How important is the role that good design plays in communicating what matters?
Greg Storey has done a quick and clean redesign of the infamous August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) document. The original PDB is nearly worthless in communicating what matters. The redesigned PDB gives context and clear cues about what matters.
How does the software that we create measure up? Yeah, it's almost a truism that most software have pour human user interfaces. But, what about things like the application programming interfaces for the developers? Flat, complicated APIs abound. What can we do in the programming languages to make this better?
I think design is everything. As a musician turned programmer I'm more aware of the importance of developing an intuitive sense in order to recognize a good design as well as extend it. This is what I think is one of the real problems of software development in the business world. Software development is an art as well as a science. Development should be the most beautiful response to a request for function. The designs in nature are beautiful and become more so as their complexities are uncovered. The Roman aqueducts or the Golden Gate Bridge follow this pattern. Most of the code I've worked with has been predominately ugly. The ugliest code always had the most problems because its lack of coherent design made it unmaintainable. When I've had a chance to design code I made sure it was beautiful and the success of the code in delivery the functionality was always in relation to how it grew while being faithful to its core beauty.