In the midst of putting this together, got into a conversation about parents vs parenting. The approach of fostering whatever might come next seems like something wel-suited for those who are parents. And yet, if we were to listen to the news of the day, it would seem like everyone has the opportunity to get into parenting themselves and their communities into a better state of being. Where does being land? Not sure. Though the ownership of what it means for humane decisions going forward means for a wider approach to living forward.
And a few from me:
Usually, the middle of the week has been used to share concepts or lingering sketches for current or past projects. Felt like taking things a different direction, reflection of a wider sort.
What’s been pandered about so far this quarter? What are the themes to be found?
”Deep Thought” As A Productivity Paradigm
Shape of the Next Technologies
The aim for this 2nd year of Avanceé has been to be clearer about who/what this effort is for. It is a soapbox, but a different one than perhaps what’s been shared on social media and blog channels by others (or myself really). It’s deliberately targeting a specific intellectual sect — those who also might be throwing about decisions related to trends and possibilities, but not giving the answers to what to do with them. Those who might have unformed perceptions, and still gathering resources to figure out what those perceptions might mean.
Yet this is also a portfolio of sorts — the work done for clients mirrors the strategy written, the concepts designed, the links shared. There’s a depth and breadth here that’s unlike blogging or email newsletters on purpose. Intentional friction? Perhaps. But, rarely is a way forward cut on an existing road.
Comfortable with where things are? Somewhat. But, not quite at the place where the scratchpad and scribbles are clear enough. Reflections are not always clear, sometimes, you need a bit of time before the ripples dissipate and what’s on the bottom makes itself known.
Further ruminations on the specifics of “deep thought” paradigms in a workspace
Weird the things which cause a rekindling of former thoughts. In a recent tweet, having nothing to do with the topic of interfaces or work, there was a spark rekindling the previous discussion of deep thought UI paradigms. How does that post about the placement of a connected speaker spark such a thought? It has to do with what we see about our spaces in their ability to be conductive to particular kinds of work. When looked at from that perspective, such a graphic doesn’t merely show what we interact with, but how we have designed our spaces around particular interactions.
To recap, here’s where we lent some shape to the paradigm of deep thought:
Deep work is transactional primarily for the individual doing it, not for the entities the individual is supporting.
Deep work UI paradigm (thoughts based around my iOS-as-workstation self): - goals: immersion, flow, focus - analogy: Etch-A-Sketch controls, not Photoshop’s - behaviors: liberty inside frame (create, cut, mix/remix, etc), structured export to outside (validate, handoff, etc.)
In the space of “deep thought” we often hear about unbroken states of work. But, what else is there? What are these other characteristics? Not because they can be measured, but becuae they do sit in a space to be enjoyed. A space to be productive.
Deep thought can probably then be affixed to an acknowledgement of a specific shape of iteration. It might be a framework initially, but then builds/falls into a skeleton where building certain frames of activity are able to blossom. Deep thought as a room? The den, contemplative space, or work-corner. If in this space, the intentionality drives the productity and outcomes.
Going down this line probably describes why open office concepts are so disruptive, but why cafes might not be. The intentionality of the space for collaboration shapes it one way. The intentionality for production shapes it another way. The way we setup our workspace has to be responsive to the output, but probably even more to the production. This nuance might be what is missed, probably because the value in the process is no longer a part of what makes for present economic conversations.
It was almost written like a “poor me” metronome. That look back over the week which wasn’t as successful as hoped. Which wasn’t as ground-breaking as it could have been. This was almost written like that. And with barely a step back — technically, the backspace key — there’s something more about the week to be appreciated and respected. Not every step forward will work out. Sometimes, backspace is the key of life. There’s a measure of this journey fit for the few who travel it. Apparently, am on that track where it’s clear that more normative methods of work need not apply.
Why yes, that’s indeed the theme behind this week’s notable reads.
A few posts from here:
Had the thought a few times this week to move into a nearly daily cadence in sharing these. As far as can be noticed, there aren’t many who follow this side of things, so perhaps upping the cadence doesn’t really negate any of the effort. It does make the weekly trimming fall under a different banner. Perhaps that’s something to be played with. Others who do lists like these seem to gravitate towards some kind of thematic template; that’s certainly been the case with what’s been done here over the past year plus. Publicly wondering about tweaking that — not sure that it will add or remove value — not even sure that this format and sharing is all that valuable. There’s just a lot of noise out there.
