I’m a senior interactive designer and have been crafting meaningful experiences for about 30 years now. I actually started sketching visual stories at the age of 2, and I haven’t looked back. In fact, I have boxes and boxes filled with these visual stories!
My parents often remind me that my best attempt at visual storytelling was when I was 2 years old, and my mom got remarried. I sketched my new dad holding a Turkish flag, my mom holding an American flag, with both of them holding hands and me in the foreground smiling with joy—all in crayon and pencil. To this day, I spend my days here at Cadient with my sleeves rolled up, drafting ideas on paper before fusing the pixels together to create digital experiences.
So how do I begin crafting a great user experience?
It all starts with a pencil coming out of my pocket protector. From there, we see all of our voices come to life on paper before getting into the nitty-gritty of the visual space for which we are creating. The magic in all of this is not so much sketching alone but the process of crafting that vision together. It is the collaboration that is the main experience that we should be creating. In return, it shows in our work.
Don’t get me wrong. One of the biggest benefits of being a wild designer is sharing your vision that no one saw before, but there’s a bigger piece to this. Let’s call this collaboration “All the cooks in the kitchen,” which is a blessing and a pain point. The thing is, all those cooks are ingredients to the experience that you craft together. Don’t forget that. We are all cooks in this agency kitchen. Understand the steak in the project and how we will add spice with our perspectives, expertise, and attitudes to build off one another. Inevitably, there will be conflict, and this is a good thing. Everyone is expressing their roles. Allow this challenge, and be smarter about it.
This agency, like many others, has many great craftspeople who together share their work with the digital world. Sharing knowledge together is what makes us stronger. Here are five ways for transforming your role from mere pixel pusher to inspired craftsperson:
5 Secrets for Crafting Digital Interactive Experiences
1. Harness your creative spirit — Your creativity is predicated on your spirit to bring effectiveness to the challenge, whether it is a remedial task or exploring new ideas. Knowing your goals and spirit should serve that task, no matter what.
2. Work within restraints — These will always exist. Think of them as guidepost keeping you in line. Feel free color outside the lines, that’s what we do best. And then, bring it back. That’s the struggle which makes creativity great! Shakespeare didn’t give up because he was writing in imabic pentameter. Nor did Banksy, a graffiti artist, get angry because he had only walls and buildings to spray paint. Know your restraints and make the best of it.
3. Design the inversion — Want to create a meaningful experience? Well, ask yourself and the team what an “unmeaningful” experience looks like and hold that as a mark to avoid. These will always arise. When they do, hold them with just as much importance as any other project so—as a team—you pull through and move on to the next.
4. Adapt and thrive — Time is always moving ahead, and the digital world moves even faster ahead. We are only just getting started with the era of digital communications! A lot of changes are coming, and you must adapt in order to stay authentically on top. Pay close attention to trends. Do your research. You never know when you may find a more meaningful way to craft an experience.
5. Discipline your imagination — Please, please, please be a disciplinarian with your imagination. The world is not a crazy enough place to let imaginations run wild without putting in the discipline of hard work.
There is really no conclusion to the creative process—we must always continue to grow and stay on top in a fast-paced digital environment. So, don’t fill your heart with conclusions; it leaves no room for expansion. Instead, focus on these 5 keys to interactive crafting:
1). Harness your creative spirit
2). Work within restraints
3). Design the inversion
4). Adapt and thrive
5). Discipline your imagination
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- 5 Secrets for Crafting Digital Interactive Experiences - March 29, 2016