The Design of Software (CLOSED)

A public forum for discussing the design of software, from the user interface to the code architecture. Now closed.

The "Design of Software" discussion group has been merged with the main Joel on Software discussion group.

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A really great article. Design is a topic that is bafflingly overlooked by so many people in software product development. I am a software guy (with an HCI background), and I find myself constantly working to get people to consider design. The business guys are concerned with selling and the software guys are concerned with the latest greatest feature (feature!=design). A great example of the techie outlook is the infamous Slashdot comment on release of the iPod: "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame." Totally missing the point.
I like the comment about design being engineering as well. I'm thinking of moving in a more design direction in my career, and I am fearing the inevitability of the following conversation:
Me: I am interested in helping your company with your design effort. I think your products have a lot of market possibility if your design is enhanced.
HR person: Ok, so you must be an expert at Photoshop and Illustrator, right?
Me: Um, no, I am barely competent in both, but that's not the point, you see...
HR person: Thank you. Good-bye.
Garth Shoemaker Send private email
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Don't call yourself a designer.  :)

Truthfully, a lot of occupations run into that particular "Human Resources conversation problem" simply because there are so many different kinds of design. In this particular example, there was a time when people who laid out magazines and newspapers were called page designers.

I think you'd go further if you replaced the word "design" with "graphical user interface" in your opening speach, as in...

Me: I am interested in helping your company to improve the user interface of your database products. I think your products have a lot of market possibility if the GUIs were enhanced.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Yup, that is a possibility, but I don't want to be limited to UI design. I think UI designers are often handed a functional spec and told to make an interface. If I am to be the designer I want to be, I would be intimately involved in developing that spec, along with the product manager. I really think of it as being a "beginning-to-end" role, not one that can be inserted at one stage, as I think UI designers often are (probably to their dismay).

So, I need a good way of talking to HR and saying "I want to be a person who is concerned with all aspects of how the product functions, including product strategy aspects, product management aspects, UI aspects, as well as helping guide the art." There simply isn't such a position in most companies.
Garth Shoemaker Send private email
Thursday, January 26, 2006

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