Simply because this could not wait for Friday’s collection. Feels like it’s too important of a topic to the @microdotblog community:
A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking via Facebook
Documenting and adutiing a peculiar (to some) way of working in the interaction design/user experience space
When using an iPad Pro as the primary workstation for experience/interaction design, the suite of tools and the workflow is just a little bit different than many. While a shock to some, its not an impossible endeavor. Though, using popular apps such as Sketch and Figma are out of the question. Replacing those with others, or figuring a way around what seems to be normative becomes part of the process also. At the same time, these applications really set the process for how experience designers translate and communicate their value. Fortunately, experience design is not completely dependent applications used.
It has been sometime since auditing tools and behaviors, and thought to share a piece of that exercise, listening for others’ tools and methods. This was shared with the Hong Kong UX Design Slack Group as part of a discussion on tools and methods.
You might have noticed a bit of simplicity with the listing here. Part of that comes from how a previous definition of UX (presentation deck) guides practices. This definition of user experience has become a bridge towards other audiences in defining expectations and deliverables. And as such, much of the way working on an iPad has evolved through this definition.
You might have also noticed a few tools previously featured on other posts mentioned here. Adobe Comp CC and Paper are mainstays to the creative process — snippets of screens show often in the Wednesday Concepts. Paste has endeared many to feeling similar to PowerPoint, but adding the positives of collaboration like Slack and others. Paper and LiquidText are probably the least collaborative of the tools mentioned. This is not a mistake, deep thought as a paradigm for work needs just as much mention as collaborative and coding tools.
Depending on the needs, the deliverable(s) takes several shapes. Paste decks, Apple Shortcuts, Google Forms, and reports have been the outputs of most of these activities. The shaping into those artifacts takes on the same routes. This is on purpose, consistency creates an avenue for efficiency. And in utilizing this specific tool and workflow, experience design becomes something closer to the initial thought than with other hardware.
Let’s stop there for now. So let’s hear it from any of you if you are using tablets, mobiles, or anything that isn’t a conventional Windows/macOS laptop as part of your ID/UX toolkit. Am always game for learning/playing with something new.
Status As A Serivce by @eugenewei
Probably a good thesis for @microdotblog as well as a note of caution and hope for success
Looking at one of the last snowfalls of the season out of the window, am reminded of there always being just a little bit more on deck than whatever might be planned or expected. In the project management space, we used to say something like, “whatever they give you as an estimate for the delivery, multiply it by 2.5. That’s your real number.” This often seems to be the case. We under/over-estimate at such a rate it is probably really more magical when our projects pan out exactly as stated. Perhaps, like this snowfall, the magic isn’t the accuracy of the prediction, but finding the magic in the spaces not so easy explained.
With that, here’s this week’s notable reads:
And a few homegrown pieces:
Concept: On-Demand Disability Transit App
Being thrust back to the future of unshapen mobiles and their implications
Spent a nice day recently, conversing with other information/experience design professionals during World IA Day. Some of the conversations sprung towards either the tools we use, or how hard it is to focus product and process because of the amount of options which seem to be at our fingertips. Literal fingertips in this case — was using Pencil and Tap to take notes. The introduction of newer forms of input or expression seems to have hit something of a fever pitch over the week. Besides the context of conferences currently happening, there’s also a shift underfoot to question and explore what felt like certainties. This has led to a number of unshapen forms, and perhaps some more focus towards what people want for their tools to do.
Microsoft at MWC Barcelona: Introducing Microsoft HoloLens 2 - The Official Microsoft Blog
Why would one use a computer that fits on their head instead of sitting in front of a terminal? Why do they learn new gestural commands, versus leveraging the years of keyboard, mice, and/or touch? What’s really “better” if this is causing so much transformation? And yet, these questions are so focused they miss the unshapen opportunity. Microsoft postures HoloLens 2 as a computer for people who aren’t in front of computers but need to leverage computing to do their job (start at 4:40). This is focused in an unshapen context. But allows for a focus to something which can enable others.
