Thinking about taking some more chances with the content posted through this @microdotblog account and it hits that some of the reason that the jump hasn’t already happened is because of so many of the network effects gained (chained?) to Twitter. Whereas some people find it easy to make the migration, a carefully curated — and global — conversation around several topics just isn’t able to happen here (yet).
Yet, if/when it does will it merely be like when Jaiku was removed from the social media sphere and usurped by Twitter (the network being better because of quantity and quality of those conversing), or will it be more like a series of isolated conversations, loosely held together by the threads the pioneering users have made? Can’t really remove something that’s grafted itself into a fabric of conversation so easily. And at the same time, when it is removed, what will its overall effect be on those who chart what comes next?
Shifting modes of transportation invites a revisit into what productivity looks like. When one adds a commute, they add contemplative time. If they are the driver, there’s less time to spend in connected-thought, yet more time can be spent in and out of deep thought. If they instead add a physically exerting style of commute, doing work is more the space of contemplate and solving than of ticking off task boxes or replies. To add a more passive method invites the ability to reply, to tick the boxes, and even to segment the moment into aspects of deep thought. What does productivity look like if it is all of these modes interdependently being given place and priority?
Within this exploration of digital humanism, productivity has been given an inspector’s gaze. When the work is connected and digital, there’s some bending of the rules which have normally governed workspace. Perhaps becuase we realize that connecting dots needs is less about space and more about relationship. Perhaps productivity is more or an assumed identity than it is a destination. And therefore, we take the routes towards becoming productive when opportunity enables us to do so with the least amount of friction.
Tools and techniques shape and inform this character called productivity. Writing in an office, cafe, or classroom seems different, but the identity taken on is the same. Does it matter that the structures which compensate productivity recognize that space for its identity to be held onto? Yes. And there’s the challenge. Information-based fields aim to unattach the location from the activity — grant the worker agency to work. While other fields reshape themselves to the realities of the less context-imposed spheres around them. Does it matter that Slack makes us always available? Does it matter that the cafe’s wifi blocks Slack? Where does the work matter?
If thinking through these questions provokes more questions, it likely because when we talk about productivity as identity, we are talking about a time-value replacement which isn’t easy to explain, yet, readily able to be heard:
In the social act model, communication takes the form of a gesture made by an individual that evokes a response from someone else. The meaning of the gesture can only be known from the response, not from the words. There is no deterministic causality, no transmission from the gesture to the response. If I smile at you and you respond with a smile, the meaning of the gesture is friendly, but if you respond with a cold stare, the meaning of the gesture is contempt. Gestures and responses cannot be separated but constitute one social act from which meaning emerges.
Esko Kilpi and others have long drove into the context that work is changing. Yet, what they and others seem to allude to, but not outright say, is that so many derive identity from their inputs, that they define life only by them. If the work and workspace begin to change, then that identity isn’t just challenged, but its altered. In another article, Kilpi lays out 10 principles of digital work, and in doing so offers the ingredients for a different identity than the one which has defined productivity/work for the past 3-5 generations. Creating value is an instigating work, not a digging work. Productivity is therefore not what you do, but an aspect of whom you are. To this, augmentation by connected devices and services takes on another, far more invasive premise: evolution.
Tossing about whatever sticks. Or, are we making trails inside and beyond the streams other conversations and concepts have chosen for themselves.
Sounds a bit etherial to ignite this week’s links with such a statement. But, there’s something to be said for pushing forward until clarity makes itself known. Some people and movements know this well before others. Some just stumble around until a shoreline is found.
Here are this week’s links:
2FA, SMS, and You via Julia Ferraioli
No Shirt, No Swipe, No Service via Slate
The Unbearable Awkawardness of Automation via The Atlantic
The End of Internet History and the Last Ad via Rambling Space
Emergence of Digital Twins (PDF)
Giants of the Deep via The Atlantic
Just one piece from us this week: Awareness or Aware-less
Reminder that Avanceé’s founder, Antoine RJ Wright, will be speaking at the Brigadoon Annapolis Dinner/Lecture in September. Learn more and purchase a ticket for the dinner and/or lecture.
