I just read a wonderful post by Shawn Borsky at Six Revisions on why “craftsmanship” is critical to good web design. He keys in on professional pride, which essentially defines craftsmanship, as the primary reasoning. As I see it, anyone can slap some wood together to build something, but a real craftsman takes pride in his or her work, puts thought into the design and the execution, and strives for an elegant and functional finished product.
Early on, Borsky states, “If you do not take pride in your job, strive to build better value, and feel rewarded in your work, this article is not for you. The first step to being a better craftsman is care for your work no matter what it is.” That’s a true statement regardless of your profession, but especially in technology where too many developers, product managers, and even marketers focus on the functionality with little thought given to the actual experience. My recent post on “Marketing and Physics” calls out Google, but there are many, many more examples of good technology fronted by poor design. Apple, on the other hand, is the reigning master at putting design ahead of technology, and has forced other tech companies to up their game tremendously across hardware, apps, and websites. (More and more, HTC has matched or beat Apple at their own game.)
Borsky covers such minor, yet critical, points as naming and organization. It’s this focus on sweating the small stuff that really helps create a killer design. Being diligent about alignment and symmetry – two of my many PowerPoint pet peeves – is as important as layout, graphics, and other “major” design elements.
I won’t spoil the whole story, so do yourself a favor and jump to Six Revisions to read the entire article.
(As for the “P-zero” in my title, it means an absolute must-have item in a list of priorities. P1, for example, is first priority, P2 is second, and so on. I learned of this early in my career as a Product Manager at Siebel Systems, where the engineering team considered P0’s as something we definitely wanted, P1’s as excuses to extend meetings, and everything P2 and beyond as complete wastes of time and not worthy of discussion. Ah, those were good times! 😉 )