A 2005 presentation to Shift and the Victoria University Software Research group, defining the concept of adaptive design, and emphasizing the importance of rapid prototyping frameworks for developing the next generation of websites.
what if you were designing a web application
and you realized you had missed a crucial
aspect of functionality?
would you update the schematics?
what about the sitemap? the functional spec?
use cases? class diagrams? data models?
requirements documents? terms of reference?
duplicated information threading through the
various aspects of a project leads to “requirements rot”
this management analogy has a parallel in the
duplicated and tangled code leads to invisible
and undocumented dependencies
changing a field in one place can lead to ripples
and breakages through the whole system
CMS: content mismanagement systems?
- individuality of workflow: everyone has their own products
tools and preferences
- workflow roles and tasks are often too fluid and diverse to classify
- problems with content management are mostly social:
a technological “solution” won’t necessarily solve anything
- “design freedom” involves more than just applying a stylesheet
the myth of the generic solution
- the viral meme of “CMS” blurs the obvious distinction
between publishing, design, and development
- rather than try and enhance the fundamental aspects of the web
(HTTP and HTML), many systems try and hide them away
- the usual story: most applications that try to empower
design actually end up limiting the design possibilities
user centered design
- what if there was a web process that focused on growth and
learning, rather than specification and management processes?
- drive the design through assertions that solve user requirements
- allow feedback to enter the design process. listen to everyone!
- guerilla usability testing can identify the areas of a design that
need to be further adapted
- well designed systems are self documenting
drive the design with real examples
- code evolves from unit tests within the code itself
- schematic pages evolve from real world prototyping
and usability testing
- visual designs evolve from creative concepts, photographs,
moodboards, and wireframe prototypes
- use schematics and other diagram models as sketches
rather than blueprints
the emerging open source ecosystem
- agile management: acceptance of constant change
- less code: use of more expressive language and metaphors
- sustainable productivity: getting more things done in less time
- the reusable generic solution evolves from the solution to a
specific problem, not the other way round
how websites learn
and what happens after they’re built?
information architecture has a lot to learn from the experiences
of architecture in the real world
adaptive design means to anticipate the needs of users,
yet not stand in the way of them being able to express
their own needs within a certain space.
designs should evolve and adapt to the way they are used
and the content that flows through them.
think of websites as social spaces for interaction, rather
than a collection of fixed pages or separate visual interfaces.
“because of the different rates of change of its
components, a building is always tearing itself apart.”
Stewart Brand, How Buildings Learn
structural life ranges from 30 to 300 years,
while stuff inside the space can change on
an almost daily basis
. SPACE PLAN