According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, pragmatic is defined as dealing with the problems that exist in a specific situation in a reasonable and logical way instead of depending on ideas and theories. And poet is defined as one (as a creative artist) of great imaginative and expressive capabilities.
It might seem strange that I put these two words together, but as I continue through my design career, I am discovering that is what I really am.
A pragmatic poet.
I am NOT on the Craig’s List design bandwagon
While I enjoy playing the role of diplomat or devil’s advocate, I am not one to jump on the overly practical UI design of Craigs List. I know people point to it as a highly utilized, financially vialbe, plain-Jane site. While it has become a little cleaner thanks to some simply CSS changes, it is still just a large link farm and doesn’t satisfy the poet in me.
On the other side of the coin, Smashing Magazine has a great catalog of sites that appeal to the poet, but are repelled by the pragmatist; beautiful, but unusable sites. In this article, they do mention that “form follows function” can be considered a controversial mantra to adopt as a designer. However, there needs to be a point to the experience and a way to convey it without stripping away the beauty.
I CAN relate to emotional buying
In a related story, Donald Norman talks about the study they did about a beautiful, but potentially unusable alarm clock. Despite it’s usability “flaws” or challenges, a few of the test group would still buy it because they were taken in by its design. If I dug into my closets, I bet I can find a few things that fall into that category. However, I know the pragmatist in me has returned things that in the end just don’t work.
Where do you fall in the spectrum? Or do you think there isn’t a spectrum at all? That things can only be beautiful when they are useful?
Let me know.