Tag Archives: awareness



this year for Thanksgiving ( and why not also for each and every day ) take some moments to simply appreciate life

life is such a mysterious experience

one which i hope we’ll never Scientifically truly understand in the least

to try and understand life too much is to miss out on: the actual experience; and actually tuning in well enough to appreciate that experience of human ( among other forms of ) life

see if you can appreciate, too, all aspects of our experience together

up and down

good and bad

we are wed to life in all of its wonder and chaos, in all of its highs and lows — so try and appreciate and accept all that life offers us, even when it feels unfair or broken or wrong

this year i appreciate life — i choose to tune into that channel of human energy in a personally meaningful way


we almost lost our mother this year

i have a lot of questions for her, about her behavior, about her constant struggles with mood and escape and negativity and then manic joy

not all of these questions will be exactly smooth or supportive

i can feel ( in an unfortunately negative and low / sad way ) the immense power of our socially collected energies as a human organism — my mother’s purposefully-chosen attempts at the ultimate escape can be nothing but a dark and dreary ripple of hopelessness and confusion — a horrific example to ‘put out there’ for anyone in the world

it shows a lack of appreciation for life, for people, for anyone and anything beyond herself

my empathy for her obviously wanes at this point in the aftermath

but, for the rest of us at least, let’s hold on to life

we are all very vulnerable and life can escape us all on its own at any moment

there are no logical systems or reasons, either, that death needs to adhere to

so let’s appreciate life together

let’s set a good example for the world and the people we love

let’s appreciate each other with a new sense of closeness and humanity

tune into little things when time gets dark

tune into life

a new crown of laughter

this photograph examines the close-up details — the textural crunchy interior — from my ridiculously nonsensical piece new crown from American Dream: the introspection

like the fashion photographer from Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Blow-Up, i keep looking at images from my past with a tighter and tighter cropping

i’m looking for clues

searching for meaning

meaning that might not even be there

i know that my subconscious is far more powerful than this waking state we’re all doomed to live out

since re-opening the case i’ve been trying to re-examine everything i do through the lens of the laughterLife — through my own personal life-long history with humor, laughter and the areas in-between

and so now this interesting re-look back at new crown surfaces a lot more than the textural magnificence of these objects i so dearly love quite improvisationally arranged inside of this kick drum carry case

i’ll get into the nitty gritty in a follow-up post, but i’d love for you to look at this particular image — this mess of pinecones and autumnleaves, twigs and chicken lobster with christmas lights … all of these things were supposed to ceremoniously represent my own personal crown of thorns, a rather cheesy homage to the crucifixion and my own suffering with technology and information — at least that was my unspoken intent and my retrospective analysis when looking at all of this through the lens of cyberSurrealism 

but now it all feels a little eerily different when looking through the lens of laughter

some definitions to consider


i look back lately — at my previous research and active design work at Dynamic Media Institute

i am re-opening my book — my design thesis book, that is — to once again take a look inside my veryOwn openContainer, and my intention to continue my investigative research into laughter, cyberSurrealism and the human experience swells and motivates me with a newfound retrospective clarity that i just frankly wasn’t ready to tackle back then

as i delve deeper into the investigation — an investigation that brings me to new areas of dangerous confrontation and heightened, intense self-awareness — i ready myself and my future audience of readers and participants with these 3 crucial definitions stolen from — or, uhm — cited from the Wikipdedia as core concepts for your consideration — important terms of reference regarding the underlying purpose and nature of my work


Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding. More broadly, it is the state or quality of being aware of something. In biological psychology, awareness is defined as a human’s or an animal’s perception andcognitive reaction to a condition or event.
Read more about Awareness on the Wikipedia

Consciousness is the quality or state of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself.[1][2] It has been defined as: sentience,awarenesssubjectivity, the ability to experience or to feelwakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind.[3] Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is.[4] As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: “Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives.”[5]
Read more about Consciousness on the Wikipedia

Mindfulness is “the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment”,[1]which can be trained by meditational practices[1] derived from Buddhist anapanasati.[2]

The term “mindfulness” is derived from the Pali-term sati,[3] “mindfulness”, which is an essential element of Buddhist practice, including vipassanasatipaṭṭhāna and anapanasati.

Mindfulness practice is being employed in psychology to alleviate a variety of mental and physical conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorderanxiety, and in the prevention of relapse in depression and drug addiction.[4] It has gained worldwide popularity as a distinctive method to handle emotions.
Read more about Mindfulness on the Wikipedia


All preceding definitions from this blogPost came from the infamous Wikipedia out there on the webz. Go check it out { as if you’ve never heard of it, right? } and don’t forget to occasionally donate a bit to keep the project funded and smoothly movin’ along — we all learn soOOoOoo much from our little Wikipedia that could now, don’t we?




why do we need to ask appropriate questions?


