links for 17 December 2006 – Congratulations! You’re Time Magazine’s Person of the Year

A stage call for UX Rock Chicks


Yes, I know… we keep having this discussion, but the question doesn’t go away. It’s been around the traps again this week (see here and here).

I particularly loved two ideas that Shelley put forward a recent post:

programs like agile computing… are trying to compensate for behavioral characteristics that we’re finding out, now, cause more harm than good.

Hrm. I’d never thought of Agile that way before, but it kind of makes sense. You don’t have to develop and entire development methodology to get women to talk to each other and work collaboratively (ok. sweeping generalisation I know… but quite accurate in my experience).
And this one:

Computer Science is still too heavily associated with either the math or the engineering departments, neither of which reflects how computers are used today. Computers are used in business and in social sciences, in psychology, medicine, history, and on and on. We associate computer science with calculus, when something like the library sciences would provide more useful integration, with its better understanding of the gathering and categorizing of data.

Now you’re talking. This makes me think of the issues I have with the word ‘geek’ and who is allowed to claim it. Sometimes I think that developers use it defensively, only people who code all the time are allowed to be called geeks. What about the rest of us who might do the odd bit of code when it’s faster to do it themselves, but are still immersed in technology, just from a different angle.

If, like Shelley has suggested, being a geek encompassed these other disciplines and acknowledged their importance in IT/Computer Science, then there would be more women participating in this field more actively (even if they’re not all hard core coders) which would surely make it a much more appealing field for women to join.

Anyway, that’s not what I was really posting about.

Do we, as Interaction Designers, Information Architects, User Experience People, have the same problem as the Graphic Designers (see image above). Do the boy UX Rockstars out number the gal UX Rockstars 5 to 1?

I know there are a few pretty high profile female UXers out there (ok, i’m including all the disciplines that might fall under this heading even if that’s not what they call themselves).

As far as conference speaking gigs, mailing list postings and book publications go the boys certainly seem to be a whole lot noisier than the girls.

When you think of ‘Rockstar’ IAs, IxDs, UXers, who do you think of?

Should we start making a list of amazing UX Gals?

Should we, how can we encourage them to be more noisy?

what say you?

* Probably shouldn’t assume those acronyms mean anything to most people!
IA = Information Architect, IxD = Interaction Designer, UX = User Experience