For me, experience is key. Anything that is memorable and personally meaningful to people is a success. Otherwise, it's just fancy messaging.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
Tina Glengary, Creative Strategist, Big Spaceship. I came to Big Spaceship with very little direct digital experience and a whole lot of knowledge about "experience design" in physical spaces. I went to grad school for Library & Information Science. I had worked as an experience developer at a museum, then as a content developer at a museum design firm.
I realized that "experience" could be translated a million different ways and I wanted to try something faster and more risky than exhibit design. So I came to Big Spaceship. Things move much quicker here.
What do you do for inspiration?
From the amazing people around me: friends, family, co-workers, etc.
I read a ton (books, magazines, stuff from my RSS feeds, the back of cereal boxes). I procraftinate (do crafts to avoid doing real work) with all sorts of textiles -- weaving, knitting, etc.
Also, I train service dogs for people with disabilities. Sometimes I need a reason to get out of the house, the dogs help me with that.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
I could cheat and say Bloglines. But I won't...
Flickr: I check Flickr before I look at anything else online
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I was the experience developer on an exhibit that looked at Disneyland's impact on American culture.
I had access to Disney Imagineering's vast archive of original artwork and source material. Say what you want about Disney...but Walt had "experience design" figured out before anyone else.
Great source material makes my job that much easier.
What software could you not live without?
Aside from the browser? I love Write Room because I have a hard time writing without distractions.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
A campaign for an upcoming movie. A site for my favorite fashion label's new product launch. Evolving an existing digital campaign into something that provides entertainment AND utility for people.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
Since you didn't specify work online, I really like the work of The Apartment, Fuseproject and Local Projects (the folks behind Story Corps). Online, Odopod does really tight work. I have tons of love for our own projects.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
We're usually not privy to actual metrics but our clients are very, very happy. So that must mean something good in terms of traffic.
Who is your target audience?
Depends on the project. It's great when we get to be a bit more specific about who the project is geared to. I like imagining real people playing around with the stuff we create.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Michael Lebowitz just pulled a bunch of us into his office to talk about the idea of experience over messaging. For me, experience is key. Anything that is memorable and personally meaningful to people is a success. Otherwise, it's just fancy messaging.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
I wrote, one tag at a time, an HTML site in grad school back in 1998. It is not online. I still find that experience useful because I know how much work goes into the amazing work done by my design and development colleagues. I have the utmost respect for how complex their work is.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
I edited a book about how to evaluate visitor experiences in museums based on a conference held at the museum I worked at.
We've got a book idea in the works here at Big Spaceship but we've got a long way to go still. Thank god I'm teamed up with an awesome copywriter.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
I don't work in Flash. I come up with concepts that are often executed in Flash. I have had a few developers mad at me for things that I've asked them to do, functionality-wise. But they always manage to not only do it, but exceed my expectations. Flash is pretty darn cool.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Not necessarily. It is the current technology that makes content accessible in cool and interesting ways. The constant in this equation is content, not technology. Hopefully, whatever comes next will be even better.
Q. What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
I wish now that I would have gone to design school, but it didn't seem like an option when I was trying to figure out "what I want to be when I grow up." Not that my undergrad degree in French Culture comes in handy very often...
School is what you make of it. It's a great place to incubate ideas and to be inspired. Programs that have lots of real world experience working collaboratively seem more useful than those with only theory classes and studio time.
It's not easy to get into the field without some sort of relevant educational experience, I'm not sold on the idea that it has to be design school.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
I wasn't around for it. Great work begets more work. Word of mouth is the best form of promotion.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
I don't have ANY Flash/design skills or techniques! But I do understand how to craft strategies that take advantage of the tools to tell compelling stories and make great experiences.
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
I had to take my dog to the emergency vet (she's doing better now).
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
I'd either wear a Chanel or Comme des Garcons coat if it weren't so darn hot in our office.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Surround yourself with people smarter than yourself. And then, learn everything you can. Oh...and try to listen more than you talk.