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The central claim explored here is that the standard engineering design process produces a fundamental blindness to the domains of action in which the customers of software systems live and work. The connection between measurable properties of the software and the satisfaction of those customers is, at best, tenuous. We propose a broader interpretation of design that is centered on observing the work processes of a community of customers in a domain and connecting those processes to supportive software technologies. The skill that a designer needs to have to observe work processes and begin making the connections is here called ontological mapping. This skill can be learned and is the basis of a discipline of software design.
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