All posts from
March 2004

Programmers, designers and the Brooklyn Bridge

“Do engineers design? Can designers engineer? Looking back at great projects throughout history, it seems these kinds of questions never needed to be asked. There was a philosophy that surfaced in many great works that to do anything well required more than one skill set or discipline. On the contrary, unchecked specialization breeds fragile and shallow ideas. As technology has progressed, I think we’ve lost our connections with the great works of the past and the philosophies and attitudes that enabled their creation. The design and engineering of modern technology, software and the web has bred a hubris that anything older than a few years can’t possibly be relevant, and I think it’s a mistake. To argue this point, there is no better place to start as a basis of comparison and learning than the story of the Brooklyn Bridge.” (Scott Berkun – UIweb) – courtesy of lawrence lee

The Next Big Thing: From Hypermedia to Datuments

“The concept of a datument as a hyperdocument for transmitting and preserving the complete content of a piece of scientific work is introduced. Currently the scientific publishing process loses almost all of the information environment that the author creates or possesses. It is shown that datuments can record and reproduce experiments and act as a lossless way of publishing science. This is illustrated with specific examples drawn from scientific documents and molecular science, showing how a datument containing molecular coordinates can be viewed in various styles and how typical documents deriving from organic and physical chemistry and expressed in XML can be transformed using XSLT.” (Peter Murray-Rust and Henry S. Rzepa – Journal of Digital Information)

A republic of information designers

“The introduction of an information elite does little to reassure us. Wurman (1995) sees a heroic role for ‘a group of people, small in number, deep in passion, called Information Architects’, struggling forward through the ‘field of black volcanic ash’ constituted by current design, in order to save humanity from the ‘tsunami of data that is crashing onto the beaches of the civilized world’. This sounds more like a blurb for the next Spielberg blockbuster, with Information Architects as the good guys, than as a serious proposal about the role of information design. However, the conference brochure similarly suggests that the ‘Republic of Information’ is ‘going to be laid out and planned by a new breed of architects, informed with a new level of understanding and purpose’.” (Jos de Bruin and Remko SchaInstitute of Artificial Art Amsterdam)

Information Design: A young discipline pdf logo

“Information Design, ID, comprises research on analysis, planning, presentation, and understanding of a message – its content, language, and form. Regardless of the selected medium, a well designed information material will satisfy aesthetic, economic, ergonomic, as well as subject matter requirements. The study of information design can be summarised as a multi-disciplinary, multi-dimensional, and worldwide consideration.” (Rune PettersonInformation Design and Product Development, Mälardalen University, Eskilstuna, Sweden)

An open letter to Jakob Nielsen

“Prove to the world that you understand what it takes to provide the world with good design. Prove that you understand that good design, especially as it pertains to the field of high-technology product design, is also about nuts and bolts, honest, straight-forward usability. Prove to the designers out there you understand the principles of good design by tackling your own little spot on the World Wide Web.” (Andrei Michael HerasimchukDesign by Fire)