Karen McGrane

Designing for, with, and around advertising


One day in 2005 I woke up and discovered I worked for an advertising agency. This came as kind of a shock to me, particularly since I was working at the same job I’d always had, leading the user experience practice in the New York office of Razorfish. But through various acquisitions we’d become Avenue A | Razorfish, and now we were in the business of making ads and selling ad space.

I had a tough time reconciling this with my focus on delivering the best possible experience for users. In fact, it’s one of the things that led me to leave and start Bond Art + Science in 2006. But in the intervening years, I have had the opportunity to work with many publishers — large and small, print and online-only — and have gained new perspective on advertising as a business model.

This talk, given at the 2009 IA Summit in Memphis, is my attempt to explain why user experience designers should open their hearts to advertising as a revenue model, and find ways to meet the needs of both users and advertisers.