What do designers know that developers don't? It is often said that development is the least glamorous job at any organization. Many times designers are looked at as magical music-makers. Why are they perceived that way when we bring their designs to life? It feels more like they put the frosting on the delicious cakes that we as developers make? We would argue that we must create amazing things together and one would not be as good without the other. Who wants a cake without frosting? And who wants frosting without the cake?
So then, why should we look at developers any differently than designers? Why shouldn't development be as magical and innovative as a designers approach? Designing and design thinking happen at all stages of a process to create just about everything from a sports car to a tea cup. The combination of function and aesthetics are a beautiful combination. Like cake and frosting.
I recently read an excerpt in a Fastco Design blog 'Designing is About the Decisions you Make Every Day' by Stefan Boublil..."…design was meant to serve people and make life easier, not just better looking. When designers succeed, the results do not need explanations, a narrative or descriptive tags; they tell their stories in how they work. The prize is not fame, fortune, or blog hits but the betterment of society through what might have been perceived, at first, as the peculiar placement of a handle on a cup but ended up changing how we sip, if not the world."
I agree with the sentiment, but think we take it one step further in the web development world. Why can't we also use this same design philosophy and apply it to everything we create. We should strive to build applications that create an emotional connection for our users. Something as simple as a form on a site should never result in a user feeling confused or bewildered about the process. Creating moments of delight in something as a simple as a web form should be a benchmark that we as developers choose every day.
We can be as glamorous and magical as designers; we just need to change the paradigm and believe in it. We often allow our work to be dictated by the design/creative process; however we have a dutiful obligation to add to the creation before it feels mandated as a functional/technical specification document. Ultimately we need to own the function, just the same as the designer owns the aesthetic.
Design thinking should be applied at all levels of the design and development process. We don't make a distinction. It's the "methodology for practical creative resolution of problems or issues that looks for an improved future result". So, this means it could be reflected in how the site looks, but also, how a site functions for the user.
In a world where we are outsourced, feared and hold the least glamorous job, we can change the stereotype. We can create amazing. We can learn depth and breadth of knowledge that will allow us to live in the same circle as designers. We can use design thinking as a gauge to be great. Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in that world? I for one think it is possible.