Category Archives: Design

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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Why you should be mad about Lean Startup

Lean Startup externalizes usability costs to users. To combat this practice, if I find a usability issue I call tech support and have them walk me through the interaction. These calls cost a company a significant amount of money and … Continue reading

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Tool users vs service users

I am not one of those people who sees service design as the grand catch-all for multi-touchpoint multi-/omni-channel experiences. I feel the same way about “service” as I did in the early aughts about the term “user”. These words imply … Continue reading

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Obtrusive conveniences

A design trend that disturbs me intensely: obtrusive conveniences. What makes these conveniences obtrusive is that they make it incredibly inconvenient to refuse what they offer and you end up fighting for control over what you are attempting to do. … Continue reading

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Gadget-porn addiction

Apple used to innovate by asking “Wouldn’t it be great if people could ____?” This was what made them uniquely great. Now Apple does what every other banal tech company does and asks “Wouldn’t it be great if we could … Continue reading

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Why I get emotional about design

When I use a product, I feel the milieu that produced it. Products are crystallized philosophies. In a designed object I feel people — the people who produced it and sometimes a precise person for whom an object is intended. This … Continue reading

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Formalizing relationships with the formless

Formless realities cannot be grasped with formal thinking, but our relationship with formless realities can be. Formally grasping our relationship with formless realities makes these relationships with formless realities more bearable.   This is mainly a note to myself at … Continue reading

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It’s the experience, stupid

People think software is becoming more frustrating because the world has become more complex. This is false. Software is worse because development has been drastically accelerated. The shortened cycles leave little or no time for best design practices that ensure … Continue reading

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Slurpy, mergy, touchy-feely notions of interpersonal being

Wow, this post really sprawled out. It hits a lot of my enduring interests. I’m not sure it is suitable for reading. It might just be a personal journal entry written to myself. Feel free to eavesdrop if you wish, … Continue reading

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Ancestors and siblings of process thought

While I’m scanning passages from C. Robert Mesle’s Process-Relational Philosophy, here are two more that inspired me. The first passage appeals to my designer consciousness: Descartes was wrong in his basic dualism. The world is not composed of substances or of … Continue reading

Posted in ANT, Design, Fables, myths & parables, Hermeneutics, Holism, Judaism, Symbols and diagrams | Leave a comment

Rude tools

In my last post I promised that my next post would be “a theoretical tantrum on the ethics around that miserable love triangle between developer, tool and user.” and that I thought the issue of “‘ownership’ of software is an unrecognized … Continue reading

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Taking away my tools

Over the last decade and a half I’ve relied on four tools for making my thoughts. Of these four, two have broken in the last couple of years: Adobe Illustrator and WordPress. These two tools have undergone frequent deep UI … Continue reading

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Autumn 2011, when the canary died

A friend texted me a link to an article by Yascha Mounk, “Authoritarian by Instinct“. What follows is a somewhat edited (and hyperlinked up) version of my SMS avalanche of a response. * I was about to say that I’m surprised at … Continue reading

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Pamphleteerism

Over the last year I’ve been equipping myself to make pamphlets. I’ve purchased several reams of beautiful French Paper in cover and heavy text weights, waxed linen bookbinder thread, needles, and awls and a bone folder. I’ve figured out how … Continue reading

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Zoolander startup

The hyper-accellerated software release cycles of the 2010s will be seen as the analogue of the hyper-miniaturized mobile phone designs of the early 2000s: a dubious goal pursued to an absurd extreme.

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“The many faces of research”

I just realized I never re-posted my October 2010 article summarizing James Spradley’s incredibly cool way of defining different types of research — by the role of the participant vis a vis the researcher. Here’s the text: Anyone who has ever commissioned, … Continue reading

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Dialogue: art-work, design-work, artisan-work

S: My view is that art is made without reference to the receiver. It is entirely ego-centric. It is thrown out into the world and if someone understands and desires it, it’s a miracle. Design is made with reference to others … Continue reading

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Pluritarian Pluriversalism

To someone born into an autistic universe controlled by a single set of strictly logical natural laws, the experience of empathy and the subsequent revelation of an empathic pluriverse redefines the meaning of miracle, and of transcendence, and of religion. … Continue reading

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Design and trade-offs

For non-designers (and immature designers) the toughest part of design is trying on different trade-offs. The reason it is so tough is this: while most people can shift between ideas with relative ease, it is harder to shift between conceptions … Continue reading

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Universal Design Praxis

I find the term Design Thinking inadequate. First, the term Design Thinking belongs to IDEO. As far as I know, they made the term up, they use it for marketing and it remains closely associated with them. It is uncomfortably … Continue reading

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