It just occurred to me that I have worked for 12+ years now. (Holy frak!) I remember when interactive used to be called "rich media", when Flash used "tellTarget" calls and when tables or framesets were not frowned upon. A lot has happened since and I have been riding this ever-changing wave of an industry. I have survived, I have succeeded and after some restrospection, I realized there was one theme through it all: my passion to create, ability to identify business challenges and utilize the newest tech to design solutions. Now, I am left with a few questions for myself: How did I do? What's next? And what matters going forward?
Since 2001, I have meandered through a career path with much twists and turns, each time changing my focus/passion and fine-tuning my skill sets and knowledge in order to keep myself in the forefront of the tech field. As part of ESPN's video team, we were the first to utilize adaptive streaming video for the Sports world. At WWE, we were the first to pull a 1-rated TV show off from broadcasting onto an interactive social mashup site thanks to the latest tech and plugins for integrating 3rd party API's. And at Razorfish, we have fully embraced the device agnostic world. I have designed and managed projects that are now directly affecting how real-life people interact and experience applications and websites that they rely on everyday -- anywhere.
Sitting at the UX level, my knowledge and foresight is crucial in establishing the creative vision for any business design solution. Knowing the technology has many advantages. It inspires interaction models and functional capabilities - often times leading to innovative products that helps our brands engage with their customers at a meaningful level. More importantly, it enables smoother communication between a cross-discipline team, effectively helping us manage scope and problem solve collaboratively. The technical limitations or rather, capabilities, defines the tools that are available for us to creatively use for tackling real world problems; how an online shopper purchases a product, how quickly a map shows up for a lost tourist, how smooth playback is for a real-time collaborative app, how a brand can update their tech without alienating older generations and how an investor stuck in the subway can read the latest analysis on an equity -- this all contributes to the overall experience for the end-user and ultimately affects the bottom-line for our clients.
More recently, one subject of growing interest and demand is accessibility. As digital evolves and marches forward, we have seen companies either reduce features in order to comply with the needs/problems of people with handicaps or more often than not, ignore the least common denominator in favor of catering to the masses. For example, Canada has recently passed a law that enforces a certain level of accessibility compliance for online brands that provide staple goods or services. By contrast, these standards are neglected entirely by most companies in favor of satisfying the lead user and staying ahead of the competition.
Instead of standing on either side of the spectrum, I believe we should be "embracing" accessibility by looking for ways that we can technically provide the same level of experience irrespective of a person's handicap. Call it a TRULY responsive digital world if you will. Buildings limited to physical space can only do so much for accessibility. However, in the digital world, we should not be limited by anything. Anyone and everyone should have the same options, abilities and benefits wherever they are!
Tech has always been a constant wave of change and evolution. Everyday, we are discovering new and better ways to do things. From augmented reality to touchable holograms, we live in a world that is constantly rewriting the rules for what is possible. At the intersection of creative and technology, beauty is not defined by permanence, but rather adaption. Traditionally, it is said during the days of old when advertising and creative agencies were defined by their banners, posters and tv commercials, that you (designers) are only as good as your last campaign. It couldn't be more true for today's interactive designers.