Interactive Advisor Karen McGrane: “The Accidental Designer”

As a designer, you’re always faced with the complexities that exist with design as an ever-evolving practice. And we understand those challenges.

The HOW Interactive Design Conference (HIDC) series exists at the intersection of design theory and practice. The multi-city line-up of events meet you right where you are, as you wrangle new, emerging technologies to fulfill your design goals. It’s your opportunity to develop new paths to engagement through your work, via cutting-edge education from design experts.

To stay at the forefront of design and technology, we’ve assembled a talented team of designers to serve as the HOW Interactive Advisory Board. These four interactive experts are dedicated to bringing you the most relevant, current content and tools that you can take back to the office and execute immediately. If you’re looking for actionable advice from industry experts, there’s no better place to find it than HIDC.

The Web Design Conference For Designers, By Designers

Speaking of seasoned pros, HIDC Advisory Board member Karen McGrane has been leveraging her content strategy chops and user experience strategies to “make the web better” for more than 15 years. With a rockin’ resume that includes the first information architect hired at Rockfish, Karen currently splits her time between her role as Managing Partner at Bond Art + Science (which she founded in 2006), teaching at SVA’s Interaction Design Graduate Program and, of course, advising the HOW folks on how to create the best interactive event for designers.

Karen McGrane; HIDC

Considering Karen’s success in the field of design, it was especially interesting to hear that her path traveled wasn’t necessarily linear—or, by design, if you will …

It’s the must-ask question: Did you always see yourself as a designer? 
I’m sort of an accidental designer. My training is in technical communication and human computer interaction. I’m a word person.

Grad school introduced me to a whole other world of design, and how the techniques of visual communication enhance and support the written word. I happened to stumble into UX design just as the web was getting started and focused on information architecture and interaction design for many years.

In recent years I’ve returned back to my content roots, focusing more on content strategy and content management. I got to a point where I felt I’d led enough large-scale redesign projects, and I realized that the places where the projects broke down had little to do with the design process—the problems were rooted in organizational culture and process around how content was created and managed. I’ve shifted the focus of my work toward solving those problems.

How do you see this year’s three HIDC events as better than years past?
I’m excited about the diverse group of speakers who will be participating in the three events. I was really impressed by the level of care and attention that went into curating the program, and I hope attendees will find an interesting mix of topics covered.

What makes this particular conference ideal for designers and forward-thinking?

This conference has a real focus on the design community, and is particularly appropriate for designers who want to get a good overview of the interactive landscape. I don’t know any other event that will give such a good overview of what designers need to know in 2014.

I’m a very frequent speaker at conferences—I do 20-30 events a year. I get to see quite a lot of speakers, and I recommended the ones I thought would be the best fit for this conference series. I’m excited to see these speakers on stage at HIDC …

And we’re excited, too, Karen!

Don’t miss the best event of the year for working designers. Make your plans to join us today!

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