At the intersection of new technology and everyday life you’ll find Dan’s work, changing how people think, work, and connect.

Creative Director

The son of a plumber and a psychologist, Dan Saffer feels the interaction design he does is a little bit of both. Since 1995, he’s designed everything from websites to consumer electronics to robots. He feels that design isn’t only about problem solving, but about creating a better, more humane, future.


At Smart Design, Dan is one of the creative directors leading the interaction design practice, guiding teams to create new interaction paradigms across a wide range of products, spanning both digital and physical. Dan’s insightful, thoughtful approach to design has been captured in the three books he’s written—Designing for Interaction, Designing Gestural Interfaces, and Designing Devices—which are required reading for any student of interaction design. Dan latest book, Microinteractions, was published in 2013 to great acclaim prompting a book and speaking tour that has lasted more than a year.


Dan has worked with a wide variety of clients, from Fortune 500 giants such as Microsoft and Time Warner to startups like AnyBots. He speaks and teaches workshops on design around the world. In 2008, he coined the term “topless meeting” (for a meeting without laptops), which was a finalist for Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year and Time Magazine’s #10 Buzzword of 2008. He has a Masters of Design in Interaction Design from Carnegie Mellon University.


Follow him on Twitter: @odannyboy


Dan’s Thoughts


Why We Need to Tame Our Algorithms Like Dogs

There is a theory among evolutionary anthropologists that dogs evolved from beasts to pets because the canines that continued to…

Read more

The Hidden Genius and Influence of the Traffic Light

See it sway: three-eyed blind bat hanging from a wire. Or perhaps there: perched atop a pole, lights moving from…

Read more

Microinteractions: Why Details Matter

The best products do two things well: features and details. Features are what draw people to your product; details are…

Read more

The UX of Commercial Drones

Technology asks, “Can it be done?” Design asks, “Should it be done, and how?” I’ve thought about these questions frequently…

Read more

Microinteractions Chapter 4: Feedback Illuminates the Rules

Chapter 4: Feedback (An excerpt of Microinteractions: Designing with Details by Dan Saffer from O’Reilly Media. If you prefer, read…

Read more

Smart Design On What We’ll Really Want From Robot Cars

Forget the Jetsons: Dan Saffer on how we should interact with the automobiles of the (near) future. Every Saturday the…

Read more

WATCH: The Complexity of Simplicity

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.” So said Albert Einstein. But how? How…

Read more

Dan’s Talks

  • May 17, 2013

    Dan Saffer to speak at User Experience Lisbon Conference (UXLx) on May 17th, 2013

  • Nov 01, 2012

    Microinteraction talk & Brainstorm + Design Principles workshop with Dan Saffer at Interaction Conference

  • Oct 12, 2012

    Dan Saffer talks Microinteractions: Designing with Details at Design by Fire in San Francisco

  • Sep 29, 2012

    The Ten Commandments for Touchscreen Design: WebVisions workshop in Chicago

  • May 18, 2012

    The Complexity of Simplicity at WebVisions 2012 with Dan Saffer in Portland