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I liked your quote about systems.
I tell my students our job is actually closer to the architect’s than to, say, printed-graphic designers. Our focus is not about decoration nor illustration; it is about building experiences around data access, by designing systems, just like architects and urban planners do when they create a house, a park: they think about purpose and meaning and transcribe them into volumes, circulation, space, atmosphere and flows (air, water, electricity, pedestrians).
Our job is very similar to that: a website is an environment. As you say: a system.