Nerd Profile: Maria D’Amato

Meet Maria D'Amato. She believes you know more about UX than you think.

 

What is your role or title at GSD&M?

Senior Designer (to the stars)

What’s your association with interactive and new technologies being developed for GSD&M’s client roster?

The simplest thing I do to ensure I bring relevant interactive ideas to the table is being aware of what’s happening on the forefront of technology, design and development. By maintaining an awareness of what’s happening in the digital world I’m better able to spot opportunities for our clients: sometimes a brief will lend itself to a specific technology, and sometimes a technology will lend itself to a client.

How innovative is too innovative? When it breaches someone’s privacy or security?

If an idea clearly breaches someone’s privacy or security it’s a non-starter.

How important is it in understanding how a user views and navigates through the web?

There is nothing more important than a clear understanding of how a user interacts with the web. Great interactive design is user-centric, without a clear understanding of who that user is as well as how they will navigate the design, user-centric design is impossible.

While I firmly believe a strong understanding of user experience is crucial for a digital designer, I also believe that all of us who interact with the web and technology everyday have an innate understanding of UX, and it’s simply a matter of learning how to tap into that understanding. We all know more than we think about UX because we are all users; we must simply learn to analyze our own habits, then use those findings to make inferences about others.

How can we stay relevant or fresh when designing for the web?

Maintaining an awareness of trends is clearly important to keeping design fresh and relevant. I think that, in the same way we instinctively understand user experience, designers can stay relevant and fresh by learning to listen to their own reactions to sites they interact with everyday. For instance about a year ago I started getting tires of the overly design-y trends that were omnipresent in web design: stitching, ribbons and banners, muted colors, and texture on everything. I remember thinking that a return to clean, stark, almost Swiss design may be coming in reaction to all of this decoration. While I may not have been totally on point, there certainly has been a shift away from overly designed websites towards a more clean modern aesthetic. By simply taking note of your own reactions to design you can often infer how others are reacting, and adjust your work to accommodate.

How are new technologies bleeding over into music, food culture and the arts?

Technology has made art accessible to anyone with a phone, tablet or desktop. You no longer need a publishing or record deal to create a book or album, and anyone can take a a hi-res photograph and edit it to create a quality image. Not only does this allow for non-professionals to create, but it also forces professionals to create at an even higher standard, to be innovative and be agile.

If you ran a marathon against Google Chrome, who would win?

I would win; Google Chrome is a browser: it has no feet.

Tell us something.

drink lots of water, spend more time reading than watching television, wear sunscreen

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