JLW: Is coding design?
KS: It’s funny how the moment you start talking about code, you start being into a technical role. Because so many people are alienated. They know they don’t understand … but they want to protect their status as a ‘creative’.
When you work with code, actually typing code is absolutely the last thing you think about … writing code becomes a background task, because you’re actually building a mental model of what you want to do. This is what makes code work. This is where you work as a designer. Mapping is what we all do automatically, but for code it has to become a conscious act.
JLW: When you’re designing something?
KS: Yes – even when you do a poster. You have a mental image and that image doesn’t pop into your head. You really focus on it, you have to analyse what happens and you have to break this process down into such small parts that it becomes encodable as code.
JLW: So is there an argument that some computer programs take away these mental tools?
KS: Well there’s something I said at Flash On The Beach in Brighton – that Kenneth Boulding quote: ‘We make our own tools, and then they shape us.’ If you depend too much upon any tool – Flash or whatever – sooner or later your idea will be channelled through that tool’s metaphors, and there goes your idea!