It was great seeing Bill at MIX this year. I sat in on the Hour with Bill Buxton session and walked away with a lot of great concepts. I was hoping to hear a little bit more about the BXT (Business, Experience, and Technology) concept though. I see a lot of design done before technology is ever pulled into the mix and many projects seem to fail because of it (I would imagine that the opposite would be true at a technology company like Microsoft where technology may come first).
I am hoping that Bill reads this and can clarify a few things for me. These were some of the questions I came up with thinking through everything said.
What does the collaboration process look like using a BXT approach? Would you say that all three of those disciplines are included on the design team? If not, where do they fit into the design process?
Hearing more about design at MIX, it seems to raise a bigger question in my mind about who the designer actually is. At the conference and in the context of most website projects, the designer seems to be the person who has an art background and essentially creates the visual and verbal message communicated on a website.
When developing enterprise applications where an established look and feel is already in place, who is the designer on that project? The only roles I see are the business stakeholders, business or systems analyst, and technology. The business analyst would be the one gathering the requirements, writing out the business rules, and designing a solution. Would they be considered a designer? The Software Engineers create system designs, class/object design, etc… On a purely technical project, would they be the designer? Is the term designer used too loosely in general with web projects? Should we be calling them artistic designers instead?
An article (http://betterthanarobot.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/bill-buxtons-advice/) that quotes one of your session’s at MIX starts by saying, “Designers are owners of product and negotiators”. On most projects, I have seen the project manager being in the neutral position playing the role as negotiator and the business as the true product owner deciding product features based on resources and needs. All specialties seem to have their bias being the most important or leading role in a project. Aren’t designers just as lowly as everyone else?