“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

Over the wall 2-stage design: What?

So last night Dan Saffer of Adaptive Path gave a solid talk for the NYC IxDA monthly event and even demonstrated through exercise about the need for us to change the ways we communicate our designs. At the end of the talk someone asked about how the methods he was describing, namely using animations may be stepping on the toes of their visual designer counterparts.

Personally, I was stunned to hear such a comment. But first let me fess up. I’m an innie working on software and not web sites. i work on hosted applications (at the moment). It has been a long time since I’ve been in any environment where there were different resources for visual design and interaction design or IA. (For me it is IxD). I haven’t worked in an agency/consultancy environment for a long time where graphic design took precedence over interaction design or IA.

But that being said, after 7+ years of solid UX understanding why was such a comment not only made, but also followed up on by so many nodding heads. Am I that out of it?

For me, it has been about collaboration. When I have had separate roles for visual and Ix design available to me, it was never about handing over the wall. It was always about 2 (or more people) working in unison towards a common goal of making a holistic design work. We work together and each takes over driving the craft as their roles allow for that technical expertise. Each though shares a vision or tries to create a shared vision.

Warning, baseball metaphor
It’s like a Short Stop and a 2nd baseman. Both have equal responsibility for covering the bag of 2nd base depending on the context of the moment. It is also true that they both cover the middle of the infield. Yes, sometimes, they bump heads, but a good SS and 2B work in unison and if they ever point fingers at each other it is usually to say, “Good job”.

Ok, my soliloquy is over … Please explain to me why besides antiquated politics, that some not only work in environments where there is a pass of of duty, but they seemingly accept it as something that should be that way.

Please comment about your experience below, by explaining what type of environment you work in and the relationship between IAs/IxDs and visual designers.

As a secondary note, this “hand-off” mentality is also often used between designers and developers and I find that one even more entrenched and annoying, but more understandable considering the stark differentiation between roles.

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