Reading this weekend a few Kindle samples, and there’s one which has made enough of an impression to consider the full read. Specifically, Why Cities Look the Way They Do hits between the eyes of the consistent conversation about design and it’s value — for itself and for the things design behaviors communicate.
…Design responds to processes, such as the demands for housing, or for places for people to work, or for buildings that make attractive capital investments, to pick examples of typical urban processes… and design is often trying o ameliorate the effects of processes…
Such is part of what mediates the theme of this week’s notable reads. Design is communication, orchestration, and artistry. These reads are efforts to understand the frequency and friction at play.
A single article posted, a single initiative started, and a reminder of the roads travelled are the times from here:
Signed up for the NYC to Philly Greenway Bike Ride (page tweaks in progress). This ride is to support the efforts to complete the East Coast Greenway. Instead of asking for the usual site support, will promote this effort until the ride. Still want the site support, but this is a decent endeavor.
After several weeks, impressions of an open letter type
It’s been about a month since attaining the Vue glasses — a Kickstarter-funded acquisition— and so now might be a decent space and time to give a fuller impression. Previously spoke of Vue in an article titled Ear Muscles; but this would qualify as more of a review than the usual contemplative piece.
An earlier version of this piece was posted as a comment on Vue’s Kickstarter page. The intent of resharing here is to clarify a few points, adding also pieces which are better translated in this blogging format.
Overall, am pleased with Vue. Despite initial feelings of the weight, and niggles with standby battery life and UX polish, these are actually pretty decent. They point towards a better interface to computing, but also a better relationship to the world around you which isn’t digital and connected. It can almost be described as being humane tech since it empowers the wearer to not completely leave their context to enjoy aspects of connectivity.
Perhaps impressions initially were a bit more colored by wants versus reality. Bone conduction isn’t a surround sound’s compliment. It’s background more than foreground. In thinking of Vue as replacing AirPods or other headphones, expectation immediately leads to an inconsistent experience. That’s not to say that the sound umbrella the Vue glasses makes is wide and deep. It’s higher on the treble sides of the soundscape and personally feels like it misses depth in the bass and mid-tones. This could be attributed to the physics of pushing sound thru thin arms and bone. Bass and mid-tones might be better for acoustics, but also diminish the performance against bone. Understandable, yet also a wish for an EQ or “sound environment setting” (like the Nuheara buds) to improve this aspect.
Didn’t expect the frames themselves to be as large/wide. Pardon the memory from the CES experience of trying these on, but they are and feel bigger than current frames (via GlassesUSA). Still, they are not an obvious gadget. And each mention of Vue and subsequent try on by others lands in a very positive category. Compared to (also owned and used) generation one Snap Spectacles, the Vue Kickstarter edition comes across like a normal pair of glasses with an acceptable fashion-forward framing. Of the classic and trendy styles offered, the trendy (rounded frames) might come across as better for smaller or rounder heads.
Am spoiled though by the cohesive experience of Apple, Microsoft, and other products and therefore cannot say the same about the app. The stepping stones are there, but the app is basic and has echoes of “coming soon website pages” of old. Not being able to seamlessly switch to other devices is a bugger — use is treated similar to other Bluetooth devices on iOS where the app plus pairing sequence needs to happen to each device. Would have at least liked a companion Apple Watch app, controlling or extending Vue as an accessory for it and Siri. As is the lack of integration into the Apple Health app — to leverage Siri for even just polling the Health app for relevant info would be a marked improvement over the Vue’s audible metrics (steps and calories). Perhaps some lessons from Oura (Ring) might be applicable here: conversational tone, recommendations when asked, and prompting/push messaging which respects the user (aka, a low battery notice which isn’t heard by those near because it’s so much louder than the audio which might be playing already). That kind of polish is harder to attain, but would go a long way to making the Vue a better overall platform, and these glasses a more suitable ambassador.
Lastly, a personal niggle: should have gotten transition lenses with these. And maybe as a matter of marketing them for those with prescription needs, it might make sense to push that option heavily. Noticing use of Vue in contexts such as an office or commuting dawn/dusk where switching glasses has to happen. Also, the need to carry a second pair of glasses because after 4-5 hours of streaming/web calls/standby, they need to be charged to finish the day. Shame there’s not an adapter to cap the back of the arm with some kind of USB-C connector. Carrying the case makes carrying the second pair of glasses doable. But, that’s because the choice in not getting transitions hits at a very specific point. Is there an easy means to swap into transitions or a different lens entirely, because eyes do change? This is a personal niggle. But, does not affect some of the overall perception noted at the start.
