IxDA @ Zillow - Transitioning Between Design Mediums and Teams

Earlier this week I continued my theme of absorbing information from the Seattle design scene. On Tuesday I headed over to Zillow's HQ in Downtown Seattle (for those of you in the UK, Zillow is a huge online real-estate business, think Right Move or Zoopla), where IxDA were holding the talk Transitioning Between Design Mediums and Teams. The evening began with appetisers, drinks, networking, and a fantastic view over Puget Sound from the 30th floor HQ (seriously... how does anyone get anything done with a view like that!)

Transitioning between different mediums within design is an area I'm particularly interested in at the moment. Having moved form the UK to Seattle, the design industry and it's focus feels very different to that of the London area. I'm especially interested in the VR / AR / Mixed reality spaces at the moment, so have been digesting information from the huge digital presence in Seattle.

The talk was hosted by Melissa Mandelbaum of Dropbox who is a trained architect who has transitioned between industries (to UX), companies (from small start up to huge start up) and locations (from NY to CA). One of the parts of her talk that really caught my attention was an illustration she'd made when she was working in her first UX role, which was drawing parallels between architecture and User Experience, comparing an illustration of a floor plan to an illustration of an interface, explaining that the stairs to get between the floors are like the buttons to get between the screens. 

It got me thinking about my own parallels between physical product design, and designing within a virtual space. I'm exploring a personal project at the moment that looks at the interaction between these two spaces, especially within a consumer facing setting (watch this space!). Although the talk was about transitioning, it got me thinking about parallels, how you interact with physical objects, and how you design digital objects so that the interaction is as obvious as it would be in the physical world.

I'm still amazed at the number of interesting talks in and around Seattle, next up BlinkThink: VR, Chatbots, and the UX of Emerging Tech