7 comments

  • Andrew C, 3 years ago

    I think Natasha Jen is mostly correct.

    Just two articles down from this post on DesignerNews is this article: "Code Complexity is a Design Problem" (link: https://builttoadapt.io/code-complexity-is-a-design-problem-e53e4229b5de ). There are some potentially worrisome ideas tucked away in here:

    Quote 1: "Think of it this way: The best design in the world, when in the form of an image file, sketch, or prototype, can be admired for its beauty, clever interactions, and innovation, but it can’t deliver value to the user."

    Quote #1 subversively says design thought means nothing unless it's in code. This is design as seen through the lense of an engineering mind. Do they realize design solves problems that have 0 code requirements (furniture making, graphic design, architecture, etc.) Designers test and iterate with users. Designers can facilitate (and should) with the team, but ultimately the design solution to a problem needs an owner. This is the perspective a designer provides to an organization... a focus on user research and humanized solutions. Design thinking often obfuscates this through an immense amount of post-it note exercises. Do these exercises to clarify and understand—but at the end of the day someone is going to have to make a decision based off of what the user's behaviour is telling you. Or what you THINK It's telling you.

    Quote 2: "If two ideas are equally impactful to the user, but engineering expresses real concerns about one, you should be able to it kill on the basis of being high-cost, even if engineering just has a gut feeling"

    Quote #2 handwaves away a good idea because developers are concerned with the time it takes to make it. Except a more likely scenario is Option B, the expensive one, is simply better than Option A. Seldom are solutions "equal". Descoping good ideas is VERY common in agile processes. This is another key reason design needs to be separate (but integrated) with engineering—the user outcome should matter as much as the core technology. We had git for YEARS before github nailed the experience everyone wanted out of code management. That was a good design that was hard to crack—complexity that simplified code management for devs.

    The collaborative aspects of design thinking isn't a risk — it is the diminished user advocacy in the vision, metrics and process by people who have a lot of other constraints on their shoulders. Engineers shouldn't be descoping good solutions because of complexity, and design needs to be championed as a way of providing customer value. Great products often outright own complexity and sacrifice this hardship for a design that solves the problem better for the human on the other side. You need a person to humanize and advocate for users, and it's a full-time job to facilitate: the designer.

    1 point
    • , 3 years ago

      It's not clear to me how that article confirms the idea that "design thinking is bulls***." It seems to lump design thinking and the broader definition of design together. Your argument seems to be that the article is bad, so are you in fact asserting that its unorthodox definition of design/design thinking is good?

      0 points
      • Andrew C, 3 years ago

        I'm agreeing with Natasha Jen that design thinking is a risk, but I'm disagreeing that the risk is inherent with design thinking itself.

        Design thinking can be a great tool that a designer can use to facilitate a strong design culture with their team. Democratizing design DOES risk the process being used negatively by people who don't know, or care to know, about the user's experience. Ensure your design process is owned by a designer and NOT everyone. That expectation should be set. Because if everyone owns something then no one does, and design as a voice may end up being diminished in your organization. (the article I pointed out shows how common it is for engineering to do this and not realize it, so the risk is already here)

        0 points
  • John PJohn P, 3 years ago

    Accountants want accounting to be an exclusive domain. They want its processes to be mysterious

    Why the hell must I hear people complaining about this time and time again yet never hear

    Accountants want accounting to be an exclusive domain. They want its processes to be mysterious

    Lawyer want law to be an exclusive domain. They want its processes to be mysterious

    Developers want development to be an exclusive domain. They want its processes to be mysterious

    Dentists want dentistry to be an exclusive domain. They want its processes to be mysterious

    Plumbers want plumbing to be an exclusive domain. They want its processes to be mysterious

    Why is design always the free for all that OH ANYONE IN THE COMPANY CAN DO THAT yet every other job in the company is a protected domain.

    0 points
    • Derek Nguyen, 3 years ago

      I think the issue is not so black and white though. Practicing law, accounting, dentistry or plumbing are jobs with large knowledge foundation that is based on science and facts. It is beneficial to hold practitioners of those field to a standard because their mistakes can be catastrophic.

      I think for the most of us the worst damage we could do is ruining someone's day. If we really suck, we might harm the company we work for a bit, but that's what hiring process & performance valuation are for. If I need a plumber, I surely won't ask for their portfolio & resume. I will look for the nearest person with the most reasonable price and good enough reviews.

      On the other hand, it's not that hard to imagine what kind of questions will appear in the bar exam. It surely won't start with 'Design a site that...' How are we going to judge the quality of a designer? What kind of standard will we be looking for? Who's gonna be the judge? It is all very subjective. If there are ever a license system for designers, it surely won't be about actual design work.

      The talk here is not so much about licensing or not though, I believe the point is that it is more beneficial to us designers when our clients, co-workers and family members understand enough about design that they can communicate with us using our vocabulary, and I wholeheartedly agree with that - it doesn't necessary mean that everyone is a designer.

      0 points
      • Khoi Vinh, 3 years ago

        it doesn't necessary mean that everyone is a designer.

        That's exactly right Derek. What I'm arguing is that not everyone is an engineer, yet everyone is now steeped in the language of engineering, with the end result being that the discipline has become incredibly influential. The same can happen for design.

        2 points
    • Khoi Vinh, 3 years ago

      @John P. You raise a very good point. It's clear that one of the legitimate frustrations that designers have long experienced is that a lot of people seem to think that what we do is easy and that they can do it too. In a professional environment that can be quite destructive; I've seen it. Meanwhile, few people assume that they can do the work that engineers do.

      I'll have to think about that point more. I do believe that, despite that danger, the relative openness of design as a discipline is a feature, not a bug. That characteristic has led countless people who weren't traditionally trained to learn design and become designers. I think that's a good thing because it's a built-in advantage for us in terms of leading the way in diversity (we just need to leverage it more).

      1 point