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Don Tennant
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I hope I can guess what the top result for that search query would be...
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Excellent analogy and very relevant for architects and engineers of all types.
 
Avoiding the "Star architect" effect, or a reminder to keep your end users in mind
i'm a sucker for modern architecture. There is one star architect: Santiago Caltrava whom I like.  The problem is that everywhere I go Mr Calatrava has designed beautiful architectural monuments but has forgotten the needs of the end users.  Take the example of this beautiful looking bridge in Bilbao, Spain.

This bridge crosses the main river and it has a beautiful set of stairs going up.  It fits within the city and its new monuments. It seems almost perfect except for one thing:  The original design had the floor made out of glass.  Of course this would be a nice touch except that the city where it was built has these days of non stopping rain all year long. 

When I spoke about the bridge with the waiter at the fantastic fish restaurant I had lunch he was telling me about the stories of the old ladies falling on the bridge because of it being so slippery.  He also mentioned another monument built by Mr Calatrava: The airport terminal building. Its a beautiful building that looks like a bird, except that this geometry together with the rain resulted in water leaks all over the place.

I was wondering how to avoid what I call "The Calatrava" trap.  In software we also sometimes design beautiful constructs that our customers like but the end users abhor.  What I believe to be the key is to understand that the customers are not always the end users.  

Let me give you another example. Another building by Mr Calatrava is a magnificent palace of congress in Valencia Spain.  Very futuristic lines. One small problem: Its made out of glass, which in the Mediterranean sun result in a fantastic warm green house. The costs of air conditioning for the building were horrendous last time I visited.  I am sure that the majors of the cities, both Valencia and Bilbao are very happy with their monuments. They show modern architecture, vanguard thinking.  But the citizens think otherwise.

What could Mr Calatrava done different:  Visit the places. I'm sure he did not realize that a glass floor in a bridge on a rainy city was not a safe thing, or that a glass building in a sunny city was an environmental disaster.  The buildings are beautiful, but not useful.  In the end the people help themselves. In this bridge in Bilbao they ended up with a large black carpet and nobody falls now.

So next time you are designing a software solution please think about the end users and not only about the customers.  Maybe that cloud backend based solution that your customers are so sold on, is not going to be a practicable solution once the end users start using it.

And yes, I do believe that an agile software development will help here, provided you have a product owner that will represent the end user as well as the customer.

#architecture   #softwarearchitecture   #agiledevelopment  
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My, perhaps incorrect, impression has always been that architecture grew out of utility first and the visual appeal of design was then added and became more important over time, but never really became primary. The basic purpose of an architect is to make the structure work safely in for its purpose in its environment. If that is accepted as true, the examples given are major failures.
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Don Tennant

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And the Cuteness Award goes to...
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Darth Goes Though Airport Security!
The Everyday Life of Darth Vader

From my Star Wars Geek board on Pinterest
pinterest.com/herbfirestone/star-wars-geek/
Via My Modern Met
Copyright: Disney MGM Studios

#starwars   #starwarstuesday   #geekhumor   #funny   #darth  
#darthvader   #airports   #security   #LOL   #XD   #seemslegit  
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Keep on keeping on...
 
#coffee , yes!
A new report from the U.S. nutrition panel finds three to five cups per day is linked to numerous health benefits.
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Don Tennant

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Love it... I think...
 
'The Architect' by Erik Johansson really confuses my mind!

http://goo.gl/ojSX0l
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"What is up with this dress color debate?" you ask. Great write up (read: very funny but also informative) over at The Verge.
Truth is subjective. One plus one equals three, the sky is green and the grass is blue, there are five lights. The dress is white and gold. The dress is black and blue. The dress in question was...
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For the record, I backed into this meme after seeing the XKCD comic first. Also for the record, it's white and gold. :-)
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As someone who doesn't live in London, I would want the most elaborate, weaving, snake-like bridge possible. As a Londoner on foot, I would probably vote for whichever one is the shortest distance between two points.
 
Which ridiculous bridge should London build now? A space-age roller coaster, a waterfall-lined bridge, or a jumble of purple sci-fi spaghetti?
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Science fiction begets science.
MIT Technology Review: New Display Technology Lets LCDs Produce Princess Leia-Style Holograms. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwkafskBI
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Really really assuming/hoping this is fake. Because wow.
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