For those who might be looking at Vue, you might be surprised at recommending them. Bose (and soon Amazon) is quality competition, and others will come also. That Vue has shipped means that the idea is not just fundable, but it’s also possible. The electronics and physics which went into making Vue happen for a prototype is impressive. What’s been translated to production is no less impressive. As a secondary set of glasses, they would be fine. As a primary, some expectations would have to be reigned in. And depending on one’s experiences, maybe a bit more patience until some of the software bits are later addressed.
Not everyone will have a great experience however. Those with attention and hearing difficulties will love the idea of Vue, but might find other factors infringing on the possibilities. But, that’s par the course for products like these. Hopefully. Vue adds to the initial experience with updates and refinements. Hopefully competition does also. There’s something to the case of having audio interfaces closer than just the ear canals. Vue has a case for proving where that could be, if in the attention they have gotten from this, they can focus prospective purchasers to the sound scapes they might have missed.
Vue glasses are currently available via their website ($259 USD; does not include additional cost for prescription, polarized, or transition lenses). The last Kickstarter pledges are being shipped out now, so you might find a longer window for obtaining a pair than a competitors’ glasses. You might find a few folks in the comments there wanting to sell theirs, and that would be a faster means to attain Vue.
Added an iPad Mini 5 & Pencil to the toolset recently and it’s actually made for much quieter sessions for evening and weekend computing. As a matter of fact, wasn’t until right before writing this post that even a social network was added to the Mini… intentionally putting the onus on the owner to define a different gravity to connectivity. Gravity causes this revisited constellation of devices and connectivity to orient yet another perspective or approach to addressing complexity. But, like any good constellation, it’s just a point in space to orient oneself. It isn’t the destination, or the road.
This week’s notable reads follows a similar horizon-view:
No articles from the queue just yet. Much to consider, and several in drafts. And well, perhaps something to explore now that there is a new device in hand to create and extend the canvas…
Have been away once again. This time because of physical moments. Seasons changing does some interesting, yet humbling, things to our sense of time and energy. At times, we can navigate feeling the best of all the energies the sun has to offer. And then there are those longer, colder winters — where it’s more about perseverance than much else. It’s shaping up to be an interesting end to the year. And time taken from regular affairs to attend to our bodies could make for a more impressive finish.
Does that also mean this week’s reads landed in a sense of wellness? Perhaps. Here they are for you to explore:
No pieces this week from this end. Cadence returns along w/health. Here are some former pieces to chew upon until the next:
Share or support if you find this valuable.
Leveraging newly acquired Vue glasses to explore other ranges of hearing
Been sitting on how to best talk about these glasses. Sure, there’s the vantage point of Kickstarter as something of a motivator. These Vue glasses have taken the better part of nearly three years to make it onto my head. And this isn’t a slight to Vue or Kickstarter, that’s just the nature of product development which finds itself strengthened or weakened by the same audience that consumes it.
A better focus could be the product itself. Vue has certainly produced a ground-breaking product with glasses which utilize bone conduction speakers and mics. Those who have worn glasses and headphones/earphones for a few decades can empathize with the struggle of segmenting attention and hearing alongside attention and sight. Wireless sound has helped greatly, and yet there’s always the consideration for undue weight on the ears. Glasses have evolved far beyond their “sight impaired” audience beginnings. And here Vue is a solid explanation as to where that can land. There’s some polish to be gained on it for sure; but for the effort, one cannot doubt that making it across the finish line is an incredible achievement for the product and the advances to be gained from the shrinking sizes of silicon.
However that isn’t the right focus either. One of the use cases explored has been more along the lines of extending hearing and focus. For an experiment, allowing the Vue glasses to handle a call or background music while also using AirPods has opened a question: just how much can one’s ear muscles be developed (or underdeveloped) towards focused conscious attention? No conclusions, but certainly some headaches and moments of confusion.
Liken this experiment to focusing on a musical score while someone is also telling you about a movie which has a different score. Just how developed is hearing beyond and alongside focusing attention? Can that muscle be developed? Is there some limit to simultaneous inputs of complexity and making sense of it all?
