In the field of UX, perhaps more so than in most fields of practice, there is a woefully unsystematic relationship between the work of academic researchers and the work of “real world” practitioners. Given that there is no universally-required degree, or certification, or curriculum, or “continuing ed” credit one needs to ply our trade, UX professionals can and sometimes do live long, full, at least moderately successful careers with little or no attention paid to the output from the academy. What a shame. We four panelists believe strongly that as the dialogue between UX/usability research and UX/usability practice improves it will increase the rate of improvement of both camps – if we do our work on this bridge from our particular shore with an eye to the work being done on the other shore, we maximize the chance of building a strong, functional, long-lasting bridge.
Each of the four panelists has full-time work experience as a practitioner and as an academic. We will begin this session with an acknowledgement of and a characterization of the differing reward structures in industry and academia. We’ll each offer some examples of how we have seen the connection strengthened, either intentionally or by a stroke of luck. And we will offer a few examples of how we have seen the connection implemented well and poorly. We will end with four specific ideas to improve, we hope, the connection in your world, be you an academic or a practitioner. We will leave time for discussion, welcoming other ideas from the audience.