Converging disciplines.

A question you might have had, whether interviewing for a role, growing your team or personally contributing: how do user experience responsibilities overlap with those of a creative director? And subsequently, is the user experience practice limited to digital or does it venture into traditional terrain as well?

With digital playing an increasingly crucial role in nearly every marketing campaign, user experience design is as critical a contribution as traditional creative to the success of any advertising initiative.

Design can solve society’s biggest problems … if we cultivate a love of learning through the design process.

David Sherwin
Director of User Experience at lynda.com

Consider the role.

As a creative director, you facilitate all aspects of the creative process. You’re a guide for your team with skills and experience related to design, fine arts, motion graphics, writing and/or other creative industry fields.

In traditional mediums, such as print or television, this means strategic and on-brand use of color, typography, messaging, video, music, imagery, etc. These types of endeavors require a ‘man behind the curtain’ (or a very closely-nit team) making sense of the chaos and ensuring adherence to a shared vision. In total, a creative director’s goal is overseeing all creative deliverables to ensure strategic alignment, proper branding, consistency, and quality.

Not an easy task in itself, but add the mechanics and the interactive functionality of digital deliverables, including mobile, desktop, and social, and it’s easy to be intimidated.

You don’t have to change who you are. You have to be more of who you are.

Sally Hogshead
New York Times Bestselling Author

Add more to your thinking.

The need for user experience thinking and skill can’t be neglected if you want to create a great product, one you’d want to use. It’s a layer of thinking that’s as important as the strategy, art and writing.

But resources are limited and it’s your responsibility to oversee the overall quality of a campaign; so you need to be a hybrid. And an ever-evolving, curious one. As a digital creative director, you must not leave the user experience to someone else, even if there’s the benefit of having an expert on your team. It’s just another facet of the final product to which you can contribute.

Principles of user experience design will benefit more than just your digital deliverables. This mindset will challenge you to consider your campaign from your audience’s perspective. You’ll more deeply consider how each tactic is connected to the next and how to ensure that each has the desired outcome, similar to a path-to-purchase in traditional shopper marketing.

Adopting these principles, you’ll approach the campaign as an interconnected journey, not just a creatively consistent one.

Those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.

Charles Darwin

Bring them together.

Of course, having (or acquiring) user experience expertise doesn’t eliminate the need for a diverse team with their own unique specialities. Differing points of view and areas of focus only make the work better and from collaboration comes the best results. So it’s important to acknowledge where your contributions are best and most efficiently applied based on your team.

But by adopting user experience into your personal skill set, you’ll better adapt to the team’s abilities and fill any gaps. Even better, when you apply your new thinking more broadly, your work will be more than a cohesive campaign; it will be an interconnected experience.