No clue. And Vue offers the best expression yet of a wearable, connected device which gets closer to “hey, how does your brain actually deal with all these inputs” than others tried before. It just so happens, instead of adding to soundscapes or isolating oneself from them, certain wearables might be at the very place where we can question evolution and postulate other paths. Or, at least be strong enough to hear and lift them.
Probably should not do more apologies. And yet a present situation has made for a cadence disruption that probably isn’t as noticeable. The beauty of this platform places metrics for success outside of what is posted. This space is merely an extension of what gets to happen in other modes. To some, it may be better that way. There are many situations where looking at specific metrics causes you to slow down, instead of further hone what do you do best.
To make up for a few weeks, here are some of the most notable reads:
Even though we missed posting with links, there have been a few items written. Here are a few produced here:
If this kind of content continues to be valuable for you (despite its cadence), support the site through sharing with others or financially through Librepay.
Persuading a designer’s shift from “intuitive” to “indigenous”
Tearing a perspective from history in order to reclaim a voice that should have never been taken? This is a way to describe the Euro-American shift of veneration towards accepted/primary voice on Columbus Day/Indigenous (Groups) Day. It might seem a simple political maneuvering to opine on the topic. Yet this isn’t a political blog, this is a design-oriented exposition. Lessons for what has been happening with perspective on this day follow lessons towards what designers and their industries are learning in regards to the expression of productivity and consumption.
The shift to experience design has asked for companies to acknowledge and invest within the perspective of those closest to the business output — whether this would be the producers or consumers. Open both the business processes and technical competencies to the perspective of these producers and consumers, and allow this to add/shift/remove value from the company’s operating focus. Shift is the right word here. There’s no amount of artistry as delicate as changing behaviors for a culture, and yet experience design asks this very thing.
The result of such shifts are defined in transactional terms. Helpful? Perhaps to the legs of business and technology on this now three-legged table (experience design now becoming a leg of equal value to business focus and technology enablement). However, it may be better defined in the terms of those more native to the intended transaction. Indigenous could be the better word here, even as loaded as it is for political framing. Within design framing, “indigenous” moves us past the ethereal “intuitive” and by importing empathetic lenses to transformation’s voice. Not simply enough to “use the words they are familiar with,” indigenous also means we ascribe to tone, framing, and even acknowledged disassociation — we may be designers but we aren’t designers of other’s comfort, only of the tools they use to craft their own.
In another industry, rap music continues to be debated as a form of music because those who held a primary “this is valuable music” perspective have found their tools to be used to author another group’s expression of being. Shared tools does not mean shared perspective. In fact, the drive to authentic experiences almost never comes from those author the tools. It is designed by the voice of those who wish to express tonal accuracy to their lives, according to rules native to them. And as such, it’s that much more important for designers to elevate indigenous peoples and their cultures.
In doing so, the designer elevates the voices of those once condemned to be heard under a false celebrity— one who might have rightly instigated the perspectives we now enjoy. But, also one who’s transactional nature unfortunately colonized the leg on which we might better find stability and worth.
Impact isn’t just visibility, but the impression massaged by consistency
In a previous draft of this post, there was a review of the recent pictorial posts on MicroBlog and there were some which held more impact than others. Several familiar faces drew on not just impactful visual artifacts, but a consistency of approach/experimentation which allowed some thing more notable in the tone presented. This isn’t to say that those who weren’t recognized were ignored; only that their visibility hadn’t yet gotten to the point of registering that familiar presence and voice.
A new project is also shedding some maturity towards the impacts of visibility and consistency. Visibility seems as if it is effectiveness. There’s the dopamine-addressed, newness of what is entering the framing. And if done in acceptable, albeit contrasting ways, visibility indeed comes across as if effectiveness is happening.
Growing this endeavor has meant increasing a base level of visibility amongst the intended audience and prospective customers. However, visibility isn’t really addressing whether an impression was made that indeed simplifies complexity. For this, consistency must add to what visibility has begun. One could think of consistency as a massaging of the touch visibility made — however this isn’t a dead touch, or an ignored one. Consistency which speaks to adding value offers presence a place to mature into longing/wanting.
Now, all of this doesn’t matter if you are spending time being visible in places where others aren’t looking. That’s altogether a different bit — context. And probably worth elevating into a more visible layer of discussion here and abroad in the near-future.
