Your friends at Viget present Inspire, a Design & Interaction Blog

Thinking Outside of the Box: Using Lateral Thinking in Design

My favorite thing about design is also my least favorite thing – in design, there are no right answers. On one hand, this is great. With every new project, the sky's the limit. On the other hand, this is totally daunting – how do we know what we’re creating isn’t complete crap?

Furthermore, working in an agency often means we’re strapped for time and budget. The added pressure of getting everything done doesn’t always cultivate creativity.

Balancing pie-in-the-sky creative possibilities with strict timelines and budgets is not a task for the faint of heart. Under pressure, it’s easy to rely on top-down, traditional problem-solving paths that allow us to be efficient, but don’t always result in our best work.

Working within these two constraints isn’t easy, but it’s possible to think creatively and meet deadlines if you’ve got the right tools. Outside of traditional UX practices like user testing, research, and collaboration, I like to employ a little tool called lateral thinking.

Prototyping Mobile Animations with Pixate

As a project manager here at Viget, one of my responsibilities is making sure my team is actually available to work on a project. We have a great internal process for planning resources, but it can be challenging to reserve team time for internal projects that we launch via Pointless Corp. when we've got so much awesome client work going on. During these busy times, we sometimes have to get creative and figure out ways to make progress even if the ideal team member isn't available. This happened recently on a mobile web app we're building internally; our front-end development team was all booked, but we wanted to start building out some fun animations that are integral to the app.

It was perfect timing that Justin Belcher came to the Viget office to demo Pixate, a web-based mobile animation prototyping tool, which allows you to preview animations in a native mobile app. The tool, currently in beta stage, is intended for designers, but the interface was intuitive enough for me to create a quick prototype that would help us nail down exactly what we were going for.