Tweeted the other day about some new explorations happening with indentity and authentication and it was pretty clear that it isn’t just a question about technology finding its way of being useful but not overwhelming. There is (as there is often) as sense of connected technologies either making us more aware of the surroundings around us, or making is less aware of who we are in the context of this world around us.
The commentary about the “end of the ad-based internet” also contributes to such a view. If social networking is more or less surveillance of a different term, then what we are aware of is that we have less agency to move about. If we make social media posting the default (the “Google is tracking you all the time” discussion) then being connected indeed contributes to being aware-less of the works of the world around us. We go from being purveyors of a world we are meant to discovering, to consumers of worlds in which others discover for us.
So then what does it mean for these tools and their threads to make us more aware? Is it as simple as “agency?” Can I control the flow, control the tone, or filter? Perhaps? Maybe its a sense of “turning it off without reprisal from the social-validating relationships around us?” Does being digital portend being connected to other spheres with and without agency to do something about it? And if so, what are the responsibilities left at the door of those who are connected to? What can we really be aware of when there are so many ways to connect the dots?
The answer to all of these is probably “yes.” Those who are near-native to connected spaces will find novelty in being disconnected, in taking agency around what connectivity offers. Those who are a bit less native will endow less value to connectivity that doesn’t remind them of a “more pure” version of themselves. The structures around them, while changing the rules of what it means to be “in community” will buck against their feelings of what is nature, what is honest, and what isn’t healthy (for them).
Awareness of yourself; aware-less of yourself. Almost more philosophical than it is technological and literal. Leaves us almost where we started:
When devices begin to become more embedded within one’s personal social fabric, do we gain awareness of other sensory possibilities, or do we lessen our awareness of the world(s) around us?
The middle of the year has passed and there’s some sense of “if you haven’t made that 2018 change now, then you better get on it” with some of the reads from this week. At the same time, its refreshing to continue to be revealed aspects of life that weren’t as easy to see earlier in the year. Perhaps, links are just as much about what we catch now, as it is what we might have missed later which has come into a clearer view:
An Ancient Device Too Advanced To Be Real Gives Up Its Secrets At Last via Big Think
Augmented Eternity and the Potential of Prediction
Inside Magic Leap’s Quest to Remake Itself As An Ordinary Company (with A Real Product) via Wired
Imaginary Problems are the Root of Bad Software via Medium
Kobayashi Mary Management via Rands in Repose
The Tablet World via The Brooks Review
Tokyo’s Long Lines Lead to Magic (and Life-Changing Ramen via Afar)
And a few from us:
Reading, Recognizing, & Lenses
Concept: PhD Search Notebook
Reminder: Avanceé will be presenting a lecture towards the topic of digital humanism at the Brigadoon Annapolis Salon Dinner & Lecture in September. Join us for the event, or get in touch if this is something you’d want for your team/org or event.
Concept: PhD Search Notebook (made with Paper for iOS)
Years before the genesis of Avanceé, there was Mobile Ministry Magazine, a website and magazine geared to assisting faith-based groups better understand and apply mobile and other connected technologies. The challenge then was it was a perspective much further out than some groups were willing to consider. Yet, it was heard in time, and the audience grew and sparked several other movements (many of which still heavily influencing faith and connectivity today).
In its nadir, MMM began talking about some of the next maneuvers of connectivity and the faith. Though not spoken about directly, machine learning figured heavily into that view. This too was a viewpoint much further ahead of where many in the space were attending. It was also beyond the scope of MMM to speak towards those areas (even if it did demonstrate what’s possible from the mobile-appendage and connected services). Since MMM’s closing, it has been interesting to see others experiment towards a life beyond mobile also.
Bible Lens is a new application from the folks at YouVersion. It uses a combination of images taken on the mobile device, along with YouVersion’s dataset containing Bible references, cross-references, topical subjects, and more to create an image-text mashup. It uses what it can discern from the image against that dataset in order o create this image-text mashup. In doing so, YouVersion hopes that it will highlight to the user (and then to whom the user shares) the connection between the lives they live and the Biblical text they follow.
