Over at OK/Cancel in the last couple of weeks, KC and Tom have been discussing why there are so many HCI gurus with so many diverse views. Possible explanations include the need for competitive advantage between different consultancies, the field of HCI really being quite complicated and there being different methodologies at work. Tom thinks they’re important just because they give us a common language to argue amongst ourselves with.

All good points, but I think that their main use is as a figurehead. Now, admittedly, this isn’t always useful. If you have a figurehead and you want to refer to them for credibility, then the fact that half of your co-workers may never have heard of them doesn’t really help matters. Similarly, if they all disagree with each other very vocally, then it undermines your protestations that something just isn’t the “right thing to do”. But if you do have a situation where the people you are trying to convince know the names and understand the opinions, then they can be a powerful tool. They also give the industry some visibility and credibility. If it weren’t a real industry, we’d have alpha-HCI-geeks, but not gurus. So I think they should stay ;-P

Never mind my opinion though, go fight it out with the rest of the guys in the new forums!