Irked By The Way Millennials Speak? 'I Feel Like' It's Time To Loosen Up
Critics always want to make the next generation seem more alien than it actually is, like anthropologists reporting back from a field trip to Youngster Island.
blog  language 
What Cringing at Your Own Dumb Voice Reveals About You
Similarly, hearing a recording of your voice pulls you into this observer’s perspective. It’s a lot like seeing photos of yourself, and how weirdly different you often appear from the version of yourself that you see in the mirror.

If hearing your own voice doesn’t bother you, it may simply mean you have higher self-esteem than the rest of us, as science writer Rolf Degen has theorized. Or it may just mean you’re used to it — research has shown that radio announcers, for instance, are able to nearly perfectly recognize their own voices, and the more familiar people are with something, the more they tend to like that thing. But coming to terms with the sound of your own dumb voice can also mean coming to terms with the uncomfortable truth that the “you” who exists in your own head is often very different from the “you” that the world sees and hears. I, for one, do not feel equal to that task at the present moment, and so I think I will procrastinate on this particular interview transcription just a bit longer.
language  blog 
Peter Thiel, Comic Book Hero – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
The most obvious second-order effect is that, as Felix Salmon writes, Thiel is providing a blueprint for the suppression of the press by the wealthy. But what concerns me — and what ought to concern Thiel, and all of the Silicon Valley elites celebrating his actions — are the third order effects. Specifically, Thiel’s actions are bringing into stark relief the fundamental weakness of old analog businesses like journalism relative to the incredible power and strength of the technology sector, and if companies follow Thiel’s example, the freedom that makes the emergence of said companies possible could quickly come under threat — and deservedly so.
journalism  technology 
2 days ago
A day in the digital life of teenagers
Digital devices and the uses they put them to have become teenagers’ way of asserting their agency – a shield from bossy parents or annoying younger siblings or seemingly critical teachers, a means to connect with sympathetic friends or catching up with ongoing peer “drama”. In fact the overriding importance of agency to teenagers is shown in the way they avoid the growing digital embrace of their schools – teachers' use of digital media in class or email or the internet to contact them at home is met with whispers and even slower walks home, so as to extract the maximum time spent with friends and unobserved by adults.
blog  teens  technology 
7 days ago
Why watching people take selfies feels so awkward | Aeon Opinions
Why do we so often feel compelled to ‘perform’ for an audience? The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre suggests that narrating is a basic human need, not only to tell the tale of our lives but indeed to live them. When deciding how to read the news, for example, if I’m a millennial I follow current events on Facebook, and if I’m a banker I buy the Financial Times. But if the millennial buys the Financial Times and the banker contents himself with Facebook, then it seems the roles aren’t being played appropriately. We understand ourselves and others in terms of the characters we are and the stories we’re in. ‘The unity of a human life is the unity of a narrative quest,’ writes MacIntyre in After Virtue (1981). We live by putting together a coherent narrative for others to understand. We are characters that design themselves, living in stories that are always being read by others. In this light, Morgan’s selfie is a sentence in the narration that makes up her life.

