New headlines, not faster ones
Some years ago, attempting to take more control over an online footprint, decided to put an experimental mobile Web server onto a low-end smartphone. It worked really well. Why would someone do that? Or year, or maybe less, before that there was a video by the largest phone manufacture at the time. In that video they talked about, they actually just showed, there was very little text, and I’ll be in that lifestyle where the mobile device transformed itself into what the user need it right at that moment. From that, came a small group — very, very far inside of that company, who took the all powerful tooling which makes web servers tick, and fit it all into a phone. That was the type of future headline I never read before but wanted to be living within immediately.
Before sitting down to compose this, attended a presentation on the future of computing. As the person talked about what he envisioned the future of computing looks like, I wondered where his reference point came from. When he talked about blockchain, he neglected to mention the very public ledger his employer was already building. When he spoke about using voice to design applications, there was no pointing to JAWS or even Apple’s recently demoed voice control feature for iOS13. When he spoke of sensors and cameras which could infer meaning, there was only “it will do this,” not “here’s how we design ethical constraints around the inherent bias of machines primary senses.” There was only the tropes of current and past news — and to be honest, a future already living with two connected rings and a pair of connected glasses on my person now. His future wasn’t far enough.
Attended that talk with the expectation of hearing something, learning something, perhaps even just a perspective not heard before. But the future to some people, is the past to others. For some, the future is faster horses. For others, the future is a protopian canvas compromised of languages long forgotten, scribbled by senses finally given a chance to be exercised. A future which goes further invites the reality of a different floor — not just a “more” floor or an invasive one. It creates a language more than it extends an existing one. Yes, it augments — but it also alleviates and alternates. Going further means that we intentionally disinvite ourselves from owning the narrative — and decide that those with a newer native capacity drive, model, build, regulate, and reproduce.
Some days before, a conversation sparked because of (as was stated) “a clearly different understadning of how to use an iPad.” The person was not just intrigued, but wanted to know why they did not understand-for-use the same technology they had in their hand. As with a current client, this turned into a “what kind of present can Avanceé help you envision with what’s in your hands now?” For them, it was like asking them, “do you want the future right now, or later?” Our sessions start with the future being further than what they’d been working towards but not outside of their hands’ ability to grasp.
There’s something to be said about anchoring the future in what’s understood about the present. But, if you push out a bit further, you just might reveal something about the future which ignites senses beyond simply being stimulated. My goal with Avanceé is to help you push further into that future. Not to give you exactly what you might see from me. But, to offer you a lane, well-within your capacity to build ans traverse, so the future you imagine, is also the one you live.
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Climate and weather are increasingly the points of topic in the northern hemisphere. Sure, part of it is due to the uncomfortable and unpredictable nature of weather. At the same time, the inability to control climate reminds us of our own fragility. The power of humanity (or maybe our intelligence) has certainly been in manipulating the environment such that we don’t seem to be as effected by our environment. And yet, we’ve learned to manipulate it because of the environment. Interdependency and augmentation have always gone hand in hand. Yet now, our ability to quickly communicate what has and hasn’t worked now presents a lot more of us with an earnest challenge: will we thrive because we are resistant to further change, or resilient because of it?
This is the framing for the links which have stood out this week.
And then a few from here:
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Many approaches, just as there are many senses
Having been involved with connected technology since the late 90s, there has been decent evolution in working methods. Where it was once, “only use online research for what can be validated,” now there’s “make sure there are qualitative and quantitative sources for materials.” The funny thing about the latter, is that often the approach still boils down to what can be seen or read. A visual literacy is the preamble to any declarative approach. And yet, we see time and time again, visual artifacts contain only so much information — to arrive at better conclusions, we often have to engage other senses to our approaches.
Engaging other senses sounds as if it could be more involved. And to some degree, that is true. For the beginning parts of our learning days, we are given multi sensory inputs: blocks to touch, colors to recognize, sounds to it knowledge, and more. Over time, our learning environment changes to include more memory retention and recall. If this makes sense, we move to what is understood as higher-order affects. Yet, these higher-order types of mental activities often make us feel so disengaged we run to other tactile, audial, and other senses in order to feel refreshed so that we can reengage with the productive environment.
How do we take the best advantage of using more senses in our environment in order to come to traditional, and often times more innovative outcomes?
