In the past I’ve written and lectured about the idea that we’re leaving an era where design operates in the narrative mode, in which its fundamental purpose is to create canonical, highly controlled visual stories. We’re now in an era — the digital era — where the new paradigm is designing for behavior: creating stateful systems that are responsive to user inputs and environmental inputs, where presentation is not just separated from content, but where presentation is volatile and continually changing by nature.

These two modes of thinking are so different and even so in conflict with one another that to find a nexus between them is very difficult. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function,” and that, more or less, is what’s required to be a great editorial experience designer. You must understand users and their expectations, and you must also understand authors and their expectations, and somehow, by hook or by crook, you must reconcile these wildly divergent worldviews into a single, coherent whole that looks and feels effortless.

Khoi Vinh – Where Are All the Ed-Ex Designers?.