Exploring Interactive Design: Experience Over Aesthetics

As an interactive design professor, I often get questions from graphics designers on how to enter the field of interactive design. Usually they want to know what programs or tools will help them create interactive designs. The thought process sometimes is: Well, I am creative, and once I know how, I can make. Although the question should be: What am I getting into, and what will I be making?

Joel Beukelman, interaction designer at Google, has created a great video titled “Design for Experience – Not Aesthetics.” The video is a call-to-action of sorts about the truth of designing for experience and not aesthetics or visuals. He states that “the preferred aesthetic style should follow the UX design … not dictate it.”

Here’s Beukelman’s video:

As we design more and more for apps and products, we should design like scientists. Beukelman says, “We design to prove a hypothesis with data (qualitative or quantitative), and iterate as a product team around those results in order to improve the experience.” While he also mentions that visual components are essential to the process, they shouldn’t come first or necessarily be the first priority. Joel’s video is raw and from the bottom of his heart; he did it to share his knowledge with others.

So if you are an aspiring web designer or recent college graduate looking to break into the field of interactive design, heed Joel’s words and allow the style to follow UX design. Remember, we’re not just designing for aesthetics anymore, we’re designing for experiences. I also encourage you to do what Joel did and share knowledge with others — you never know when you might be the person who answers someone’s question. You connect with Joel Buekelman on Twitter @_bklmn

Have an interesting interactive design topic you’d like James to write about? Please email him .


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