change of affiliation

after close to two and a half years in a whopping big consultancy, focusing mostly on emerging web technologies and human computer interaction, i kinda felt it was time for a change. and so i slowly faded out and started running a small consulting business earlier this year. now, i largely help companies make more money by delighting their users. almost always this boils down to solving business problems and includes topics such as human computer interaction, user experience and information architecture.

oh, and if you are a potential consulting client, i'd love to talk with you.

empowering kids to create

raul gutierrez:

The best toys - Tinkertoys, Lego, Play-Doh, Lincoln Logs - allowed us to build and rebuild almost endlessly. With my kids, I noticed that these kinds of toys have become increasingly rare. Lego bricks are sold primarily as branded kits. Instead of a pile of blocks that could become anything, they are now essentially disassembled toys. Instead of starting with a child’s imagination of what could be, play is now fixed on a single endpoint, predetermined by Lego’s designers.

more and more often i feel the same way about computers. compare this to alec resnick's article how children what?:

And so in the twenty-three years since the creation of the World Wide Web, "a bicycle for the mind" became "a treadmill for the brain." One helps you get where you want under your own power. Another’s used to simulate the natural world and is typically about self-discipline, self-regulation, and self-improvement. One is empowering; one is slimming. One you use with friends because it's fun; the other you use with friends because it isn't. One does things to you; one does things for you. And they certainly aren't about helping us to do things with them.

the web we lost

Anil Dash (original post):

We've increasingly coupled our content and our expression to devices that get obsolete more and more quickly. And when you get to this sense of these new devices, formats get harder and harder to preserve and this is especially true when they're these proprietary or underdocumented formats. Because we've given up on formats. The reality is: those of us that cared about the stuff have lost. Overall we've lost. Very very few the consumer experiences that people use or the default apps that come with their devices work around open formats. There's some slight exceptions around photos, obviously JPEG is doing pretty well, HTML is doing okay, but the core interactions of a small short status update or the ability to tell somebody you like something, those things aren't formats or protocols at all. They're completely undocumented, they can be changed at any time. And just even the expectation that they would be interoperable, that is perhaps the most dramatic shift from the early days of the social web.

the problem with the web we have today isn't that it is worse than the web we had. it's actually better in most regards - except it's harder and more closed up. the opposite is what need, otherwise people will keep on stumbling into seemingly open ad-supported spaces, not realizing what they are doing. until the day they decide they want to leave and can't. kinda like the hotel california:

You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave!

information entropy

oliver reichenstein on information entropy:

It's incredibly complex to calculate the number of moves that someone can make in a user interface. It is similar to chess where three moves is already for the pro's. One, two, three, a lot of possibilities. And in user interface design you also need to reduce the amount of possible moves to win, as within chess. So you need to reduce your application so the basics really works nicely. And so you have the time and space to care for the details. You care for the details not just to show that on the other side there was a human designing this, but to make things clear.

compare this to what don norman was saying in emotion & design: attractive things work better:

Good design means that beauty and usability are in balance. An object that is beautiful to the core is no better than one that is only pretty if they both lack usability.