Monday, December 19, 2016

The Bull has Two Sides

You find lots of strange things online.  This week I turn to the pages of the New Yorker to enjoy a few lessons about web design.

Times Square in New York City is receiving a face life to make it more pedestrian friendly.  The work began in 2012 and should be finished sometime in the summer of 2017.  Leading the construction is an architecture firm lead by principal partner Craig Dykers.  His office overlooks the Wall Street bull, and it gives him some insights into the design.  According to the December 14th,  2016 New Yorker.

Dykers told me that he has observed the crowds around the bull for years, and that the tourists can be divided roughly equally into those who pose at its head and those who pose at its rear end. (The bull’s nose, horns, and testicles have been rubbed, for luck, to more or less identical degrees of shininess.) Dykers said the statue is a useful reminder that humans are diverse, and have their own ideas about design. “A lot of our work as architects takes into account that just as many people are interested in the backside of the bull,” he said.

There is wisdom in this observation as you are constructing websites or software applications.  No two people view a web page the same way again.  Some view it from the metaphorical horns and others view it from the metaphorical behind.  It is up to us to accommodate both of these perspectives and to test it accordingly.  As an engineer and scrum master, I look at a website very differently than a sales person or pricing managers.  I am a big believer in Agile and Scrum because I can test out concepts early and fold them into later releases so that I do not have to deal with the crushing disappointment of spending my life building something my customers will not use.

So remember the horns and behind of the bull, and build software iteratively.  It is not only a good practice but a healthy way to avoid disappointment in this business.

Until next time.