On solving problems, Vicor Papanek states something very interesting in his book, Design For The Real World:
A new way of looking at things can be enhanced enormously through a thorough understand of a second language. For the structure of each language gives us different ways of dealing with and experiencing realities.
It is perfectly reasonable to say I am going to San Francisco” in English. The same statement can be made in German (“Ich gehe nach San Francisco”), but it makes no sense linguistically. In German a qualifier must be added, for instance: I am flying to San Francisco, I am driving to San Francisco. In navajo and the Eskimo languages such statements must be even more specifically qualified to make sense: “I (alone, or with friends, or whatever) am driving (sometimes I will drive, sometimes my friend will drive) (by cart, by sled) to San Francisco (then I will return and my friend will drive on).”
By bringing more than one language to bear on a problem, we obtain depth.
It made me wonder whether this is applicable to digital problems as well. Is it possible for a designer to solve usability issues easier (or better) by learning a programming language? Would it enable him to gain a new and deeper understanding of a problem by having a more technical view on the problem?
This is perhaps a good reason why designers should be able to code…