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Really good parallels: “The most contentious point between software engineering culture and visual design culture is the question of whether important things can be always seen in absolutes. The engineering approach values measurable, reproducible results which can be represented in a graph or a checklist. Unit tests and benchmarks illustrate progress.”^^^ yup, sounds like the DQI to me. “Visual design is often the polar opposite of engineering: trading hard edges for subjective decisions based on gut feelings and personal experiences. It’s messy, unpredictable, and notoriously hard to measure. The apparently erratic behavior of artists drives engineers bananas. Their decisions seem arbitrary and risk everything with no guaranteed benefit.” ^^^ if we see designers (Architects only?) as “artists” – in the sense that they are creating an artefact – then this also works. “Designers, though, are just as frustrated by the apparent blind allegiance to data at the cost of human experiences. They often feel as if engineers lose sight of the actual goal. Artists see data as a tool only, not a purpose onto itself. The reason for this is simple: data in isolation makes no guarantees about whether the correct thing is being measured, or whether the measuring itself is skewing the results.” ^^^ aka “designing by numbers” We need to consider the consequences of our measurements. A BQM alone won’t be enough. We also need to see numbers are guides rather an absolutes – although how will this sit in a positivist culture?

23 March 2009

Derek Thomson

Measuring the Design Process

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