Seth Godin has an interesting piece up about the word “architecting” (not a real verb) vs “designing”:
I think architecting something is different from designing it. I hope you can forgive me but I think it’s a more precise way to express this idea…So I reserve “architect” to describe the intentional arrangement of design elements to get a certain result…Architecture, for me anyway, involves intention, game theory, systems thinking and relentless testing and improvement.
This is something I have been thinking a lot about lately and have been meaning to post about. I think Godin nails the basic idea of how much architected space (whether “real” or virtual) affects how we interact with products, people, and ideas. I find how design affects social interaction to be the most interesting subset of this field.
Architected interaction has always been an important underlying force in the world (think urban planning, projects, and public space), but it becomes even more obvious in a computer-mediated environment. Services like email and Twitter fundamentally affect how their users relate to one another through the constraints they set up (e.g. the character limit on Twitter). The architecture of Identity and reputation systems similarly affect interaction, such as whether someone is comfortable buying an item on eBay or connecting with another on Facebook. Lessig’s dictum “Code is Law” is easiy applicable here, and it gives programmers and designers more power than city planners could every hope for.
Examples are everywhere, and I believe this is an important topic that is ready to come to the forefront. Just a few weeks ago, I began baby steps of mapping out what a book on subject might look like. I’m glad that Godin started the conversation.