Some insights on voice interfaces from Ian Bicking:
Voice interfaces are voice interfaces. They are a way for the user to express their desire, using patterns that might be skeuomorphism of regular voice interactions, or might be specific learned behaviors. It’s not a conversation. You aren’t talking with the computer.
I’ve been speaking with Alexa for quite some time now — we like to talk about the status of the lights in the living room and which is the most suitable time for me to wake up.
Also very true:
I hate how voice interfaces force us to speak without pauses because a pause is treated as the end of the statement. Many systems use a “wakeword” or “keyword spotting” to start the interaction. What if we used keyword spotting to determine the end as well? “Please” might be a good choice. It’s like the Enter key.
Sean Martell, designer at Mozilla, goes through some of the FireFox related projects he got to work on at Mozilla over the last 14 years.
I kind of hate messaging these days.
Over the years different software have imposed on their users FOMO inducing features that lead us to this ridiculous reality in which we all collectively agreed that a response to a text needs to be returned within minutes, no matter the content nor the urgency.
I sometimes choose emails over texts for this reason. I know — I am weird. BUT! Expectations are different with emails. We read less into it if someone takes a day or longer to get back to us (even though some people are trying to make emails obnoxious too).
The online status (last seen at), the typing indicator (is typing), and — worst of all — read receipts somehow ended up being our default, with all which that entails (mostly anxiety). It’s all working exactly as we designed it, as in: it’s all quite shitty:
Privacy remains one of the big and unresolved issues in our industry and while we often worry about data leaks and agonize over how much companies know about us, we often forget that it’s the small and barely noticeable losses of end-to-end user privacy that affect us socially the most. And while turning every privacy related decision into a setting might be enticing, it’s ultimately shortsighted. Designers are well aware that most users won’t bother changing a default. And the act of changing a default ironically always inadvertently reveals something about users, whether they want or not.
So what does a future that respects people’s micro-privacy feel like?
It’s knowing you can go online without having to fear what our online status may reveal about you. It’s about liking someone’s photo without the anxiety of being called out for it. And above anything, it’s about reading a message, without feeling guilty of not sending an immediate response.
A web typography learning game
Casper (the mattress company) announced a new product, a light which looks a bit like an HomePod and a Muji aroma diffuser.
Good app to simulate colour blindness on your Mac. There’s also an iOS counterpart, to see the world in front of you as a colour blind person.
Since we’re on the subject, I recommend Contrast to quickly access WCAG contrast ratios from the menu bar.
In its first era of popularity, it was all pop and pulp, but now it seems reserved for the task of adding just the slightest bit of a smirk to extremely straight-faced endeavors: elegant magazines, important books, experimental theater, and $80 ceramic pipes.
I didn’t realise how popular this typeface was until I stumbled across this article and started noticing it in bookshops or books I myself own (Mark Grief’s Against Everything).
It was used on the first cover of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake and for the credits of Friends. Quite a weird mix.
(Here’s a good reimagining of Lydia by the Colophon Foundry)