A stage call for UX Rock Chicks

Question

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

links for 14 December 2006 – What’s next in search?

links for 12 December 2006 – Using Waterfall you feel good at the start and crap at the end. If there is an end.

  • “Using Agile, you feel insecure (-ish, especially if you’ve not tried it before) at the start of a project, and satisfied at the end. Using Waterfall you feel good at the start and crap at the end. If there is an end.” I predict I’ll be borrowing that quote in the foreseeable future!
    (tags: agiledesign)

Five things

Pineapples

OK. I’ve managed to avoid the whole meme thing pretty well for the past year or so, but I can’t really ignore being tagged by David, so bear with me. I’ll keep it brief.

Five things you probably don’t know about me.

  1. I’d rather be a concert pianist: I used to be a pretty reasonably pianist back in the day. I started lessons when I was about 5yrs old and kept it up until I was almost eighteen. I used think I might one day be a famous concert pianist, but I was never really a great fan of getting up on stage and performing, so that was only ever going to be a pipe dream. I also learned the cello, but I was much more rubbish at that. I haven’t played for quite a while, but one day I’ll buy myself a piano and get back into it. It will go in my library, which will have walls lined with books.
  2. I grew up on a farm: horse, pigs, cows, the works. It was really fun and I wish that all kids could grow up that way. I was terrified of the horses when I was really small though. I had a potty calf that I named Madonna. My brother named the cat Powder Puff. (eh, Madonna is still a worse name for a cow, isn’t it).
  3. I cheated my way through second grade: every week we had a spelling test and every week, me and my friend Ange sat next to one another and cheated. (Sorry Ange!). We used to get a ‘star’ on the board when you got 100% on your test, and I can’t believe they ever figured out what was going on because Ange and I would have dozens more stars than anyone else in the class. That was the first and last time I ever cheated at school (although, we did do it most weeks of that year). Thank goodness for spell check, that’s all I can say. Kiddies. Don’t cheat on your spelling tests!
  4. I have a fruit & meat rule: they should never be together. The exception that proves the rule is pineapple on pizza. Sweet and Sour Pork should only ever be eaten once the pineapple has been removed. Anyone who cooks me Apricot Chicken has a lot of explaining to do.
  5. I’ve had a massive crush on Steve Waugh and Michael Hutchence for decades: That’s the ex-Australian Cricket Captain and the lead singer of INXS. *swoon* Michael Hutchence (RIP) should be self explanatory. I’m not even going to attempt to explain the Steve Waugh thing.

One thing I didn’t know until today.

My dad reads this blog. I have no idea why… as he said today ‘I have no idea how you have time to write all that rubbish you write’. Hrm, thanks Dad. Anyone else out there who shouldn’t* be reading this? You might as well own up now.

OK. That’s it. No more memes.
(*shouldn’t = doing it more for stalking purposes than because you’re interested in what I’m actually writing about)

image credit:DieHardCanonUser @ Flickr