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The Deal

Management must make a commitment to bringing design in before programming begins. Analogously speaking, interaction design is architecture, not interior design. Interaction design determines where the concrete for the foundation will be poured as much as it determines which fabric will be most appropriate for the window treatments. This commitment must extend to giving the interaction designers the moral authority to dictate the shape and constitution of the product to the programmers. This will involve significant cultural upheaval, but the programmers will be happier after the change, and you will benefit from shortened programming time and an immensely superior product.

In exchange for this power, the interaction-design community must make two commitments of its own. First, interaction designers need to get some skin in the game. They need to stop standing on the sidelines giving advice to the programmers, while passively letting them take full responsibility for the success of the products. It is not good enough merely to have the right ideas. You have got to get those right ideas applied to practice, and the only time that is going to happen is when the interaction designers put themselves in harm's way. The programmers do it every time they write a line of code.


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