For one reason or another, felt like waiting until the end of the day to share what has been impactful in reading. Impact is noticed when it happens, but the ripples are what we really respond to. Sometimes those ripples are positive effects (wisdom, understanding, or realization of a kind of humility, etc.). Other times, those ripples are an indication there was actually something a bit more perilous on the horizon (the tidal wave after an earthquake for instance). In any respect, impacts happen and then we recognize we have to move differently. This week, the reads which have stuck out relate an impact maybe felt immediately or later, but they will be felt.
And a few from here:
If these weekly notable reads have been impactful to you or your teams, consider supporting through Librepay.
When you get into a consistent mode of behaviors and then life gets in the way, you start the journey again by making an excuse. However, here there is no real excuse. There are several layers of drafts, not in the Microblog application, which are ideas and concepts which have not been completely flushed out. And sometimes those are posted just to keep with the usual cadence. However, this week that is not been the case. There has been a solid challenge to prioritization of content following here. And that’s probably a better description of inhibitors to moving forward than any excuses leveled in writing.
When it comes to writing, working, living… prioritization makes its way into the front of your conscious decisions whether you like it or not. It could be as complicated as which area of a project to begin. It could be as simplistic as looking at the weather report to figure out how you will address your garden. What you choose to prioritize is what you have chosen to say matters. However, no amount of prioritization comes without putting down something else. As a wise person once said, “there’s only so much room in your hands. You can either choose to hold peace, or hold the things that take peace away from you.“
There in lies the challenge with prioritization. What you value is what you eventually prioritize. More often than not, the thing that we value is as close as the item which is in front of our nose. That may not be fair, but given the amount of information that comes our direction, the amount of wants which follow our wish list, we sometimes default to what we can immediately perceive rather than what we truly value.
And yes, we can use the excuse that with certain levels of technology, there is no excuse. A change schedule could mean more time to write and contemplate, but if that does not continue to elevate what you have previously called a priority, then that changed schedule is more accurately telling you what you value. As we noticed with some of the technology trends that have happened, collaboration being put in front of us often leaves us a little time to self prioritize. And yet, the assumption from this space, and even some of the investigation, is that there is room to prioritize those things that matter if collaboration works in concert with deep thought.
If prioritization is in fact a high value behavior, then you do make time for what matters. An excuse, put in the position of a welcome, really serves notice that prioritization is not a high-value item. It would be better off, and perhaps received better, if you simply said that prioritization didn’t matter, and allowed a different characteristic to guide what you value.
The arrival of fall… a resetting of clocks in so many ways. Where the summer was laden with perhaps a slower, restorative pace. The fall comes with a bit of a hurried pace. Even in cultures where the concept of storing for the winter has long passed, there’s still such energy. The winter we ready for seems similar yet altogether different; it’s a winter of perhaps hibernating from the decisions of earlier. It’s a winter to feast on the works of the spring and early summer. It is a new clock. And such is the entrance of fall so loud a signal — some bits are readying to reset. And such is the circle which continues.
From reflection to notable reads of the past week:
And a few from here:
And as usual, if this content has been hitting a good place in your fall reading, support via Librepay.
Term comes from the book Timefullness… fear of time and it’s effects
Can remember the moment clearly. Was sitting in the car, traveling on a familiar course of road in Philly, and then it hit me — I will die. I will cease to breathe. The very next breaths were difficult. I began feeling each breath differently for the next minutes. Each pulse as it resonated. Each movement became more valued with this realization. I believe that it was at this moment I not only realized my own mortality, but also just how subservient to time and its effects I will be. As every athlete says, “Father Time is the only undefeated opponent.”
Teams and organizations also come to similar moments, and how they deal with acknowledging this grasp of mortality begins to shape how they operate and what they might leave forward. Those groups who fear their own mortality, might begin to do things such as increase team size (at the cost of company culture), or expand into markets (in order to minimize the effects of disruptive entrants). Groups who sense their coming end might go to more drastic effects — lobbying governments, destroying-then-creating new governments, or worse, committing a kind of suicide. The latter being an action to be remembered for what they did well, and hopefully plant seeds of a remembered legacy for what comes next.
Chronophobia… a word which came into context recently and along with it, these thoughts about the weight and value of time to both individuals and groups.
