Brick Star

The anchor plate (also known as a wall washer) is designed to hold the end of tie rod to support a wall or floor so they do not bow.  The star shaped version is a melding of functionality and beauty. Who cares that beauty and functionality are rolled together, builders, architects or the man on the street?  If we were to ascribe functionality to one group’s needs and design to another’s needs, we would miss the point that both are important to most users.

Most internal IT products seem to see design and functionality as two diametrically opposed attributes, like the “tastes great/less filling” dichotomy from the light beer commercial . . . unfortunately both IT and light beer manufactures miss on the whole form/function trade-off. The form/function trade-off is made every day by project teams in IT organizations. The reasons are varied, ranging from schedules that don’t address for design to engineers that substitute for product or graphic design personnel.

My wife recently bought a MacBook Pro. Every step of the purchasing process was designed and choreographed to bond her to the product.  Even the act of removing the shrink wrap was a designed ceremony.  Software development methods, techniques or frameworks are rarely developed and designed with same level of form and function as the MacBook Pro. Consumer products and IT processes might not evoke the same passion, but should that be the case? Can we design our processes to create passionate users who can appreciate both its form and function?

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