Mike Abbott at GigaOm Structure Data 2013 - Fail Whale to Investing: Emerging Application Patterns

When it comes to creating a successful app, human interface designers and lead engineers have to work closely together from the beginning, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Michael Abbott said at the Structure Data conference Wednesday. That can mean thinking about apps in a new way.

“More and more products are being built by having great pairings of those two players,” Abbott, the former VP of engineering at Twitter, told GigaOM founder Om Malik. Engineers need to understand a user’s experience with the app, Abbott said, but designers also have to “understand the limitations of the environment they’re building. It shouldn’t just be a great experience in one small segment,” but an app should work “whether you’re offline or have a bad connection.”

Abbott often sees a “lack of real empathy” between designers and engineers. “The tension on the design side is that it’s never good enough,” he said, “and on the engineering side he or she wants to ship…How do you get that balance? Because you still need to ship…"