We are peculiar in some respects. Most of us live within the confines of this temporal plane and do our best to ignore this fear of the effects of time, but we can’t. From adaptive technologies, to rules around ageism, there’s a tact acknowledgement that we are clearly servants of time’s effects, but also that there’s some measure of fulfillment which can come if we don’t live in fear of it, but embrace it.
The social media timeline has warped this perspective for some. In its linear, and unforgiving-to-some, nature, it seems to trumpet the loudest, most profane, and emotional peaks of time’s effects. At its very core, the timeline isn’t under anyone’s control — only your attentiveness to it. But, if you acquiesce to trying to pay attention to every point and wave within it, chronophobia takes hold in a manner it shouldn’t. You begin feeling each text, each tweet, each notification as a ticking clock to your own connected mortality. And this isn’t the best way to live. Sure, a little fear makes sense. But, to be overwhelmed by it will cause you to make decisions, adopt behaviors, or even restrict others from living beyond the warped planes of connected spaces.
Time is such a weighty and powerful reality. It is also a dance partner. Don’t be afraid of having your toes stepped on if you are enjoying the song.
Wrapped up into a new context and the usual Friday has turned into a late Saturday. Perhaps, it’s because this new context — external to Avanceé — is a chance to explore even more the deep thought UI paradigm. Not because these links or the weekly articles manifest a clear point, but these are a connection of thoughts — a connectome — the very elements by which something clearer, something that’s a solution, something inventive… something new will be birthed from. If for no other reason, these weekly shares add to the nebulous beginnings of transcending this moment to the next.
With that, let’s get into this week’s shares:
And a few from here:
As usual, if you find value with what’s shared here and want to support this effort, share this with your social threads or donate via Librepay.
A bicycle for the mind requires a different perspective and disruption
A common question asked around this time last year regarding the (then) new iPad Pro, can it replace your laptop?
An uncommon answer: yes, it can. But, not because it does what a laptop does.
iPad doesn’t just replace, it changes what computing can question. The question gets asked each time a new model or major software update happens to it because the voices speaking about the platform and hardware are too far removed from what others do for. They are also too much embedded into trying to make the iPad do what PCs have taught them to do. These might sound like discerning perspectives, but it’s not distinct to look at a mountain from an alternative perspective. The end of the Mashable 2018 iPad Pro review says it nicely:
…It’s such an intimate creation process that it made me realize that Apple’s not merely trying to change my or your old habits. Apple’s not trying to make the iPad Pro a laptop replacement because the device isn’t one. It’s trying to do something bigger: invent a new way of creating for a new generation that is not bound to the old computing laws of clicking a mouse…
Not being bound to former methods is a invitation to think better about the jobs to be done for computing devices. And for much of what the complaints are (moving files from one physical or virtual share to another, command-scripts for said files, approval queues, etc.), work is more like moving chairs around and a sense of control over the chairs which really isn’t work at all when broken down into its common parts.
The bit about the iPad is that it disrupts the perspective of what it means to compute — to be productive, to push pixels, and to work (however that work’s outputs are measured). This bit becomes more interesting the more someone dives into those who’ve pursued better workflows. From Henny the Bizness, Jonathan Morrison, Federico Viticci, and several others, the perspective of the iPad as a primary device ended up reshaping the tone and tenor of what one becomes within their work.
So, then, what really is work? Or rather, what more aligns with the perspectives of what it means to have computing as a tool to aide/do behaviors considered productivity?
And if a simple piece of glass and electrons can alter the very definition of work; what kinds of perspectives have yet to be discovered which are not only productive, but also sustainable?
For Avanceé, the answer to this seems to point to work being connective tissues. A swaddling of complex and interdependent elements, eventually made unknotted and simple. Work isn’t the end product, but a series of elevating/deescalating layers of stuff until the signal is clear. This work has many forms but the same goal.
##A Contemplative Thoughts Browser
An excellent thread on Twitter by @SamPenrose put to text what a number of folks have had as a confusion/contemplation to the purpose of the iPad. A few of those tweets begat some responses:
Once more, with feeling: what is (the) iPad? A bicycle for the mind. A bicycle for fish. It is wildly successful but “has no reason for being.” It is as clear as glass and as clear as mud. The less sense it makes, the more it sells. Conceptually confused, mundanely great.
I teach a few executives how to stop diving into the weeds by showing them the flexibility/simplicity of the iPad they wish to carry.
