On being in house
The SF IA cocktail hour was this week and unfortunately I was unable to attend due to previously scheduled guitar lessons. I do however have an opinion that I would like to share about being an inhouse IA.
I have spent the majority of my IA/UI career as an inhouse person. In a former life, I was at an ad agency so do have experience as an outside person, although not in IA.
I think I am lucky being inside. Of course there are disadvantages - internal politics, not being as revered or listened to as outside people, but I think the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. I think being inside, particularly if you are building online applications, allows you to have an intimate relationship with the engineering staff implementing your designs, allows insight and involvement in the definition of the product and in a lot of cases allows you to be involved in the long term life cycle of the product. In my past, I have had the opportunity to work on an initial release of an application, then been able to follow feedback and usage and be directly involved in defining the next phase as well as leading the design of the next rev of a product. I can learn from my work and apply it in another version. I find this process very compelling.
This doesn't mean there isn't selling involved - my last gig involved a lot of selling of IA services to upper management who didn't understand what we did. In other cases, being internal compresses the life cycle of the development process because the time to find outside people and bring them up to speed is not necessary. Therefore we always ended up working with less time than desired. And being inside is just as precarious in these time as being anywhere else (note: was laid off in January from AltaVista).
With that being said, I have plans of being a consultant again at a future date, but for now, being inhouse is the best place for me.Posted by erin at 05:12 PM | in Interaction Design