Darek Powazek says in his recent article : Calling All Designers: Learn to Write!
It may be fashionable to say Ã¢â‚¬Å“markets are conversationsÃ¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“design is about communicating ideas,Ã¢â‚¬Â but how can that be true if the designers arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t working with, or actually writing, the text?
The whole article strikes me as part of the increasing awareness of cross-displine knowledge, and an increased awareness of user/customer experience. There is no doubt he is right that the text that you use as part of your user interface is so closely tied in with the user experience that it should be considered part of the design. When the usability consultants at work do a usability audit on a site the communication with the user, which is often predomently via text, is one of the key things they have to advise on.
The part of the idea that appeals to me the most though is the cross discipline aspect. More and more good ideas are coming from the melding and merging of two subjects, sometimes unrelated, and sometimes closely related. The boundary for where one dsscipline ends and the next begins are becoming blured, and its finally becoming fashionable to do so. As Eno said: ‘I am a dilettante, In other countries it’s called interdisciplinary research’.
My PhD was based in my mind mainly on taking a problem from one subject area, mapping it to a well known problem in a second subject area, and solving that (albiet not as optimially or as quickly as I would like) using a set of tools a build from a third area. While I did some new and novel developments in each, it was the connection between them that I think was the most fundamental to the thesis.
Back to the subject of design, and words, I’m now working on a project that is heavily based on providing a good interface. Its becoming more and more clear that while we have people working on each segment of the project (seperation of concerns still rocks!) the process can be made significantly easier or harder by a slight bluring of the boundaries between the segments. I’m not advocating a totall cross-over in this case, just that there is a section at the boundaries of concerns that can be worked on by either side. This may well lead to both sides working independently on the corss over, but maybe thats for the better One of us is smarter than all of us:
The wisdom of crowds comes not from the consensus decision of the group, but from the aggregation of the ideas/thoughts/decisions of each individual in the group.
At its simplest form, it means that if you take a bunch of people and ask them (as individuals) to answer a question, the average of each of those individual answers will likely be better than if the group works together to come up with a single answer.