Design Creates Meaning (中文版)

“我們身處一個‘情報’時代,面對無數的選擇。由於我們獲取資訊的渠道五花八門,越來越多的人開始自己進行研究,進而自己作出判斷和決策,而不再依賴專家和權威。然而,資訊爆炸的另一面是:多達99%的資訊都屬於垃圾資訊,沒有任何意義或不可理解。所以,我們需要反思我們所提供的資訊,因為人們渴望得到更精細、有用的資訊。想要在當今的世界取得成功,我們需要精選出我們所需要的具體資訊,然後把這些資訊應用於我們的實際工作中。”- 摘自Richard Saul Wurman所著的《信息焦慮症2》。

數據

我們周圍充斥著未經處理的原生數據。儘管很多人都在說這些數據,但它們並不是我們這個時代的驅動力,而只是一些相互關聯的積木塊兒。未經處理的原生內容或數據的意義是極其有限的。
事實上,只有經過轉化的數據才具有實用價值,而原生的數據毫無意義可言,唯一有用的地方可能就是緩解人們生活中的焦慮罷了。

真正的資訊是意義的開端。

真正的資訊是把數據放入某種語境中,同時在表達和呈現中加入思考。從“數據”到“資訊”的過程意味著從“感官認識”到“概念認知”。
如果不對原生數據進行處理和轉換,那它就一文不值。

知識

“知識”與“資訊”的區別在於“知識”的複雜性決定了你需要對它進行學習和研究。舉例來說,一個學生如果想學到某一方面的知識,他就需要通過不同的渠道、不同的角度獲取相同的數據,並且通過自己的實際體驗來學習。“知識”無法由一個人轉給另一個人,而是必須通過個人自己的學習來獲得。

“資訊設計”是一門“將原生數據轉化為資訊”的學科,可以說是“知識構建”的一個載體。


From “The case for designing offices more like bars“:

Face-to-face interactions increase empathy, which is a cornerstone of trusting relationships. “Patterns of face-to-face engagement and exploration within corporations were often the largest factors in both productivity and creative output,” says Sandy Pentland of MIT’s Media Lab in his book Social Physics. Neuroscience also backs up these ideas. In her book Conversational Intelligence, Judith Glasser states that when you are connecting face-to-face, “Mirror neurons are firing off, forming a bridge of insight and empathy with others.” Glasser explains that these “exchanges within our trust networks make us feel more positive, open, and closer to others…Strong bonds of trust serve up a cocktail of the brain’s feel-good natural chemicals like oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin.”
Therefore, to make workers happier in both social and professional structures at work, we need to understand how to manufacture more eye-to-eye happenstances.

Click bait article title aside, nothing beats face-to-face interactions, especially in multi-cultural, multi-lingual teams. Our dependence on chat software for communication is not a strength nor an advantage, it’s a weakness.


Get Out Of Your World Of Expertise

The most inspirational people, not just inspirational, but the best people period, that I have had to good fortune to work with or know have all been experts in more than one discipline. An engineer who was an expert in classical music, a designer who could play the violin, a doctor who could play the drums; all were multi-dimension and great at what they did. These kind of people are a joy to be around too.

Throughout school, I was laser-focused on learning everything I could about design. When I came to IDEO, this passion for design was no longer something that made me unique. It’s what you know beyond design that allows you to come up with a solution that your peers haven’t considered. Good design skills are most powerful when they are applied with another discipline or two, or three. I found the designers I most admired were experts in some other area—neuroscience, climbing, magic, baking.
From 3 Ways to Fight Impostor Syndrome


資訊架構與資訊設計的區別

這兩個概念有所不同,“資訊架構(IA)”主要與“認知”有關,即:人們如何處理資訊、如何分析不同資訊之間的關係;而“資訊設計(ID)”則與“感知”有關,即:人們如何將他們看到的和聽到的東西轉化為知識。

這兩種方式都需要不同的技能。“資訊架構師”來自各個領域,但我感覺其中大部分有語言學背景;而“資訊設計師”通常指向視覺藝術,因此,大部分資訊設計師來自同一個領域:平面設計。

“資訊架構”屬於抽象概念,它主要針對人腦中的資訊結構,而不是紙上或螢幕上的;而“資訊設計”則非常的具體,資訊設計師在設計過程中考慮的重點是顏色和基本形狀等具體資訊。

Translated from :

Differences between Information Architecture and Information Design

Between the two names we have different concerns. Information architecture (IA) is primarily about cognition, how people process information and construe relationships between different pieces of information. Information design is primarily about perception, how people translate what they see and hear into knowledge.

Both require different skills. Information architects come from a variety of backgrounds, but I sense that a majority of them display an orientation toward language. Information designers, on the other hand, tend to be oriented toward the visual arts. As a result, the majority of information designers come from exactly one discipline: graphic design.

Information architecture belongs to the realm of the abstract, concerning itself more with the structures in the mind than the structures on the page or screen. Information design, however, couldn’t be more concrete, with considerations such as color and shape fundamental to the information designer’s process.