YouVersion began as a bible reading application. It was their intention to do what other bible applications had failed to do — increase reading (and therefore knowledge and application) by non-pastoral persons. Bible Lens seems to take that vision and push them into another direction: from encouraging reading, to now recognizing. This sounds like a shift of mission, however, it is an acknowledgement that contextualization is more difficult than just assigning literacy. Comprehension happens within a context of how ones lives, and it seems YouVersion is aiming to use machine learning to connect the images we take of our lives, to the codecs we use to navigate. This can be dangerous (there are several cannons of the Christian bible for example; does YouVersion cross-reference all of them, or just a set the user selects, or a set they select). This can also be advantageous to developing better machine learning models (image and non-image based) which enable other types of filtering, contextualization, and even mashups not even imagined.
YouVersion does recognize however their view of reading isn’t the end-point for literacy. This machine-assisted viewpoint is something many industries are coming to, and not all have been able to imagine well enough to navigate, or be motivated enough to move once imagined. What’s outside of the box for them was taking reading from their container to the images people have on their connected devices. From there, they added value by connecting their lives to the codes which bind them together. How might other companies figure out similar? It might be as simple as going from reading to recognizing what else lies outside of their boxes. At least, that’s what Avanceé aims to help groups realize.
There’s sometimes no getting around this point — there’s just a whole lot out there to sift through, and even more right behind it. Does it matter to highlight so little in a sea of so much? Perhaps. But, what about when we highlight the sea, its waves, and the lands it brushes up against? There’s a lot more than sediment being pushed around. There’s a lot more happening than just the links as shared:
Exploring How and Why Trees ‘Talk’ to Each Other via Yale 360
What if Stories Are Brain Code via Renaissance Chambara
A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate via Quanta Magazine
Why Westerners Fear Robots and the Japanese Do Not via Wired
You’re Not Listening by Rands in Repose
We Will Not Get Bigger, We Will Not Get Faster via Future Human
The Bullshit Web via Pixel Envy
Everything Bad About Facebook is Bad for the Same Reason via Quartz
Only one item from us this week: Concept: Interaction Design App
Lots of flooding — both in rainfall and information — across various timelines this week. It’s almost as if the summer has found something of its own pace, and we aren’t used to it heating up to something a bit different. Perspective, or what we notice or don’t notice about the nuance of contexts, frames this week’s link share:
Don’t Ban Scooters, Redesign Streets via Curbed
The Etymology of Parking via Michele Richmond
Color Me A Dinosaur: This History of Crayola Crayons, Charted via Data Pointed
Chart Party: Using Automation to Eliminate Image Drudgery via Six Colors
The iPad vs. Mac Juxtaposition via Above Avalon
And a few from here:
Concept: Limited, Interactive Dashboard
Items have been cross-publishing on a dedicated channel on Medium. However, cross-publishing seems to not be working cleanly at the moment. Items will still be published at the Medium channel; just not in the same cadence as here.
Am speaking about digital humanism (aka, some of the ingredients behind Avanceé) at The Brigadoon Annapolis Salon Dinner + Sailing + Lecture Event in September. Join if you are in the area, or get in touch of this or similar topics you’d like to take a step beyond your box.
Concept: Limited, Interactive Dashboard App (for Tablets First); made with Paper for iOS
There’s much change happening about transportation. In urban areas, the technology which has fueled the hockey-stick like acquisition of smartphones, has upended ride-hailing, personal, and public transportation options. In the macro-industry view, advances in automation are challenging everything from where autos are sold, to the repetitive tasks (and resulting health concerns) of those who put those autos together. More than simply responding to oil versus electric, there’s just a shift happening in and around transportation which could be looked at as part of the same shift which started with steam, bicycles, and industry in the late 1800s.
Help me get there
Mobility can be looked at in such a simple phrase. “Get there” could be as simple as “get my presence there” (which describes the advances in radio/telephone which birthed movies, TV, and the Internet). It could be as expansive as putting someone to work, at the best rate for both the employer and employee — and as detailed as when the employee chooses one transit option, the employer gains or loses the flexibility for them to get to another place economically. Mobility is termed a noun, but it it’s really more transitional. It describes a transaction of time and space, enacted personally and impersonally.
