HOW Interactive Speaker Andy Fitzgerald on Digital Design

Anyone who knows the HOW brand knows it’s synonymous with good design. We live at the junction of career and designwhich is why our conferences are powerful sources of growth and inspiration to designers across all disciplines.

We developed the HOW Interactive Design Conference in response to our #1 audience request: “Bring more interactive expertise and inspiration.” So we’ve answered with a three city series that combines interactive design education with networking and inspiration—all with the clear, friendly, design-centered approach you can count on from HOW.

Andy Fitzgerald on Digital Design + Inspiration

speakers; digital designIn preparation for the initial HOW Interactive Design ConferenceSeptember 3-5 event in Washington D.C., we caught up with Andy Fitzgerald to find out how he came to understand design and his future in this exciting industry …

So, Andy, something everyone wants to know ishow did you get your start as a designer? My first job in the design field was as Information Architect at the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington. I was hired as a “web editor” and talked my way into the job I really wanted. It worked out well.

Impressive. When did you realize that interactive design was the future of design? The real impact of digital design hit for me when I realized that digital design is as much (if not more) about relationships between people as it is about interactions with hardware and static collections of information. “Social media” plays a role in these relationships, but the reach and potential for social engineering and community building in the digital space far exceeds the social networks familiar to us now. Digital design represents not just an opportunity to create new tools and toys, but a chance to shape the way we create opportunities and value as a society at large.interactive design, digital design

Okay, when you’re deep in a design project, what’s a go-to tool? Whiteboard. It’s fast, cheap, and levels the playing field–no keyboard to take over or commands to learn. Anyone can step up and represent his or her ideas.

When it comes to your inspiration, who are the other creative peopleinside the design world (or beyond)–who are really impressing you right now? I don’t drool over creative chops as much as I do over-inspired thinkers. I think the work that Bret Victor is doing around interaction design is incredible. I’m also deeply impressed with the way Scott Jenson is picking apart our assumptions about the connected world. Andrew Hinton’s thinking and work around embodiment and context also blows my mind. Dan Klyn’s approach to sussing out effective IA is equally inspiring on at least a dozen levels.

Speaking of inspiration, what inspired your topic for the HOW Interactive Design ConferenceThe inspiration for a deeper look at information design for the mobile and cross-channel space comes from having worked on a range of mobile experiences over the last several years.

“What I’ve found is that, despite the best efforts of mobile- and content-first forward thinkers, breaking away from our reliance on the page metaphor is incredibly difficult …”

My approach has been to think about information design not at the device level, but at the cognitive and linguistic levels, thinking first how we make sense of anything, and then examining how these innate sense-making habits can be mapped naturally to digital and connected information spaces.

Join us to learn better methods of designing for the web, how to build a stronger design career—and the confidence to know you can achieve your creative vision on any screen. 

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