Development and Design - Module 4


Everything is designed either by you or your users.
What are you doing to design your experiences??

The price of entry for being a software designer, is not design school by learning to paint, draw, or sketch, it is your willingness to pick up and write code that keeps the needs of humans in mind.
The Designatic

Video #1

22:59 - 30:06 Chris Lattner from the Lex Fridman podcast, and an amazing interview. No need to listen to the whole thing, but for the purposes of design, about 7 minutes and change that speaks to design, especially in the context of programming. He speaks to the challenges of design, and my favorite quote from this is, "Good design is something you can feel!!!" they are!!! Note how he noticed they were making some of the same mistakes they had made earlier.

Video #2

10:36 - 19:45 James Gosling from the Lex Fridman podcast, A great insight that computers could be anything and everything, and if you remember from week 1, this is an opportunity and a challenge. "Arbitrarily complicated things and I didn't need any physical materials." at 18:18 is brilliant

Video #3

1:11:03 - 1:17:23, or to 1:20:10 James Gosling from the Lex Fridman podcast The origin of Java, and a great insight into how Design happened in the beginnings of Java. I love the story of visiting people and seeing their challenges first hand. Road trips, and visiting users where they are.

Video #4

16 mins
How does User Experience affect Security 16 mins, a talk from a Red Hatter

Background Commentary

Design, has many definitions and if you put 10 designers in a room, you will probably get 11 definitions. The definition I use, Design is how something makes you feel. For a developer, probably not the easiest of definitions to use, but these 6 modules give you methods to assess the feelings generated and gives you tools to discuss those outcomes in a structured way. Design, has a long history and can be grouped into 4 time periods as explained below.

Jay Doblin, is one of the most influential Designers that the world has never heard of. From 1955 to 1969 he was the dean at the Institute of Design in Chicago. He wrote many things, and one of the most interesting pieces are the Seven Levels of Design:

Changing levels can give designers an opportunity to innovate. A gasoline pump can be used as an example:

  • LEVEL 1: The designer accepts the pump’s performance but shortens and cleans up its form.
  • LEVEL 2: Performance improvements are made. Either money, gallonage, or fillip can be punched directly. Inserted credit card automatically bills the customer.
  • LEVEL 3: Changes the basic mechanism. The station is like a parking lot where hoses are pulled from trap doors below ground. All the controls are on the nozzle.
  • LEVEL 4: Involves products which are outside the company’s control. No liquid fuel is pumped; pressurized cartridges are inserted into the car. One cartridge fits all cars (like sealed beam headlamps), a one-price sale.
  • LEVEL 5: The service performed is changed; there are no more gas stations. Fuel cartridges are bought anywhere, like beer.
  • LEVEL 6: The service is eliminated; cars never need refueling, they run indefinitely on atomic power.
  • LEVEL 7: Transportation is eliminated; all human contact is by telecommunications.
    Jay Doblin, September 15, 1978 Innovation: A Cook Book Approach

How do programming projects that you are working on align to these 7 levels?

Where should they align to these 7 levels?

Important Thoughts

Design History Design means many different things to many different people. From various talks attended over the years, and from other research, design can loosely be grouped into four different time periods.

  1. The beginning of society to the 1960s
    Craftwork ending with Widespread Mass Production
    This period encompasses most of human history, but in the context of Design, it is signified by individual craftwork at its beginning, but culminates with mass production and industrialization as still exists today. Design during this time was generally thought of in the context of low-fidelity incremental innovation, such as a new flavor, or adding a new color to existing products. Many people and organizations still rely on this incremental innovation to power their businesses today. By extension, many software projects still fall into this incremental and me too approach when it comes to innovation. As this period wraps up most items could be marketed by buying time with one of the three major networks in the United States. The requirements and needs of society were not as complex, and often the designer could reason their way to solving design issues of the day.

  2. The 1960s to 1990s
    Mass Marketing and The Expansion of Media
    Beginning in the 60s and continuing to today, is the use of mass media, marketing, and advertising to sway consumer sentiment to the purchase or use of your product. During this time you begin to see the sciences and academia discover the kinds of influence they can have over consumers. You begin to see the mass market consumer brands realize that individual countries respond to colors in different ways. You also see the identifying of certain societies as either being individualist or collectivist. Human Economics and some of the research in this space gets widespread attention and will be awarded a Nobel Prize. Design, begins to take these factors of culture, behavioral economics, and colors to segment products for specific markets. On the computing front, Microsoft Windows is launched, launching one of the largest revolutions in the way in which people will work, shop, live, and travel. Even today, Windows is not individualized to a country besides simple translations into the native language. Beginning in the early 1990s, both Apple and Microsoft hire experts around Psychology to study the interaction of their offerings in the context of humans. Don Norman is hired at Apple, and Alan Cooper develops and sells to Microsoft what becomes Visual Basic at Microsoft. During this time you get the words “User Experience” credited to Don Norman, and “Interaction Design” as fields of research.

  3. The 1990s to 2010
    Personal Computers, and the Proliferation and Use of World Wide Supply Lines
    During this period personal computers become standard for employee desks, the internet becomes ubiquitous for most of the first world, and you get the build-out and completion of worldwide supply chains. These supply lines can bring nearly anything from anywhere to your doorstep either physically or more importantly for technology adoption, virtually. Design and Design Thinking becomes a discipline taught in MBA programs the world over. Mass surveillance and sentiment analysis of consumers either via direct primary research or via ethnography drives innovations at countless companies. During this time the Designer as a power user of color, art, fonts, and layout is replaced by organizations that use Human-Centered Design and finding empathy with your end-users to create next-level experiences for consumers and fostering disruptive innovation as a practice. Apple rises from the dead to eventually become the most valuable company, for a time, on the planet by doing Human-Centered Design. Most importantly Apple launches the iPhone in 2007, and begins the transformation of using the Human Stylus, the finger, as the way in which most people will interact with Technology.

  4. 2010 to present, some call this the Fourth Industrial Revolution Mass Computerization, Big Data, and Ubiquitous Computing
    The iPhone ushers in an era of ease of use unprecedented in Design and Computing up to that point that becomes an inflection point, and begins a transformation of society that is still occurring to this day. The app store launches in 2008, and begins consumers’ love affair with the next app in, when a downloaded application does not live up to the user’s needs. Our smart phones become tethers to our friends, family, and work. These devices are constantly delivering location, use, shopping and other information as Big Data to Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others to slice and dice profiles of users. Design ends up using this information to foster addiction, general changes in human behavior, and emotional impacts that are just now only being understood. Leaders in Design are beginning to ask Should We, instead of Could We around new services and offerings. The ethics of all this data, tracking, and influence peddling is being assessed and changes to how this works will be discussed and changed in the coming years by Design and Designers, by extension Software Developers.


Persona for Developers Worksheet
Make a copy of the below worksheet, it can be used either as a starting point, or as a way to assess how you are meeting the needs of your users. My thinking is that only of these should exist for a product or feature. I’ve seen too many times, that developers will point to the persona that meets the needs of what they think a product should do, ignoring the requirements of vast quantities of needs for other users.
All comments welcome!!!
Persona for Developers Worksheet

More Reading/s

Page 11, Don’t blame the developers: making security usable for IT professionals.
This is an amazing article that speaks to the requirements of good user experience dovetailing with security and that you can not have good security without also having solid Human-Centered design. In other words, if your users can not make good choices in the context of security, you are dooming them to having intrinsic issues around security in the context of your offering.
Jim Kingsberg, The Seven Levels of Design A Thought Experiment to Help Teams Transform and Transcend Problems
Jay Doblin’s Innovation: A Cook Book Approach

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