What is Design? Note on Joel on Software

This is from 2013:

Like most hybrid technology/design folks, I’ve long admired Joel Spolsky’s writings. This piece from 2006 was extremely instructive.

Spolsky argues that design is about making tradeoffs. Implicit to tradeoffs are the fact that people aren’t all the same. Are you designing for beginners or experts? Are you designing for an Apple lover or a Windows lover? Are you designing for a Modernist or my butterfly-motif-loving mom?

He quotes retired Chrysler designer Thomas C. Gale:

“Good design adds value faster than it adds cost.”

which argues for a great business case for design, which Spolsky re-makes in the context of one of the early Motorola phones. This is a good thought to work from. -JM