Conceptually, that is teaching to the tool; realistically, it’s showing them how to think.
🚲 for 🧠
Email, games, video and web browing are more complicated cases, but iPad is not obviously the best for any of them. Both experts and average users—in the hundreds of millions—are divided on what they prefer.
Events and containers… the commentary has indeed centered on these because computing evolved to “instance”
PC hasn’t meant both canvas/pallet. My argument has been that tablets (really, iPad) successfully don’t just straddle that line, but invites something else from it
What it invites seems unclear, but when iPad isn’t asked to replace but augment what 💻 isn’t as good as, then that clarity becomes clearer IMO:
A static/dynamic interface showing/describing and enabling the attachment and reattachment of [stuff] based on where it is in thought
Used this (same phrasing) to describe @MuseAppHQ to a friend the other day, but it fits communicating (more clearly) a vision for iPad
That’s a lot of words to essentially say what @BenedictEvans said in the same thread:
iPad and PC each have things that only they can do. Most people only do the things that both can do.
So to ask again: if a simple piece of glass and electrons can alter the very definition of work; what kinds of perspectives have yet to be discovered which are not only productive, but also sustainable? What becomes of work that’s now described as connective tissue more than inputs/outputs or the resulting widgets?
As good a theme for the week’s reads as any. From @yourgirlSylv:
There are lots of different kinds of disabilities in the world. Some visible, some invisible. People living with disabilities are some of the most creative & resilient folks bc of a life of navigating systems designed without our consideration! #CripTheVote
And now, a few reads which sync to such a powerful statement:
Special Note: as noticed in this week’s post; have been putting in some time with the beta of Muse, a note/whiteboard/tack board-like app. It goes beyond the behavior of most note apps — closest analogy could be WeTransfer’s Paper mixed with Photoshop’s layers. Really neat, and has already tweaked a few shortcuts & behaviors. Read more and sign up for the newsletter.
And for the more recent, homegrown content:
Pondering a future of knowledge work, managing flow not controlling it
Thinking about a few recent projects, and a few failed ones, a piece of thought has lingered about the effectiveness of remote work. However, those who engage within remote work are existing in an asymmetrical culture, usually a few generations old, of working in a non-remote setting. Meaning, the things to unlearn in order to work effectively in remote contexts are just as impactful as the new methods and expectations we now engage within. Such a perspective is wrought with challenges, usually verbalized with the phrase “fit.” However, “flow” is probably the better term. Because working away from the boundaries of widgets, time, and place, one needs to create a different relationship with outcomes and opportunities.
Flow is something like what’s been experienced with the app Muse. This app has a premise of boards/cards; yet the strength in it seems to be when you take away the concept of document and replace it with flow. Here, the better parts of association and context get intermixed w/the facility of hypertext and ink to create something jut a bit different. Instead of conforming the reader into a structured reading, they are given a structured context, and room to read into it their own paths. This has only been explored thru testing a beta version of Muse, see their website for the full vision, and to request access to assist in testing.
There’s been some evolution of this control-to-flow concept as Avanceé has been refined. The workstation is still an iPad, yet the communication moves back and forth between hard and soft deliverables. Meaning simply, the role our behavior plays is likely more influential than the containers themselves. Some groups understand this and have literally charted a new world because of it — others are finding their way (Avanceé is the latter). Within the framing that is flow, there’s probably a different metric which needs to be attached to both work and it’s assets.
When it is redefined, what remains is less about get it to me in this format and more about enable me to make the best decisions forward. Knowledge working spaces are shifting to facilitating knowledge — we hope — and not simply repeating the tasks of turning widgets.
Communicating clarity is not exactly easy. There’s the perspective we have, and then there is the perspective of others. We can expert for others to learn the way we do, or shape perspectives in a way which syncs with our worldview. However, this is an inappropriate expectation — what is valuable for them is what maintains their universe. Clarity should indeed transmit our perspective, but it should at its best empower them to see the best/worst of their universe. When we acknowledge this as a goal of clarity, their ability to exist isn’t just magnified, but ends up amplifying our existence also.
Such is the shape of the notable reads for this week; enjoy:
No new writing this week. Editorial bits return next week. Last week’s notable reads 🔗
If this weekly collection has been valuable to you, consider supporting Avanceé thru Librepay.