Similarly, in Nausea (1938) Jean-Paul Sartre wrote: ‘a man is always a teller of stories, he lives surrounded by his stories and the stories of others, he sees everything that happens to him in terms of these stories and he tries to live his life as if he were recounting it’. Pics or it didn’t happen. But then he must have asked himself, sitting at the Café de Flore: Am I really going to tell someone about this cup of coffee I’m drinking now? Do I really recount everything I do, and do everything just to recount it? ‘You have to choose,’ he concluded, ‘to live or to tell.’ Either enjoy the coffee or post it to Instagram.
selfie  blog 
8 days ago
User Experience Is The Key To Surviving The Adblockalypse — BuySellAds Editorials — Medium
There’s only one way to the bottom of this ad-blocking quagmire. It’s simple, and often it’s often overcomplicated by those standing to gain in the industry. The industry needs to immediately start prioritizing the concerns of end users. A reader-first approach is the only solution. Solving the user experience is synonymous with solving the privacy and data concerns of end users, and it’s synonymous with growing ad revenue.
adblock  advertising  blog 
8 days ago
How I Learned to Love Snapchat - The New York Times
Its entire aesthetic flies in the face of how most people behave on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — as if we’re waiting to be plucked from obscurity by a talent agent or model scout. But Snapchat isn’t the place where you go to be pretty. It’s the place where you go to be yourself, and that is made easy thanks to the app’s inbuilt ephemerality. Away from the fave-based economies of mainstream social media, there’s less pressure to be dolled up, or funny. For all the advances in tech that let us try on various guises to play around with who we are, it seems that we just want new ways to be ourselves. As it turns out, the mundanity of our regular lives is the most captivating thing we could share with one another.
snapchat  blog 
10 days ago
Design systems and Postel’s law
Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others (often reworded as “Be conservative in what you send, be liberal in what you accept”). From Wikipedia
Jon Postel was talking about TCP and how implementations should follow this principle. Putting TCP and networks to one side for a minute, you can see how this principle can apply to many systems where there is input and output. Specifically, design systems.
design  systems  blog 
11 days ago
The Real Problem With Facebook and the News
Indeed, one could make the argument that an authoritative news module from Facebook would actually be a civil benefit: at least we would all be starting from a common set of facts. What is far more damaging — and far more engaging, and thus lucrative for Facebook — is all of us in our own virtual neighborhoods of our own makings, liking opinions that tell us we’re right instead of engaging with viewpoints that make us question our assumptions.
journalism  blog  facebook 
18 days ago
The Slow Listening Revolution |
Why vinyl? Commitment. In this mid-second decade of the 21st century, music is being taken for granted on a collective scale. An entire generation of music listeners will never pay for music, nor do they believe that they should. The long form music medium has taken a back seat to song culture, yet the average person only listens to a song for approximately 24 seconds before deciding if it’s worth their time to continue to listen. I ponder the substantive value of something that our capitalistic, corporate-model culture places on “free.” When we can listen to a whole song, or usually only 24 seconds of a song without paying for it, do we really value the music? I wonder if we listeners are as committed to music as we were pre-internet? I really like the internet, so these words are in no way a complaint or indictment, but merely observation.
music  blog  vinyl 
18 days ago
A Tribute to Jack Johnson - Miles Davis | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic
This was from the musicians' point of view, in a single take, recorded as McLaughlin began riffing in the studio while waiting for Miles; it was picked up on by Henderson and Cobham, Hancock was ushered in to jump on a Hammond organ (he was passing through the building), and Miles rushed in at 2:19 and proceeded to play one of the longest, funkiest, knottiest, and most complex solos of his career. Seldom has he cut loose like that and played in the high register with such a full sound.
21 days ago
What Happened to Google Maps? — Justin O'Beirne
The primary route across Long Island — Interstate 495 — is clearly shown as such on the 2010 map. But on the 2016 map, it's suddenly unclear: the newly upgraded roads muddle the map and 495 is lost amongst them. Worse, you can't even tell which road the "Interstate 495" icon belongs to.

One of my favorite Edward Tufte quotes is: “Clutter is not an attribute of information, clutter is a failure of design... fix the design rather than stripping all the detail out of the map.”

Regarding the Long Island road network, it's as though the reversal of Tufte's suggestion was implemented between 2010 and 2016. The roads that are dark orange today were all on the 2010 map — but their design has since been changed, causing the map to appear unnecessarily complex. The coherence and clarity shown in 2010 has been lost in 2016.
visualization  maps  google  blog 
24 days ago
If you really want to be more like a startup, you must optimize for Product/Market Fit. — Medium
Level 1: Vision
Have we articulated a clear and compelling vision? Do we know the change we want to create in our customers’ world?
Level 2: Problem/Market Fit
Is there a significant sized market for this, and do they REALLY care about the problem that we think they care about?
Level 3: Problem/Solution Fit
Does our solution REALLY solve this problem? Or does it at least significantly move the needle to warrant the time and effort the user needs to invest in it? Do users “stick” with it?
Level 4: Solution/Marketing Fit
Can we efficiently and sustainably reach the audience and convince them to buy the product?
Level 5: Product/Market Fit
Does it all come together, such that the unit economics of the business really make sense at the scale of our ambitions?
productmarketfit  prodmgmt  startup 
24 days ago
Product Success
There are really three options to how teams work.  One is that the CEO or some other exec decides everything.  The second is that the weak product manager schedules a big meeting and invites all the executives into a room and they argue it out – this is called design by committee – which consistently produces weak results.  The third is that the product manager does her job and learns these constraints, and brings them to the team so that the team can figure out the best way to solve the problem.

Combine this with strong understanding of technology, and deep knowledge of the users and customers, and hopefully you can see why this is a tough job.  But also one that’s absolutely key to a strong product team especially if the team wants to have any meaningful degree of autonomy.
26 days ago
Who Will Debunk The Debunkers? | FiveThirtyEight
Yet despite all this complicating evidence, scholars still tell the simple version of the Semmelweis story and use it as an example of how other people — never them, of course — tend to reject information that conflicts with their beliefs. That is to say, the scholars reject conflicting information about Semmelweis, evincing the Semmelweis reflex, even as they tell the story of that reflex. It’s a classic supermyth!

