Here is a counter article answering certain aspects of John Maeda thoughts: https://blog.prototypr.io/dear-john-maeda-youre-wrong-f4d6dc024c5d
What more can be said that this article? This is probably the best answer possible.
If you’re building a product that’s API you don’t really need a designer on that project.
If you read that and agree you agree with John Maeda. You’re also not utilizing design to meet its full value and potential in your organization.
He is totally right. It seems he wasn't a good communicator, back then? Nothing new. Back in my days my works doesn't look like i designed it. First thing i did was to talk to devs back in the days to learn how something is built. Way more important than creating nice images for fake internet points. Learned Flash Action script to understand complexity. Today it seems designer are way more extrovert as in my days, they don't see whats up they just anticipate success and they measure it by views on dribbble or behance. Which results in designers thinking they can do everything and will fail when a design system needs to be established. Sad but true.
If [the company’s] audience is designers, and people with high standards of quality, then fantastic. But if they do that, maybe they won’t worry about the tech stack, that actually it’s a brittle tech stack and maybe it works 99 times out of 100,”
I would say Invision falls into this category. Amazing design but their products never meet our expectations. Where is Invision Studio after all the hype? The beta was really rough and I haven't gone back.
The article/interview hits quite the target. The lack of user contact, in the design process of designer, via user research, testing and others co-design methods, that would implies the user in the process and get the designer close to the real end-users.
Moreover, I blame the companies that thought every problem can be solved by designers in the software waterfall process and let the developers shut it. It can never work.