HOW Interactive Design Expert’s Corner: Christopher Butler

Chris Butler, Newfangled COOChristopher Butler is the COO of Newfangled, where he directs personnel and marketing, as well as consults on digital marketing strategy. He’s also a prolific writer and speaker—find his articles on web design and strategy here on, and his book The Strategic Web Designer.

Chris will be speaking at the HOW Interactive Design Conference in Chicago this November, as part of our conference helps all levels of interactive designers continue to evolve their skill-sets. Catch Chris’s session, Testing, on why usability testing is crucial to a website’s success.

We recently asked Chris a few questions in advance of his conference appearance.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?

I’m not sure I can remember a time when I wasn’t interested in design, especially on the interactive side! The first computer I ever used my Stepfather brought home when I was around 7 years old. He helped me learn my first programming language (BASIC) around that same time, and since he spent his time doing research on computer augmented communications, I got a lot of exposure to digital technology very early on. By the time I was in college, I’d already built my first website and had begun to focus my studies on digital film and video—another area where I knew digital was overtaking analog.

What was your first job in the design field?

I got my first interactive design job while still in college, designing the user interface of a laser substrate etching machine’s operating system.

Wow! You were quite the overachiever in college! When you’re away from “work,” do you have a pet project—a side business, project, or charity you feel passionate about?

This will be the fifth year I produce a book I’ve called “A Year of Ideas.” It’s a collection of content that I’ve curated over the past year. I design and self-publish the book and give it to a small group of friends and colleagues. I also volunteer for a local organization called Project Connect, which provides services for the homeless.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?

I’m not entirely sure. I’m kind of a mixture of things now, so I imagine I’d be a mix of other things? Some things I’ve thought I could do: teacher, librarian, have a grocery store, hospice care worker.

Well, we’re pretty sure you could do whatever you set your mind to, Chris!

Catch Christopher Butler, David Sherwin, and other web design experts at the HOW Interactive Design Conference, in 3 separate locations: Washington DC from September 3-5, Chicago from October 19-21 and San Francisco from November 17-19.