All About Balance is my outlet for expressing day-to-day frustrations using web and desktop applications. When I do, I spend most of my time backing up these critiques, highlighting areas for improvement, providing a mockup here and there. Anyone can be a film critic, though isn’t the real reward tackling difficult issues and providing solutions to real problems?
I’ve been in software development industry for a bit over 10 years now, moving between software engineering, interaction design and project management. I’m also an amateur photographer who wishes he had more time to shoot.
Frequently I’ll criticize something as though it were “designed by programmers” which is self-deprecating since I’m a programmer myself. What I mean to say is this, “The company responsible for providing this interface, decided design was not important and as such did not assign adequate resources towards that end. No one was responsible for design, so the burden was put on the developer.”
A robust, scalable architecture, thousands of unit tests and terrific documentation are only a portion of the product development process. Without treating design as seriously as you treat the other parts of your development effort, you’re destined to:
- Succeed in spite of a mediocre offering, but far less than you would have otherwise.
- Fail because you were unable to differentiate and a “me too, but one extra feature” competitor with deeper pockets bested you.
- Appear on this website :-)
The fourth option is to connect with your customers in a way your competitors can’t – passionately solving their problems while not burdening them with yours.
“…user interface design is not what makes your product a success or a failure, but it’s really that deep and profound understanding of the problem and understanding of the solution and making sure that the business side is what they want. Exactly. Who are the users, what are they trying to accomplish, what motivates them, what tasks are they performing, but what is their in stake, what does success look like…”
– Alan Cooper, in an interview with Info Queue, January 2009.