Adam Polansky is an experienced UX Director and Information Architect in both Web and Mobile. He is a contributing author to “Usability Success Stories – How Organizations Improve By Making Easier-To-Use Software and Web Sites” – Gower Publishing, 2006 Adam has served as Speaker Mentor for the last many IA Summits where he helps presenters get their message across.
What’s on your IA/UX/Content Strategy “nightstand” reading pile?
There’s always a pile. I wish I could keep up with all the stuff in it.
Right now, just to name a few:
- Dan Brown’s Practical Design Discovery
- UX Research by Brad Nunnally & David Farkas
- Blind Spot by Shedroff, Diller and Sauber
What/ who is your creative muse?
I don’t have just one. I get inspired by many things; music, the weather, my family, colleagues, books and movies. The people I work with actively challenge me with new perspectives and to look at things differently.
How did you find IA/UX/Content Strategy? What drew you to it?
I feel like it formed around me and everyone who was naturally drawn to those spaces between concepts and finished work. I call them liaisons. I’ve always been the one to take ideas and distill them, help focus them, come-up with ideas for envisioning them, and communicating them to the people that can carry them to completion. I began my career as a commercial illustrator (Pre-computer) and the substance of what I do today is the same. We just have different tools and people’s expectations have changed with technology. We have to communicate more abstract ideas now – not just pages and screens but complete experiences that include imagery, sound, and motion. I was an IA before I knew what that was. That’s how I was fed and watered. Today I’m classified as a Strategist but regardless of title, I love working-out the intricacies that provoke experiences.
Who are 5 practitioners that you follow on Twitter?
Boone Sheridan, Lynn Boyden, Dan Brown, David Gray, Christina Wodtke. That list goes on and on.
What are your favorite tools of the trade? Why?
It sounds like I’m being a smart-ass when I say “willful ignorance” but it reminds me that being over 50, I have a lot of biases about design, people and their roles and the importance of what I’m doing. I have to keep that in its place. Intuition is good for getting started until you can either confirm or replace it with real information. Tactically, I follow a Low-fi to High-fi approach to conceptualizing. I start with sketches and whiteboards for quantity and low-risk revision until things start to hold still then, if necessary, I may graduate the ideas to something digital, usually in SketchApp because it plugs-in to other tools like Zeplin for specs, Flinto or InVision App for prototypes.
If you could become instantly smarter one subject, what would that subject be and why?
Meditation. I would love to be able to curb my first responses to client feedback when it’s obvious that there are things at work outside my view.
How/where do you “start” a project?
Discovery. Getting clients to approach a project in ways they haven’t considered by asking them to answer questions in ways that aren’t so familiar. It opens up a new scrutiny to things that may have become dogmatic over time. I also read everything I can get my hands on before I meet with them to understand the space in which they are moving and trying to have impact.
If you could choose a capstone project for your career, what would it be? Why that one?
I don’t know what the project would be but the outcome would make it easier for people to understand, learn with and be nicer to each other. Raise learning as a way not to fear each other. Intellectualism has become so unfashionable and ignorance breeds such meanness.
Name an educational resource (book, website, publication, etc) that you turn to regularly?
Medium has been getting a lot of my attention because so many people I respect are publishing there.
What is one of your guilty pleasures?