I'm often asked to describe what makes Fastspot a unique interactive design agency, and I usually start with, "We are a group of designers and programmers, who generally share a healthy overlap into each spectrum. We value the understanding of, and passion for exploring, both how things work as well as how they appear to the user—as both aspects are critical to a successful user experience."

I still find it interesting that clients will hire a "design agency" to conduct research, provide strategy, execute information architecture, wireframes and design, only to turn that work over to a completely separate group who is responsible for the development.

The world of interactive advertising and marketing is an interesting one, and very unique compared to marketing structures of the past. In this new "two-way street" of interaction and concern for the user experience, an understanding of both the aesthetics and mechanics is critical to developing a successful campaign or outcome.

I often think about the animators working for Disney or Pixar, and how many hundreds of hours they spend studying a specific animal's mannerisms and anatomy in order to perfectly capture it in the animation. I would make the comparison that the animal's anatomy is much like the programming behind the web content we interact with, as it sets the tone for how things can function. For example, it is the anatomy that allows an animal to move a certain way, just as it's the code that allows a certain navigational element to drop down, or light up, upon interaction.

I'm often asked to describe what makes Fastspot a unique interactive design agency, and I usually start with:

"We are a group of designers and programmers, who generally share a healthy overlap into each spectrum. We value the understanding of, and passion for exploring, both how things work as well as how they appear to the user—as both aspects are critical to a successful user experience."

This shift requires a hybrid type of thinker and designer, one that is as interested in the mechanics as they are the aesthetics. We all have seen very talented designers make bad decisions because they are only focused on the visual appeal, with no concern for how the mechanics will impact the experience. We are not looking at flat screens or pieces of paper or even moving pixels on a desktop. We are interacting with content that needs to be delivered on a myriad of devices. Our animators must understand how an animal's anatomy provides a structure and system within a myriad of body types and user scenarios. It is now, more than ever, critical that designers have a deep knowledge of development issues and vice versa, developers should have a strong understanding of basic UX principles. If you don't, you are going to be turning out web content that feels like Mickey Mouse cartoons from the '70s.

What do you think? Can there be such a thing as a successful web designer who has no familiarity with development? Can a truly talented developer exist who has never cracked open a UX book or studied up on the principles of good design?

Share on Twitter or Facebook Published August 1st 2012