Wrenches and hammers

Tools by fissionchips (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Per Axbom’s tweet, written in frustration about digital often seen as the answer to everything, stirred a range of emotions in me. On the one hand, I was quick to agree with the statement, thinking about how  commonplace the digital tools have become in our daily lives. They’ve become so mundane and we have become so accustomed to them, that we’ve started appreciating the tools more than what they help us accomplish or who they enable us to be.

On the other hand, I couldn’t help thinking how the technological achievements of the relatively short period of time would not have been possible, if someone somewhere didn’t go, “I wonder how I can eliminate the imperfections that physical things limit me to?” and didn’t think of making ones and zeros do the job for them.

We arrive at lasting change, when we aren’t satisfied with the existing order. In our heads, problems require solution. In our attempts at finding it, we tend to focus more on the nature of the solution rather than the problem. I believe that, in part, the technological advancements are to blame for it.

It is crucial that we consider, understand and address the real need in the solutions we promote for a given problem. Often, it’s easier said than done. Eric Meyer and Sara Wachter-Boettcher’s book Design for Real Life has had a profound effect on how I view creating processes and designing flows that serve humans and solve problems. Eric and Sara rekindled my love for looking beyond the obvious. A highly recommended read for anyone in touch with humans!

Later, Per followed up on his original tweet, by proposing the discussion about offline solutions to digital problems as an alternative:

I like the idea of breaking free from the hypnosis of the “offline denial syndrome”, as James puts it. Maybe the medium is not the answer. Maybe online and offline aren’t rivals, struggling for minutes they get to be used as solutions. If we see them as tools, maybe it would be easier to consider the problem first. A wrench and a hammer serve different purposes. A wrench can be used as a hammer, but it really shines its purpose as a wrench.

The beautiful mind of creators

Photo courtesy of Jeff Daly
Photo courtesy of Jeff Daly

According to Alex Griendling, we often praise work because of who made it, not necessarily because of its quality. He claims that follower counts and likes—the superficial measures of “success”—encourage “exclusion of the creative majority”.

His statement may be a crude generalisation. In any case, your follower count is usually based on something praiseworthy you’ve done. I want to hope so anyway.

What goes unnoticed is the beauty of creators’ mind, dimmed by the light of their creation. Sometimes, we ought to shift our praise from creation to the creators. Whether they are widely respected or “relegated to the fringes”.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

Responsive web design is a mindset

Responsive Web Design
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Keith

Some people think that responsive web design is the answer to every single one of their problems: “Conversion rate’s low? Well, is our site responsive? No? I think I’ve made my point.”

Responsive web design is just as much a solution as it is a mindset. It’s more than look-what-happens-when-you-resize-your-window thing. It is how you approach your little part of the world wide web in the first place. What is the purpose of your presence online? Who is your target audience? What goals are your trying to attain?

Digging deep into the why’s can help you figure out the how’s.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade
Photo courtesy of John M. P. Knox

The tools we choose for our work say more about our creativity as to how we put them to use than the end product. Using the same tools as our competitors’ does ensure you achieve the same results.

The above is true for digital products. Take a website as a product, for instance. The tools to produce it are the same. The are available for everyone. However, the end result—everything from code to user experience—is unique.

All components are there. Just use them. The particular combination of ingredients to achieve an exceptional product is the mark of a true creator.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.

Why mobile first isn’t dead

I read the article, Neil Mohan. Do you know what mobile first or responsive web design is? Because you are wrong. Mobile first is alive.

Back in 2011, Luke’s idea came from offering users an opportunity to accomplish their tasks “without the extraneous detours and general interface debris that litter many of today’s websites”. Still true today.

Mobile first isn’t just “focusing on mobile” and “solving yesterday’s problems”, as you note. It’s never been mobile only or responsive exclusively. Every device has opportunities to utilise. Designing for device- and audience-specific experience is paramount for achieving complete customer experience. Still true.

This post is part of the #blogg100 challenge—100 blog posts à 100 words in 100 days.