My theory, based entirely on my own experience is that many developers would like to know just a bit more about design (not all developers, and not a lot more, just some developers, and just a bit more). Our reasons include:
1. The bar has been set higher by Silverlight and other application development platforms that set high user expectations
2. Some of us don’t have access to professional designers, or don’t have access early in our project
3. Some of us are developing prototypes and no designer is involved but we want the prototype to look good enough that the design doesn’t “get in the way.”
In short, we’re putting our code in front of others, and while many folks can say they don’t care what it looks like, the truth is that good looking (or at least good-enough looking) code makes a very different impact than poor looking applications.
Thus, I am taking action. My goals are to provide this information to developers in what I’m calling the Pocket MFA series. This is an entirely optional set of add-ons to the tutorials, videos, blog entries and other work I do. It will be optional and easy to skip, but my hope is that you’ll find value in it. It is an experiment that will last through Q1 and then be reassessed.
As a start, I’ll be making recommendations on some background reading, but I’m happy to announce that one of our best designers will be adding a brief commentary to my forthcoming videos (at the end so you can skip it if you really don’t want to know about this) detailing small changes that I could have made to improve the appearance of my application.
These commentaries will run under 5 minutes, but collectively I hope to learn and I hope they will teach, the fundamentals that we can use to bring the appearance of our applications up that notch or two that can make a world of difference.
There are three books that I typically state are indispensible to anyone creating software (The Design of Everyday Things, Why Software Sucks and Don’t Make Me Think). That said, if we’re focusing on design, then I think we may want to start with this gem:
And while it is not targeted at Silverlight 2, you may well want to get a leg up by watching Arturo’s brilliant video from the Fire Starter series. Click on the image below to go to the Firestarter site, and then click on Arturo’s tile (see arrows) to watch his video.