“We shape our tools and our tools shape us.” As more of the tools we live with every day become digital instead of physical, our opportunity – and responsibility – as designers is multiplying. We live in a world of screens, and we are the ones who decide what goes on them. We are in a unique position to have an impact – one that lasts longer than the next redesign or the latest technology. What happens when we stop thinking of ourselves not just as developers or experience designers, and take up the mantle as a new generation of product designers for a digital world?
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Some of the most important design decisions happen in code. In 2009, I gave a talk at the Build conference in Belfast with what I thought was a fairly uncontroversial premise: web designers should write code. Since then, the subject has sparked more than a few debates, including a particular heated pile-on when Elliot Jay Stocks tweeted that he was "shocked that in 2010 I’m still coming across ‘web designers’ who can’t code their own designs. No excuse." In a recent interview, Jonathan Ive said "It’s very hard to learn about materials academically, by reading about them or watching videos about them; the only way you truly understand a material is by making things with it." He’s talking about product design, but the principle is just as relevant to the Web (if not more so). "The best design explicitly acknowledges that you cannot disconnect the form from the material—the material informs the form…. Because when an object’s materials, the materials’ processes and the form are all perfectly aligned…. People recognize that object as authentic and real in a very particular way." As our industry grows and roles get more specialized, it’s possible to become a "web designer" without more than a cursory understanding of the fundamental building materials of the Web: the code. Is this just the price of progress? Are the days of the web craftsman soon to be in the past? Or is a hybrid approach to web design and development something worth preserve?
- Jenn Lukas
- Ethan Marcotte
- Ryan Sims
- Wilson Miner
In the latest London IA Podcast we host a wide-ranging conversation with Cennydd Bowles on moving from user experience design to digital product designer, what it takes to develop visual design skills, freelancing, A List Apart, writing a book, conference speaking and of course that legendary animal of European folklore.
Hosted by Matthew Solle and Andrew Travers. Produced by Will Myddelton and Matthew Solle.
Designing interfaces for digital products like the Apple iPhone or an interactive web application like Yahoo! Mail promises to be one of the hottest job design prospects for the next century. Nearly every product type we know about has gone or is going digital, from content rich websites like CNN.com to mobile task-based applications like Gowalla to products for the digital home like Netflix. But even when one has great ideas, or creates innovative design for their products, how does one get their company or clients to institute positive change through their work?
In this session, Andrei Herasimchuk will divulge lessons learned from the trenches on how to get large, global corporations to make big changes through Design. What works, what doesn’t and how to keep yourself inspired when tackling such large projects. In doing so, he aims to pass on key factors to success while inspiring designers everywhere to tackle the challenges that face them in the workplace, helping them to overcome the inevitable obstacles that will arise in their path. — Andrei Michael Herasimchuk was the lead designer behind the Adobe Creative Suite and the product lead for Adobe Lightroom. He was Chief Design Officer for Involution Studios, a digital product design company based in the United States and recently joined Yahoo! He is now leading the product design team in the redesign of one of the internet’s largest web-based applications, Yahoo! Mail, across web browsers, desktop clients, mobile smartphones and tablet computers. His writing and thoughts on design can be found at his blog, Design by Fire.