Josh Clark is a UX design leader who helps organizations build products for what's next. He is founder of Big Medium, a New York design studio specializing in future-friendly interfaces for artificial intelligence, connected devices, and responsive websites. His clients include Samsung, United Airlines, ExxonMobil, About.com, O’Reilly Media, and many others. Josh has written several books, including Designing for Touch and Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps. He speaks around the world about what’s next for digital interfaces.
Before the internet swallowed him up, Josh was a producer of national PBS programs at Boston’s WGBH. He shared his three words of Russian with Mikhail Gorbachev, strolled the ranch with Nancy Reagan, hobnobbed with Rockefellers, and wrote trivia questions for a primetime game show. In 1996, he created the popular “Couch-to-5K” (C25K) running schedule, which has helped millions of skeptical would-be exercisers take up jogging. (His motto is the same for fitness as it is for software user experience: no pain, no pain.)
Only One Deliverable Matters
We create so much stuff before we actually make a digital product. We do research, we sketch screens, we map flows, we do animation studies, we create high-fidelity prototypes. The original spirit of these artifacts—wireframes, journey maps, design mockups, and the rest—was for exploration, to share ideas efficiently. They began as lightweight devices for conversation and experimentation.
Somewhere along the way, these documents all got enshrined as critical deliverables and became projects unto themselves—yet they all get thrown away when we ship the product. Our industry builds generations of carefully crafted yet disposable facsimiles of the product—before even writing a line of code.
It’s a waste of time, effort, and resources, taking much-needed time from the work that matters: building the actual product. Developers are often left with bare scraps of time after designers burn weeks on wireframes and comps that will ultimately get thrown away.
There’s a better way to work: treat design artifacts and developer prototypes as rough sketches, not "deliverables," and shift more effort into working software. This provocative talk will challenge the assumptions we bring to our work as designers and developers and present a better way forward—for faster results, higher quality, and stronger teamwork.