Which I picked up many years ago from Jesse James Garrett.


Culture Influences the Amount of Creativity

Work related to creativity has centered on individualism–collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, and power distance (Hofstede, 2001; Rank, Pace, & Frese, 2004). Individualism–collectivism characterizes the strength and cohesion of bonds between people, with people looking after themselves in individualist societies and looking after the larger societal unit to which they belong in collectivist societies. Power distance refers to the extent to which power and authority are expected and accepted to be distributed unequally in a society. Uncertainty avoidance concerns the extent to which people feel uncomfortable or threat- ened by unknown, uncertain situations.

In general, collectivism, high levels of uncertainty avoidance and high power dis- tance (hierarchical structure) are negatively related to national levels of inventiveness (Hofstede, 2001). Shane (1992, 1993) exam- ined national rates of innovation in 33 countries, based on per-capita number of patents, and found an advantage for soci- eties with low uncertainty acceptance, low power distance, and high individualism. An acceptance of uncertainty (low uncer- tainty avoidance) may foster tolerance for risk and change. Individualism is associ- ated with autonomy, independence (defin- ing one’s self as unique from the group), and freedom. Ng (2003) provides empiri- cal evidence for a model in which cultural individualism–collectivism influences self- construal as independent or interdependent on others, and this self-concept in turn influ- ences creativity and conformity tendencies. Lack of power, characteristic of nonhier- archical societies, fosters enhanced interac- tions and communication between people at different status levels, such as superiors and subordinates. Finally, hierarchical soci- eties do not tend to embrace change because of the potential redistribution of power that might go against vested interests.

Thus, the classic argument is that cultures showing the creativity-compatible profile on certain dimensions (individualism, etc.) will favor the development and expression of creativity. People from these cultures should show higher performance on laboratory creativity tasks, more creative productions (e.g., more patents for inventions), and greater levels of creativity (e.g., Nobel Prize winners). It is worth noting, however, the simple effects of cultural dimensions. Phases of creative and innovative processes may relate differentially to these cultural dimensions. For example, low power distance, individualism, and low uncertainty avoidance may foster creativity, but hinder idea implementation. Hofstede (2001) sug- gested collecting ideas in certain cultural contexts (e.g., weak uncertainty avoidance, with tolerance for deviant ideas and unpredictable situations) and refining them in oth- ers (strong uncertainty avoidance, senses of detail and precision). In a similar vein, Rank et al. (2004) noted that Schwartz’s value dimension of conservatism versus intellectual autonomy is relevant to creativity. Valuing intellectual autonomy is positive for generating ideas but may hinder implemen- tation and acceptance of creative ideas.
Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Creativity – Todd Lubart


Or you can think of this another way, all the little details add up to create a great experience.

In an interview for the New York Times, the actor Kevin Bacon was asked about his work as a director. He said:
“To me, directing is telling a story. All day long, that’s all I do—in every single detail. Is she using a pencil, or is she using a pen? And what story do you want to tell with that? You see, you tell all these little stories in the course of a film, and then hopefully it all wraps up into one big story.”
Kevin Bacon, quoted in “As for Directing, It’s Telling a Story” by Dave Kehr, New York Times, December 30, 2003


Your morning wake-up call

This noise started shortly after my arrival at the campus here and has continued unabated for the past 3 months. It goes through walls and reverberates off all the buildings, that coupled with the fact that any repairs that need to be done to the facilities start at sunrise, means that unless you sleep like death, you get up with the sun. For the workers of China, there are no days off.


Stories have the felicitous capacity of capturing exactly those elements that formal decision methods leave out. Logic tries to generalize, to strip the decision making from the specific context, to remove it from subjective emotions. Stories capture the context, capture the emotions. Logic generalizes, stories particularize. Logic allows one to form a detached, global judgement; story- telling allows one to take the personal point of view, to understand the particular impact the decision is apt to have on the people who will be affected by it.
Don Norman, Things That Make Us Smart [1994, p. 129]


Photos of NetDragon Websoft in Fuzhou

Space ship campus

When I first started considering qn opportunity at NetDragon, there wasn’t a great deal English language information about the company, it’s facilities, and surroundings. So I am hoping this image dump of unprocessed iPhone photos of the ChangLe campus might fill in any gaps in related Google searches. I may add more photos overtime, but upstream bandwidth in Fujian is pretty limited (think Kb/sec not Mb/sec). If you happen upon these images and have any questions, please get in touch.

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We get some fog here

We get some fog here


“The deepest form of understanding another person is empathy…[which] involves a
shift from…observing how you seem on the outside, to…imagining what it feels like to be you on the inside.”
Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen of the Harvard Negotiation Project, Chapter 9, “Empathy is a Journey, Not a Destination,” p. 183.

Designing something requires that you completely understand what a person wants to get done. Empathy with a person is distinct from studying how a person uses something. Empathy extends to knowing what the person wants to accomplish regardless of whether she has or is aware of the thing you are designing. You need to know the person’s goals and what procedure and philosophy she follows to accomplish them.
from the book Mental Models