It doesnt matter whether you have “designer” written on your business card. If you are reading this blog you are most likely involved in software development – if so, the short and simple answer to the above question should be “YOU BETCHA”.
Why, you might ask, do I make this argument? Well, because I feel that everyone involved in software development should feel, act and respond like a designer. Nobody is excused, nobody should be able to hide behind statements like “heck, I just write the code – what do I know about icons?” There is no excuse for not being a designer. You’re allowed to suck at it though. The minimum level should be that you feel like a sucky designer. Why is this important?
It is important because user experience and aesthetics matter so incredibly much that if you don’t take an interest in it, you should find another job. To sum it up:
Sucking at design craftsmanship is ok! Not taking an active interest in design is inexcusable!
As long as you are actively seeking responses from colleagues or other sources in matters of user experience and aesthetics – you’re doing a great job! Well, at least you’re improving. My point is: you CANNOT sit on your rump and wait for those who actually have “designer” written on their business card to come up with a fantabulous-expicalidocious design. Agile software development does not work like that. Your team needs to take design decisions based on what is technically possible right now, you need to take coding decisions based on an overall design rationale and you need to make everything look fantastic. And you need to do this just in time. Because if you don’t, somebody else will, somebody smarter than you.
So how do you work as a designer even if you are not a “real” designer? Its easy: you take an active interest in matters of design, challenge all assumptions and you communicate.
And what if you’re a “real” designer – how do you work with all the people around you suddenly claiming to be designers? Same recipe: you take an active interest in coding and/or implementation, challenge all assumptions and communicate!
If your team is laid back, good at their jobs and generally cool and nice people. This is easy. On the other hand, if your team has a few know-it-all schmucks who wont let other’s touch their territory. Fire those and start over with achieving a fantastic, innovative and cool design process where everyone is involved. It’s all about hiring the best and setting them free.
So, to end this little article, here is a short TODO for people who think they can be involved in software development without being designers.
- Realise I am a designer.
- Make my team realise that I will be a part of the design process whether they like it or not.
- Try to stop sucking at design