The Good, The Bad, and The Interesting

I teach at CMD Amsterdam, a digital, interactive design school. My students become digital, interactive designers when they’re done. Indeed, that’s quite a vague job description. We teach all of our students the basics of interaction design, visual interface design and frontend development. Later on they can specialise in all kinds of directions if they want to, but we think it’s necessary for any specialist to know at least the basics of the other specialists they have to work with.

Since we offer such a broad curriculum, most of our students become generalists. Yet their teachers, like me, are all specialists.

All specialists have their own definition of quality. I thought it would be interesting to collect these different definitions. That’s why I started organising a series of meetups at our university where I ask an eclectic mix of (digital) designers to come and talk about what makes a (digital) thing good, and why, and what makes it bad. This resulted in some very interesting talks, and quite some new insights. This year this series will continue, and it will be great again, no doubt.

There is a problem with talks though: They are a lot of work. So most speakers came and did a talk they had done before. Which is fine, of course, but these talks might not answer my question about quality as well as they could. So I decided to start a new series of podcasts.

A conversation is easy. You don’t need to prepare much when you’re casually talking about a subject you love in a friendly environment. I’m going to invite digital designers — and I use a very broad definition of designer — and all my colleagues to explain to me what makes a digital thing good, and why. And I’m going to publish these conversations as audio files on my site.

I published a first conversation with interaction engineer Rahul Choudhury, in which he talks about the things that make the web good — the defaults — and the things that make it worse — all the things we add. And a lot of other very interesting, and often surprising stuff. Like most of the conversations in this series of podcasts, this episode is in Dutch.