Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Design Wisdom

The Elements of Style for Designers - Boxes and Arrows: The design behind the design

Here's some useful design wisdom, as inspired by the classic writer's book The Elements Of Style.

I'm not surprised that the author of this article was able to connect up the advice on writing with that of design. In many ways, writing and programming have a lot more in common than say building a bridge and programming.

Just consider...

  • If you want to be a good writer, read. If you want to be a good programmer, read a lot of programs.
  • There's no strict recipe to follow when writing, it's a creative process. The same is true for crafting a software solution.
  • You can't really edit your own work, you won't see your own errors. The same is true with programming.
  • You need to write and re-write and re-write some more. You need to code, and refactor and refactor some more.
  • Just because you write something doesn't mean you've expressed it well and that you are done. Just because the code runs doesn't mean you can walk away from it - is it maintainable and clear?
  • You can get writers block. You can get programmers block.

And there are probably plenty more parallels as well.

In general, writing, programming and designing are all crafts. I think the more you learn about each topic, the better you can do in any one of them.

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