Some of this may come out of the way that we evolve what we understand about our natural environment and productivity. For example, one client splits work across several segments of the day. We make a point to have a walking session for one of them, alongside the seated ones, when the weather permits. Those walking sessions tend to expose the deeper problems that we were trying to solve. For another client, we make certain to put exercise and time under the trees as part of the creative method. Yet, outcomes for this client usually require deeper thought. And there is some research which seems to acknowledge that getting under trees, sitting next to still/running water, or smelling different scents as being a catalyst to creative efforts.
This is not an approach that is conductive, or traditional, to the office environment. As a matter fact, it is so different it can look like anarchy to such an environment or culture. However, it is not. Getting in touch with ones other senses enables approaches to creative endeavors which respond heartily to outside of the box perspectives. What’s created then resonates with more than just what is input thru the pupils.
Uncharacteristicly quiet this week. Or, more like listening to what others are/aren’t doing in this space more intensly if there’s more to be said about it. The weekly long-form missed for paying attention to these trends has allowed some deeper thoughts about what it means to be forward. In one conversation, reflecting on the executive need for adding more time to the day meant looking again at what this effort is supposed to produce. In another, it has been about addressing some base tech skills so that data analytics and personal security aren’t missed as other efforts to move forward happen. That leads to similar endings at this point — links which have said things which matter. Beyond these, the conversation and effort continues to cut a different way forward.
Here’s what has caught my attention this week:
Last week’s notable reads 🔗 can be found here.
There were no new pieces this week, yet there’s been a ton posted this year. Here are a few favs:
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Independence. Given the celebration of such for the USA, it’s helpful to stay on theme so to speak. And yet, so much about independence is really about ownership of agency. Ownership of owning not only your consequences, but also your pace. Ownership of your mobility, just as much as ownership of your quiet. Independence is about an active boundary — a means to establish what you know in order to discover what you are becoming. And yet, as we in the USA are figuring out, independence doesn’t end with a document. It isn’t concluded because a part of the group has it. It isn’t ownership of agency until all parties (those who want it and those being separated from it) can exercise their lives within it.
For such reasons, platforms like @microblog might be a better expression of independence than you might have figured. Where you have agency to be, then you can be all that you can imagine and more.
With that said, here’s this week’s links of interest:
And a few from here:
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Not the pioneer, but the ones who follow, who create the roads
Speaking with a few “coffee office mates” about cycling advocacy, there’s something powerful about advocacy which comes to mind. When there’s positivity advocacy, it validates a framing — ethical, capitalist, emotional, etc. — where it is no longer the case if something works. With advocacy in tow, there’s no need for further validation of culture change, it will change. The only question then is how deep that change will be.
Perhaps advocacy could be thought of as the presence of a change agent. When it convinces an area or change, there are those who will adapt, and those who will remove themselves. There’s a moment when a decision needs to be made — a shift where advocates cause positive, negative, or indifferent change. Yet, the change agent isn’t the reason for the change. They are merely the messenger. It is up to the environment to make the decision to follow or ignore. But, when they do, then the power of the advocate is exercised.
In a few engagements, Avanceé is granted access to the strategy and execution of forward-running programs. This is where Avanceé runs best — the statements go something like, “we aren’t ready to do what you are doing. But, we need your guidance to get closer to than where we are now.” Avanceé isn’t the author of the change, just an advocate towards getting there. We work alongside others who wish to be culture/change agents and then arrive at a place where enough information is gathered, or behaviors challenged, where the organization makes a choice to go forward or not.
Similar to cycling advocacy, it isn’t those who are already cycling who create the sustaining change. It is inviting those who are closer to the lived-experience of the region. Those who see other benefits of cycling (financial, health, local business support, etc.) as key to making that cultural change. It’s at that shift where advocacy moves from being a discussion to a transaction. A transaction which invites other discussions, and likely other transactions also. But, the advocate for the initial, won’t necessarily be the advocate for the next. They too will need to change — and become a follower to someone else’s advocacy plan.
Late? Or elite? Part of the reason for things being later than usual, that is the posting of this weeks links, is because of a focus towards business development for a few new clients. One part of the work is trying to understand why they are not late in their respective industry, but why they are elite. Sometimes, timing works for us if we find a flow that is less dependent on whether or not people who could use our services — that is, we work in our flow and are found because we are distinctly not pushing against the grain. Simply becoming notable because your flow demonstrates that others are striving. From there, the work that you put in is what guarantees the business’ outcomes.