Then there are those folded screens showing up on the newly announced Samsung and Huawei mobiles. Is there a reason for these? Can these technologies (multiple batteries stitched together with software, folded screens, windowed interfaces, etc.) answer something about computing that’s considered a compromise with tablets or large phones? Or, is the transforming phone the bridge to the wearable and voice-augmented device as the telephony — the foldable screen being an adaptable input interface accessory? Certainly, if not looking at these as addressing a compromise we can start to have these perspectives. But what others? What about mobile and/or tablets is unshapen and could use some attempt at focus?
Get to Know the Galaxy Fold - Samsung
Huawei Mate X: a closer look at MWC 2019 - Engadget
Perhaps the apprehension with these kinds of devices are because they do expose the potential of life outside of assumed norms. For much about technologies, processes, and behaviors, we forget that there was a time when these were new also. They challenged norms and it was difficult to see the things yet imagined.
To be unshapen doesn’t mean to be unfocused. And, as we are seeing with these and other announcements at MWC, to what we notice in regional and global policy might have had focus for one stage of life, pen towards describing what comes next.
Fast and slow. A reminder of the cold of winter, the persistence of bias, and the surprise of ingenuity. These swings are merely the moments of life’s extremes, with life being defined by what comes in between those moments. Still, there’s an unrelenting desire for those extremes at times. Perhaps because in the extremes we might figure out what is best understood about the shades in between.
Philosophical? Perhaps. But, if your week were encased into a list of notable reads, what items would top that list? Would yours waffle between the extremes, or find the gradient measures and describe their tone?
No mention of the Samsung Galaxy Fold; because that deserves its own words… maybe
And a few from Avanceé:
Using perspective of the future to communicate a simply, accessible present
Living in a space where there’s some freedom towards experimentation and its resulting analysis often leads to incredibly simple insights. However, getting to that point is not so much a matter of iteration, or even research, sometimes, it is a matter of just having a different perspective than others who might be able to utilize those fruits in a more applicable manner.
About a month ago, published a piece talking about the potential implications of using the Tap wireless keyboard and have been steadily living on the changed diet of this keyboard, Siri dictation, and the on-screen keyboard. I might not be until these Monday, long-form pieces that sitting at a conventional keyboard is actually noticed. Something about using a tablet doesn’t feel like a tablet when using a conventional keyboard (the Apple Smart Keyboard or any 3rd party variants). The feeling that a tablet is a different kind of computer is felt best in the perspective of using the glass as the changeable canvas that it is — letting it morph into whatever needs to be next. The behavior of typing, while a normative behavior, sees a different level of thinking when its removed completely from the hardware.
A friend asks some days back about what new tools might be on deck, and there’s the Tap keyboard which comes into the conversation. Having not realized that it was not seen by this person, there meant a demo. The resulting expression, the shift of their facial expression, showed that something beyond the normal was being shown. And yet it was not so detached from reality to be something “only seen in movies.”
Perhaps, this is what is better understood by those who design new technologies which appear in movies, but do not have an analogy to what’s happening right now. Inventing the future — or rather, inventing another reality— is not looking at things as they are, but by taking aspects of the known then stretching them towards more applicable conclusions. The rubber band of taking those far-out perspectives, and making them accessible to an audience who isn’t there, is a type of genius. There’s an art to making it clear. But, probably a better one to just stretching backwards after going forward.
A few prospective projects have Avanceé looking at the future and using that viewpoint to find simpler, clearer, and more appropriate means of addressing today’s problems. Inside of this space, it is sometimes difficult to see that the future isn’t right now. And yet, by simplifying the end point to something which can be grabbed, perhaps the future is really just a means to shifting our perspective towards using more of what we’ve always had.
That word spoke to what kept coming back towards this week. Not simply because resonance is both noun and past-action verb, but because there’s something about the way some pieces of work have rippled across the ether which seems to invite something more to the cannon than what’s been given at the surface.
“…”Resonance—there is no wisdom without it,” Birkerts writes. “Resonance is a natural phenomenon, the shadow of import alongside the body of fact, and it cannot flourish except in deep time.”
Perhaps the measure of doing these readings isn’t so much capturing time as it happened, but looking for the deeper indents to which time has been allowed to cultivate something better than simply knowing what’s happening. Perhaps, this is is what it means for this week’s theme of notable reads to be more than simply read:
And a few from here:
Taking some time today to review a few past concepts. The ideation that led to these (and a few others) could use some refreshing.
