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Design is Horseshit!

Stashed in: Design!, Pwnies!, Scatology, Web Designs, Sticking it to The Man!, @lmeadows

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Of course I am referring to the tempest in a teapot started by @yongfook's blog post on Tumblr a couple weeks ago.

He makes some interesting points, though of course all designers were immensely pissed off that a mere engineer would dare to malign their dark and mysterious craft. Mainly, @yongfook is saying that "look and feel" doesn't matter (at least in the beginning) and that creating real value is a far more important product goal.

Among the more articulate of the douchebag designers who came to their profession's defense was @bokardo, who looks like this:

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@bokardo crapped out the following blog post in response to @yongfook: Design is not Horsepoop.

Though I recommend against reading @bokardo's rather tedious and whiny defense, I summarize his argument below:

  1. If a product is successful, it was designed well.
  2. Whoever designed said product is therefore a designer. They designed "how it works."
  3. Therefore designers are awesome. QED.

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My problem is this: what the hell is it that a designer is doing, if not look & feel + maybe interaction flows? According to @bokardo's definition, they're basically a PM with a copy of Adobe Illustrator.

I'm not saying that designers or PMs don't contribute value, but let's be serious here: if you consider design to be "how the product works" then designers really are PMs. And if they code, they're engineers. So why play the douchebag-y word game and not just call the person what they are: a PM or an engineer?

I'll tell you why. Because "product manager" doesn't have the artsy-fartsy, RISD, Ph.D in HCI cachet that designer does. What does a designer do? From whence do their mysterious talents spring? These are the questions that many designers want you to be asking. They want to perpetuate the illusion that they know something you don't.

Most of the response on Twitter (such as this) attempt to rebut @yongfook's argument by debating the definition of design. Who gives a shit about the definition of design? Go create some fucking value! And learn to code! If you don't like coding but want to define "how it works," then become the best PM you can be and don't call yourself a designer! Design is horseshit!

Not all designers are bad, but I concur that there's a correlation between pretentiousness and making the team tense.

After all, if design is horseshit, wouldn't that mean that designers are horses?

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This article displays a truly appalling lack of knowledge of what a Product Manager does. It's not your fault though, half of the high tech companies in the valley don't know either.

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