To take from the start of one part of this shift: bicycles. Bicycles still rank as probably one of the most ingenious of humanity’s inventions. Such a simple set of simple machines comes together to enable an economy of movement of which it seems no other land or air animal can match (sorry, the sea is a different category). The bicycle spurred the development of rubber in various directions (tire, road compound, sealant, clothing, etc.). It enabled women and other social groups to travel-and-create their own spaces away from the dominant voices of their times; while also speaking to the inability or extra-ability of groups of people to transform sections of their cities. One could argue, the bicycle is the social movement we’ve not yet shifted down from. In its expression of mobility, the bicycle transposed time and space for the individual, and for the environments which allowed those trails to be taken.
What’s most clear about mobility as we go forward within this century, is that mobility will be empowered, or curtailed, through environmental, political, and cultural factors. Social mobility for some groups will be like a bicycle which has gained gears. For others, the gears they have gained now need to become internalized, become less resistant to external elements, and maybe even use a different chain in order to continue moving. Environmental mobility will ask that we look not just at where we want to travel, but what we might be leaving behind as some groups become consumers before they are asked to think about the wastefulness and efficiencies of what they consume. Sharper attention will be paid to cultural mobility — some groups deserve the agency to get onto their own bicycles, and not be limited by those who have been riding nearly-unimpeded for ages.
In a sense, “help us get there” is less a motto, and more the oil in the chains. Where we travel next might need a bit more tuning to the chain than what we’ve been doing to date.
Image: Tern Verge D9, taken at Contee Bikes DC
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what exactly you might be trying to avert your attention from, there are some news and notes which just make their way into your viewing lanes. You can decide what to look at, what to hold onto, and what to discard. You can’t always decide the immediate value of what just took hold of your attention. This is the harder lesson of filters/boundaries. One in which this week’s set of links seems to shine the appropriate light towards:
The Cultural Iceberg via Twitter
Disappearing Sculptures Video via Twitter
Letter from Shenzhen via Logic
A Global Guide to State-Sponsored Trolling via Bloomberg
A few from earlier in the week generated here:
Blockers and Filters
Project Idea: Wellness Enabler
And a coming soon note:
Speaking Event: Brigadoon Anapolis
Had an idea earlier this year about purchasing a health company (I Should buy A Digital Health Company); haven’t really moved from it, but have put some work into sculpting what exactly about a health company enables Avanceé’s vision…
…it’s deeper than organic. Wellness as enabler 🤔
In one of our recent projects, we are mapping workflows which are no longer being used due to organizational and staff changes. In doing so, we’ve been doing some light assessing of what the organization has been doing since those workflows and methods were compromised. What we find is what’s true at every company, people find a blocker to a way of working, and like water, they seep around the walls until there’s a better route found.
There’s actually nothing right or wrong about reorientation. In the course of any behavior or process, this happens as a natural evolution. The difficulty is fighting the urge to just evolve and not have bricks in a place of understanding from what’s being evolved from. For the companies who have engaged Avanceé so far, it been our ability to visualize those bricks of past actions and understandings, and turn those into questions and potential roads for ways forward. One group doesn’t want to do the old workflows, but they want the benefits of automation — the key to their benefits will be in what they’d done previously. Another group wants to deploy a more accountable transaction mechanism — the key to their benefits isn’t in customer acquisition, but in communicating minimal customer friction.
Reorienting in this wise ends up taking on the persona of a filter rather than a blocker. A blocker prevents/inhibits movement. It is a wall — immovable, impenetrable by design. It is an enforced boundary. This space of workflow transformation (and really, org transformation) needs something more like a filter. First, a method to collect all the relevant (and some of the non-relevant) inputs. Second, the filter itself needs a few levels of filtration. There might be large holes initially to allow for all but the most unfit of behaviors, then smaller holes each level down until the most pure behaviors and actions remain. We do this with conversations, mind mapping, and sketchnotes, though this can and does come in several other mediums. Lastly, there’s a pouring and mixing of what remains into a new container — a new brick. This remade packaging doesn’t forget the lessons of the old, but since we’ve filtered the legacy behaviors and actions, we are able to continue with what works best, and what is less likely to need a major adjustment later. We might add to the mix, and that’s ok. What is used has been filtered to its essence, and now is in a “best fit” scenario.
