Using Maslow's hierarchy of needs to define elegance in system architecture

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Despite the rising interest in developing elegant systems an integral definition of elegance in system architecture and design is lacking. Current attempts have only been able to describe emergent properties of an elegant design or system. This descriptive approach has resulted in evolving definitions and in an inability to use elegance as criteria to evaluate various design candidates. The present research proposes a need-based definition of elegance that aims at being complete yet adaptable, quantifiable, and that allows comparison between different designs or systems. Using Maslow's hierarchy of needs as a paradigm the present research proposes a structural definition that is grounded on the known and unknown needs an elegant system satisfies, rather than on its emergent properties. Specific emergent properties can then be categorized within the structural definition. The benefits of using such type of definition for elegance in system design are two-fold: it ensures completeness because the specific attributes can always be expanded without actually affecting the definition; and it is integral because it provides the necessary flexibility so that designers can tailor the attributes according to their specific environment. © 2013 The authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.




Salado, A., & Nilchiani, R. (2013). Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to define elegance in system architecture. In Procedia Computer Science (Vol. 16, pp. 927–936). Elsevier B.V.

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