I am interested in combining the disciplines of Software Engineering and Information Design with the hope to improve the software development process.
My hunch is that the information representation problems that plague modern software development environments (even those that are not so modern, such as Ye Olde UNIX C Guild) cannot be solved by those with strictly software backgrounds. Example: we keep throwing more graph theory at software visualization systems but sometimes I don't see the difference between a huge pile of source code and a huge cloud of nodes and edges.
On the other hand, the Information Design community dedicate themselves to creating better information artefacts of all types all the time.
I've seen some results and techniques from Information Design that I believe would have great potential in software development. Maps, charts, and diagrams are timeless tools; only some have made their way to software so far.
I'm actively seeking a PhD programme which would allow me to combine these and other disciplines to try to find new results that will have practical implications for day-to-day software development on all scales, although I'm especially interested in large systems and projects. Unfortunately it seems difficult to find such a strongly interdisciplinary environment, but I'll keep looking!
I'm interested in strong theory that is well applicable. I want to combine the best of industry and the ivory tower, so-to-speak. Other than that, I believe the world is missing a really robust information graphics package. Apologies to Microsoft, but Excel pie charts don't quite do it for me... I'm into general ID and s/w issues, Diagrammatic Reasoning, Visual Languages, InfoVis, etc. If any PPIG members could point me in the right direction, I'm always grateful for any advice.
I recently received my Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. My thesis, A Programming System for Children that is Designed for Usability, is available online.
I'd like to thank all of the PPIG members who contributed to my work, and I would be delighted to hear your comments on the result.
I have accepted a position at RAND.
My new contact information is:
201 N. Craig Street
T: +1 412 683 2300 x4619
F: +1 412 683 2800
Since John made the above announcement, John and his wife Barbara, who many of you met at PPIG 2000 in Italy, had their first child on 19 July. Best wishes go to John and his new family.