Paper to Pixels v2: Lessons from Last Night

Paper to Pixels v2: Lessons from Last Night In what is hopefully the first of many events dedicated to the new world of the iPad and other tablets, Joe Zeff, D.W. Pine, Neil Jamieson, Michael Lawton and Peter Herbert shared their lessons learned in this new frontier.

A few thoughts that stood out to me: 

Make It Happen
As D.W. Pine pointed out, don't think you're crazy making a mock-up of some rumored tech coming down the pike. It might happen, and if you're the one staring the conversation, you can lead a new path.

There Are No Experts.
We're all forging new paths with these new platforms and making things up as we go. Joe Zeff: "There are no rules. There are no paths."

Learn From The Past
Whether it's CD-ROMs circa 1994, broadband web circa 1998, web 2.0 circa 2002, or the first wave of iPad apps--it all helps influence ways to solve problems on these new platforms.

Iterate, Explore and... Design
Don't be afraid to embrace an iterative process. 50 button treatments, 20 layouts of what a table of contents could be is a good thing. 

Don't Underestimate The Architect.
UX experts come with great experience. You might not always agree with them. You may find that 127-point asterisk is cool in print, but in an app it better activate something. 
Lean on them for their insight and unique knowledge base. 

Put On Your Business Hat
It's important to look at what you have in your archives. Apps don't need to be issue based, but could be content based. Think of that newsstand special issue model.

It's Not Paperless
D.W. Pine: "We had to build another wall." Its still important to print these layouts out and review as a team with editors.

Any other nuggets that stood out to you? Questions that did not get answered? Lets keep the conversation going.

  • Josh Klenert

    And did someone mention "change is the only constant"?

    The BlackBerry Tablet Is Real

  • Josh Klenert

    I found it pretty ironic last month that the wireframes and mocks for my iPad app is thicker than 4 stacked iPads.

  • Joe Zeff

    It is funny that iPad designers tend to print out pages that include the device — we do it here, too. For parity, though, maybe we should print out magazine spreads complete with hands holding the sides of the pages :-)

  • Jeremy LaCroix

    Last night sounds like it was a great exchange of ideas!

    Wish I could have attended.

    I think the point about embracing an iterative process cannot be stressed enough.

    Working in digital environments has taught me to approach my work much differently than my days in print. In print we conceive an idea, get stoked, mock it up and sell it to the editors. It's fast paced and the adrenaline rush is huge.

    The same thing happens in digital to some extent except you have to play with bigger teams and the time line is often much longer and teams can loose focus easier. Making anything happen digitally takes a larger group of people to execute, there are many stakeholders and the designer often takes on larger role of diplomat to ensure that what gets built is on point.

    You don't want to be the guy who acts like a know it all bully to push something through only to find out in reports a month after launch that engagement is off and you missed the boat on something you could have caught if only you opened yourself up for feedback.

    Working in digital as a creative lead takes the thickest of skins in order to be successful.

    Usability and experience become a dominant player in the digital world, as mentioned above for many of these platforms there are no established paths. As designers it's important that we stay curious, explore multitude of possibilities and don't get too attached to a given design until we've collected and reacted to quality feedback. It's often the third or fourth iteration when really great solutions present themselves.

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