The Design of Software (CLOSED)

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The Redundancy of Calling Design Good

I think this is more of a question really.  I do not understand the difference between good and bad design.  (Maybe it is semantics.)  One either follows the arduous process to produce an effective or acceptable (or insert desired modifier here) design or one does not.  If we call the latter bad design then we are recognizing that one did follow a (of "the") design process. 

If design is an engineering problem, and engineering is about problem solving then...  what is bad problem solving?  Something that did not solve the problem(s)?

Design, architecture, engineer... these are terms which have lost so much meaning these days.  A desktop engineer.  A manager talking about their organizational architecture.  A wanna-be who read "How to design anything in 24 hours" discusses his latest design work on his web site "".

Megalixir Send private email
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Good designed is measure in how easy it is to use.

If we already knew what good design was, we'd have a blue print and no need to design.

That said, there are lots of PRINCIPLES (like addressing the Gulf of Evaluation, etc. explained in The Design Of Everyday Things).

In the end, if the user can use it without cognitive friction, it's a good design (from a usability standpoint).
Mr. Analogy {Shrinkwrap µISV} Send private email
Thursday, January 26, 2006
There is also the small point that design in "good design" is  a noun, not a verb. So it's referring to the result, not the activity.
Glyn Normington Send private email
Friday, January 27, 2006
Good design is more about a combination of function and aesthetic than anything. Just the right combination of creativity and art, and just the right amount of technicality and practicality.

A lot of people just can't be creative.
Grayson Stebbins Send private email
Friday, January 27, 2006
I'd argue that Good Design has two components--the Does It Work component (engineering) and the Do You Get It component (art and psychology). 

Last weekend I logged into a client's network and made some changes to their inventory Unit of Measure schedules, and then started the Materials Requirements Planning process.  Apparently the production planner and I had miscommunicated, because she started the process too on Sunday afternoon.

On Monday morning I received a panicked call from my client that the MRP data was totally hosed, and that MRP was still running.

The software shouldn't have let us do this.  I happen to know the lead programmer for this product, so I sent him an email explaining this problem, and suggested that it would be nice if the software didn't let us do something so stupid.

He replied back: "My question is why do you have 2 people responsible for MRP in the first place?".

In other words, it is a beautiful engineering design (it does what it's supposed to do, and meets every "letter of the law" in the design spec), but it is ugly from the art & psychology perspective.
Brenner Klenzman
Friday, January 27, 2006
"Art can enhance design but the design itself is strictly an engineering problem." - Joel

Or maybe I just don't think anything is good unless its functional AND looks pretty. That would mean that by my standards, nothing is Good Design, unless it looks nice.

Yep - that sounds like me.
Grayson Stebbins Send private email
Friday, January 27, 2006

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