Another week in the books, and yet labor seems to continue. Still processing what it means in the context of a week spent assisting clients take steps forward in their technological adoptions. Close and far, small steps, and clarity… with an expectation that you cannot plan for everything.
Perhaps this week’s links land on that point:
And a few from here:
Valuable? Insightful? Or, simply the cadence is more helpful to cause you to slow down in the midst of the other bits which come your way? In any case, if this weekly collection is valuable, consider supporting Avanceé thru Librepay.
Moving forward by looking backward
When learning to drive, my parents gave me a lot of solid info about dealing with what you can’t control about traffic and other folks on the road. Of the many tips, one of the most interesting had to be about the level of attention to put towards driving out of your rear view mirror. Being in enough rear-end accidents might teach this better than other moments, but it came to be a sensible bit of advice to have 1/3 of your attention to that little mirror facing to your rear. The synchronous lesson was to be like a trucker and have your eyes/attention 12-15 seconds ahead of you also. In this way, you aren’t simply driving for your immediate surroundings, but also for the time-spaces you’ve yet to come to. A lower insurance premium, despite a much-higher-than-usual rate of mileage, seems to count this as a lesson well-lived.
In the same way, there are data points, tools, and methods we ought to use in order to inform forward motion for organizations. More than the data of the moment (current stock price, number of daily active users, last quarter’s numbers), it is the data around this which is better utilized in order to shape how we move forward. For example, a group seeks to make sure an investment continues to show signs of improvement, but notices only that less than 5% of the indices are making a return. But, unless they look at the performance of all of the index investments over a period, they will only make bandage-level changes to the performance of the fund. It sounds elementary, but looking backwards just a bit (how often did the entire fund perform like this, when did the specific indexes fail previously, what was the client or market response when items change, etc.), enables an ability to move forward differently.
However, it’s not simply looking backwards. Reference the leading story of this post — using the rear view mirror was only part of understanding the context of the journey. One had to also look further ahead than all but the very best participants on the road. In the case of driving, the best tractor trailer drivers are the road’s best. Not only because they need to see what’s happening well before it does, but also because they manage more weight (physics) than nearly anything else on the road. For them, looking at what their vehicle has to do 15-30sec before it happens isn’t just a matter of driving well, it’s a matter of staying alive and profitable. Same with utilizing data — while not every permutation is knowable, there are often just enough points to be known that one can see a little bit further down the road than normal. And with such vision, adapt their rate of travel towards a better destination.
In a recent project, a case of looking backwards enabled us to take a significant step forward for several smaller projects which were also suffering. We mapped the notable items, and then went backwards to previous year items to see if any patterns were present. Not only were there pattens present, but also a few previously unknown gaps revealed themselves. This enabled a course correction which might have been seen by only one party. Our experimental dashboard elevated it for several stakeholders to see, and a fuller action plan was developed to address it.
This isn’t to say you don’t look out of the front windshield. Only that there’s more to your journey than what’s hitting that glass. Look backwards and forwards, recognize the context of as much as you can, and then your ability to spot and respond to trends will not only be clearer, but you’ll probably clarify others’ ability to run those trends with you.
The distance between faith and worry… or what’s found in a proposal meeting’s questions. The two states really aren’t dissimilar, only difference being one feels internal to a person, and the latter to the organization. How does one navigate that distance? Yes, there’s some measure of playing to certainty. Yet there’s also the other parts of the fold — confirming through questions what you do well, what you don’t, and what you will need assistance in going forward towards. And once that distance has been traversed, in either direction, the knowledge of what can be performed can be more clearly understood and compensated by all interested parties.
Heck of a way to introduce the links for the week, but it fits as a theme. Take a read and make the connection yourself:
And a few from here:
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Perhaps innovation’s perspective is bound by personal friction
One discussion often turns into many. It is excellent when several disparate, disconnected conversations begin to carry a common theme. Not forced, but something more organic. A tweet and it’s resulting thread illuminated an obstacle to a wider change, found on a much personal level — friction.
I am wildly inefficient on my phone. For me, any coordinating or communicating is best done on a laptop. Anyone else feel this way?
Thoughts while reading the thread more or less landed here: how does one design beyond the limits of their own cognitive behaviors? Can they if the personal friction that brokers their workspaces is so embedded?
Meaning, there’s probably a clearer reason why some innovations take longer to become “mainstream.” It is because of enough (loud) personal friction by just enough folks isn’t able to be overcome and so a narrative is formed and reiterated. What’s most iterated? That the newer tool/feature/behavior doesn’t do what the old one had done as easily?
