Skills you need:
You need to be able to produce documents your team will be able to read, reproduce, and manipulate. Each studio may have a different set of applications they use and they will certainly have their own particular process, but honestly, there is a core set of skills you need to be a great interaction designer.
You need to be able to
- Learn new domains (applications, virtual spaces, ways of thinking) quickly
- Solve problems both analytically and creatively
- Be able to visualize and simplify complex systems
- Be able to express ideas in cogent and articulate way both verbally and in written form
- Empathize with users, their needs, and their aspirations
- Understand the strengths and limitations of both humans and technology
- Know the trends, possibilities, and pitfalls of current and burgeoning interaction design practice
- Share a passion for making the world a better place through ethical, purposeful, pragmatic, and elegant design solutions
- Be able to perform in-depth usability research and then synthesize it into your design work
- Be a true team player, not a diva, not a doormat
- Render design sketches in pencil in a way that is easily understood by teammates and clients
- Render documents that illustrate your thinking about systems: sitemaps, wireframes, user flows, etc.
- Render formal design compositions with a common and current design program
- Manipulate and create digital images, both raster and vector
- Work with typography and produce sets of styles that can be used to present content well on screen
Apps you need:
I have tried to use only free applications for some things.
For documentation, charts, mockups, I chose Google Drive and its suite of possible apps.
- We will use Google Drive Drawings for the card sorts, sitemaps, and wireframes as it is pretty simple.
- We will use Moqups (an app you will need to add to your Google Drive account) in order to create our little clickable mockups later on.
- Of course, you can use Google Presentations for any slide shows I ask you to create
For rendering your design documents, you need to use any of the following:
- Photoshop (currently the industry standard, but its hold is crumbling)
- InDesign (I’ll talk to you about setting up files)
- Illustrator (Not ideal in some ways, but great for vectors)
- Sketch (cheap Photoshop competitor designed for interaction designers particularly)
- GIMP (open source Photoshop competitor, very comprehensive)