everything you know about web design is wrong

When you should get design involved? At the beginning along with everything else. You can’t compartmentalize anymore (marketing, business, design, tech; design: interaction, information, visual, info architecture). You can teach in compartments, but you can’t work in compartments. Education has to start out compartmentalized but with a goal to aggregate (inter-disciplinary capstone projects planned from the very first freshman class). You get people to swing back and forth from being the expert to being the smart guy in the room.

dan willis, sapient
Friday, March 13
ux crank
the pdf
Books Mentioned
the experience economy. pine, gilmore.

  • cross-discipline teams. exploit and protect the expertise.
  • design for specific users and their specific needs.
  • embrace your ignorance.
  • the business model should begin and end with the user.
  • it’s not meant to be easy, so fail quickly and learn.

Design solves problems. Design is what the product does. The visual design is just a means to an end. Just another dead tree: good web is not just print in disguise. “Take a print mag and just do the same thing but with video in it != good web.” Print assumes a linear order and relies on a headline format. taking a brochure and adding some web native tools is not really web design. We haven’t gone past print design; the web hasn’t become a medium in its own right and it should be. Headlines/stories are commodities. Good for the homepage (where there is a judgement of priority) but not great inside the site. once you have the content, chunk it and dice it into nuggets and use metadata to connect (visual thesarus) to other nuggets. In this way, the judgement is the user’s, not the editors. it’s alpha and omega.

  1. first, technologists are doing the content.
  2. then, slowly, artists get involved to use the technologist tools to build the content. next step.
  3. then, even more slowly, you place the content in the hands of content experts/consumers. next step.

Web design needs a grammar. “the grammar of transcendent web design”

  • random voyeurism. we like to watch other people at their most honest and raw. so any time content is being created and presented publicly, we don’t just interact with the content, we start to learn about the people who are uploading the content. (e.g., flickrvision)
  • self-aware (but uncontrollable) content. data knows data about itself (metadata; xml is self-describing). and the meta data is often created by the reader/viewer/consumer, not the author. the power is shifting from the content creator to the content consumer (from authority to popularity). find content that can be used to support and prove your product from other sources/communities on the web that may not ever interact with your product (pillow research for the benjamen hotel).
  • user-created context. online publishers try to control the context of content. you can’t online because each single user makes different choices and controls the context; and if they are forced, they tend to rebel. fighting the user for control will continue to fail. best step: assume you don’t have control of the data you are putting out there. how can you take advantage of that?
  • ambient awareness. microblogging. small bits of data (140 characters or less) by themselves are usually useless; but collectively (e.g., body language cues, pointilism) we start learning a lot about what is going on.
  • experiential content. something more than chunks of type is the content. the total experience is the content you are creating. start there. EXPERIENCE IS THE CONTENT. the designer shares space with the user because the user is also a designer since the user is the one having the experience.

These are notes from a session at sxsw interactive. My own take on topics are mixed in with what the presenters were actually saying, so do not assume all of this content is my own.