Category Archives: Design

Simplicity simplified

I was told that my description of simplicity would be confusing to non-designers and non-nerds. Here’s another way to say it… If a person can say all 5 of these statements about a design, they will call the design “simple”: … Continue reading

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Simple design

Friday afternoon at work, I facilitated a little salon where we tried to define what “simplicity” means in design. Because I was facilitating, and it is bad form for facilitators to fight with participants, I had to keep my strong … Continue reading

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3 C’s of service design

More on this later, but I wanted to jot down this framework: Service design aims to get three things right: Continuity: ensure the whole experience is designed without thoughtless gaps at any unconsidered moment where the customer is confused, frustrated … Continue reading

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Perspectives on hybrid systems

Approaches to the composition of hybrid systems (systems made up of both objective and subjective elements) can be classified according to perspective. Actor-Network Theory views hybrid systems from a 3rd-person perspective, in objective terms, without emphasis on either the human … Continue reading

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One way to see design

Design is materialized philosophy. When designing something — which always and necessarily means designing something for someone — the central question is always: what is the right philosophy for this context? The purpose of design research is to get to … Continue reading

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Designers develop hybrid systems

Reading Verbeek’s What Things Do, I’m reminded of Latour’s handy term “hybrid”, an entity that is neither purely subjective nor purely objective, but a fusion of both. In Latour’s eye, the distinction between nature and society, or subject and object, … Continue reading

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Philosophy fails

This morning I was forced to use the redesigned Freshbooks. They’d totally revamped the user interface. It was very slick and visual. And it was six times harder to use. This is a depressingly typical experience in these times. I’m … Continue reading

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Let’s stop engineering philosophies

My pet theory is that philosophies have been developed in an engineerly mode of making, with emphasis on the thought system, and to be evaluated primarily epistemically: “is it true?” The Pragmatists improved on this by asking, “does it work”? … Continue reading

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Design brief

A design brief is a compact design problem definition, carefully designed to inspire designers to produce effective solutions to a real-world problem. I’ve been thinking about and collecting briefs for years, and I have noticed that the very best briefs … Continue reading

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10,000 foot view

The spew below might be a plan for a talk. Lately I’ve been reflecting on what strikes me as the most difficult and interesting challenge I’ve faced adjusting to service design after decades of practicing other flavors of human-centered design … Continue reading

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I posted something (plus a bunch of comments) on Facebook that belongs here: I propose an amendment to Useful, Usable and Desirable: RELIABLE. Who’s in? Reliability is knowing that when you go to use a thing that it will work … Continue reading

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Less toxic ideology, more human-centered design

Yesterday, I opened a can of Johnny Letter on Fast Company, for running what I saw as an uninformed and blatantly bigoted opinion piece, “Design needs more feminism, less toxic masculinity”. Rather than complain about the bigotry, though, I chose … Continue reading

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Making conversational space

A post I put on Facebook just now: This morning I was reading a pdf book (using the Notability app on my iPad) about the relationships people have with the things in their lives. As always, I was writing all … Continue reading

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Maturing

Reading Appendix A of Rorty’s Achieving Our Country, “Campaigns and Movements” I came upon this bit: “Most of us, when young, hope for purity of heart. The easiest way to assure oneself of this purity is to will one thing—but … Continue reading

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Speed it up, dumb it down

I told my friend to write her resume to idiots in a hurry: Speed it up and dumb it down. Seems like a generally decent life-principle, so.

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Eroding to wisdom

The best quotes are the misattributed ones — overused maxims that become smoother as they tumble from paraphrase to paraphrase until they are worn smooth like river stones. Whenever I track one of these retroactively adopted orphans back to their … Continue reading

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Usefulness, Usability and Desirability of philosophies

Tim Morton explains Speculative realism: Speculative realism is the umbrella term for a movement that comprises such scholars as Graham Harman, Jane Ben- nett, Quentin Meillassoux, Patricia Clough, Iain Hamilton Grant, Levi Bryant, Ian Bogost, Steven Shaviro, Reza Negarestani, Ray … Continue reading

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An autobibliobiography

Well, I tried to write about my books and how I want to prune my library, and ended up writing a history of my interests. I know there are loose ends, but I am tired of writing, so blat, here … Continue reading

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Hyperobjective spew

I’ve gotten sucked into Tim Morton’s Hyperobjects. I was reading Kaufmann’s book on Hegel, but after sampling few pages of this book on the recommendation of a friend Morton’s book felt “next”. A few random notes: This territory, settled first … Continue reading

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Drawing on every side of the brain

In high school, all my art teachers taught us to draw and paint the shapes our eyes “really” saw. We were discouraged from drawing the things we believed we were depicting — eyes, noses, vases, cow skulls, gourds, drapes — … Continue reading

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