Layla Masri is president of the interactive design firm Bean Creative.
Layla spoke with us about usability, interactives, and developing web projects for multiple types of users and devices.
Though it may seem like a career change, Layla describes how her experiences in marketing and journalism have helped her in creating successful web components and maintaining relationships with clients. She discusses the tools Bean Creative uses to create these components; not just the software and coding programs but also the techniques and approaches used.
Layla describes the various ways that demographics can be considered when building a project including the demographics we’re all familiar with such as age and education levels, but also how these demographics can be considered by the types of devices they own, or how familiar they are with technology. She explains how these considerations are combined and how Bean Creative begins their designing process.
For museums, Layla explains the best methods to use for uncovering usability problems and challenges in museum websites as well as what she would like museum professionals to understand about the importance of usability for a museum site and how to make it successful.
She also describes for us the importance of designing with mobile in mind and how the process differs from designing for a desktop site. Layla also tells us how to make usability work optimally for institutions with a tight budget.
Layla goes into specifics about the development process at Bean Creative for designing the Bison Kill Interactive Game for the Comanche National Museum & Cultural Center, describing the collaboration with curators and amazing attention to detail and realism that the interactive portrays. She also describes the Bean Kids program, developed for testing out versions of their projects before they are launched and how this program fits into the formative process.
I really resonated with Layla’s advice to be very flexible regarding the technology used. Technology evolves so quickly – Flash, Apps, HTML5 – that companies and museums have to be able to keep up. Also, in the interest of being compliant with accessibility issues, newer technology will provide more accessible features for a broader audience.
I also would like to explore the interesting concept Layla shared in her interview: treat each page within the website as a home page. I had not thought about this but it is true! Search engines are getting more accurate in their search results and this means digging into the website to find the closest correct answer for the user. This means that the search engines will refer the user to a place within the website – not necessarily the home page. And here is where the value of Layla’s comment. Thanks!
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