How you’re doing it wrong.

I just wish we’d stop trying to project how we work onto others as a means of self justification of our own actions. If you discover a cool technique, by all means, please share it! But try to avoid presenting it as if it’s the only or best way to do things.

from Yaron Schoen's piece, 'Get off my lawn', published with Medium.

This is what I've been doing. And it's wrong. It's wrong for me to dictate from my keyboard how other people are working poorly and telling them how they could be improving.

But I do want to share more. I want to share a lot. Last year I discovered the joy of sharing how I work with people from the other side of the world. It was envigorating.

It's wrong of me though to keep giving people copies of "Getting Things Done" and expecting them to start developing their own system of todo lists that stops them being a disappointment to everyone.

It's wrong of me to tell people how to save files on their computer so they know how to find them again and don't have to call me when they've forgotten how to use their computer's search function.

It's wrong of me to explain that embarking on a project without planning a path to get to a goal is a surefire way of ending up lost and without any sense of achievement.

It's wrong of me to explain these things because everybody has a right to continue living their lives in the most infuriating way possible.

Meanwhile, I might just start sharing more about how I'm doing things and invite comments on what other people think. Can these things I do and the way I do them be improved? Have I discovered something that other people don't know?

Maybe we can share how we do things and learn to accept that we have different reasons for doing them the way that we do. Those reasons might include just a pure stubborness and refusal to see sense. But so what? Wouldn't that sense of self-awareness be the first step we're all looking for?



Dropping Science

Since early childhood, I’ve been trying to learn all I can. Science is everything; it’s not just physics. It’s the way of understanding your environment, the world around you. When we were younger, whatever we felt was interesting enough to write about we would write about it. And science has always been that something for me.

GZA in his piece "GZA Speaks: The Lost Art of Lyricism", published on Medium

I've always been a fan of GZA's lyrical ability and his sense of art in his work. In this piece he shouts out to those who inspired him but also has some interesting points about how the world of hiphop is not now what it once was.

If you haven't yet caught up with the experiment Lyndal and I are doing for the year, you can check it out on the Novastalgia blog. It's about how, when we get older, we stop learning how to embrace the new.

I really enjoy dissecting the way GZA struggles with that conflict in this piece. We get older and we wonder why the world doesn't fit us anymore.

How Over-Specialisation Ruins Us

UX teams and practitioners should strive to create products that users want and need, and design them in a way that is easy and joyful to use. User experience is concerned with everything that affects users and their interaction with the product.

from 'UX Without User Research Is Not UX' by HOA LORANGER on the Nielson Norman Group website

Recently I gave a talk at a local meet-up about what I do in my job. I was there as to talk about content so I was introduced as a content specialist (or content strategist).

When we work with clients, often we're the UX people. (UX is short for 'User Experience').

But I see content and UX as being part of the same club. I see them both as the responsibility of everybody who works on a project.

If we take, for example, the building of a website. A coder doesn't just take the pictures that a designer makes and turn it into code. She has to think about the semantics of the code. She has to include code that will aid accessibility software to access the information properly. There's the "weight" of a page to take into account so that it loads quickly.

All of this could form a part of the user's experience.

Similarly, a designer can't produce a comp without an understanding of the content on the screen.

All of these things just come under the heading of "things we have to think about before putting something into the world".

This is what "design" means. It means thinking about the things we're building and understanding how they can best be used.

Design is a form of communication. All design involves some kind of content. "Content" doesn't just mean words and "User Experience" doesn't just mean stopping people swearing at their computer. These things are inherent in a design. The words, images and interactions of a website make up its design. We used to be just called "web designers" but now we're content strategists, UXers, performance analysts and accessibility experts.

There aren't chefs who specialise in how a plate looks and other who only care about how food tastes. So why do we split designers into all these different categories?

We are the designers and the best time to call us is when you have the idea. Our work touches every single stage of the project you're trying to get off the ground. If you start without us you'll be sorry because we're used to thinking about these things that we put into the world. We've spent our careers seeing the things that work and those that fail and knowing how to improve on both. We will give your audience a good experience and know how to track that experience. We will ensure that the words, pictures and interactions provide the message and emotion that you're looking for. We'll make sure that everybody you intend to use your idea will be able to use your idea. That's our job. That's what "design" means.

The more we segment our skills into specialised areas, the more things are going to fall down the gaps between UX expert and graphic designer or between content strategist and accessibility expert. The finished product doesn't exist in separate silos and neither should the people who design and build them.

Podcasting and the Selling of Public Radio – The Awl

But when it comes to public radio people reading ad copy at the beginning or middle of a show, [Benjamin] Walker told me “that’s a terrible, terrible idea… The leg up that public media folks have going into podcasting comes from this connection to the listener-supported content model,” he said. “And for us to endanger that with the fucking ads seems like a terrible idea. Who’s going to want to give support for their favorite podcast when they hear eight million ads?”

Source: 'Podcasting and the Selling of Public Radio' – The Awl

I really like the way Benjamin Walker tries to protect the atmosphere that keeps trust in podcasting. It's an uphill battle but I respect it.

Executions in Indonesia

It's been difficult to sleep while knowing what was happening at the same time in Indonesia.

My respect and admiration goes to all those who worked tirelessly and against the odds to save the lives of the reformed and the unfairly sentenced: the lawyers, artists, politicians, families and religious communities who worked together for justice.

They brought to light the truest crimes in this case and the real evil in our world: the corruption of those entrusted with the protection of society.
Continue reading