I came across a Bryan Cantrill’s talk on values. It made me think about what my values are. Around that time I was also watching influential videos from Bret Victor. My values shouldn’t be jargons and buzzwords, shouldn’t be too many otherwise I would be unfocused, shouldn’t be too generic and must come from experiences either virtual or real but not imagined, from the products I like to the people I admire, not because I want to become like them but because they should be concrete to guide me whenever I have doubt on myself or on my work I am doing. These values will guide me to choose the right choices, and to not keep doing what I eschew.
“I believe in infusing reliable tools with affectionate, human interfaces.*”
I may not have these values right now, but I am putting in efforts to move in this direction.
Arts and engineering are geniunely two different fields and slapping one over the other at the end isn’t the solution. We have to think about both of them from the get go.
Tools should not get in your way. Like you use a screwdriver to open up an electrical equipment, a tool should be something you pick up, use it and then keep it aside. It should be reliable and resilient. A slow tool would also not be considered reliable.
Care is a scent that lingers. In a speech, Jony Ive mentions that upon first time using an Apple computer, he could sense the effort and care that has been put by the team. He doesn’t know these people but still appreciates them. Being affectionate to someone make us do a little more than what was asked from us. Curiousity and interest sparks the enthusiasm, while courage and affection drives the persistence.
As this comes from Bret Victor, it would be more philosophical.
Boxes, invisible or obvious, symmetrically arranged is the first step in designing good looking interfaces, giving them heirarchy is the next. Intuitiveness is the step after that. Dynamicism of the UI helps to boost human productivity. It’s the bicycle of the mind. If the tool is slow, it would inhibit our flow of thinking. Short feedback loops matter. We need to make interfaces that help humans interpret and draw new conclusions.
Take StackOverflow as an example. It is made of boxes, it is probably not built out of affection but out of (shared) need, it is not always reliable either as you have to rely on a crowdsourced, possibly outdated answer. If this idea would’ve been presented to me then I would be dismissive about it. But it is an incredible and simple idea. That what this star means. Innovation is not the only catapult that can send us humans forward.
You can also not have a mission statement, and that’s okay too. But if you want to lay down few for yourself anyway, being thoughtful and having desire would be enough to propel you.
If you have lost all your hope, here’s an excerpt from a Jony Ive’s speech:
There’s lots of ways to be as a person. People express their deep appreciation in different ways. But one of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there. And you never meet the people, you never shake their hands. You never hear their story or tell yours but somehow, in the act of making something with a great deal of care and love, something is transmitted there. And it’s a way of expressing to the rest of our species our deep appreciation.
You can watch the video here.