And a few from here:
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Every org is a tech org, every tech is it’s currency
In some engagements, the product is simply to raise the floor of a specific team or role’s technical literacy. This might mean training on a particular platform or application, connecting the dots between existing practices, or carefully appraising incoming personnel’s skill sets. In all cases, one of the arguments made is that no matter the application of the business’ attention, they are a technical organization. Their ability to skillfully use, adapt to, and moderate themselves (individually and collectively) will determine if that literacy is profitable or detrimental.
What amounts to functional literacy is different than even 15-20 years ago. It used to be words per minute was the metric of literacy. Nothing about the quality of the output, nothing about the ability to transform that into various other forms. Just input. Later, many industries evolved past WPM to Microsoft Office proficiency. Not merely being about input, this phrasing also meant the ability to transform and manipulate for specific ends. Unfortunately, it is a very wide request for proficiency (does one need to know mail merge for Word, how to create rules for Outlook, or how to write/edit VBA for macros in Excel). Sure, a good bit of this request for proficiency had to do with understanding how to find and leverage functionality. Yet, it was rarely stated this way. Weirdly enough, this phrasing actually leads to the gaps SaaS products have aimed at marketing.
So, if we agree that these were the leading steps of literacy over the past 30+ years of knowledge-based productivity, what does technical literacy look like now?
Or, is it creating something else entirely, which adds the benefit of improving productivity, increasing stakeholder returns, or filling a social need?
Skillfully using, adapting, and moderating technology (individually and collectively) will determine if that literacy is profitable or detrimental. Technical literacy is the floor, and that floor will continue to evolve, just as our base uses of computing evolves.
Thought about publishing the weekly links earlier since Friday was quite packed. But, it made sense to wait a bit. There were a few things on deck for Friday which shaped these a bit better. That shaping will lead to better buckets of life later — and interesting bits to consider for the weekend forward.
When connectivity is wellness
A few conversations recently about connectivity and what it means to be well had sparked something of a different perspective. Namely, what it means to find wellness when you are connected. Sounds like a wrong shift of perspective to some, but we must realize that for many, to be disconnected will mean Essential death. It’s rather on a scale of connectivity where they will figure out what is too much, what isn’t enough, and what it means to be well.
Borrowing from the ideology behind digital immigrants and natives (see: Howard Reinghold), there’s obviously a difference between those who grew up with connectivity as it evolved and those who grew up with different aspects of it more or less normalized. Much like those who grew up with color TV listened to those who grew up with radio talk about the diminishing of imagination, there’s a similar angle to this discussion. However, we won’t settle on the perceived negative connotations, there’s room for that in other digital humanism discussions. We would be better to ask what wellness looks like.
On the other side of those things techie, there’s been plotting what it means to be connected but not overwhelmed. When wearing connected glasses and ears means “an ability to communicate but not be overdone with media connecting to you.” Or, adding a set of ears and finding the other spectrums of hearing not easily heard as we age. Or, adding a watch for wellness is also adding a human introspection of transactions and rest. In a sense, grafting connected devices and services not for the purpose of being consumed with media/attention, but for the purpose of using it to filter the world so that a humane perspective remains.
Wellness starts to sound more like exercising agency over how and what is connected to. It really is “use these attention-seeking, analytics-invasive” services and devices, but doing so under the lens of “let me stay connected to the parts of the world which matters.” Yes, sometimes that means disconnect, but more often, it means to use the settings, filters, and timers also present in order to lower the volume and tone.
Looked at a bike lock this weekend and wondered why an NFC-enabled lock was not (yet?) invented to make it easier to keep a locked bicycle from being taken. A bicycle being used speaks to being human-powered, and close to your surroundings as you travel. However, solutions for securing a bicycle are either to fold and take it with you, or use a fairly thick and heavy lock to secure it. There’s connectivity on a finger which could solve both of these if we thought about it differently. That differently isn’t to be disconnected (analog, or manual)m but to use connectivity in such a way it causes us to cultivate wellness, rather than disconnect because of fears.
If connectivity were also looked at as wellness, what could your humane-enabled perspective also create? What else would it empower? Why not connect to those outcomes instead of what we’ve been doing to date?
Persistence… for those to whom media has or hasn’t given them attention, there’s the swelling of persistence. For those engaging in environmental conversations, the addition of younger voices seems to validate their persistence. While the diminishing of data or resources invites a different type of persistence. Whether or not persistence is met with the intended desire, what’s been true about this week — and the links shared — is that persistence is just as much a tune for the age as any other.
