It sounds pretty simple. Alas, if only that were the case.

  • Every design should have a unique strategy aimed at the people who will be using it.
  • With true responsive design, there is no such thing as screen size.
  • Each product should aim to be engaging, dynamic, professional, AND efficient.
  • A high degree of measurability should be built in to allow for continual learning and improvement.
  • Adaptability for future evolution is crucial to long-term success.
  • And finally . . . don’t overcomplicate this process. Start simple and iterate into more complexity based on need.


I can design, develop, or design/develop. I always design with developers in mind, and I always do my best to stay true to another designer’s intent when I develop. But most importantly, I always make the effort to closely collaborate with the designers and the developers on the team on everything from functionality specs to the finished product. I have also spent a lot of my career doing content strategy (e.g. SEO, information architecture, and curation) as well as content creation (e.g. copywriting and editing).

I primarily use WordPress for developing client websites. It’s free, it’s open source, and in the right hands, it can make it very easy for clients to perform simple maintenance for their websites themselves, as is often the need. But as Gertrude Stein once said (I think), “A CMS is a CMS is a CMS.” I have a solid foundation in HTML and CSS, and although I’m not a full-stack developer, I’m never afraid to wade into some PHP, SQL, Javascript or whatever else comes along and learn some new code. I am most definitely not a software programmer or app developer, but I excel at understanding and meeting the technical needs of most any project.

Of course, I’m exceedingly familiar with Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc.), and I can also easily find my way around prototyping software (such as Axure RP) whenever it makes sense to use that approach. I’ve also found sketching on paper with various pens and pencils to be quite handy. (My sketches will most assuredly never show up in a museum, but I’m not sure who would ever visit such a place.)

Regardless of any past, present, or future skills I may possess, the foundational strength of any digital product I’ve ever worked on is not in HOW it was built, but in WHY. On any given project, a thousand different designer/developers would generate a thousand unique solutions. But as Thomas Pynchon wrote, “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

So . . . are you asking the right questions?

(Learn more about figuring out your WHY with User Experience & Digital Strategy.)