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Advanced Interaction Group

From: Creative Inspirations: Dale Herigstad & Schematic, Interactive Design Agency

Video: Advanced Interaction Group

Dale Herigstad: One important ideal factor in this process is actually user testing. If it could be accomplished in the schedule, it's of course really great to say look, if we're recommending this new idea, let's make a prototype of that. Let's get it in front of some users and test it and see if they understand the functionality that they have to understand, that they like what it does, let people talk about it and respond. But also from a usability standpoint, are we proposing some new thing that people can't figure out? Is it too difficult? So all those things, if you have a series of tests you are doing, that can help you actually alter the design and help improve design, that's ideal.

Advanced Interaction Group

Dale Herigstad: One important ideal factor in this process is actually user testing. If it could be accomplished in the schedule, it's of course really great to say look, if we're recommending this new idea, let's make a prototype of that. Let's get it in front of some users and test it and see if they understand the functionality that they have to understand, that they like what it does, let people talk about it and respond. But also from a usability standpoint, are we proposing some new thing that people can't figure out? Is it too difficult? So all those things, if you have a series of tests you are doing, that can help you actually alter the design and help improve design, that's ideal.

There are some other projects that we do, or actually a good percentage of the work that we do, is a prototype which is it may be Microsoft or Sony who comes to us and they say we have a new technology, we want to build something out here and we want this as an entity. This may not be the full production -- this is not going to production, it's not going to final customers. But it's something else that's actually going to, maybe to do some testing, it may be doing some, if it's a large company, some internal development and ideation to see whether on a business level that the company really wants to move to this new product or this new position.

So those are important things but they are less about an ongoing system and maintenance. It's really just there is an entity you are producing and helping In that case, those clients are tapping our minds and our experience to try to vision -- it's visioning things. It's saying here is a new idea we can do. It looks like this. Andrew Keegan: My name is Andrew Keegan. I am the manager of the Advanced Interaction Group here at Schematic. The Advanced Interaction Group is an especially a small team of cross- discipline staff. We are not really designers and we are not really developers. We are kind of jack of all trades.

What AIG is formed to do was to be heavy in conceptualization and prototyping, to help bridge the gap between creative and technology, so that we could better suit our clients and better suit their needs. The process for us working on a project in AIG can start off in many different places. It can start off in a meeting, it can start off from a hallway, it can start off with someone's idea. We can start off on paper or a white board as we often do here in Schematic and we will draw and we will talk about it, we will get ideas, we will listen and we will think and work as a team, which is a really, really important part of how we work in our process.

Everybody has a say from every department in any way. If you are in the meeting, if you are walking by, we can grab you and ask you a question and get your input. From there we often go into Flash, sometime Silverlight, sometimes After Effects, pretty much any program. One of the things that we try and focus on is that we are jack-of-all-trades and we should be able to work in any software package. Part of what makes AIG special is our agility. So sometimes we have a project that's been working for six months and we get called in at the last minute because the client needs something to explain to his boss or explain to somebody else on the team so they can understand what's going on, in which case we just have to jump in as quickly as possible, understand what they have been doing for the last few months, sit down with them and have short meetings of getting an idea of what the concept is and how they are achieving it and then we'll build that out as best we can in that amount of time.

Sometimes we've brought in very early at the beginning, and we work with UX and Design and come up with ideas and concepts. One of the advantages that we have from being partly creative and partly technical is that when you are sitting in a meeting and you are talking to someone from Design or UX that has a problem they are trying to solve and they might have a solution for it, but from our technical background that we might be able to give them a better solution that might work better. Those are the preferred cases that we work with when we work with something from front to back. Then we can hand it off to technology, communicate with them and show them how we coded something, or the logic behind some aspect of the UI to help them along their process.

There are some very bright people that work here that's really an advantage that I have had nowhere else I have ever worked. So it's a lot of fun and partially because of the way we do work, in that we don't have to get stuck into three months, six months, eight month long projects, that can really start to drain you and pull you down after a while. We get to just kind of hop and fly around and jump in and work on something. Even if it's something you don't like, you are going to be down with it in two weeks and you can move on to something a little more fun.

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