Only a few items this week, but a few recaps of previous editorials:
Less “Finished” and More “What Else Is There”
Not every project ends in a beautiful design. Better said, not every project begins with the ideal experience being the thing that is delivered. Often, the idealized design becomes water down, modified, standards approved, or any other myriad of items before it lands into the customer’s hands. As a designer, whether talking about Web or services or hardware, you have to be OK with the idea of your craftsmanship being in an incomplete state. Still, being OK with that state doesn’t mean that there are lessons yet to be learned.
One lesson is that of the design experience was just a guide all along. There is some truth to the statement that often people do not understand what they want until they see it. And what happens here in there is that a design experience is created, however it is eschewed for something else entirely. There was one project we talked about here, that when it released looked almost nothing like the design that was created. The overall experience was actually similar to a few pieces of an early prototype. However, it was the choice of the client to MoveOn from the experience that was designed to experience that was closer aligned to their vision. Can’t be mad at such things, in that case, the product is actually doing well.
In another case, you may have the lesson of the design experience being held to, but the end result not calculated or foreseen. This would seem like an issue which comes from the lack of research, or even the lack of follow through with some of the metrics after the product has been designed. But actually, this is a matter of understanding that design experiences do not always, and should not always, understand every outcome. In fact, it is these unforeseen consequences of a design which should be sought after. This allows you to design a better experience later; and hopefully, there are no mortal injuries as a result of learning said lesson.
The last lesson, this one is for the practitioner specifically, is the lesson of doing too much. It is easily the case for an experience designer to calculate all possible directions for design experience. That ability to have a macro and micro view of the design experience is an asset. And often, notebooks are filled, Post-it notes are laid, and wireframes designed against both the macro and micro view. However, if the design experience is not brought to fruition as designed, the practitioner would feel that the design is incomplete. It is not incomplete; however, their expectations for what the design experience were supposed to contain was incomplete. They went beyond the scope of reality, not the scope of the design. This is an important lesson; it is the humility one.
Now, these are not the only lessons found in designing experiences. There are often several more. However, a recently concluded project brought to mind these lessons in part because there is a re-orientation that happens when you realize that an incomplete design is part of what should happen sometimes. The re-orientation is that design experiences are not the province of the practitioner, it belongs to those who will live with it and it’s consequences. The designer is merely the translator. Some phrases don’t need to be as polished as they hear them in their heads and hearts. All lessons need to be learned — these are just a few for those who create for others.
What happens when you start thinking about what you can do now and start concentrating a little bit more towards the horizon? Not, “future” in the respect of it’s impossible but we’re gonna think about it anyway. Future in the respect of, given a few things breaking the right way, this could certainly happen next. This horizon mindset might both be a safe space to dream, as well as a decent toolshed.
That’s the framing for what’s shared for this week. Not that far out there, but also not exactly around the corner yet either:
A few posts this week:
Also, if you are following via microblog, you’ll see additional items posted throughout the weekend.
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Unstructured thoughts on Apple’s 2019 WWDC Keynote
Did not intend to sit down and write this, so am using Siri dictation to do so. Because Voice Control is probably the most important highlight from the WWDC keynote. Well, the most important highlight for those people who may be looking to utilize Apple devices and services for the next 10 to 15 years. For those people, and for what seems to be pointing towards in writing/dictating this right now, the power will be in declarative computing - not simply pushing a mouse, keyboard, or cursor to where you want to go. But using intention as a control mechanism. Gestures are a part of this, but mental acuity is the canvas/pen.
A little bit more about Siri: it seems as if Apple has taken some lessons from Brian Roemmele and is making a more natural interface for potential conversation. Now, he might say that they could’ve gone further and made it purely conversational, and an active listener. But it seems as if they are setting the stage for doing that with watchOS doing noise-loudness detection, a new neural text-to-speech voice, and more. Not fully SiriOS, but the enablements there and with Shortcuts on iOS/iPadOS seems to point there cleanly.
That the iPad is now getting specifically focused iPadOS says a whole lot about the future productivity. Granted, if you’ve been listening to this channel or others for many years, you’re already bought and sold into that vision. The case is now that it’s possible not only for others to jump into that vision, but there is an incentive for developers to build that into their products, and for productivity to change to adapt to that reality. It’s almost like saying, the tablet is grown enough to be the kind of device it needs to be, here is the way you work that out. Three-finger text control gestures toss the “need a mouse” argument out; and PencilKit should finally mean something of a standard-fare in apps which use canvas/drawing surfaces to elevate that input mechanism and the connections it opens.
