Quotes

  1. In his world the role of the client is paramount, and also whereas most clients can be relied upon to understand area, there are a few that will understand space. The architect tends to dream his production. The designer however is always aware of the client’s hot breath and, like a striker in a game of football, or someone waking, he must struggle to make space in the face of intense distraction.

  2. Without a password manager app, it’s just impossible to use passwords securely online. Every bank-level secure web site we log into with a super strong password (One of our “main” passwords, maybe? With a ‘4’ instead of an ‘a’, am I right?) is only as secure as the flimsiest fly-by-night.com where we signed up with the exact same password.

  3. The concept of GDP and economic progress didn’t even exist until the Great Depression. It was invented so that the government could figure out how bad the economy was getting and how to make it better. Economist Simon Kuznets, upon introducing GDP to Congress in 1934 remarked that “Economic welfare cannot be adequately measured unless the personal distribution of income is known. And no income measurement undertakes to estimate the reverse side of income, that is, the intensity and unpleasantness of effort going into the earning of income. The welfare of a nation can, therefore, scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income as defined above.” It’s almost like he saw income inequality and bad jobs coming.

  4. The inglenook originated as a partially enclosed hearth area, appended to a larger room. The hearth was used for cooking, and its enclosing alcove became a natural place for people seeking warmth to gather. With changes in building design, kitchens became separate rooms, while inglenooks were retained in the living space as intimate warming places, subsidiary spaces within larger rooms.

  5. Designers also copy in not-so-direct ways. The bell-bottoms craze of the 1960s and ‘70s started with women raiding their local thrift stores for naval uniforms. British and American sailors at that time wore bell-bottom cuffs so they could roll up their trousers while swabbing a deck. Counterculture types, however, knew they could wear the same pants to razz their parents, honor the working class, and strike a bohemian pose. By the time Sonny and Cher donned them on their popular TV show, bell-bottoms had entered mainstream fashion – not because everyone was shopping at thrift stores, but because designers had copied street culture. 

  6. Whatever a user’s natural usage is, our notifications strategy should align to this. Notifications shouldn’t be used to force users into behaviour that doesn’t make sense to them as notifications can’t change behaviour. Notifications should amplify and encourage natural behaviours and reinforce existing behaviours.

    Too many notifications feels like spam. Too few notifications and users forget about your app.

  7. Getting promoted is usually more nuanced than just nailing a series of discrete tasks (like shipping a particular project for example). It also requires consistently demonstrating impact across a broad range of competencies that are often more amorphous (like learning how to think strategically, for example).

  8. This transformation in the way companies buy design is making designers realize they are selling a process, not a deliverable.

  9. Who needs these big toolchains? Generally, it’s the big sites. It’s a bit tricky to pin down what big means, but I bet you have a good feel for it. Ironically, while heaps of tooling add complexity, the reason they are used is for battling complexity. Sometimes it feels like releasing cougars into the forest to handle your snake problem. Now you have a cougar problem.

  10. Talking about creating “delightful” user experiences is actually user-hostile when it wrongly presumes that your customer wants to be emotionally involved with your service at all. Fast and invisible are often the better parts of delight.

  11. Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned about doing good work. Protect your work and if you build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.

  12. Securing ‘full employment’ has become a bipartisan goal at the very moment it has become both impossible and unnecessary.

  13. When work disappears, the genders produced by the labour market are blurred. When socially necessary labour declines, what we once called women’s work – education, healthcare, service – becomes our basic industry, not a ‘tertiary’ dimension of the measurable economy.

  14. We are no longer living at human speed, but instead, are living in a world moving and beating at the speed of the network.

  15. If we only observe and imagine those who resemble ourselves, then what we call empathy is merely introspection. The majority of designers are white. There is a privileged ouroboros of customer empathy that leaves so many others out of the loop.

  16. The price of simplicity is eternal vigilance. Building something simple is not a task, it’s a commitment. Unless you’re fighting this battle all the time, you’ve already lost.

  17. Criticism can help you get from your best, to the best. When you think you’ve done your best, offer up your work to your team or peers and get valuable criticism. Then together, everyone produces the best work, instead of just your best work.