If Architects were Developers

Think of all the times when you cursed a product or website just because it was no good.
Are the developers always to blame, that is the question?

The blame as we see may not lie with just the designers but also with customers who feel design is something that can be done on a whim. I am working on my first web application in my current project. Though I have seen some difficult customers in the past, the current customer, though not impossible to work with is very far from being ideal.

"Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion. My house should have somewhere between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one."

Shae Allen comes up with a hilarious post on how it would be like "if Architects were to work like web designers". All my developer friends, Architects here refers to people who design buildings and not that bald headed crazy guy who works with your boss. (All s/w architects, take it in the right spirit, no offense intended) Keeping the hilarity of the post aside, it asks for one to have a look at the approach we take for design. It pains me to see people who have accomplished a lot in the area of software architecture give a step motherly treatment when it comes to design. Check out this post by Holly Buchanan, it gives you more to think about on the earlier post.

Inspite of a thousand examples in history, I don't fathom why one fails to understand the importance of elegant, simple design. Think of all the products that went on to become successful across the boundaries of nationality,culture, sex, education, economic status. The first thing that comes to my mind is the "Walkman" from Sony, then we have the new age craze the "iPod" from Apple. When we come to web designs, one of the best designed sites both in terms of aesthetics and usability is that of PicSquare. Those of you who are regular to my blog know how much I like the design of Picsquare, that I keep ranking it the best over and over.

Mind you good design does not mean great aesthetics, what makes a good design is subjective just like what makes a beautiful house. However, there are two things which I feel are a must for any design.
i) Simple interface (not simplistic or lacking in features).
ii) Intuitive User Experience. (Basic things should be accomplished without any training)

The above two sound very simple to write. But then they require profound knowledge of design principles, insight into user experience and above all an intense desire to make things better.

What do you feel about the above comparison? How will you approach design? Keep tuned to the "Design" label of this blog for more on this topic.

Update: Links:
Rick Whittington Consulting
Web Design Disasters, How to avoid them

1 comments: