxDers in the real world. Do you work alone? Is it possible to work alone? What does that mean for contractors or remote workers?

@leighrubin l’d love to hear your thoughts on this.


Here’s my twenty cents:

No, in my experience IxDers do not work alone. Sure it’s possible, but is it efficient? And will it result in a product that meets user needs, balances business requirements and fits within technological constraints? Not likely.

You can’t really design something and then throw it over the fence and hope for the best. Working in teams of two works quite well, but 3- 4 is even better. It’s small enough to focus on what needs to be done but big enough to have different perspectives and expertise.

For contractors and remote workers, we know there are many ways to do design work with other people without being co-located but the big thing you want to get right is communication. Regular contact, clear visibility around who’s doing what and when things are due is essential.


Interesting topic as this is actually something that’s been on my mind the past week as I’ve been watching an app I’ve worked on get developed. I’ve been conducting usability testing the past week and been fascinated by how many details the users notice that I never did. It a few short sessions they have looked this app that I’ve spent months on and noted it’s flaws whilst offering simple effective solutions at fixing them.

This really made me think about how as an interaction designer (who’s very much on the tools) you just cannot predict the insights of your users. The best thing you can do is have people to work along side you and look at a screen or simple interaction and put forward their personal interpretation of what is occurring. By having someone who are paired up with, you are far more inclined to stop and question each other along the way. Attempting to wean out every possible user scenario that might occur. Inevitably there’ll be things you won’t notice, but without being challenged by someone else you are designing purely for yourself and not the myriads of users that will touch the product.