Sometimes travel can show us how our life is… Or can give us a glimpse of how it can be. Being untethered, I could float away, lifted to a great height where everything is new, and I could look back on my life with new perspective and go, ‘Oh!’
Lucy Knisley – “An Age of License”. Via Ruk.


Practicing with Sketch

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I spent an hour this week trying to come up to speed with Sketch as an interface design tool, not just a wire-framing tool. Lightweight software like this appeals to me as they tend to focus on specific use cases vs. a more swiss army knife approach. The result can be seen in both the speed of the software, it’s function, utility and importantly it’s price. Unfortunately for me I’ve come to rely on specific features of Illustrator which make up for my lack of love for bezier curves. With Illustrator, I can import sketches, create some outlines and in many cases just clean up the curves and be finished. I haven’t seen anywhere yet where Sketch has any crutches to help people like me.

I’m still planning to spend more time using Sketch before deciding to replace Illustrator and OmniGraffle in my workflow. I’ll be finishing the interface design solely in sketch of a couple apps. I’m involved with.

The above is a bit of skeumorphic goodness from the days before Apple dictated everything should be flat. It’s amazing just how dated that style has become in a very short period of time. Though unpolished it was great practice in using Sketch.


Interacting in the Global City

In today’s global cities, public urban space is constituted in my different ways. Residents in the same neighborhood may have very diverse types of knowledge about their shared public space: The children know the neighborhood at ground level, the tech designer knows the Wi-Fi coverage at the cafes, the homeless know about the night fauna.

How do these understandings of urban space affect our view, use, and design of technology?


Dangerous Popsicles

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Dangerous Popsicles are a collection of weird shaped popsicles inspired by cacti and life-threatening viruses. What will happen when we put these dangerous things on one of our most sensitive organs, our tougues? Does pain really bring pleasure? Is there beauty in user-unfriedly things?

Dangerous Popsicles create a unique sensory experience. Before tasting with your tongue, you first taste with your eyes and mind. The popsicles are nothing but water and sugar, but ideas of deadly viruses and the spikiness of cacti are enough to stimulate your senses, even before your first taste.

I love projects like this. From an adults perspective their might be hesitation to eat something with a form like this but I see kids, who are far more open, loving it.


Weekend links

The narrow streets of the city centre in Hsinchu. My favourite part of the city.

The narrow streets of the city centre in Hsinchu. My favourite part of the city.

New online series investigates the science of creativity

The Skeptic’s Guide To Low-Fidelity Prototyping

How to Generate Good Ideas: Methods to Try, Questions to Ask and Apps to Use

It’s all but impossible to earn a living as a working artist, new report shows

Published for the First Time: a 1959 Essay by Isaac Asimov on Creativity

We All Have Ideas. Here’s How To Become An Inventor

How & why I moved to Sketch

Khoi Vinh on Yosemite’s Look and Feel. Apple’s efforts of late seem half baked, unfinished.

“Malice has motivated people to turn in foreigners on labor law violations, an official said, adding that tips on lawbreakers result in rewards” Keep your nose clean and don’t make enemies or you might find yourself on a plane to “home“.

Japan Didn’t Cave

Why Haters hate: Kierkegaard explains the psychology of bullying and online trolling in 1847


The Dawn of the Next Era of Human Computer Interaction

The history of Human Computer Interaction has had a few notable eras and we are at the dawn of the next era. In this talk I will describe those previous eras and how various factors shaped our interactions with computing as well as lead into how the forces at play in today’s world are calling for a new era with new design solutions.

Nice talk.


Do you feel it’s possible for an American to call China home?

I think it’s possible for an American to think of China as home. Whether or not Chinese people accept that is probably another story. It’s part of the expat arrested development thing – everything about your existence is contingent, from visa runs to rentals to whatever. The baseline assumption is that you will be going home after a few years. That includes the assumption that you don’t really “get” China.

Whenever I’m asked “but do you really understand China?”, I just say “yes”, because fuck you. Ask a stupid question, get a flippant answer. People don’t really have a rebuttal to that. Try it sometime. I mean, I grew up in the US, but I don’t know that I “understand” the US – I don’t even know what that would mean.
Why I’m Not Going to Be Living in China Anymore But Might Be Back

You could substitute China for Taiwan and you would have something close to how I think about being a long term resident here. You are a welcome guest, treated well as such, but eventually long for a title with a bit more permanence or at least something other than your special status.


Sometimes amongst the noise of Facebook a signal appears; some great advice from a high school classmate.

I’ve always taken risks in my life, sometimes they didn’t work out and I was embarrassed. I learned from every one, because I looked for the learning. And I didn’t stop taking risks. Over time, they stopped feeling so much like risks and it’s gotten harder to embarrass me. I’ve learned a lot.

What are you afraid to do? Be bold today. Do something you’ve always wanted to do, something you’ve been scared to try. Look for the learning and do it again next week.
Kirsten

Fear of embarrassment has long been a motivator for me but also an inhibitor to stepping outside my bubble and trying something new. I think I’ll take her advice.


OmniGraffle for User Interface Design

A video detailing how Omni designs its own apps, “starting with a quick iPad sketch and ending up at a pixel-perfect, interactive design”. I may revisit using OmniGraffle but for the short term at least I’m invested in using Sketch.

This is not seat-of-your-pants level of exciting but I always enjoy listening to how another teams approach interface design.


Business and industry have learned that their products ought to be aesthetically pleasing. A large community of designers exists to help improve appearances. But appearances are only part of the story: usability and understandability are more important, for if a product can’t be used easily and safely, how valuable is its attractiveness? Usable design and aesthetics should go hand in hand: aesthetics need not be sacrificed for usability, which can be designed in from the first conceptualisation of the product.
Donald Norman, The Design of Everyday Things, Doubleday, 1988