We do this and end up pushing the boundaries of what constitutes working, what constitutes success/failure. The ways we are working are by no means a panacea for how to continue working, but are seeing as just a slightly lighter sketch on which a harder imprint or eraser will follow. Does it have a defined shape by the end? Yes. But, not because we started with a shape. It is similar to what a great sculptor would say, “there was always beauty in the stone, it was just my job to remove what kept you from seeing it.”
Blockers as a guide? As a building block? Or, are those walls the stitches which build your filters so that you can better simplify what it means to work forward? We prefer to posture blockers as the latter. So in this way the filters engaged will cause us not to add our own slant to what is there, but will clarify what your team has always known to be true about your efforts.
Travel and sickness often makes for unusual insights. Then again, there are some questions we don’t ask when we are well because we are strong enough to be stubborn to ignore them. At least, this seems to be parts within the theme of this week’s links:
Can Meditation Really Make the World A Better Place via Aeon
Intel’s Toxic Culture via Monday Note
Did Blogs Ruin the Web; or Did the Web Ruin Blogs via Kottke
-Why Hasn’t Graphene Taken Over the World via The Verge - Video
And one from us:
Many years ago, the word/phrase to be found around the workplace was “workflow.” Between the many folks selling workflow solutions, large companies making initiatives on top of initiatives in order to improve/measure/etc. workflow, and the various technical languages which jumped the shark into being “workflow enablers” for those who needed a bit more agency, it was a another one of those fervor moments you could only just sit and wait it out. And yet, so much about the idea of understanding workflows isn’t just key to understanding how businesses will be done but also understanding how things are done.
For example, take the process by which teams from different companies come together to craft a proposal. The structure of the group dictates who will be the gatekeepers, even though the role of every member is to contribute some kind of content for the proposal. From the developers and designers who might be tasked to envision a concept for the eventual state of the product, to the resource and financial analysts who need to know the value of inputs, outputs, and their impacts across a very fluid timeline, there’s a great deal to pull together. Thinking about this within the concept of a seamless workflow you ask questions such as:
where will draft versions of documents be kept
who will be responsible for auditing the output versus the proposal template
what happens to the resources which become the conceptual product
is there a round of feedback/editing which needs to happen with a smaller piece of the team before this is considered final
what will be the primary communication methods
In each case, through each role and team contributing to this project, the idea of workflow isn’t just a matter of “what kind of work needs to happen between them for the end product,” but also, what kind of work needs to happen within those individual members in order to flow up to that project team’s output in the most seamless manner. Differences in applications might lead to reduced fidelity from one team to another. Differences in availability might lead to passive/indirect communication journals which fail to convey some necessary tone.
This makes workflow less a religion and more a sacrament. It is a descriptor of what should probably already be happening. Yet, when codified, creates the accessible means for those outside of the team or process to best understand why success happened or didn’t. Challenge for many folks is that they don’t know what that structure looks like. Their work is dependent on another, but they don’t know what questions to ask in order to see what’s on the other side of the fence or garage door. And then when things are created, and you just see the output, you don’t realize the depth of work which went into this. It seemed seamless due to the time and quality met, but there’s a depth to which only the workflow (as codified) would be able to explain.
Not to say that documentation is everything. But, when there’s some kind of workflow involved, there has to be a record of the process. That is, if your process is actually contributing to the positive outcomes for the projects you are setting before yourselves.
Independence is an agreement, but not an inevitable decision. At least, that’s how it feels when looking at the links for this week:
Simple Self-Driving Shuttles Become First Robot Rides in Detroit via Bloomberg
Ridehail Revolution: UCLA ITS Dissertation Examines Discrimination and Travel Patters for Lyft, Uber, and Taxis
What Happens When A Computer Runs Your Life via Medium
The Connectomes Revolution via Edge
Framing Trust via Twitter thread
And just one from us this week:
The Appendage Conundrum
As we pulled up to the mall, Steve felt there was something he’d show me. Little did he know, I was going to use this context to show him what he didn’t understand about mobile. We walked into the mall and proceeded to stores he was familiar with. There were a few companies to which he wanted to check out due to the project we were working on. His mindset was that the TV screens were the important interface for this effort.
