The Bauhaus of Software

"[We could make] Canada The Bauhaus of Software"

I just threw this out there last night in a tweet before bed, but it seemed to touch on something others want for Canada. Here's what I was envisioning when I wrote that.

Integration of Disciplines

Should designers code? Should coders design? Should you know about art? The answer is yes. The Bauhaus institute married fine and applied arts by placing artists, engineers, architects and industrial designers under a single roof. Artists designed buildings and architects made furniture. Collaboration ensued, forming a revolutionary definition of craft. The world was better for it and creative professionals were empowered. Why should software be any different? Makers of software could share and obsess over masters of their craft and draw inspiration laterally from any creative discipline.

A Common Sensibility

Is there one right design? No, but I believe there are "more right" and "less right" designs. Ultimately, nature (or 'markets' in economic terms) decides what ought to last and what ought to die, but we can engage vigorously in uncovering the common patterns in what endures. Too often I hear people say "I don't know how to design" or "good design is subjective". I do not think this is good to engage with. Design is making trade offs. Every software writer engages in design as they write code.

Some products are fast and easy to use at the expense of customizability, others are nearer to code, but incredibly flexible. Every product will exist on this continuum. But, many products are not deliberate in the trade offs they make. Many products conflate aesthetic choices with better design, often at the expense of usability. A common sensibility could seek to make the most common dimensions of product design apparent and easy to understand so that software writers can make more deliberate choices for their customers. Canadian-made, open source frameworks for building user interfaces and software systems that are fast, legible, easy to extend, aesthetically pleasing and highly usable could be offered for free to better the average user experience.

Decentralized Contribution

The Bauhaus institute was a community of like-minded creatives who collaborated intensely to find "more right", more natural answers to what good design was for the greater good of their users. The institute closed in 1933, but the movement continued for decades afterwards. I think this proves that a Bauhaus of Software can be fostered more loosely by businesses and schools engaging in discourse online, hosting in-person community events and sharing our individual knowledge on the web.