The new Mac Pro reminds of the Ford F150 from one or two generations ago. It went from a design that looks like a car, but try to take some of the smoother softer aspects of an automotive design and appropriate that to a truck. And while they did not hurt their sales numbers any, they were perceived as being less capable. When looking at the new Mac Pro, not only the design but also the features, the absolutely insane features of the top and models, you can’t help but see a similar cadence. A device like this is really built for professionals, not power users. Will not be surprised to hear those who do YouTube, tech journalism, fawn over the specs for this. But they are not the audience. To those to whom this will be the audience, a redesigned F150 will be exactly what is ordered. And just like Ford, Apple will likely see their perception and marketshare grow by leaps and bounds because of this attention to this specific group.
Swift UI is going to be more important for the health of macOS as it goes forward. Not so much because it gives away for iOS applications to come to macOS, but it allows certain skills and development to be shared from those persons who been developing for many years/decades to those who are just entering the space and find arcane frameworks or software development kits a little more cumbersome than they need to be. That’s not a bad thing, if you want to improve the user experience of some applications, you have to improve the user experience of the developers who are developing those experiences. Demo looked like Swift Playgrounds minus the gaming — kids who play Minecraft are well-positioned to go right into this.
All in all, it has to be something of a breather for those persons who have thought or have seen a decrease in the affluence and ability of Apple to set trends. Clearly, some of the softer bits are harder to see at this juncture (it is a keynote, at the annual developers conference). But if you look beyond the things that were announced, paying attention to the placement of items in the presentation, pain attention to the energy around some of the announcements, you can see that Apple is very much setting themselves up for future where the iPhone has now become like the Mac. Paying attention to the whispers: AirPods, HomePod, CarPlay, Siri — this is Apple next. And that’s not a bad place at all. Even with the economic and cultural headwinds happening right now.
Update: Videos for the keynotes and other sessions are all posted here.
Not every challenge is challenging
One of the most difficult concepts to get across in the middle of the sales process is complexity. Or more specifically, how “complexity doesn’t matter.” Given enough information, yet not always enough time to synthesize, anything that is truly complex isn’t. Recognizing complexity is a type of humility. Humility that respects the problem, its audiences, and even the solutions.
It comes across as arrogant to say “oh, that’s easy I get it.“ And that’s because in their framework, in their context, they see an insurmountable problem. But you are outside of that box, you sit in the context not as burdened with the income or the outcome. You are just enough involved to help them see where they could not see before.
Drawing on the outside of the box some refuse to get outside of
Challenges to the way that we move, the way that we behave, the way that we create are a box. And it’s a good box. This box is good for boundaries of protection, boundaries that measure our success, and boundaries that measure the scope or reach of our influence. Those challenges also constrain us. Constraints are a type of freedom, but they are also a limitation. Walking alongside someone who is not inside of your box is an admission you can not overcome the challenge alone. You see their strengths, and opt to graft to your own so that a step forward may happen.
But, they are likely not challenged by your challenges. They have their own challenges. Yours is probably a stimulant to continue past their challenge. Might even be the ink they use to draw on the outside of your box. They don’t’ have your limitations, nor should they. They aren’t supposed to fit in your box…
…they are to empower you to reshape your box.
Finding and synthesizing readings when the months slow down into heat of summer tends to be a little difficult. Not because there’s not as much value in what’s generated or shared, but because the connections become less apparent. The challenge isn’t challenging — however, there is no easy fit. Designing structures to understand associations is a bit of a kennel’s game — sure, you can put a wrapper around items, but that doesn’t mean it matters to more than the one doing the wrapping. The hope is that it does matter, and at the point when it does, connections manifest into opportunity.
Here are this week’s most interesting reads:
A very heart-felt piece written about a great woman met some years ago. Amazing life and energy. So grateful to have met Peg: Last Conversation — Painfully Hopeful
Just a few pieces this week:
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June of last year (2018) was an interesting month. Felt like there was a shift which needed to be taken with the content here and at the same time, the way summer happens, a lot of activity slows down. So, instead of productivity for others, effort was into setting up the summer/fall output to come.
