summing up 78

i am trying to build a jigsaw puzzle which has no lid and is missing half of the pieces. i am unable to show you what it will be, but i can show you some of the pieces and why they matter to me. if you are building a different puzzle, it is possible that these pieces won't mean much to you, maybe they won't fit or they won't fit yet. then again, these might just be the pieces you're looking for. this is summing up, please find previous editions here.

Why I love ugly, messy interfaces – and you probably do too, by Jonas Downey

If beautiful, fresh, clean, and simple are so important, why hasn’t someone upended all of these products with something nicer? It’s not for a lack of trying. There are countless simpler, better-looking Craigslist and Photoshop competitors, for example. The answer is that these products do an incredible job of solving their users’ problems, and their complex interfaces are a key reason for their success.

just recently, a client of mine showed me their new website for his consulting business. four months in the work, fully responsive, a position statement sharp as a razor and lightning fast. he asked me about my opinion, smiling from ear to ear. i looked at it and asked how they think they would connect to their prospects? where is the call to action? ehm.. he said. do you have any workflows, like email courses, newsletter and contact possibilities for your prospects? ahem.. what does the workflow or funnel from the landing page towards qualification and acquisition of a customer look like? uhh.. you see, design is utterly important, but functionality trumps design. a digital product which looks nice, but does not solve a user's problem is not helpful. a digital product which solves a user's problem like a champ but looks shitty is pitiful but works. good design and functionality together is killer.

The Future Mundane, by Nick Foster

We often assume that the world of today would stun a visitor from fifty years ago. In truth, for every miraculous iPad there are countless partly broken realities: WiFi passwords, connectivity, battery life, privacy and compatibility amongst others. The real skill of creating a compelling and engaging view of the future lies not in designing the gloss, but in seeing beyond the gloss to the truths behind it.

when we create a new digital product, be it an app, a website or even a physical device, we almost always think about the best case in which our product is being used. the perfect customers, the ideal environment, an internet connection which does not break and so on. we neglect to focus on the failures, the frustrations, the feelings of our users or what they can't do. thinking about where and how our products are being used, where they fail and how they limit our users however, would make our digital products compelling and expand our notion of design for the future.

The future of software and the end of apps, by Paul Chiusano

It's hard to imagine organizing computing without some notion of applications. But why do people use computers? People use computers in order to do and express things, to communicate with each other, to create, and to experience and interact with what others have created. But what is important, what truly matters to people is simply being able to perform these actions. That each of these actions presently take place in the context of some 'application' is not in any way essential. In fact, how lovely it would be if the functionality of our current applications could be seamlessly accessed and combined with other functions in whatever ways we imagine. This sort of activity could be a part of the normal interaction that people have with computers, not something reserved only for 'programmers', and not something that requires navigating a tedious mess of ad hoc protocols, dealing with parsing and serialization, and all the other mumbo-jumbo that has nothing to do with the idea the user (programmer) is trying to express. The computing environment could be a programmable playground, a canvas in which to automate whatever tasks or activities the user wished.

have you ever noted the sheer amount of apps and applications you are using every day and nevertheless seem not quite capable of doing what you actually want? we artificially limit the potential of computers by confining our functionality into containers. but what if you could compose the functionality into a fluent and powerful environment? basically an environment which augments your capability? this is a great round up on how this could be possible.

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My letters are about long-lasting, sustainable change that fundamentally amplify our human capabilities and raise our collective intelligence through generations. Would love to have you on board.