Tag Archives: mobile first

the decision

CruelShoesFirst

i’m re-reading Luke Wroblewski’s A Book Apart instant UX classic Mobile First while traveling to New York City on an Amtrak train and simultaneously reading Cruel Shoes by Steve Martin — i sort of take a break from one by reading a bit from the other — i’ll admit, its an early ride in to The City and i’m kind of nodding off from time to time, wiping the drool out of the left corner of my mouth from time to time, but its an interesting little ping pong combination of intellectual consumption to start the mind to wonder

i think a lot about mobile experiences

i design for mobile, ubiquitous and cross-domain experiences at Mobiquity, which is like the best job i’ve had so far as a design professional and as someone who is personally interested in influencing the way we think, design and ultimately use our technological advancements and innovations

i mean, for the first time in more than a decade i actually get to DESIGN with a capital D

there’s no time for the typical politics and the dreadful corporate trumpings that come with the terrain of egomaniacal VP opinions and Jobsian self-proclaimed geniusness on the part of this marketing guru or that cSuite idea killer — we’re simply trusted to do our job and amazing shit gets done because of this sort of setup in the workplace

but this isn’t an endorsement for the firm i currently work for { well, i guess its a micro-endorsement of sorts, right? we’re growing, let me know if you’re interested in joining The Mob, aight? }

back to the topic, back to the wondering

i sometimes think that all of this anywhere, anytime connectedness afforded us as modern people has more negatives than pluses — i hate to say it, but i’m not the kind of person that simply drinks the kool-aid and just loves every device, every software, every social web experience, all technology — i hope you don’t mind

having this sort of critical pessimism for our progress via technological innovation, as much as it might seem to conflict with the very core of being an experience designer for mobile technologies, actually helps me scrutinize every aspect of the experiences i design on a day-to-day basis

makes a lot of sense, right?

i don’t ever simply agree with the latest interaction paradigm and stick it into my design work just because its at the bleeding edge — or, if its something that works for the Facebook app, i don’t necessarily think its some experiential interaction we should simply copy-paste and plop over into an entirely different experience

although cookie cutter approaches can sometimes save a client money and cut corners off of the edge of time, i don’t bake like that at all

hope you don’t mind, but i think we should really craft these experiences in very thoughtful and deliberate ways — and we should review and assess each design in an iterative fashion and see how that design work or doesn’t work and adjust it along the way using real human decision-making processes as informed by smart interpretation of the findings we gather from usability, data collection from embedded metric reporting mechanisms, qualitative observation and interviewing, all that amazing stuff that makes us more like cartoonish forensic scientists and crime scene investigators with pockets full of pixels as opposed to little DaVinci’s with a big paint-by-number outlook on how to cobble together the Mona Lisa 2.0

ya know?

so, back to Wroblewski and Martin, now, perhaps?

depending on your outlook, your mood and the people you socially experience along the journey of your day, you might view the new push to mobilize just about damned near everything as either extremely negative or extremely positive — if we translate that to the theatrical equivalents of asking something like:

do our mobile devices result in a future social story of our technohumanic tragedy or comedy?

well, i tend to think of it all from Steve Martin’s perspective

what wonderful opportunity to gather new material for farce and spoof and stand-up hilarity

but then, like the stand-up comedian, we should perhaps learn to see how the audience immediately receives the jokes we live while we’re talkin’ on the phone, texting or accessing the web in highly public situations, right? and then, uhm, we can hopefully all learn to adjust the act a little bit, in a more intentional and consciously aware sort of way

humor that’s been carefully honed, crafted and developed is almost always bound to be far funnier and enjoyable than the potentially risky and tragic alternative of improvised and unthoughtful mayhem

at least that’s my humble opinion as a semi-professional humorist and lifelong late-blooming technologist

storyFirst

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as with most of the concepts i come up with — i am flooded with ideas, raw direction, so much intent, and then i typically register a domain name, attempt designing the first iteration of a logo and put together a landing page to claim my new turf

i equate it to the modernday animal domination of mental property on the subconscious market

sometimes the investment is well worth it and the page i create blossoms into a blog or smallish web site — the initial concept evolves and moves, it comes alive either through further visual thinking or through writing down my near-daily thoughts on that particular and typically invented subject

at other times i realize my property purchase is a fixer upper or maybe a subtle spin-off of someone else’s idea, and i either work on it or i don’t, it becomes a dead end of the interwebz or a tiny root-like germinated seed of an idea in slow motion, not fully developed but just waiting to grow { but in dire need of food, water, soil and sun }

the term or phraseology storyFirst originates from Dynamic Media Institute at Massachusetts College of Art and Design

i really don’t know yet where i am taking this idea, but here’s the gist and the backStory for storyFirst

