Why Super Mario Bros? Read on…

I want to share an article and a thought… Essentially, a different way to look at the work we do as designers (or anyone who touches the user experience or does service design kinds of work!).

Prelude: My Discomfort with Customer Journeys

Context: I’ve always felt weird about using customer journeys for an experience where we have dozens or hundreds of micro-moments whose sequence and/or usage is wildly different for many users. Take Gmail, or Webflow, as examples. These are both pieces of software where there are many possible journeys and paths, into and out of these tools. What features you choose to use and in…


Or, the Value of ‘Underspecifying’ a Product Feature

Photo by Frank Vessia on Unsplash

A potentially contentious point I bring up in my “Paths to Sandboxes” talk is the value of “underspecifying” a feature. Essentially, I suggest we might design, build, and ship a feature with no specified use case. That’s right. No “As a [user]… I want to… so that…” statement. Or, if writing a user story, writing one that intentionally avoids specifying why someone wants to take that action (the “so that” part of that statement).

Huh?

Example, please?

The—now dated—example I bring up is Twitter, waaay back in the days when “starred” tweets were a thing.


Photo of an assortment of MURAL branded swag, including the materials needed to make yerba mate tea.
MURAL new hire welcome kit. Photo by Justin McCullough

I have strong beliefs, you might even say convictions, about how certain ways of working can make the world a better place. Consider this passage, from the final paragraph of the final chapter of my book Figure It Out: Getting From Information to Understanding.

“From confusing parking signs to dynamic, systemic issues, such as our present climate crisis, there is much to be learned, discovered, and understood. And understood not just by individuals or organizations, but by all of us, working together — connecting — in diverse and unpredictable ways. …


Email sent to members of The Mighty Minds Club. Re-posting it here so more people can catch up on what’s been going on and what’s ahead!

Photo by Bonneval Sebastien on Unsplash

Helloooooooo!

In this final installment of the “What Next for the Mighty Minds Club?” series, I want to zoom in on specific idea I have, that has me equal parts excited and anxious…

TO RECAP:

Part 1 was looking back and lessons learned.

Part 2 was looking ahead, with a good catalogue of what it might mean, moving forward, to be a member of this club.

So, here we are. Part 3. What is…


Email sent to members of The Mighty Minds Club. Re-posting it here so more people can catch up on what’s been going on and what’s ahead!

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

Howdy!

Welcome to email #2 (of 3) as we look at ‘What’s Next for the Mighty Minds Club’.

NOTE: If you’ve signed up recently, in the last month or so, this is an atypical email. You may want to check out the backlog of previous email newsletters, to get a better feel for what this has all been about.

Otherwise, read on…

TLDR

  • Mighty Minds is shifting to a paid community, with a bunch…

Email sent to members of The Mighty Minds Club. Re-posting it here so more people can catch up on what’s been going on and what’s ahead!

Photo by Ashley Batz on Unsplash

Welcome, fellow Mighty Minds!

After several weeks away from this newsletter (and Mighty Minds in general), I’m back! And, I’m sending this from a shiny, new, email provider — fingers crossed that this reaches everyone.

If you’ve signed up recently, in the last month or so, this is an atypical email. …


A transcript of my Euro IA 2020 keynote.

I used this image from the game ‘Journey’ as my cover slide. It’s… very fitting!

There’s a quote I’ve been thinking about, a lot:

The greatest mapmakers of old were not the ones who made better maps of places that were known. They gleaned insights about the places yet to be explored and mapped out uncharted territory

In this, I see two roles. One role, iterating and improving upon what it known; the other role, exploring and mapping what is unknown.


Coming up with book titles is hard. What follows is a private letter I wrote in March of 2019 for an audience of exactly three people: My publisher (Lou Rosenfeld), editor (Marta Justak), and co-author (Karl Fast). Other than changing the title of this post, and adding a postscript at the end, these words are unchanged, as written for this private audience. I’m sharing now—publicly—as I believe it’s a fun peek into: (a) a slice of the book writing process, and (b) the thought process that went into coming up with the title of my new book Figure It Out


Originally posted as a twitter thread, here are few things I’ve learned over the past few weeks about remote facilitation. I have NOT rewritten this for Medium (there’s something nice about the punchiness and brevity of tweets!), but I have fixed some typos and added a few additional observations…

I’ve run a couple all-day remote workshops over the past few weeks. I thought I’d share a few of the more specific things I’ve learned… [THREAD 1/?]

PROBLEM: While in presentation mode in Zoom, you can’t see faces (except for a few in a modal that covers parts of your slides)…


What does it mean to be a designer at this time in history? Think about that for a second. Or several days.

At the risk of speaking for all designers, I’ll say we’ve moved beyond just surface and tactical concerns, at least in our discourse. I still see religious debates over design tools, and excitement over the latest visual design trends. But, if five years ago we were debating round corners on buttons, we’re now debating whether these things should even exist, and the effect on our society and the world at large. We’re designing from a more thoughtful perspective.

Stephen P. Anderson

Speaker, educator, and design leader. On a mission to make learning the hard stuff fun, by creating ‘things to think with’ and ‘spaces’ for generative play.

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