Deftly turning a large ship with a whisper
With some clients, the topic of organizational change comes up very often. This is usually because the work with this client involves taking multiple teams and putting them on the same level as it relates to utilizing a specific software platform. This vantage point offers an ability to see what innovation will look like for an enterprise, but also how hard it is to move in enterprise in a new direction after they have done something for so long.
With several of the teams, they are merely looking at ways of doing their job more efficiently. Shortcuts, automations, and even “features I didn’t know were there” tends to be the context. As such, innovation for these teams looks less like doing something brand new, and more like “how to simplify the most complex happenings.“ For these teams, simply taking a common-to-them analogy and then relating the benefit of the system, offers the best opportunities for what becomes innovative practices.
For a few other teams, there’s a bit more needed. The jobs-to-be-done had been conflicted. Instead of monitoring and elevating meaning, roles are calculating and constraining meaning. Instead of searching datastores quickly, they are locked file cabinets — whose taxonomy is only known by the owner, but often forgotten over time, or triggered by a changing organizational system due to their maturity in the organization. For these persons, enterprise innovation is also simplifying complexity, but first under the guise of “what does your job need for you to execute.”
It is these innovation projects which are the most fun, and the most challenging. Being an external operator means that some of the data day elements of what it means for that enterprise to function are going to always be hidden from view. However, some of those day-to-day elements are pieces that I actually need to be hand is innovative practices are going to have a new footing. In a sense, both of the after mentioned context need to be repotted into new soil. But all of the old cannot be thrown away. The core remains, but the space is envisioned anew (a fun question here: “have you used this tool you already have available to do this”).
Overtime, our role becomes more of a lighthouse. We are not the evangelist, we train the evangelist. We train those people who will be the bell-toll for what it means for that organization to have a better direction. That doesn’t mean a sense of being disconnected from the final outcome. But in our case, we are at governors of the outcome. We are governors of facilitating a path forward. For many enterprises that is simply a whisper in the ear of a highly influential person or group. And then win that whisper is heard just long enough, it becomes an activity that transforms the behavior of the entire organization. But does so in a way they accept, a way they want, and a way they understand better the winds of opportunity are now flowing.
Writing a forward for an upcoming book and was impressed to think about the contexts of love, lust, and loss. Sounds complicated and a bit obscure to ventures somewhat bracketed around technology and its changes. But, it makes good sense to think about how these tools and behaviors effect what is appreciated, gained, or denied because of those tools/behaviors. Perhaps these links which have stuck out from the past seven days knit around a similar theme for you as well. Or, maybe just one of those — love, lust, and loss — sticks out. Suffice to say, those things which are complex and magical do impress on us that reality.
Nothing created this week due to putting that energy towards several workshops. New content will come back next week (even with the USA doing the holiday thing on Monday). Here’s some of what’s been published over the past weeks to hold you over till then:
There is a hashtag-day holiday almost every day it seems. Sometimes, these days seem nothing more than the commercialization of an ego. Othertimes, it seems to draw attention to the kinds of concerns which seem to fall swiftly under the covers of day-to-day life. Such is the weirdness of today’s #BikeToWorkDay — at least here in the auto-centric USA, this day has become something of a trumpet for those who enjoy cycling, but can’t seem to break from the constraints of needing to drive to work or dress/appear productive even when they want to ascribe to fit/affluence/etc. These days are kind of a world witihin our world; signaling some aspect of what we want to be, but also granting some freedom to explore what life could be along that hashtag-analogy.
Here are this week’s reads — who follow their own hashtag-analogies:
And a few 🔗 from here:
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Last week was a flashback to the posts shared last year (April 2018). For this week, it’s a look at what was shared a month later, May ‘18.
Perspectives & Concepts
There’s a pattern to each week here. The long-post to start the week is both summary and launching. Then something in the middle of the week — a concept or a flashback. Then the close of the week where items of the week’s interest are shared (and those following via the site/Microblog see a bit more throughout the weekend). It’s not all that efficient for creating, but it is sufficient for the type of things created.
This navigating of efficiency and sufficiency comes up often in prospective and active projects. Usually, the intention/ask is to make something more efficient — but what’s really being sought is a better association to sufficiency in process, activity, and/or product. In being given a look into what creates outcomes, efficiency seems to be the measuring stick. And to some degree, you can merit some success when removing friction. But, that can’t be the goal. Sufficiency can be the goal, but after a very early point, it’s not so much measured as it’s felt — that is, what’s actually done becomes understood and analyzed well above the scope of what metrics define efficiency.
