Don’t Make Me Think?
Here’s a random thought. An early usability book from a time before “UX” was even a thing is called Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. It’s really good. If you ask me It’s still a must-read if you’re involved in the design of websites and whatnot. It’s helped shape the way many people (myself included) approach work; but after a good few years of seeing people idly prodding away at their phones and not really engaging with anything past hitting next, a like, a heart, share or whatever I can’t help but wonder what the world might have been like if instead he wrote this...
Music as Software
Kanye has just released an update to his latest album, The Life of Pablo. Tidal subscribers will find a new finished version of Wolves and the outro by Frank Ocean is now its own track, called Frank’s Track. This is in fact the second “update” to the album since its launch; and it’s just dawned on me that he’s treating it a bit like software. When your music is stored on a server to be streamed of course you can patch it and update it like a developer would do an app, a plug-in or a blogger might edit a post. You can react to feedback from your audience like a new kind of asynchronous performance. It figures that you could even A/B or multivariate test different versions to hone it.
Break it till you make it
Back when I was making music I’d do everything I could to find the extremes of the kit I was using. The edges of the possible. I’d see what happens if you dial everything up to the maximum or down to the minimum — or do random weird stuff you’re not supposed to do with it, like the time I loaded image files as audio samples (You could do that on an Amiga). Often I’d come up with bullshit as you’d expect, but sometimes the results were shocking and brilliant. Happy accidents I could harness.
“It’s a lot scarier when there’s no motive” — Stu from Scream. I keep thinking about a panel discussion I heard on Know Wave where Virgil Abloh talked about how modern (sub)culture is primarily motivated by fame and commerce and that genuine cultural invention comes when there’s no motive other…