And so it goes, a whirligig of irony spinning around and around, down into the depths. Is there any way to escape this endless, maddening recursion? How might a skeptic keep his sanity? I had to know what Sutton thought. “I think the solution is to stay out of rabbit holes,” he told me. Then he added, “Which is not particularly helpful advice.”
science  blog 
29 days ago
Irrational Realism: on QA versus testing
Traditional software testing processes have often fundamentally misunderstood people and the needs of testing. By approaching it as a tick-box exercise that follows repetitive and set user paths, they assume a level of rational predictability that is rarely present in human behaviour. Technical tests, especially those that are automated, don’t replicate the desire of users to click where they’re not supposed to, and can’t accommodate irrational human behaviours. In other words, the more structured and logical we are, the more likely it is that we will miss the opportunity to improve usability and remove the bugs that actually impact real users.
qa  testing  blog 
4 weeks ago
Bots won't replace apps. Better apps will replace apps.
But more than anything, rather than screwing around with bots, I want the tech industry to focus on solving these major annoyances and handling some of the common use cases I described that my phone ought to do better with by now.
bots  apps  conversationalui 
4 weeks ago
The Emoji Is the Birth of a New Type of Language (👈 No Joke)
All you social dystopians can unclutch your pearls; no linguist thinks this bodes the end of writing. Text is our most powerful, go-to communication tool. For most people, these ideograms are an upgrade. And what an unusual one! Language always changes, of course; slang is born, prances, and dies. But it’s exceedingly rare—maybe unprecedented—for a phonetic alphabet to suddenly acquire a big expansion pack of ideograms. In an age where we write more than ever, emoji is the new language of the heart.
5 weeks ago
Perceived Value in User Interfaces
Ultimately, what determines whether users will engage with your site is their assessment of the site’s expected utility: perceived value vs. the perceived cost of interacting with the site. According to the information-foraging theory, people behave on the web like animals in the wild: they assess the perceived value of a new foraging patch against the perceived cost (effort) of obtaining that food. On the web, each new page is a patch, and the food is the information. The effort of obtaining the information is the interaction cost. Thus, people derive the expected utility of staying on a site by weighing the value that the site is likely to deliver against the effort needed to engage with the site.
utility  vizd 
5 weeks ago
In the Future, We Will Photograph Everything and Look at Nothing - The New Yorker
"The definition of photography is changing, too, and becoming more of a language,” the Brooklyn-based artist and professional photographer Joshua Allen Harris told me. “We’re attaching imagery to tweets or text messages, almost like a period at the end of a sentence. It’s enhancing our communication in a whole new way.”

In other words, “the term ‘photographer’ is changing,” he said. As a result, photos are less markers of memories than they are Web-browser bookmarks for our lives. And, just as with bookmarks, after a few months it becomes hard to find photos or even to navigate back to the points worth remembering. Google made hoarding bookmarks futile. Today we think of something, and then we Google it. Photos are evolving along the same path as well.
5 weeks ago
The problems with forcing regular password expiry | CESG Site
The new password may have been used elsewhere, and attackers can exploit this too. The new password is also more likely to be written down, which represents another vulnerability. New passwords are also more likely to be forgotten, and this carries the productivity costs of users being locked out of their accounts, and service desks having to reset passwords.
5 weeks ago
Is That Even a Thing?
“A thing,” then, corresponds to a real need we have, to catalog and group together the items of cultural experience, while keeping them at a sufficient distance so that we can at least feign unified consciousness in the face of a world gone to pieces.
5 weeks ago
“Genius hesitates”
Genius hesitates. I love that! When we approach a truly enormous idea, of the sort that tilts the world on its axis, we’re not excited and arrogant and confident. We’re unsure; we hesitate. I’ve noticed this in the scientists I interview. The ones who are doing really groundbreaking work are tentative, cautious, almost unsettled by the implications of what they’re saying.

It’s not a bad litmus test for the people around us in everyday life. The ones who are proposing genuinely startling and creative ideas are liable to be … careful about it. It’s the ones with small ideas who are shouting them from the rooftops.
knowledge  blog 
6 weeks ago
Context collapse and context restoration
Context collapse is a sociological term of art that describes the way social media tend to erase the boundaries that once defined people’s social lives. Before social media came along, your social life played out in different and largely separate spheres. You had your friends in one sphere, your family members in another sphere, your coworkers in still another sphere, and so on. The spheres overlapped to a degree, but they remained distinct. The self you presented to your family was not the same self you presented to your friends, and the self you presented to your friends was not the one you presented to the people you worked with or went to school with. With a social network like Facebook, all these spheres merge into a single sphere. Everybody sees what you’re doing. Context collapses.
facebook  blog 
6 weeks ago
Facebook Wants You to Post More About Yourself
“Personal sharing has shifted to smaller audiences on Snapchat, Facebook’s Instagram and other messaging services.”
7 weeks ago
Embracing Imperfection — Awesome AI
“Machines are designed to handle state, organize information, and present it in context based on relationships. People are good at assigning relevancy, deriving meaning, and uncovering insights from well-organized information.

