Archive of June 2018

In Defense of Design Thinking, Which Is Terrible

Khoi Vinh:

“Everyone Can Code” is an interesting idea. The implication is that there will be a lot of good code out there, but it also implies that there will be a lot of bad code too. In a world where everyone can code, not all code will be good. There will be bad code, in fact.

It’s worth noting though that engineering as a discipline, as a trade, as a profession is largely unthreatened by the idea of bad code. In fact, you could say that the prevalence of bad code has been a boon to the world of engineering. In spite of all the bad code being written out there, the discipline is thriving.

And yet when it comes to the discipline of design:

Designers want design to be an exclusive domain. They want its processes to be mysterious, and often rooted in the idiosyncrasies of mercurial creative directors and savants, because it preserves the perceived value of our craft. Put more plainly: the more difficult design is to practice, the more lucrative it is for practicing designers.

I’m with Khoi on this point:

Any embrace of design by non-designers is a good thing, and design thinking qualifies here. The reason for this is that when that happens, it means our language, the vocabulary of design, is broadening to the rest of the world.

If you ask me, this is a big part of what I’ve always loved about the web: the way it seems to support individual growth by giving so many a platform to share about what they do and how they approach their work.

Back in the 90s, I remember an explosion of writing and sharing about making web pages. It was great! I wouldn’t have learned half the things I know how to do without that impulse to share.

I think the impulse is still there, if it sometimes gets a bit overwhelming dealing with so many resources which just attempt to monetize content rather than provide genuine heart-felt writing to visitors. Just have a look at some of the math education blogosphere and you’ll see that impulse on full display.