It probably magnifies exponentially when a luminary in the (older) method takes the opinion public. At that point it is no longer just one’s personal feeling, but now it’s validated by someone with reputation.
Does it mean we should keep personal friction points to ourselves? Probably not. But, we might be better taking steps forward if we realize that whatever the friction is, has a perspective which might ripple well beyond our own “it feels uncomfortable.” Those who can overcome such a perspective open themselves up to a phase change. The change is transformative, and likely results in an inability to shape themselves into the former behaviors/perspectives any more. Their friction is now in convincing those who couldn’t move past theirs that there’s something beyond where they are. And what’s beyond will likely transform everything to come. Such a perspective is a new measurement not only of success, but of life itself.
Sitting down to write and on the window is an insect I’d not seen before. Not a spider, just six legs. And yet, I’m more intrigued at it, than it probably is at me. The closer I get to it, the more it takes steps to move away from my gaze. Even going as far towards moving into an upper corner of the window, to a place it’s likely under more danger from birds or even other insects. For all I know, the insect was here enjoying the background music and I simply disrupted its moment to gaze quietly. It didn’t expect to have my eyes its way, and defiantly not my motions. Such an analogy to not just this week’s notable reads, but also some of how we might be processing a connected life going forward.
Here’s this week’s reads — the processing will be left up to you.
And a few from here:
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Happenstance or happen to have a stance
Reviewing some older notes on organizations and user experience, came across a few bits on the UX Maturity Scale. What’s clear about it is that it’s not so much a discussion on whether understanding user experience is possible or not, but the competence of what’s understood because of the maturity of the organization attending to leverage it.
If one were to view their organization’s processes or departments through this lens, it is possible to uncover aspects of work and process which fit the day-to-day expectations, but result in increased friction towards the very groups the org aims to empower. Introspective? Yes. This lens confronts the org with the very core tenants of their reason for existing. Granted, some might have the stance, we don’t do this for clients/consumer, but for shareholders. Yet, even then, a culture has to mature towards this, minimizing friction in respective spaces until the core audience is consistently pleased.
Beyond the design perspective, maturity looks similar — what are the implicit rules being followed, when do those rules become autonomous stimuli, and when do those become defining character. One could assume that much of this happens by chance. That, at some point in the evolution of an org, certain traits come to the surface over others, creating the framing to which the org will define itself. Yet, it seems that for some of the adored and loathed orgs, this is less random and more structured. These orgs happen to craft some stance on which their very orgs will live or die, and then it becomes so insistent, that aspects of an org which seem they should be unaffected, now conform to such a vision.
Clients and customers feel this. They feel the connect or disconnect from the touch-points of an org and their messaging. It might even be subconsciously understood even if it’s consciously exercised. A company might hold itself to the highest standards of diversity and inclusion, yet have the very difficult task of retention because their hiring processes and department haven’t reorganized and re-measured around diversity/inclusion metrics, still keeping the same friction and KPIs of the very practices and industries they market themselves different than. A company might say sustainability, security, and privacy, yet their most ardent customers degrade, irritate, and unhealthily expose other members with such ferocity that no amount of company posturing removes the friction felt by those being subjected to alternate views. Experience isn’t something found by happenstance, it is very much designed into the very structures of what makes an org live.
Have been giving the uneasy smirk in explaining to organizations that user experience isn’t a product — it is the summation of the client/consumer’s ability to feel/not feel friction between their expectations and reality. To an org which is mature, this isn’t a challenging point of view. It is a level-setting one. If your org believes themselves to be mature, having a stance will cause the greatness that happenstance cannot.
Rest and recovery… or something like that. For one reason or another, you can’t seem to slow down until your body (or the organization you are a part of) seems to also take a rest. Aspects of today’s connected environment allow for a bit of this self-coaching. An emphasis on data, yes; but also an accountability to other professions who once used this data and interpretations as a special intelligence. What’s gained with rest is strength. What’s gained with recovery is endurance. Using the connected devices and services at your disposal should grant a level of knowledge/understanding you’d not had before. But, if you aren’t using them, you might as well be considered running on fumes.
Perhaps in these contexts, you find rest and recovery moments in what’s shared from this week’s notable readings.
And a few from here:
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