And at the same time, looking back at these causes a flurry of questions about the greater role contemplation plays in the space between the idea and the work.
Perspectives of humane factors for defining efficiency
Long before Avanceé was a clear concept, work was a series of support and design efforts looking at problems spaces from a perspective beyond the stated problem. Solutions invented had the effect of snowballing towards more. Some of those efforts kept going long after invention and implementation. Such was the expanse of a past effort that only recently is being retired.
I’ve evolved in these responsibilities towards documenting and creating paperless forms with associated workflows to trim the administrative times allotted towards some member-facing and internal quality behaviors. Over 2 dozen of these forms/workflows have been developed, with a quarter of them in a live or beta state, and two having reached a level of association adaptation and use…
— From Workstations to Working Beyond Stations
For any innovation to be sustained, it’s got to to also be more than the parts which make it up. As Token spoke about on their recent blog post, a philosophy putting a system over the individual parts creates opportunities where other efforts may not target clearly targeting. With that effort with a regional YMCA, the target was to improve a system of behaviors, not merely to add digitalization into existing experiences. This had the effect of not only reshaping a core process, but also elevating the impact of humane factors which had been hidden by flaccid expectations.
Human factors of efficiency sounds difficult to explain, but not so through many lenses. Within the economic conversation, the concept of a universal basic income is an attempt to answer the factors related to quality of life and its ratio to available work. The concept of multi-modal transportation seeks to define pedestrian transport and access as the purpose of transport infrastructure, not as the consequence of it. These and several other “topics of the day” seem to define and merit out the value of factoring humane input and consequences to what seems to be determinant states. Human factors are found as not a layer here, but the very floor by which understanding is gained and wisdom enables the best of human ability.
Do you understand the human factors at the floor of the operational and transactional practices of your organization? Or rather, have those factors been diminished in view for others? Has working from home turned from environmental sensibilities to extending the project cycle? Has collaboration gone from catalyst to doctrine? Humane factors can fall in importance quickly if not cultivated. And can even be abused, only showing later in unseen conditions. However, any solution that plans on maintaining or improving human ability has two edits very core factor what are the humane possibilities. Referring again to the previously linked piece:
…not only why revisiting the posture of the Branch Service Manager needs to change in the perspective of technology tools — but why such a change is a service-first attitude which positions branches and their members for the best possible results in a world that’s going to be significantly different going forward…
Suffice to say, the words written over 2 ½ years ago here are holding through now. However, we can now say what different is. Technological change means focusing on what it matters to be human. We don’t always utilize a clear definition of productivity. But, we do know that if we remove human factors from the equation, the end results become only of metric of what could have been.
Pattens can provoke actions. The provocation can seem as if it is elongating friction, or pointing to a diminishing influence of another mindset. The provocation can also alert to a shift which shouldn’t happen. Wrapping one’s head around all of this isn’t all that difficult unless you rely on the signals telling you what the patterns are doing. Signals follow the patters, they aren’t the patterns. What are the patterns? Well, this week’s collection of notable reads probably does well to highlight a few:
And a few from Avanceé
Tuning aspects of the CIO position into temporary, effective leadership
Looking back at a recent project, part of the analysis of the work came in the form of looking at what Avanceé has accomplish to date. In some respects, the strategy and organizational work can be boiled down to the activities of an information office. CIO definition via Wikipedia:
“The Chief Information Officer of an organization is responsible for a number of roles. First and most importantly, the CIO must fulfill the role of business leader. As a CIO must make executive decisions regarding things such as the purchase of IT equipment from suppliers or the creation of new systems, they are therefore responsible for leading and directing the workforce of their specific organization. In addition, the CIO is ‘required to have strong organizational skills’. This is particularly relevant for a Chief Information Officer of an organization who must balance roles in order to gain a competitive advantage and keep the best interests of the organization’s employees. CIOs also have the responsibility of recruiting, so it is important that they take on the best employees to complete the jobs the company needs fulfilling. In addition, CIOs are directly required to map out both the ICT strategy and ICT policy of an organization.”
