Digital products and services are a gathering point for pretty much everything we’ve ever learnt. There is a never-ending list of different specialities that need to be utilised to produce the seemingly mythical perfect digital experience.
Those of us working with digital design work in a rapidly changing sector. Yes, we’re maturing as a profession, but the sheer vastness of what we are trying to learn, understand, and manipulate – combined with the speed of change, means that maturity isn’t something that will arrive over-night.
Human beings love compartmentalising things. So do organisations. Unfortunately that doesn’t work with digital design. You can’t work in silos. Each speciality can’t sit in it’s silo and produce the optimal result without genuine co-operation and co-ordination with other specialities.
Ignorance is bliss
One of the biggest problems is that many of these silos don’t realise that the other silos exist let alone the benefit they bring and the importance they carry. That’s understandable. A specialist programmer isn’t going to be a specialist copywriter. Your marketing department isn’t your finance department. You aren’t expected to know the details of how the other professional/department/silo goes about it’s business.
True collaboration, across organisations and with the people who will use what we create is essential for us to get the most out this fantastic medium we work with, and prevent people suffering harm.
Here is my 6 point manifesto that I will follow to help join the dots, get specialities working together, and ultimately make a better digital world:
- Share: Don’t hoard knowledge. Distribute and educate.
- Honest feedback: Always speak my mind. Never hold back from sharing an opinion.
- Good enough: Never aim for good enough. Aim for best.
- Your best interests: Do things that are best for people, for society. Not for short term gains.
- Web standards: As much as possible follow (and even create) web standards and agreed conventions.
- Hypothesis driven. Design and evaluate honestly and openly.
[Originally written in January 2011. Revised in December 2020]