code v. poetry

Via engtech, the news that Bryan Veloso is no longer with Automattic.

I don’t know how much this has to do with the appointment some weeks back of Matt Thomas, designer of wordpress.org. (wordpress.org was designed? oh yeah, now I remember, it coincided with a major release and the forums breaking). Bryan clearly feels he was second choice, which is probably correct. I don’t think Matt has much use for a designer, as such. He wants someone to code up other people’s ideas, whether they’re the Shuttle team’s or his own, and adapt other people’s themes for wordpress.com. This requires a fair degree of technical skill, but it ain’t designing. In retrospect, it’s only surprising that Bryan agreed to take it on.

The way I work just didn’t fit with their expectations. I could get into how the expectations for designers and programmers differ, or how using Trac to measure output might not be the best way to track my progress.

How many years have I been saying now that the developers don’t understand design or the needs of designers? It was one of the first things that struck me about wordpress, it’s never changed and sounds like it never will. I’m hoping for his sake that Matt 2 doesn’t have any high-flown ideas about creativity and autonomy, but he’s probably been working with wordpress long enough for that not to be a danger.

4 Comments »

  1. engtech said

    I agree that what’s needed for the theme bugs isn’t a design/creative job. It’s a pure slog of fixing bugs — a lot of template tweaks, but CSS hacks more than anything else. You’d want an anal retentive type more than a creative type for the bug fixes.

    And CSS is a bitch.🙂 Going through and fixing CSS issues takes forever, and you constantly have to manually check your changes against multiple browsers, etc.

    It’s no wonder so many themes are buggy out of the box — it’s hard work.

    One benefit though is you’d learn CSS like the back of your hand in a job like that, you just wouldn’t get to exercise any creative impulse that got you into design in the first place.

    One of my best friends is a graphic artist by trade (http://www.kenjitoyooka.com), and I used to ask him why he tried to stay away from website design… up until I did the theme design for //engtech myself. Holy crap is it ever time consuming. I swear I spent hours on the stupidest little details.

  2. adam said

    @engtech –

    that’s any design job. in architecture school they tell you horror stories about being stuck drawing stair sections for decades, but drawing stair sections is better than re-writing drawing notes 15 times to match Division 1 specifications. when i say artist != designer, that’s because art has an entirely different set of constraints.

  3. […] that librarian or my sister and have them use it with as little of a learning curve as possible. It’s sort of that high-flown idea about creativity that I have. It’s funny, I see myself typing all of this, then looking back at the images and laughing at […]

  4. […] We all know which side of this fence Matt is on, and hence it is no surprise that my original comment appears to have vanished into the ether. C’est la vie. I know, I know, I should have trackbacked in the first place rather than rely on the comment actually appearing (what was I thinking?) but I thought I’d spammed you enough with this lately. […]

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