Type Mismatch: HCI and Programmer Communication Barriers (09 Oct 2004)
What about those who are bilingual? Who speak both languages? I also have a technical undergraduate background prior to my move into HCI several year ago. I pride myself in having enough of an understanding of programming to discuss limitations and compromises with those developing my designs. However, there is a difference in being bilingual and being dual role. Some take bilingualism to mean they develop the application or tool as well as execute on the HCI aspects. While this is certainly possible and has been done successfully by some, caution should be taken.
Ever learned a language and then gotten the vocabulary or grammar mixed up with another familiarized language? When one performs both duties of HCI and programmer with an assumption of understanding both, it's quite easy to be blinded by one and forget the other. For example, when put in a similar situation, I have found myself limiting my design choices based on what I knew to be technically feasible. Instead of coming up with the optimal design, I was doing so within the constraints of what I believed to be most optimal and possible. While pragmatism has its place, such an approach is akin to shooting yourself in the foot before starting the race.
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