N.Y. Times Director of Web Design Resigns

Khoi Vinh: “I never set out to work in journalism. I’m a designer at heart”

Last Updated: July 14, 2010 @ 1:19 PM

Khoi Vinh, design director for the New York Times website, is leaving the paper.

Vinh has been with the Times for four years. His last day is Friday.

Via Vinh's personal website:

It wasn’t an easy decision. I’ve been at The New York Times for four and a half years now, four and a half years that will doubtless figure prominently in my life for years to come. There were some rough patches, as there are with any job, but on the whole it’s been the best job I’ve ever had. I got to work on some of the most rewarding projects anywhere, alongside a diverse population of some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and I had the thrilling privilege of playing a bit part in the world’s best journalism.

However, I never set out to work in journalism. I’m a designer at heart, and what I’m compositionally best suited for is the challenge of designing user experiences, hopefully superb user experiences. Of course, at this moment in history when technology is realigning the world in such tumultuous ways, it’s true that there’s a profound overlap between design and the news — it’s true that in many ways the delivery of the news is the same as its user experience. For these past several years, I found that overlap to be a tremendously satisfying arena within which to work, but journalism in and of itself has only been a part of my motivation.

His departure comes at a critical time for the Times' site, as the paper's paywall launch is now less than six months away.

Vinh says he's being "tight-lipped about what exactly I’m going to do next, partly because I’m just not exactly sure yet."

But he had some kind words for the Times on his way out: "In spite of all of the travails the news industry has been through, the company is still a beacon of quality, and that’s an enormous help in luring good talent. What’s more, management was unequivocally supportive of my staffing plans from the first, not only by providing me with the open positions and the budget that I needed, but also in allowing me to materially change the environment for how interaction design is practiced at the Times."

[Photo: Flickr]