Srinivas Reddy’s Weblog

My Tech Rants

The Design of Design

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Having recently read the book “The Design of Design” by Frederick Brooks, a legendary Computer Scientist, I would like to share some of my related thoughts in this blog post. Everyday we are “consumers” of design decisions of different people (be it in the laptop where I currently write this post with, Chair I am currently sitting in….) and at the same design many things ourselves (be it in the blog post I am writing, the projects we undertake,…).  Given the importance of Design in everyday life (without getting into details on “what is design”?) its worth to spend some time to think about the process of Design itself without getting to abstract about it. This book is a good starting point for this.

Some key (personal) notes from this book

– The hardest part of design is deciding what to design.

– In design process “problem and solution space” are moving targets

– Successful designs are end user driven designs. The success of open source software can be to a good extent attributed to the fact that the developers (ex: Linux OS) where also users of the software

– “Design” reflects the mind of the designer and design team

– Coherence/Integrity of Design reflect in the product as a whole and in every element of it and are a hallmark of a great designer

– Identify “critical resource” in design and optimize for it. Use “constraints” to innovate and scope the project

– Follow “key design achievements” in your domain past & present. You should learn from “prior art” to understand the “design constraints” and related decisions

– Design process to follow (water fall, Spiral,…) relate to design complexity of the project

– Globalization driven specialization makes it difficult to have a “Chief Designer” who can manage it all. Still a core design team needs to ensure “consistency” in design

– “Design Contests” may be a good way to solve critical design problems and ensure grassroots innovation

– End users need to know details on “design decisions” to ensure better outcomes. Designers are also “human”

– Articulated guesses beat unspoken assumption. Former allows debate for improvement

– Design = Orthogonal (decouple things) + Propriety (less is more) + generality (extensible)

– “Delight” comes from superior elegance of solution and not novelty per se. Design for the end use.

– Several micro decisions reflect the designers style

– Need right design visualizations for different stake holders to understand and contribute

Hopefully I can make use of at least some of this advice in my next designs Smile

Written by srinivasreddy

January 31, 2011 at 6:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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