I recently read the article “Solutioneering, or putting solutions before problems” on the Blue Flavor Blog. The article is a great read, it explains the need for designers, (or anyone for that matter) to solve a problem, rather than be stuck upon any one solution. It also explains how the alternative option of “putting solutions before problems” rarely yields the best result. I completely agree with this article when it states that “In order for anything to be designed well, we must first identify the problems we are trying to solve and the goals we are trying to reach.” However in the web world, this is not always the case, as anyone who has ever worked on a larger web project with a team surely knows. To get the full gist and for an extremely good read, I highly suggest that you visit the article at the link above.
Where I begin this article however is through my personal experiences with this situation. While I am sure that numerous people will surely disagree (or even be offended) with what I am about to write, I have experienced the situation over and over again. To those who are utterly offended, I offer my sincerest apologies as this is not my intention. And to these people, I only state that maybe they are more talented, experienced, or knowledgeable than some of the people I have worked with in the past.
With that said, what I am getting at is the need for technical people (Developers, Programmers, and I.T. Professionals) to realize this as well. It seems that the nature of these professions are to push the idea of technology, rather than the solutions that they offer. I believe this to be because of the nature of their services. It is obvious that if you are a programmer specializing in flash, that you would be “pushing” its benefits to your clients rather than a XHTML & CSS solution. Because of this I always feel that these people should never be present in the earlier stages of a project unless they are willing to realize these facts and take a step back when necessary. I do realize that the same problem happens every day in the design profession as well, print v.s. interactive for example.
These individuals are of tremendous importance, and unarguably intelligent. However, they often offer solutions that once proposed to clients cannot be undone due to political reasons. Usually this is the reason that these projects end up missing the goals of the client in the long run. As designers, creative directors, or project managers, we must be aware of this issue to make sure that it does not affect the outcome of our projects and ultimately the reputation of our businesses. And to the technical people I ask that you too be aware and step above this problem, I am sure that you will be well respected and sought after for your ability to do so.