There’s a clear partnership staring us right in the face:

Let’s embrace our imperfect communication and leave the structure and overhead to bots.”
team  remote  work 
7 weeks ago
The User’s Journey
Both analytics funnels and stories describe a series of steps that users take over the course of a set period of time. In fact, as many data scientists and product people will tell you, data tells a story, and it’s our job to look at data within a narrative structure to piece together, extrapolate, troubleshoot, and optimize that story.
journey  storytelling  storymapping 
7 weeks ago
From Productivity to Workflow Engineering - Study Hacks - Cal Newport
The goal with workflow engineering is not to maximize convenience or to minimize cost and disruption. It is instead to start from a blank slate and ask: “if my goal is X, what is the absolutely most effective way to get there?”

This, in turn, requires a willingness to consider major, annoying, complicated changes if you have evidence that they’ll end up helping you ship a hell of a lot more metaphorical cars.
7 weeks ago
Netflix’s Grand, Daring, Maybe Crazy Plan to Conquer the World
Think of your own block. Your neighbor binging Arrow doesn’t mean you’ve ever even heard of it. In fact, you may well hate it, if that same neighbor’s taste in blared 3 am music is any indication.

The upshot? Netflix uses a global algorithm. The titles you’re shown when you sign onto Netflix are just as likely to be influenced by someone from Abu Dhabi as Des Moines.

Freedom from worrying about signals like geography, gender, and age allows Netflix to hone its recommendations more sharply, and against less obvious criteria that for competitive purposes it doesn’t divulge. It’s what lets Netflix group its titles into a couple of thousand “clusters” based not on where people live, but what they like.
7 weeks ago
Laughter Doesn’t Scale — Track Changes
This is one of the reasons why Twitter is such an existential pit, because the moment you have any success (i.e. lots of retweets) you are immediately punished by complete inanity, forced misunderstanding, nonsense—and, sometimes, if you’re a woman, by a miscellany of invasive threats. There’s no medium that punishes success like the Internet.

It’s not that people don’t get the jokes you make; they don’t even get that there is a joke at all. To them you are not funny, and never will be. They are the ones who are perfect for the medium, because they will repeat the same nostrums over and over, while funny people just drift away. (This is the market gap that Slack fills. It is a product that lets less funny people feel hilarious, successfully marrying enterprise groupware to local improv groups.)

This factor is rarely considered by product people, or by anyone, but it’s real. Humor is an amazing means of reaching a large audience, jokes are naturally viral—but there is a powerful immune system that kicks in with any successful joke. The Internet is the world’s greatest joke killer—and yet everyone thinks they are funny. Consider this chart of how funny you can be as the number of users increases.
blog  comments  twitter 
7 weeks ago
The Propaganda of Pantone: Colour and Subcultural Sublimation — LOKI
Pantone’s cultural influence shouldn't be underestimated. Every day countless designers reference their products, and this year’s announcement was particularly well mediatized. This has resulted in RQ+S being marketed within a multitude of product categories, all released with Pantone's inscribed meaning, with many products directly profiting the company through partnerships and licensing. Beyond filling corporate coffers on the backs of subcultural labour, the truly grievous effect is the erasure of a critical aesthetic tool from the subculture and its associated social movements. It blunts the critical teeth of the colours’ usage within these contexts and undermines the visual self-representation, self-determination, and autonomy of these subcultural groups. Joyous, rebellious anger is being cynically muted into a gentle, weightless calm by designers everywhere, blindly following the authority of Pantone’s proclamations.
color  aesthetics  art  culture 
8 weeks ago
How to choose the right UX metrics for your product
Happiness: measures of user attitudes, often collected via survey. For example: satisfaction, perceived ease of use, and net-promoter score.
Engagement: level of user involvement, typically measured via behavioral proxies such as frequency, intensity, or depth of interaction over some time period. Examples might include the number of visits per user per week or the number of photos uploaded per user per day.
Adoption: new users of a product or feature. For example: the number of accounts created in the last seven days or the percentage of Gmail users who use labels.
Retention: the rate at which existing users are returning. For example: how many of the active users from a given time period are still present in some later time period? You may be more interested in failure to retain, commonly known as “churn.”
Task success: this includes traditional behavioral metrics of user experience, such as efficiency (e.g. time to complete a task), effectiveness (e.g. percent of tasks completed), and error rate. This category is most applicable to areas of your product that are very task-focused, such as search or an upload flow.
8 weeks ago
Dispatches from the ruins
This is what our fiction is telling us. This is what makes it so mesmerising, so satisfying. In our stories of the post-apocalypse, the dilemma is resolved, the fragility laid bare. In these, humans are both villain and hero, disease and cure. Our doom is our salvation. In our books at least, humanity’s destruction is also its redemption.
apocalypse  zombies 
8 weeks ago
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