Articles & Videos
When I look out at this room I see a comparatively small number of faces but I also see a trillion heartbeats. Not your own heartbeats, but those of your users. The things that you build in the next decade are going to cost people, likely millions of people, maybe a billion people depending on the networks where you hitch your respective wagons, they are going to cost a lot of people a lot of time. Trillions of heartbeats spent in interaction.
… The time you spend is not your own. You are, as a class of human beings, responsible for more pure raw time, broken into more units, than almost anyone else.
Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist
The universe is hard enough. The last thing the universe needs is a complex lexicon laid down between the communicator and the listener to confuse them about what it is they’re trying to listen to.
Akin’s Laws of Spacecraft Design
3. Design is an iterative process. The necessary number of iterations is one more than the number you have currently done. This is true at any point in time.
Blog posts I don’t want to write
Ideally I would be able to look at blog posts that are years old and still feel they are relevant. Newsy posts about current events, recent M&A, or product launches, all fail this bar.
The ‘Busy’ Trap
Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. … If your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary.
Clay Christensen’s Milkshake Marketing
The problem is that consumers usually don’t go about their shopping by conforming to particular segments. Rather, they take life as it comes. And when faced with a job that needs doing, they essentially
hirea product to do that job.
The Colors of Grief
This essay cannot be adequately quoted. Powerfully written and beautifully presented.
We have once again created a consensual hallucination. Just as we generated a mythical desktop user with the perfect viewport size, a fast connection and an infinite supply of attention, we have now generated a mythical mobile user who has a single goal and no attention span.
Extensive list of principles for personal design, organizational design, format design, software design, and hardware design. Cites Tim Berners-Lee, Dieter Rams, Evan Williams, Google, and more.
The future of online publishing
It’s an exciting time for publishing. After what feels like years of magazines and newspapers ignoring the Internet in the hope that it will go away, a new wave of innovation is happening. I wanted to share some of the content that I think provides some good context and thinking around this topic.
Good Agile, Bad Agile
The project management techniques that Google does use are more like oil than fuel: things to let the project keep running smoothly, as opposed to things that force the project to move forward.
Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport
And this sense of alienation, more than anything else, is the fuel for the rising tide of logo crowdsmashing. Here New York’s Paul Ford got it exactly right:
People don’t like their stories messed with. You expect a certain continuity, and when the opposite happens…you react out of proportion to external measures of the offense but very much in proportion to the internal anxiety and anger you might feel.
John Cleese on Creativity
And now … I can come to the important part. And that is how to stop your subordinates from becoming creative too, which is the real threat. No one appreciates better than I do what trouble creative people are, and how they stop decisive hard-nosed bastards like us from running businesses efficiently.
iPhone 5, the local maximum, and an important lesson for startups
Spend as much time and money as you can afford on variation upfront, because if you move into the wrong neighborhood, it’s really hard to change that later on. Don’t move to a new neighborhood until you’re absolutely sure that you’ve hit the local maximum right where you live. Iteration is cheaper than variation.
A man, a ball, a hoop, a bench (and an alleged thread)
When the theater is empty I like to go out on stage. It’s lonely and beautiful. I look at your empty seat and think about you being in it. … Then I practice. I often practice stuff you’ll never see.
… If the trick doesn’t work out, you’ll never see it, and I won’t be sad. I had fun every second I was working. I love the stuff you never see.
Making the Transition from Development to Design — My Experience and Advice
When you are creating wireframes, you are implying code that needs to be written. When you are coding, you are actualizing user experiences. To mentally separate each process is the first step towards viewing the creation of software as an assembly-line process. We have a lot of horrendous software due to that line of thinking.
The Most Important Writing Lesson I Ever Learned
Nobody wants to read your shit.
… When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, your mind becomes powerfully concentrated. … The reader donates his time and attention, which are supremely valuable commodities. In return, you the writer, must give him something worthy of his gift to you.
The product design sprint: a five-day recipe for startups
At Google Ventures, we do product design work with startups all the time. Since we want to move fast and they want to move fast, we’ve optimized a process that gets us predictably good results in five days or less.
What I didn’t understand was that the value of some new acquisition wasn’t the difference between its retail price and what I paid for it. It was the value I derived from it.
… The worst stuff in this respect may be stuff you don’t use much because it’s too good. Nothing owns you like fragile stuff.
Responsive design is not about
designing for mobile.But it’s not about
designing for the desktop,either. Rather, it’s about adopting a more flexible, device-agnostic approach to designing for the web. … A more unified, less fragmented approach resonates with my understanding of the web on a fairly profound level.
UI Design: Should We Really Be Afraid of the Uncanny Valley?
When you take the fluff out of the iBooks interface, you’re left with awkwardly-spaced paragraphs that obviously don’t make great use of the available space. This is because the page crease in the middle was screwing up the layout.
Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First Give Real-time Analytics
It’s important to divorce the concepts of operational metrics and product analytics. Confusing how we do things with how we decide which things to do is a fatal mistake.
People & Blogs
- Alex Charchar
- Brad Frost
- Brand New
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- Paul Irish’s
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