Iain Lowe – Interaction and Digital Product Design
My portfolio, such as it is.
I was submitting a speaking topic for Interaction 17 and one of the required fields in the form was a link to my portfolio or personal site. It’s interesting, because they’re obviously trying to determine the extent to which presenters walk the talk, or perhaps live the life of design. Since I haven’t ever really had a portfolio site, and since my personal site has most recently been used to give voice to my kids in their home schooling (and even that was a couple of years back) I had to create this page so I’d have a URL to put into the form. This is a case of self-fulfilling application forms, I guess.
Here’s my LinkedIn profile.
For many (many!) years, I have considered myself a designer. This is puzzling in some ways because I have a) no formal training in design and b) not a great sense or skill at graphic/communications design. My background is in English literature and in writing. Like the creative director who becomes a creative director by writing copy and being an idea person, I became an interaction/UX designer by being a storyteller and imagining the possibility of technology. Every interaction is part of a story.
Any pictures that I could show for a portfolio are of rather poor attempts to tell stories graphically. While pictures tell a thousand words, if you can’t draw, you can’t really tell the stories very easily.
Product and Experience Design through Scenarios
While I have plenty of run-of-the mill Axure RP prototypes that I’ve used to describe interactions for testing, validation, and implementation, I always start by implicitly or explicitly defining context scenarios, based on the sage advice given by Kim Goodwin in Designing for the Digital Age.
Here’s an example of a document where I try to capture all of the nuances to what would normally be a straightforward process in most applications, but for the Bibliocommons library catalog, is fraught with peril:
Product and Experience Design through Video Storytelling
That said, in recent years, I have begun to try to use video and sound to tell stories. My video editing skills are not top-notch, but I love the potential for narrative that comes from crafting a video.
This is my first attempt at summarizing aspirational product vision in video form. It uses stills and Axure prototypes to try to create a narrative arc. Definitely primitive in its style, but gets the point across. All of the UI elements are done in Axure RP, including the drag and drop interactions.
Next, I tried video to communicate some grand ambitions for a Knight Foundation grant. My daughter Hannah did the voice work.