Bored of the typical "About Me" format, in May 2023 I asked Chat GPT4 to conduct an interview with me so that you might get to know me a little better.
Welcome, Jeff Immer! With your extensive experience as a digital creative director, we're excited to learn more about your work and insights. Over the course of your 20-year career, you've undoubtedly witnessed significant shifts in the digital landscape. Could you share some key trends or changes that have influenced your work as a digital creative director?
Oh for sure! I mean when I started websites had to be 800px width MAX. I became a digital art director the year the iphone 1 came out so I was part of the first wave of folks to ever design responsively (in photoshop! yuck!) or start to think about digital experiences as primarily mobile experiences.
I think another sea change is happening now with the emergence of AI as a creative tool. I think this one is going to be much more difficult to navigate than the move to screen-agnostic experiences. AI will hopefully make access to deeper, richer knowledge faster and more convenient but I'm also hoping it will push creatives to be more, well creative! To make themselves invaluable and decouple themselves from their tools.
As AI becomes more prevalent in the creative field, how do you envision its role in shaping the future of digital experiences? Are there any specific areas or industries where you see AI making a significant impact? Additionally, how do you think creatives can leverage AI to enhance their work while maintaining their unique value?
I think AI is about to turn every industry on its head, not just creative. We're seeing insane things coming out of the application of AI in robotics, healthcare, fintech, really everywhere. I think as creatives we have to see this new tool the way creatives have always seen new tools and new rules—as something that not only can help us in our day to day tasks but as a new fun toy to break.
99% of the Ai-enabled image making I'm seeing looks the same but there's that 1% that feels like early Picasso. Someone has chosen to take the machine's tendencies and preferences and twist them to create truly interesting and challenging work. If designers think of themselves as pixel-pushers they will indeed get replaced by this efficient pixel-pushing technology. But, if you have a unique point of view, or steadfast social values as a designer I don't see much to worry about.
How have you personally embraced AI as a creative tool? Could you share an example or project where you've successfully integrated AI into your work while still maintaining your distinct point of view? What were some of the challenges you faced during this process?
So we just wrapped work on an ios app that allows users to make and track predictions—about sports, politics, whatever—and then be held accountable when these predictions eventually are proved true or false. You can imagine the power of tracking a political pundit's speculations over time. The app uses AI to identify keywords in statements and then track these statements over time to identify if the prediction came true or not. Very sophisticated, wild stuff. It could have been basically a boring ass spreadsheet but I ensured that the app and the brand had a very contemporary voice and look and feel. It's a tool but it's a tool that is designed to make you feel empowered and curious.
I think the biggest challenge is actually a UX one. The technology is evolving so quickly that considerations we would make regarding the UI and interactions would feel outdated in days—that's how quickly new capabilities within the AI model were changing.
In light of the rapid evolution of technological capabilities, how do you approach the design process to ensure that the UI and interactions remain relevant and engaging? Are there any strategies or methodologies you employ to keep up with the pace of technology while still delivering a seamless user experience?
So I think 1/2 of it is just sticking to the principles that make design work in the first place—hierarchy, clarity of communication and so forth. However I do think we'll see a shift to more and more voice-enabled UI soon. Not replacing traditional buttons and sliders and such but offered as an alternative or as away to enrich those previous models.
As voice-enabled UI becomes more prevalent, what considerations do you believe designers should keep in mind to create effective and delightful voice interactions? Are there any particular challenges or opportunities that arise when designing for voice, especially when integrating it with existing visual interfaces?
I think the future has to be an accessible one. I've become more and more obsessed with technological accessibility over the years and tap-based interfaces are not ideal for someone with fine motor-mobility issues just as voice-based interactions aren't always easy or appropriate to use. With AI, conversational interactions have become really useful and fluid. I think the next big challenge is how to integrate them alongside the traditional interaction models a lot of us are comfortable with. How we do that exactly? Well I don't know but I'm excited to figure it out!
Throughout your career, you've likely encountered numerous memorable projects and experiences. Could you share a particularly memorable or rewarding moment that stands out to you? It could be a project you worked on, a collaboration, or even a personal achievement related to your digital creative work.
Yeah I have so many highlights honestly but, just recently a designer DMed me on Slack to thank me for challenging him to push an app onboarding flow we were working on. He had already made something great but I knew I could push him into taking it to somewhere really special—so I did ;) My favorite moments are not the ones where I shine but where my team does because I've laid the groundwork. Thanks again for the interview and have a good one!