Agency and attribution in user interface string design

This is going to sound obvious, but technology is useful because it does things. Swing a hammer and it will transfer force. Throw a boomerang and and it will (usually) come back. Simple tools like these exhibit behaviors because we interact with them in intentional ways, but the behaviors are rather straightforward, and they typically cease as soon as we set the tools down. Other technology has a little more autonomy: An alarm clock makes noise if a certain time is reached. An air conditioner kicks in if a preset temperature threshold is exceeded. …


I fell in love with Vue the moment I saw it. Having built all my previous UI in jQuery, it immediately clicked how much better Vue was for building user interfaces. (jQuery is still superb for what it was designed for, of course: low-level DOM manipulation.) I loved how easy Vue was to get started with, and I love how it’s grown with me as my projects have gotten more complex over time.

But one thing has bothered me about Vue from pretty early on: The HTML. Writing Vue templates was a painful reminder that HTML was designed for marking…


Envisioning how will Apple use its new touchless gestures.

It was recently reported that Apple is working on a screen that senses your finger without even touching it. The idea isn’t entirely new, but Apple does have a remarkable knack for bringing novel technology to the mass market. So, we must ask: What should a touchless gesture do?

We don’t know for sure that Apple will work this technology into any actual products—but if they do, they’ll be adding to a crowded lineup: Tap, long tap, double tap, tap and hold, push, and four directions of swipe are all already gestures. This creates a challenge not only for users…


Let’s get this party started

Preamble

Git has redefined the way we write software. It’s an ingenious technology, and its community and ecosystem are utterly vibrant. It’s become so ubiquitous that it’s hard to imagine anything could follow it. But that line of thought should sound suspicious by now: People said the same thing about the horse and buggy, the gas lamp, and the landline telephone. Humans are fundamentally a restlessly inventive species, and technology doesn’t sit still. So, while Git might still feel fresh — perhaps due to everything flourishing around it — it’s worth remembering that the first version was released two years before…


My romantic adventures with Microsoft’s Zo

A couple years ago, the New York Times referenced a study from the ’90s exploring whether emotional closeness can be stimulated through a series of thirty six progressively more revealing personal questions.

Last year, Microsoft released an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot named Zo, following the rapid and spectacular implosion of their previous chatbot, Tay.

I set out to fall in love.


The flip side to a perennial favorite quip

There’s an oft-touted adage, perhaps most frequently heard in design circles, preaching Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. It may be accompanied by proof in the form of a borderline shamefully nostalgic remembrance of those awful personal webpages from back in the day — You know, the ones with obnoxious colors, 3D rotating graphics, and auto-playing MIDI background music? And of course the saying is true. We shouldn’t be particularly proud of that period of our collective history, or of any time we thoughtlessly plunged into new possibilities without consideration of the consequences.

But there’s a flip side…


Or, Let’s be honest, it’s not a phone anymore

This is an introduction. Sort of.

At this point, you’re probably already familiar. You might be looking right at it this second, or perhaps it’s in your pocket. And you might’ve made an offhand joke about its modern nature, once or twice. But some things deserve a proper welcome, even if it comes late.

For the longest time, humans — and other animals before that, and other life forms before that — could only impact their close surroundings. The pre-technologic man could throw things and shout. And then run some distance, and throw and shout from there. The sphere of…


A vision for business information superstructures built by inference


Or, ~/Folder/Folder/Folder/Folder/Folder/…

It was a few hundred years before the common era, and people didn’t have a great idea how the world actually worked. While that dearth of knowledge had its downsides, it was quite the heyday for big thinkers; whereas today a researcher might spend their entire life learning about just one slice of a topic of a subset of an area of a field, back then a philosopher—one who loves knowledge, from roots philo meaning loving and sophia meaning knowledge—might discover or posit information and ideas about the whole of existence.

And that’s pretty much what Aristotle did. His life…


Or, the Root of Glowing Screens is Human Skill

Everyone knows we’re surrounded by “tech”. It’s reshaping every aspect of society in every corner of the globe, making countless twenty-something millionaires in the process, and keeping kids from playing outside like they used to.

Those things might be true. And yet, we’re not great at identifying what “tech” really is: Ask someone to point it out, and they’ll look for the closest object with a glowing screen. This focus, while not exactly incorrect, artificially silos digital devices from the rest of mankind’s toolbox, obscuring the rich fabric connecting everything our species has made and done.

So, let’s step back…

Alex Gorischek

Technologist, Product Designer, & Musician in Seattle. Working on Microsoft Office. Opinions my own.

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