Transforming Interaction Design

Posted March 14, 2017

Today is the day that a new chapter has begun. I am joining the wickedly sharp team at Webflow in the pursuit of transforming interaction design and product development!

To explain why I am so excited about Webflow I want to share a short story. I recently sat down with my friend Rob Luke to see what he’s working on at Passport. I was excited about what Passport is building and the caliber of what Rob was creating, but what really struck me was the immense frustration I felt regarding the process of product development.

Rob had these beautiful interactive screens that looked and felt like a native application, except that they were a total sham. They weren‘t receiving data from a live source. The design tools weren‘t generating code. They weren’t outputting a product. They were creating .gifs!


Why must the output of our design tools be so far divorced from the products our customers use?

Why must we keep this barrier between creators and creation?

I am perhaps too naive to be aware of technical answers to these questions. My experience on the web indicate the reasoning is (at least partially) a cultural issue. The altars we’ve built for ourselves are holding us back.

  • “Semantic HTML”
  • “CSS Architecture”.
  • “Frameworks! Bundlers! Sass mixins!”

These are the gods to which we sacrifice progress. How blasphemous it is to not hand-craft our markup languages like our 13th century clothing garments!

If we take a look to other design and content-driven industries we see that there are other ways. The animation industry has tools to allow animators and modelers to create rich, immersive stories without a developer recreating their vision in hand-crafted, certifiably organic, 100% artisan code. Game development tools such as Unity enable story-tellers, character designers, and game developers to collaborate together in creating.

I want to see interaction design tools follow this path. We can enable creators greater freedom of expression. We will empower designers not only to create, but to publish to the world.

All this, of course, after I get through ReactConf and React.London. If you’ll be there too get in touch on twitter @iamdustan and let’s chat!

These words brought to you by Dustan Kasten. A friendly, bearded, husband, father, and user interface engineer living in Charlotte, NC. Considers himself quite partial to React.js these days. Find @iamdustan on Twitter