Archive for August, 2003

gross stereotypes

i just read an article entitled, can programmers do interaction design?

it would be an understatement to say that i disagree with the hypothesis put forward by this author (she believes the answer to the question above is no – programmers cannot and should not do interaction design). in my opinion, her arguments reflect a set of gross stereotypes that have been floating around the web business for awhile (i.e., code monkeys should know their place at the bottom of the web design food chain).

her thesis (as i read it) also reflects the more general idea that any person who can do job A is not capable of doing job B, if jobs A and B seem to involve differing skillsets. it places people in bland, easily understandable categories (i.e., you = your job) with rigid boundaries. taken to its logical extreme, it would imply that since i am an interaction designer (and programmer), i cannot also be a good father or gardener or beautician (these tasks involve different skills, after all).

if this person were some crank speaking off the cuff in a marginal discussion forum, i could easily dismiss her ideas. however, she is a VP of design at a respected interaction design firm. by association, her views are given some degree of validity – her professional status puts a stamp of authority on a notion that is short-sighted and brutally stereotypical.

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