Get To Know: Marty DeAngelo

We sat down with Marty DeAngelo, Vice President/Director, Interaction Design, and asked him a few questions. 

What’s the first thing you do in the morning when you get to work?

I check emails and my calendar to figure out what the day holds for me. Then I go and look at UX blogs and tweets to see what the industry has come up with over the last few days – there are so many great thinkers out there that it pays to keep on top of the innovations to see what we can use in our own projects. The problem is trying to keep up with all of them!

What do you see as the most exciting thing happening right now in the world of UX/Interaction Design?

There’s a movement right now pushing designers to think past the devices or the sites themselves and consider how the content and the interactions can be the most important parts. Users are not just people on their phones but are trying to achieve a certain task, and that task happens to be on a small screen which carries with it some very specific limitations and opportunities to shape interaction to the benefit of the user.

What are you currently reading or what’s the most recent book you’ve read?

I read a couple of books a week so there’s a lot of them. From reading the anti-hero fantasy novel “Prince of Thorns” to “A Feathered River Across the Sky,” about the loss of the passenger pigeon in America. “Cryptonomicon” was a great – if very technical and deep – fictional story about encryption and computers. I’m currently reading a short story anthology called “Wild Cards” by George R. R. Martin (of Game of Thrones); for work, I’m reading “Responsible Responsive Design” by Scott Jehl.

What accomplishments in your career are you most proud of?

Well, the fact that I’ve been able to turn what was a focus in my previous job into a career (I was promoting UX before I really knew what it was) is a real thrill. It’s been great to see when some of my ideas show up in a live site. And, of course, being selected to speak at SxSW in 2009 was a huge thrill and was well received. Even better, I was able to speak at my alma mater (Penn State) that same year.

Is there any experience in your career you wish you could change?

The hardest part of this job is trying to balance the needs of the business with the needs of the user. There are many times when the best/right thing to do are at odds with the timelines or budgets we have, so it often takes some creative thinking to find solutions that deliver the best experience within those parameters. Often, we end up with a “best experience” that we still feel could be improved if we had more time and money. But then again, who doesn’t feel this way sometimes?

What is the best (or most exciting) aspect of your job?

The most exciting aspect is taking something that doesn’t seem to work and finding a way to make it work – or make it work better. Even when we’re faced with the same situation, it’s interesting to try to find a new way of doing it that improves on the previous iteration. Even better is when we get to do research on an idea to do lean UX (rapid prototypes and iterations of designs informed by research/testing).

What’s your favorite Philadelphia restaurant or hot spot?

My wife and I love the original Dmitris (2nd and Catherine) for the grilled octopus, baba hummus and scampi. But we generally love all ethnic food types and tend to go out for sushi, Indian, Thai, and others, frequently.

What are you most looking forward to in the next 5 – 10 years?

I’m currently in the midst of planning a research project to determine the best way to present risk information on small screens which I hope will be presented to the FDA and become the basis for a set of better standards than we currently have. And I’m hoping to increase the number of speaking engagements I have, as well as the number of published articles.