as professional experience designers its of the utmost importance to me that we drive every decision we make in an informed and somewhat sensical manner as a means to create and optimize what we design for real people

i don’t call people users or participants or customers — i try to avoid terms like personas or user types as much as possible, although words like these help us all understand that leveraging the powerful tool of a properly developed or estimated persona can help us generalize the psychographic and demographic populations of people that make up our target audiences for businesses

i prefer to refer to people as people

to call people people just simplifies some of the interesting dynamics that might get in the way as part of the process and helps to build a better empathic relationship with the people we’re designing for at the end of the day

calling people people turns what can be a very uppity and exclusionary sense of them vs us into the more elegant and gracious one-word phrase us

the process becomes more inclusive and friendly when we realize our users are people, too — just like us — so let’s not refer to the people we design for as them because its simply not a nice thing to do and it creates a competitive dynamic that oftentimes misses the goal to meet the real needs of real people and to hopefully create an authentic experience for people that is helpful, humble, beautiful and meaningful

walking along with the people we’re designing something for is probably the best way to understand and design for those particular real people — its as close as we’re going to get to actually being them — or being with them — and truly understanding what they need — and its how we can get to understand what’s working or not working for the real people we’re designing for with our design work from the most appropriate perspective to properly guide the design process


also, i don’t consider the way i do what i do as an experience designer to be user-centered

i prefer people-centered

or better yet, human-centered

previous versions of Design with a Big D didn’t always successfully meet the needs of people due to the fact that the focus was somewhere else entirely

when we lose sight of who we’re designing for and drive our processes and decisions by something other than servicing the needs of real people, we’re unfortunately positioned to miss the mark and create an experience that just doesn’t feel right

for example

another way we can focus the design work we do might unintentionally focus on a more systems-centered methodology — and much of the time, since the material elements { or immaterial elements to be more precise, maybe even representative or mapped elements could better define what we’re talking about here } we’re given to design something with is deeply based in data and information, if we don’t properly focus on consciously guiding toward a human-centered experience we will almost definitely end up with a more systems- or information-centered set of processes and experiential outcomes that improperly focuses on what we’re designing for { a dataset, or one particular interpretation of a dataset } instead of who we’re designing for { once again, the actual people }

if we’re hoping the results of our design processes bring people into our world to engage with our company’s business offerings we need to focus in the appropriate direction and we need to invite and guide the people we would like to collaborate with in an evolving business relationship in a way that’s really actually about the people, not the systems or the information that make up the pieces of the experience

if, at a certain point, the working results our design processes aren’t quite working as anticipated, we need to be very critical about the integrity of processes we’re involved in and we need to ask some big questions to hopefully help better guide the design work moving forward — and what a lot of people sometimes lose clear sight of when looking at the metrics and when listening to the qualitative feedback and suggestions is very definition of the word feedback and what it ultimately implies


i’m sure the tendency to externalize a perceived set of negative results from any collection of usability might tightly tether to genuine internal psychological insecurities regarding the feeling of failure — especially for deeply passionate and empathic creatives that constantly need to balance an oftentimes conflicting capability to emotionally tune into the needs of people with the exact opposite simultaneous ability to then emotionally pull away from the iterative design work we’re engaged with on a daily basis

suddenly — when faced with suggestions that the design just isn’t optimally working — the illogical but somewhat understandable reaction might cause the wrong kind of emotional distance from a design team

an emotional, dynamic shift might actually increase the distance we feel with our users — with the very people we’re ultimately designing for

we might be too emotionally involved with the design work to even understand the more competitive attitude we’re suddenly feeling in relation to our users

the team might start refer to our people as them

and now the design process goes from collaborative to competitive — and those competitive feelings, as subtle as they may seem, can really start building to the wrong kind of energy for a truly collaborative and effective set of design processes

amidst our frustrations with qualitatively negative reactions to the work, we might ask ourselves questions like

why aren’t they getting it?

how come they’re not seeing the link?

oh jeez, why did they do that?

i’d like to suggest that whenever we start to use terminology that implies any sense of an exclusionary attitude toward our collaborations with our users, that we need to stop and think a little deeper about the wrongful inversion of what’s psychologically going on with the team

instead of asking about them in reference to a set of people that are suddenly emotionally put on the outside of our competitive process dynamics — we need to start asking about we again — we need to pull them into the better-feeling, inclusive we feeling of the project work

does that even make any sense?

i don’t know — its been a long blogPost, i know, right?

but i’m trying to tie all of this back into the stupid title i came up with for this post

instead of asking the they questions — start asking the we questions again, aight?
if you’re tending toward exclusionary, competitive processes — reach out to set up more appropriate inclusive, collaborative team dynamics with the people you’re designing for

if you can feel that things are starting to feel off with your process
— and even with the results of your design work

turn that shit inside out, ya know?


you might feel a little more humble all of a sudden — it might not feel all that fantastic even, but its a far braver and far more appropriate way to turn it all around

when we bring ourselves as designers to this inside out place and ask more questions about what we did or didn’t do, then we’ve rediscovered the proper attitude to get back to our work following a far better inclusive, collaborative mentality to guide the design work we need to do