I had other ideas. We left the stores and headed to the food court. I asked him to look around at the people around us. There were parents with children, groups of teens, seniors, and several others. Then I asked him to look at what they were doing. He said, “they aren’t even looking at each other. They are looking at those glowing rectangles. They can’t get away from their appendages!”
There’s something we can all acknowledge about mobile devices. They are more or less hard to pull away from their owners. They are an arm, eyes, and sometimes even legs — depending on the person and what they are doing at least. Somehow we’ve adapted so fast to these minaturaized calculation machines that they have become a part of whom we are. And par the course, previous generations have the perspective that this is unnatural. But, is it?
We are creatures who embed our world around us. Probably not too different from spiders, we seem to have a mind and actions which work outside of our physical bodies. More than just accounting for what is spiritual, we use our tools and the connections between them to embed ourselves into the world around us. There’s a different language between generations with this. Previous generations might build the blocks, but its successive generations which transform those blocks into streams of consciousness which (many times) were never imagined before.
Hence the challenge. We don’t always understand what it means to be fully embedded into this connected space. Language like “artificial intelligence,” “mixed reality,” and “online” are transitional terms. An acceptance of the appendage, but not quite the invisibility of using it. We design these processes, these tools, against what we can best understand — “talkies” was a similar term — until it becomes natural enough to no longer be considered foreign.
What is the reason for this session? To acknowledge that we don’t know all of the potential paths our imaginations and inventions will create. But, we are excited about them. They do something in us when we see someone using these tools outside of their mind, it looks like magic. It is magic. Because we are taking something outside of ourselves and using it in ways that fit another mind. Its not supposed to be comfortable. It does become natural.
The future should be described in more optimistic terms than perhaps scholars or the entertainment industry has put forth. Looking for those different tropes is a bit easier said than done. The way this week’s links are put forth, it will be more up to the reader to put together their ideal future, rather than live with the results of other’s methods of dictation.
On to the links:
A Peek Inside the Niantic Real World
Vector Podcast No.128: Brian Roemmele on Siri Shortcuts
Ways to Think About Machine Learning via Benedict Evans
Shapes of UX Designers via Amplify Design
What if Sleep Was a Commodity via Marginal Revolution
And a few from us:
Tools on Deck: Adobe Comp CC
Concept: Podcast UI
Concept: Podcast UI
The tools used on Windows and macOS machines just aren’t usable in the same manner on Apple’s iOS devices. That has required some shifts, and has shaped some exposure to some tools in a different light than what they might have been initially marketed towards. Speaking specificity, Adobe Comp CC has become that tool. And yet, it largely goes unnoticed because this type of use is not what you do on a tablet.
Some weeks back, there was a post of a SmartTrip Apple Watch Concept. The screenshot in this post was of Adobe Comp CC, a wireframing and layout application made by Adobe and only available on iOS. This application has been part of the toolshed for a few years as it relates to design work because of the ease it has with fitting into existing Adobe workflows when working with others.
Read more about Using An iPad Pro As A UX Designer
Adobe Comp CC seems like nothing more than a scaled version of the first editions of Adobe’s InDesign product. There’s a means to create a canvas (several templates), and either by drawing the shapes, or using the shape libraries, create layouts and interface concepts. After you’ve made one page/screen, you close that to open another. These can be saved within a project, and all of these projects are saved to your Adobe CC account. That integration is quite helpful — you can create assets within applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. and then simply pull those into your Comp CC project. If you change the component in one of those apps, the change can be adapted into Comp CC’s project easily.
Where Comp CC doesn’t work so well is when doing more complicated interface explorations. Applications such as Axure, Balsmic, and even Adobe’s own XD (for macOS) enable the connection of components and screens inside of a project. You can design a home screen in Comp CC, but to show how it functionally connects to another screen, you’ve got to use another application (on-device, Marvel App; if collaborators are involved, InVision). This gap rears its head quickly when using Comp CC for UI design or UX strategy.
Read UX Journeys” Lessons From What’s Thrown Away
Even still, the quality of what can be produced in Adobe Comp CC is enoug to turn heads and drive towards better decisions on not just the look and feel, but the content which drives/is driven by experiences. Comp CC leaves just enough room to be simple to do design quickly, and takes just enough effort that you’ll pull your design notes (unfortunately in another program also) so that you can answer what the design didn’t.
