“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

Duality of software/experience design – Ray Ozzie

Ray Ozzie is the new Chief Software Architect over at MS. Filling some pretty big shoes at that. Recently in an interview with Knowledge@Wharton he put out MS’s philosophy when thinking about software design (as Reported in Putting People First).

The relevant quote for me is:

The guidance that we are giving the development community and the guidance that we use in-house is to look at applications through the following lens: When the business model behind that app means that you have to get it everywhere, we call that the universal web application pattern. When the most important thing is the experience that the user has with that application and you might be willing to trade off the breadth of the web for the richness of that experience, we call that an experience first pattern.

I find this very interesting that basically there is a duality where he is saying that either it is everywhere or it is rich and while there is a continuum (not black and white) the fact that this dyad is set in this way to me speaks more to MS’s weakness in truly developing a rich mobile platform, and working within open source solutions that could accomplish richness across multiple desktop platforms than it says about the reality of experience design.

I would say though that from a business perspective this duality makes a lot of sense. It feels similar to the old project manage of “Fast, Cheap, Good … Pick any two.” The reality is that to focus on pervasiveness and true richness at the same time is really difficult.

The warning inside the quote from Ray is to really be sure you aren’t being pervasive for the wrong reasons. Does your application REALLY need to be pervasive across all web platforms, or are you trying to use the web platform in unnecessary ways where today’s new desktop platforms like WPF, or finely richened web-Silverlight- (I guess he wouldn’t talk about Flex & Apollo or the new Java Platform JavaFX) get you what you need without sacrificing the experience.

I also liked how he called this patterns. They are a bit high level in my book to be patterns per se because there are no defined solutions to go with them, but they can definitely be some sort of meta-pattern much the way Alan Cooper uses Sovereign and Transient (and his other postures).

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