A common argument made in the videogame industry is that good gameplay should always come before good graphics. I’m starting to wonder if this shouldn’t be the same case for interactive design.
As interactive designer, I’ll spend hours in Photoshop designing my layouts. Setting up proper grids and spacing, finding the perfect typography, tweaking layer effects…It’s easy to get lost in the time-warp of pixel pushing. And while this may be appropriate for jobs like a basic marketing site, when it comes to designing complex web software, this process feels a bit backwards. If I’m supposed to be designing an interactive experience, then why is so much of my time being dedicated to the purely visual and stationary aspects of the design?
Going beyond, ‘How should the menu work?’
Now when I talk about interaction design, I should make it clear that I’m not just talking about what type of expanding menu to use, or what the rollover state Object A should have. With the technology and tools available to us now, we should be talking about transitions between pages, draggable object states, text input focus effects, or feedback on triggered events–just to name a few. And I don’t think we should just throw this job over to our Information Architects, since many of these decisions are tied to the visual presentation of the experience. Interactive designers should be spending just as much time figuring out how this interactive experience will ‘feel’ as they spend scouring type libraries for that perfect font, or adjusting 1px bevels on a button. Actually, we should probably be spending more time on it. Continue…