Can’t take credit for this framing. A recent read at Treehugger opened the topic and made very clear that the aim shouldn’t simply be making a process or series or products efficient. If looking at what people are doing isn’t the metric first, no amount of efficiency actually solves the problem. It actually adds inefficiencies.
But, can an effort like Avanceé subscribe and then ascribe to its clients such a philosophy? Likely, yes. This is the domain not only of an SME, but also of being forward in such a way which respects the people who own the journey. It’s likely a divergence from what you might be used to — but, it wouldn’t be drawing on the outside of the box if it didn’t look at effects/affects like this now would it?
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Perhaps it is more about paying attention to what matters for most people. What matters are the smaller bits. The digestible bits. What effects me today? What is the friction I can respond to which affects me/my family? The wider view is a harder one. It means you either are forgetting what’s in front of your nose for what’s in front of your feet; or that you are fully taken care of in those more immediate cares, willing to look at the macro-view towards how it will effect you. Themeing this week’s roundup around such a macro view — conversations like these aren’t frequent enough of all of our circles, perhaps by design.
A few opinions from here:
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Flashbacks to what talked about on the site a year ago:
Wondering why design tools have been reluctant to evolve
Conversations about design methods and software often bracket the week. If it isn’t another software/service, it’s a design system or a shift in a large/influential company’s motivations which sparks things. And it’s not a bad thing. Design is the language of making something functional and addressable for someone else. When it works well, it should be applauded. When it fails, it should also be elevated as lessons to build from.
Yet, there is this gap in the methods and implementing of design where — if you inhabit the space long enough — you realize that the tools are woefully equipped to transmit the best fidelity of what’s intended. The tools — everything from the napkin and pen to the metrics suites used for assessing usability, frequency, and issues —are developed around the idea that value is being communicated and can retold at each step of the journey. For the most part, this seems to be true, right until a shift happens.
Previously, we ran a post titled The Ethics of UX As A Social/Security Vector. It is the kind of post which can fly under the radar of those in design spaces because it seems to run similar to the other “UX is not doing right by us” theme. Yet, when poking past the questions posed in that piece, one can start to see a tension within the tools and methods designers use to communicate. In a few examples, we can see where it wasn’t the design of the end product where ethics issues lay, but it was in the tooling itself that never asked the designer/developer to consider more than their own intent. So, what happens when the tools evolve to asking these perspectives?
One thought is that the tools we use need to be embedded with ethical and organizational intelligence at a higher place in the ideation process. For example, a tool like Figma is excellent for designers and developers as various bits of communication have been solidified and there just needs to be some work around the edges. Once a design system has been created with Figma, one can make the assumption that the logic needed to build and implement a system has also seen some considerable attention towards its value to various audiences.
Chances are though, more designers have spent time in a scenario more similar to the other image in our frame — Microsoft’s Sketch2Code. S2C is an experimental interface using Microsoft’s lessons in image and intelligence to take whiteboard/napkin sketches and turn them into code. Not interactive, not even mapped against an org’s design system. S2C merely trims the work from those executive thoughts (“can we do it like…”) to elements which can build towards the final product (code, code snippets). However, S2C has a problem, it’s just snippets and a contextualized journey, it isn’t a map which can be built from.
Design tools actually need to bridge what’s explained here between S2C and Figma. And that evolution not happening (fast enough?) with the tools. It is on the whiteboard, and it’s long been the case that some analytical software can check code for logic/rule/regulation after its built. The tooling of enabling the designer to be poked during the fact isn’t there. And maybe it can be for a while — then turned off when those “training wheels” are no longer needed. Or, maybe they aren’t turned off — the ethics which guide why we can’t have this info populate a field because of our company’s stance on this or that probably does mean it evolves.
Much like an mobile operating system learns its owner and begins to recommend items at various points of use, perhaps its time for design tools to get a similar bridge — even if that tool is camera looking at that whiteboard sketch, validating the idea, preparing the code for inclusion to the backlog and branch, but also elevating where it conflicts with the design system and ethics of the attending org/nation. A previous shared concept pointed to this line of thinking. In between communicating and designing, there’s a better behavior to be esteemed. Maybe the evolution of the toolkit could do that. If the tooling evolves at this point, then perhaps the rippled effects of abuse, market gain, culture/language, etc. can be given a more valuable bit of attention.
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