November 21, 2011, 9:54 AM

How to get the I.T. department to support web design efforts

At IR’s web design conference, a speaker will show how to involve programmers.

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Alex Schmelkin

A web designer can come up with the most brilliant and lucrative e-commerce idea the world has ever seen, but without the support of information technology staff, that idea might never be realized, says Alex Schmelkin, president of design and marketing firm Alexander Interactive.

He will speak at the Internet Retailer 2012 Web Design and Usability Conference in a session entitled “How to get your I.T. department to support your user experience initiatives,” on Feb. 15 from 1:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. His presentation comes amid increasing cooperation between I.T. workers and web designers, he says. “More and more the boundary between web design and backend I.T. programming is becoming blurred with the introduction of richer user interfaces on the desktop, mobile and tablets,” Schmelkin says.

Even so, that cooperation is often imperfect, and attendees at the session will learn about tactics and techniques to get I.T. departments to better support e-commerce design efforts, he says. This includes involving the I.T. staff as early as possible in design projects; programmers often have good ideas about design, and can educate designers about the technical challenges their ideas will face, he says.

“There has to be a very close partnership between design and I.T.  Design can come up with the most brilliant ideas in the world, but if they design without I.T.'s support, the solutions will simply never get built,” he says. “Inversely, if I.T. is so closed-minded to the important concerns of the user experience staff, an e-commerce site will never truly be able to be user-focused, and will fail to deliver highly converting, delightful experiences.”

Internet Retailer’s editors selected Schmelkin to speak because he expanded Alexander Interactive into a full-service interactive agency, and has created highly successful and award-winning online initiatives for companies such as Schwinn, Lowe's, Citigroup, Time Inc., Pepperidge Farm and


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