Thought + Quality

Oliver Reichenstein, Putting Thought Into Things:

Quality — as in “fitness for purpose” — lives in the structure of a product. A lack of quality is a lack of structure, and a lack of structure is, ultimately, a lack of thought. One does not find a solid structure by following some simple method. We deepen the structure by deepening our thought on the product. Our role as designers is to put thought into things.

I’ve noticed I do the worst, as a developer, when I’m using tools and methodology to avoid thinking. Not entirely sure how to solve this problem, write some tests and commit whatever makes them green. Troubleshoot by tinkering with commenting code out, trying different incantations, pasting snippets found on the internet.

Each advance in how I build software is lead by finding some way I defer or avoid thinking and correcting that shortcoming. In doing so, I find myself a little more opinionated, a little more specific about what really matters in making software and what is dressing.

Put more thought into what I build. Always think about what constitutes The Quality for the kind of software I want to build. Seek to avoid the tech vogue in search of deeper quality and thought. I’m far from mastering any of these disciplines, but the results so far are promising.

Get thee to thy hammock!

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Categorized as Design

NSHipster rainbow bar

My favorite design touch in the Gowalla apps was the rainbow bar. Small wonder that fellow Gowalla alumni Mattt Thompson included one on the landing page for his collection of NSHipster essays that you can now buy as an eBook with cash money. Ed. apparently all the Gumroad pages have a rainbow bar. Mattt’s still… Continue reading NSHipster rainbow bar

Designing technological empowerment

Applied Discovery:

What future are we building, given that we play a role in such an important process?

On the role designers play, what they do as careers progress, and how design can positively enhance the world.

Reminder: if you tilt your head just so, developers do a lot of design activities too.

Web design for busy programmers

Here it is: I’m somewhere between horribly afraid and way-too-smart to seriously attempt front-end web work. Browsers are not the software whose bugs I am interested in knowing about. That said, putting information on the web that doesn’t look like utter dross is a kind of required literacy in our field. While bravely dipping my… Continue reading Web design for busy programmers

A handful of useful project mantras

You could do a lot worse than following the heuristics set out by this Software Architecture cheat sheet. The tip I need to follow more often is “Is There Another Way”; I frequently get way too caught up in my first idea, which is usually too simplistic or requires too much architecture. The tip I often try to guide people towards is “What If I Didn’t Have This Problem?”; routing around problems or trying to reduce them to problems that require less code is a super-powerful judo chop.