frog: The Designer As Curator
How can graphic designers make the leap to affordable and good looking web design? This deck shares the secrets of the trade.
The above slides are from a talk called “Information Architecture: Making Information More Accessible and Useful,” which I gave at the HOW Interactive Conference in San Francisco on November 2nd. The conference was a three-day event focused on helping designers with a background in graphic design make the leap to creating websites, apps, and interactive experiences.
The talk was about how designers can help people make use of information—both find and act upon it. The core of the talk was a recent trip that I took to the SFMOMA to see a career retrospective of Dieter Rams’s work. I re-told the story of this trip multiple times over the course of the talk, considering the continual overlap of information in physical and digital systems, and how conceptually they can blur together.
The balance of the talk was focused on sharing the methodologies and tools that designers can use to clarify and define a compelling user experience vision. This included an argument for designers to more tightly integrate prototyping into their design efforts, which I summarized in a maxim: “Document to understand, prototype to know.” (A smart Twitter commenter, Henrik Rydberg, added a prefix to this statement: “Sketch to discover.” Others said prototyping can do all of those things, but I’d argue that you can’t do them all at the same time!)
To wrap up the talk, I emphasized Dieter Rams’s ethos of “Less, but better,” which situates designers in a role that is as much a curator of content as a creator.
In addition to this talk, I facilitated a conference-wide progressive design challenge that helped attendees try out different techniques and tools as part of a design project, as well as delivered a wrap-up talk at the end of the event that summarized the opportunities and roadblocks that exist for today’s graphic designers transitioning into the interactive space.
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