Jan Kubasiewicz { sometimes known as Jan Kuba } developed an assignment as an improvisational evolution of work from previous weeks in the DMI Course Design for Motion, Time and Sound — in this week’s workshop session, our teams were to take the work done to-date and start up again from scratch, focusing on putting the story first this time

what’s your story? was also a question i recall Jan asking me several times at reviews each semester — he wasn’t really looking to string my projects together in a more cohesive manner so much as he was trying to figure out why anyone should give a shit about my project work, my research and ultimately my design

and this became a very important way of looking at the entire body of my work, at examining my process, the materials i choose to work with and the very reason why i research using both critical reading and visual design methodologies to actively understand my terrain

i think i registered the domain name for storyFirst around the time that Joe Liberty, Andrew Ellis and i collaboratively designed and fabricated the embeddedStory System for MassArt Made — i think i understood back then on some sort of subconscious level how important story was to my work and to my research in cyberSurrealism

but it wasn’t until i read Luke Wrobelewski’s recent book Mobile First that i felt the full-on inspiration to write a book about using story to drive design in a new way — i want to use story as a means to drive my professional design work and also a means to design and redesign my life { and the lives of others }

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now, i’ll be the first to admit { since we’re in a safe place here and i know you won’t just give away my little secret to just anyone, right? }, i tend to have issues with figures of authority — its almost a built-in mechanism, something i’ve only discovered through deep psychotherapy and self-reflection — i know that my satiric and humorous demeanor, my uncanny ability to ‘make fun’ out of just about anything, literally comes with severely scrutinizing the philosophies and actions of others and then trying to articulate what i honestly think and feel about well-established and revered pillars of practice and thinking

but i want this project, as much as it is inspired by my gut negative reaction to the Mobile First mantra and movement, i want storyFirst to become something of its own — i value some but not all of the thought that was put into Mobile First, i don’t necessarily believe its as practical and realistic a methodology as its advertised to be { i mean, how many clients can you convince to restart everything with a mobile experience as the filter to every single design decision you’re going to make across every extension and experience related to the brand of an organization? are corporations even that unified and organized to begin with to get THAT much buy-in and work in some harmonious, collaborative way to actually go Mobile First everytime? } — i don’t even think my most recent thinking about storyFirst benefits clients, prospects and corporations as much as i hope to benefit real people, and specifically designers

i believe that people — as natural human organisms — always strive to make meaning in the world — in fact, i believe that meaning itself doesn’t actually exist on its own in any way and that people, families, villages, societies and ultimately the symbiotic entirety of our macro-organic civilization create fictions and fact and rules around what these meanings are all about

we own a personal story,everyone of us — we can tell stories from memories, from episodes of our past and bring those stories back to life in conversation, in photographs, in dynamic media, in dance — and then we can imagine stories for ourselves and others, we can project what we think our lives can be or we can also dream up what we actually want our lives to be and then we can tell that story to ourselves and others — and then through user-centered design processes, confounded and delightfully weaved into the fabric of storytelling and retelling and actively pursuing these stories we create, we can design our lives — as individuals, as families, as villages, and as a global society

a little utopian, i know — but unless we strive for the impossible we will never achieve the dream

we may fail, and i believe right now we live in a time that manifests far more of a distopian twist on the original promises made by dreamers of progress and technology from the 1940s, 50s and 60s — but we need to follow the story, we need to follow the story a LOT more carefully and adhere to the benefits originally enmeshed with the original stories

i hope i can do this idea justice — i hope i can adequately tell the story i envision behind putting storyFirst in design and in life