We do more than look

March 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

We’ve all heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but an enjoyable landscape isn’t simply a pretty picture with the right colors and a strong design. We do more than look at landscapes, after all. We walk through them. We sit in them. We appreciate them with all our senses.

– Evelyn J. Hadden, Beautiful No-Mow Yards



August 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

The most important point, perhaps, is a meta one: A reminder that no specific routine guarantees success, and the only thing that matters is having a routine and the persistence implicit to one. Showing up day in and day out, without fail, is the surest way to achieve lasting success.

Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized

At its best, a …

September 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

At its best, a pattern can distill the wisdom of the past, reveal the potential of the future, and link with other patterns to form a language to guide a process. Patterns help us consider the essential elements as we undertake the creation of something new or the evaluation of something old. Designing with patterns does not lead to a preconceived result but to an infinite variety of solutions based on specific conditions.

Max Jacobson, Murray Silverstein and Barbara Winslow, Patterns of Home: The Ten Essentials of Enduring Design

Over a career o…

September 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

Over a career of working on housing and homes, architects develop an instinctive sense for the basic pattern, the underlying order that defines a home; and each project, though it requires the patient work of new discovery, is also a process of applying this underlying pattern, manifesting it anew, learning another of its infinite forms.

Max Jacobson, Murray Silverstein and Barbara Winslow, Patterns of Home: The Ten Essentials of Enduring Design

Rockstars don’t…

March 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Rockstars don’t share — neither their ideas nor the spotlight. Team cohesion breaks down when you add individuals with large egos who are determined to stand out and be stars. When collaboration breaks down, you lose the environment you need to create the shared understanding that allows you to move forward effectively.

Jeff Gothelf, Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience

Hell yes.


Objects mediate…

March 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Objects mediate our relationships. When we are relating to the world, we call the object a tool. When we are relating with the unseen, you may call it a religious object. When we are relating to other people, we may call it the bottle of wine we bring to the party. The movement of an object from me to you, or from my group to your group, says something about the kind of relationship we have or want to have.

Encounter Cooperation (an interview with John Terrell, Regenstein Curator of Pacific Anthropology at Chicago’s Field Museum)

As it is in UX design, so it is in all design.

October 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

The more cities spend on bike infrastructure, the more important it becomes to make sure that money is spent wisely. One way to measure success in this area is to lay down bike lanes or paths and see if ridership grows. Another is simply to ask riders what facilities they prefer. Both approaches have their drawbacks: The former assumes transportation officials know best and relies on correlations that hopefully reflect causations; the latter may put too much emphasis on hypothetical options and not enough on actual behavior.


A potentially more instructive way to see what riders want from a bike route is to follow riders, in real-time, as they choose a bike route. A trio of transportation researchers led by Joseph Broach of Portland State University recently did just that. In an upcoming issue of Transportation Research Part A, Broach and company report a series of nuanced rider preferences that could help designers create more comprehensive bike facilities and help cities implement these facilities more efficiently.

via Atlantic Cities

“I really believe that you learn best when you’re making things.”

October 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

— Dan Sinker, in the epilogue of The F***ing Epic Twitter Quest of @MayorEmanuel

Rest in peace, Bill.

September 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

User experience architecture as problem-framing

September 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

One of the things we saw from the best designers is their use of prototypes to explore the problem. The prototype is the instrument they used to uncover previously hidden constraints and to see the shifts in the outcome of the design.

– Jared Spool, Exploring the Problem Space Through Prototyping

I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept lately — prototyping as a way to think about the problem — and how it relates overall to my role in bringing concepts to life. Early on in my first full-time job as a user experience architect, I remember taking wireframes and sketches to a feedback meeting and feeling like a failure when, 5 minutes into the discussion, there were so many problems with the concept pointed out.

It took me a while to realize that early sketches, wireframes, and prototypes are never going to be “right.” That’s not the point of making them. I may present them as potential solutions, but in reality I’m creating them to facilitate a discussion about what we’re trying to do and what our goals and limitations are. Only then can we begin to understand what the real potential solutions might be.


June 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

I love, love, love this video. To this day, I vividly remember being in kindergarden and playing in a sort of tinkering room I got to go to about once a week. The room included all kinds of wood blocks, real hammers, nails, screwdrivers, etc. (in a public school, no less), and we were allowed to just mess around in there for about half-an-hour — the best half-hour of the week.

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