I don’t deny that there are social norms surrounding the elevation of bad design. Of course people who don’t have to eat their own dog food will have worthless and shallow opinions! But, there’s an ethical aspect to design: would you rather improve the world with good design or get paid more for bad design? There’s a didactic aspect to this as well: these semi-competent people in positions of power have the ideas they do because they have internalized trends that were promoted by actual designers or by people who have placed a heavy hand on the fashions of design; since warped ideas about what constitutes good design among designers caused these norms, corrections to these ideas (along with system-level changes like improved diversity and dogfooding) can correct these norms, albeit on something like a twenty year delay.

It takes resources to make a stand, so I can’t recommend everyone do so. But, if you’re a designer and you can afford to reject exceptionally bad norms, I recommend doing so. After all, accepting the awful state of design allows it to improve more slowly.

Written by

Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store