I kind of hate messaging these days.
Over the years different software have imposed on their users FOMO inducing features that lead us to this ridiculous reality in which we all collectively agreed that a response to a text needs to be returned within minutes, no matter the content nor the urgency.
I sometimes choose emails over texts for this reason. I know — I am weird. BUT! Expectations are different with emails. We read less into it if someone takes a day or longer to get back to us (even though some people are trying to make emails obnoxious too).
The online status (last seen at), the typing indicator (is typing), and — worst of all — read receipts somehow ended up being our default, with all which that entails (mostly anxiety). It’s all working exactly as we designed it, as in: it’s all quite shitty:
Privacy remains one of the big and unresolved issues in our industry and while we often worry about data leaks and agonize over how much companies know about us, we often forget that it’s the small and barely noticeable losses of end-to-end user privacy that affect us socially the most. And while turning every privacy related decision into a setting might be enticing, it’s ultimately shortsighted. Designers are well aware that most users won’t bother changing a default. And the act of changing a default ironically always inadvertently reveals something about users, whether they want or not.
So what does a future that respects people’s micro-privacy feel like?
It’s knowing you can go online without having to fear what our online status may reveal about you. It’s about liking someone’s photo without the anxiety of being called out for it. And above anything, it’s about reading a message, without feeling guilty of not sending an immediate response.
A web typography learning game
Casper (the mattress company) announced a new product, a light which looks a bit like an HomePod and a Muji aroma diffuser.
Good app to simulate colour blindness on your Mac. There’s also an iOS counterpart, to see the world in front of you as a colour blind person.
Since we’re on the subject, I recommend Contrast to quickly access WCAG contrast ratios from the menu bar.
In its first era of popularity, it was all pop and pulp, but now it seems reserved for the task of adding just the slightest bit of a smirk to extremely straight-faced endeavors: elegant magazines, important books, experimental theater, and $80 ceramic pipes.
I didn’t realise how popular this typeface was until I stumbled across this article and started noticing it in bookshops or books I myself own (Mark Grief’s Against Everything).
It was used on the first cover of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake and for the credits of Friends. Quite a weird mix.
(Here’s a good reimagining of Lydia by the Colophon Foundry)
Speaking of how the model of reality which a technology proposes can end up influencing and changing reality itself, here’s George Dyson:
Their models are no longer models. The search engine is no longer a model of human knowledge, it /is/ human knowledge. What began as a mapping of human meaning now defines human meaning, and has begun to control, rather than simply catalog or index, human thought. No one is at the controls. If enough drivers subscribe to a real-time map, traffic is controlled, with no central model except the traffic itself. The successful social network is no longer a model of the social graph, it is the social graph. This is why it is a winner-take-all game. Governments, with an allegiance to antiquated models and control systems, are being left behind.
Maps make for a good example here. We’re all aware that the mercator projection is an inaccurate model of reality, one which distorts the true size of countries and is skewed in favour of Europe, nonetheless that’s what we use to describe the world, it’s what we think of when we think of a map — it’s the default, almost natural, choice.
The risk here is for a model to become so ingrained that we end up forgetting about the other options we had — or that what we’re using is, in fact, just a model.
Patricia Marx, The New Yorker:
The moment is equivalent, perhaps, to the juncture when fish crawled out of the sea and onto land. At the reception desk of a robot-staffed hotel in Japan, sharp-fanged, hairy-chested dinosaurs wearing bellhop hats and bow ties poise their talons at the keyboard; at a pizza restaurant in Multan, Pakistan, bosomy figures on wheels, accessorized with scarves around their necks, deliver food to your table; at a gentlemen’s club in Las Vegas, androids in garters perform pole dances.
The difficult part is not to teach humans to trust robots, but to teach them not to blindly accept them.
The truth is that what the algorithm says, we will do. Once it’s clear that something is convenient for us, we drop any initial resistance. And so software design choices end up becoming our default choices — the places that a map decides to emphasise, the suggested route, the results at the top of the search, the related items, and so on.
These suggestions might even help us — they are, often, convenient. Nonetheless, it’s important to ask why they’re there, to notice which details were tuned down or ignored to favour the default.
Molte delle gesture introdotte da Apple sull’iPhone X — che poi sono la novità principale e ciò che più stupisce: quanto sia fluido e immediato spostarsi da un’app all’altra e interagire con iOS — vengono da webOS, l’OS del 2010 di Palm (purtroppo fallito). Si può ritrovare pure la barra orizzontale che sta in basso allo schermo.