Running away from the personnel aspects for a piece of the discussion, the challenge many organizations have simply boils down to “how does the best behaviors and tools of computer/connected technology enable my business to meet or exceed our current operations?” Notthing about this is a difficult statement, but it is one where those who might be better attached to sales or even product roles might fail to accurately contemplate. Suffice to say, being a sign of a compentience in information architectures has its advantages, it also shows a larger gap before the marketplace.
In the article Classroom Management: Simon Sinek, ClassDojo, and the Nostalgia Industry, there’s an acute understanding being brought forward: we cannot prepare groups for a world in where transactions and reputations are built in a seperate universe than the one in which tradition has called comfortable. If you will, running away from the most dangerous affects of connectivity has the indirect effect of also unaccounting for specifc skills utilized by those who do/will run the companies of the incoming information economy.
In the absence of such skills, Avanceé almost fits perfectly. Tuned to an educational gap —perhaps more a skills gap? Articulating systems seems to be the table stakes for any grappling with informational streams. Yes, there’s indeed something of an overload of information, yet the opportunity isn’t in reverting backwards but handing with a distinct acumen the information which is present. In our case that ends up also being the inevitability of designing better experiences or even re-engineering the structures to interpret experiences and their resulting systems. Which is more or less retuning the CIO into less of an office, and more of an opportunity.
Throughly enjoy those moments where there’s a cross-pollination of experiences and talents. There’s something about getting wind of a perspective outside of your focus which elevates the nuances you might not have considered before. And even more, when those nuances point to life and market opportunities otherwise hidden because of the sustained focus your endeavor might bring. Now, doing something with that cross-pollination — like creating new markets, or improving your own — this is the #futureofwork bit many talk about. However, it might not really be the future as much as it is what some have always done in order to find enjoyment in life and work.
Hoping the notable reads from this week offer you a chance to find a nuance under the snowdrift/haystack.
@manton also announced some major updates to Micro.Blog
Special shout out to @matthewcassinelli for (a) helping to address some issues and tweaks to the Avanceé Reads Shortcut (see others at the previous article on Shortcuts)and (b) for releasing his new newsletter Type - already found some neat notables in there. You might also.
A few items from us:
Staring with simplifying as identifying how forward
In the past weeks, Avanceé has had conversations with companies having trouble identifying how to take their next steps. This isn’t an unfamiliar track when prospects of growth are more certain, or market forces push companies to pay attention to disruptive behaviors which ripple into their context. Still, identifying what to do, versus just knowing something has to be done is the challenge. For those who had reached out to Avanceé, the onus was simple: ingest as much as possible about the stressors, and then listen for what isn’t being taken in.
Using the right kinds of listening methods and tools makes this process easier for Avanceé, but might be a challenge for others wishing to employ similar methods. Nevertheless, the best tool on any strategist’s belt is the ability to listen. For many clients, listening is augmented with sketchnotes and diagramming. While listening, allowing the finger and pen to make connections which might trigger a greater memory later leverages both the conscious and subconscious mind. By no means are humans spiders, but we are likely a lot closer than it appears.
During ingestion there is also digestion (processing). In our case, we are ignoring the bigger elements, listening for repeated and sub-textual items. It is in this layer “under the ice” where some gaps are made a bit more apparent. It is also to this layer were questions are lobbied. Those questions aim to pull those subterranean items to the surface, vetting if they are key to stressors, or merely symptoms of another artifact. These questions are also bolstered with search-and-cross references amongst known data and contexts. Perhaps a bit biased to look for an analogy when listening to specifics, but it helps to shape processing. By the end of this process, an number of clear focuses have been noted, with a few have been weighted accordingly. In our methodology, this gets simplified further to three questions. And from those three questions, a core goal is established.
If this sounds like “simplifying the problem” then you are tracking. Much about what it means to take a step forward means to decompose the problem into structures which facilitate faster and more accurate responses. Simplicity doesn’t necessarily mean ease — some of the most simple solutions have complex underpinnings. Simplicity reduces the friction the problem statement identified. When it does so beautifully, positive forward movement can occur. With positive forward moments, companies aren’t only able to address disruptions, but become one to those who aren’t able to take the heat of newly increased friction.
Can Avanceé help you simplify a complex or frictional item? Get in touch and lets explore the ways forward for you.