The gravitational pull of information

Bob Boiko on why designers and programmers should converge around content.

I just posted an interview with “Website Architecture and Design with XML” instructor Bob Boiko over on O’Reilly Answers. Much of the piece deals with the nuts and bolts of XML, but Boiko also discussed the relationship between content creators, designers, and programmers. I thought his response worth sharing here as well.

Are the lines between designers, content creators / coders, and programmers blurring?

Bob Boiko: The lines blurred a long time ago. It’s been more than 20 years since I sat in my first software development team meeting with artists, writers, programmers, and managers all trying to figure out how to talk with each other. They continue to struggle today.

The language of business value and information structure is a great candidate for the common tongue we’re looking for. Everyone on a team should be able to say why they are doing this project and what part they play. That’s business value.

More specifically, in the center of a project you’ll find the information that the project collects, stores and delivers. Designers need to understand the structure of that information in order to present it. Content creators need to understand it to originate or edit it. Programmers need to understand it to build the machinery that moves it from place to place.

The lines that need to blur are not at the center of the design, coder, or programming disciplines, but rather where they meet. And where they meet is in the information.

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