Could it be better? Definitely. XD for macOS shows what Comp CC on iOS should be. There’s no excuse with the power and direct input interface on an iPad that more couldn’t be done with Comp CC. And yet, that’s part of the challenge with smaller apps like this. Comp CC is powerful enough to build the next great app; its also simple enough to build your flyer/billboard/banner ad. Would be good to see more come from Comp CC for UI work; there’s more than potential here for making great things. Our work has been proof of that.
Read UX Journeys: Unexpected, Yet Better Products
Speak to a interface designer and you will likely not be very far from hearing about products such as Sketch, InVision, and others. There’s something of a fetish the design industry has about its tools. So much so that conversations about what is UX turns quickly into UX is the tools you use. That’s hard to escape when the workstation is an iPad Pro. Yet, the tools to create avenues for the best experiences are only tools. To understand these tools and their canvas helps identify what can and can’t be understood under after the experience event.
Tools and their impacts on creating and understanding experiences is a wide and deep topic. Avanceé promotes theory, process and tools that are easily available. What’s next is up to you.
Finding this week’s links light in terms of quantity, but heavier in terms of context and implications. In some measure, the gaps exposed by not completely understanding tools, processes, and their knitting theories presents an opportunity. Some things are easier to figure out after the fact.
Apple Is Figuring Out What’s Next via Above Avalon
UX Upgrades for the Airline Industry via Dean Gonsalves
Moving Design Beyond Pictures via Angular Blog
And a few from us:
Exploring Digital Humanism
Past Project: All Books UI
Past Project: All Books UI (Aged UI)
See this project on Github
There are a few terms worth talking about — or maybe it is just the phrase which needs to find its way beyond the unexplored shores it speaks towards — and that is the term “digital humanism.” It is a subject we will be speaking on for a few months as there’s something brewing in that space towards Avanceé’s offerings and so it makes sense to start to suss out what the term means (at least right now), and where we might see it go from being “unexplored territories” to “way of existing fully.”
In agreement with Dean Bubley, using the term “digital” is a bit troublesome However, it is a bit of a transitional term to use to describe a bit of what’s mean by the phrase digital humanism. Simply put, there’s an acknowledgement that connectivity, communication, and productivity has taken on the nature of calculated (algorithmic) dealings, in addition to spiritual (religious and psychosocial) and physical (senses) definitions. To contextualize this (for the moment) by the augmented nature mobiles have provided many people — there’s some argument to dictate mobile devices and their connective threads have become an augmented body part — seems to get us down the line that being digitally augmented adds something (or takes something away) from what we understand as humanity.
And yet the second part of this term might be all the more troublesome. Humansim or being humane or what does it mean to be human is as much a philosophical question as it is an egotistical one. For decades, it was taught that humans were the only animals with structured language, yet this has been found in animals from crows, to dolphins, to bacteria. It has been assumed that the distinction to humanity was spirituality, however elephants and other animals which bury and morn over their dead seem to also share this perspective and similar traits. We talk about our ability to embed our mind into the environment around us through the making of tools and shaping of our environment, yet there are octups who make tools and shape reefs, birds who create hammers and drills, and even a virus which creates a drill out of materials within a cell in order to pierce DNA strands. Suffice to say, defining humanity by what we do seems to be a tenuous place in which to define what we are.
So then, what does it mean to be human? And does being augmented by silicon and electricity add to or take away from this defintion? Without clarity on the latter, the adjective before seems in need of a better anchor. We seem to mean digital as meaning powered by non-analog computing systems and processes. We want it to mean being in and around Internet and web-like services with some sense of fluidity. We say it in the context of, “don’t give me paper and make me send it by postage, but use a form and relational database and relationships between your switchboard and mine to say hello.” To be digital seems to want to mean, a process of letting sand and electricity augment whatever it is I am doing. And yet, to be human goes well beyond what “I” am doing.
This will be explored a good bit further in future pieces; but to start here with a term (digital humanism) and let Avanceé’s content and practices shape what we mean in using this term seems a healthy aim forward. From here, well, that’s to just be found when we get there.