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I write about design, technology, and people. Sometimes I photograph places I visit.

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What designers do

Good designers create beautiful mockups and care about typography. Excellent ones foster teams and environments that produce outstanding solutions. Designers accomplish that through three activities. Read more

Always guess

From a recent Numberphile video:

By the way, it’s always important to guess. Guessing is the way to learn and advance in science, both for students and researchers alike. If you guess right, you are very, very proud you got it right. If you guess wrong, you are really shocked; maybe not really, but slightly shocked, and that engages your thinking. You can learn what happened and then it makes you a little smarter next time. So always guess before solving any problem.

Source (6:05), edited for clarity

Setting hypotheses and testing them is one of the cornerstones of science and critical thinking. People practice it outside strict scientific fields too, but probably not as deliberately (the always part). After thinking about this for a couple of days, this struck me as odd because, as Professor Tadashi Tokieda had mentioned, it is an excellent learning method.

Guessing tests assumptions, reasoning, and knowing fundamentals. It can be used for more exact areas like programming and engineering, but also for messier situations like usability testing or sales meetings. The tricky part is remembering to stop for a few seconds, step back, and ask: “What do I expect to happen, and why?”

The telegraph at Montmartre

An old telegraph in France used a mechanical semaphore on top of the tower to signal letters according to the Chappe system. Nearby stations would observe it and relay it further.

People, companies, and governments downplaying new technology and being left behind is nothing new. Here is an example on early mechanical telegraphy and semaphores from the first half of the nineteenth century, as described by James Gleick in his excellent book The Information: Read more

A phone is not important

My attitude towards technology shifted over time. I notice I put less emphasis on a specific brand, an operating system maker, or a hardware manufacturer, and more on what I can accomplish with it. It’s probably a side-effect of seeing products and services come and go over the years.

Technology is just a tool and, yes, certain tools are better for certain jobs. But worshiping it doesn’t seem right. A tool is not the end goal; it’s what I can accomplish with it.

A text editor is not important; writing a poem is.
A camera is not important; capturing a precious moment is.
A phone is not important; calling a friend is.

LEGO storyboarding

I’ve recently ran a design sprint and I had this “great” idea of writing and publishing a short post after each day to summarize tips and tricks, but logistics and facilitation took all my time away. Nevertheless, I found one interesting storyboarding technique that I’d like to share.

Storyboards are visual narratives and I’ve seen many approaches to creating one: whiteboard or paper sketches, digital comic builders, or photos of people in a slideshow. The new approach that really delighted me was building one with LEGO. It requires more upfront work than sketching, but the result is clean and feels more real, so it looks like a good choice for a storyboard that needs to live for a longer period of time.

Create your scene with LEGO (credits)

LEGO even provides an app for recording and editing movies if you want to go beyond photos. Note: the app is only available for iOS at the time of writing.

These were the latest posts. If you want to read more, please explore the archive.

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