I am now working on another business and I will never call it a startup. Calling it a startup adds a layer of abstraction that I don’t want. Calling it a business forces me to think about all the factors that require a business to function from the start.
Coop passed along this video today for an iPad app called Paper (on iTunes). While I haven’t tried the app yet (don’t have my iPad with me today), I can tell you that I’ve already downloaded the app based on the strength of the video, as well as the informational website. They do a very good job of capturing some of the experience around writing. I’ll be looking to this app’s marketing materials for reference as I start making my experience videos. Also, it has a really gorgeous icon:
“People think that design is styling. Design is not style. It’s not about giving shape to the shell and not giving a damn about the guts. Good design is a renaissance attitude that combines technology, cognitive science, human need, and beauty to produce something that the world didn’t know it was missing.”—Paola Antonelli, via Jonathan Moore.
As a designer, I also fall under the umbrella of Optimizer. I’m best at working inside pre-established patterns, making them better, removing cruft and noise, and injecting them with new life while still utilizing the same elements that have always been there.
I’m best at remixing.
In designing Scrit Scrit, I’m pushing outside of this comfort zone, and as you might expect when you leave a comfort zone, it’s quite uncomfortable. This is also a solo project, and I haven’t worked truly solo in a very long time. Although I used to enjoy working alone, I’ve come to find that I work best in groups where I can gain motivation and riffing material.
And so with Scrit Scrit, I’m doing two very uncomfortable things: designing from the ground up, and doing it (mostly) alone. The amount of self-doubt is sometimes staggering, and the anxiety is overwhelming, to the point where I can sit and stare for hours at a blank canvas and say, “I can’t. I’m going to fail at this.”
And that’s when I find myself back on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or Tumblr (anything with a feed!), going climbing, or watching TV. Or procrasti-writing thesis blog posts instead of doing thesis: when I know I have to do work and also know—know—I will fail—so why bother getting started?
AnthroPunk - how people promote, manage, resist and endure change; how people hack their lives (and those of others) - living the world not just in it. AnthroPunk is a new label for a number of older ways of conceptualising people and their constructions. Foremost, the individuation of people and their experiences and an explicit recognition that their lives are interactive, not driven by rules, scripts, schemata or frames, but by the creation of these. Context, like culture, is an outcome of human life, not the cause of it. Individual people collectively make the world around them, not only from the materials and ideas available to them but from new materials and ideas they construct. There are limits imposed by materials, but the application of ideas constantly transforms these into new possibilities, and new limits.
Came to this page via Anne Galloway’s discussion about writing as making. I love this. As a teenager, I found my way into the small and admittedly watered-down punk rock scene of suburban New Jersey. What attracted me then, and what attracts me now (and, I hope, always), is that punk is concerned with making, not consuming.
That’s one of the reasons why, for thesis, I gravitated always towards ideas that would enable people to make. There is something about making something yourself—however you can do it—that can’t be accomplished via Twitter or applying filters to snapshots.
A new, interesting, UX-y, designer-y take on a content management system from Dustin Curtis. It looks pretty good, and I love the idea of having a place for my ideas and my posts in the same place (currently, I jot down notes in my Field Notes sized notebook, handwrite an initial or short draft (or even just a few sentences) in my 9x9” gridded notebook, and then rewrite it in iA Writer. I might revise it several times, I might not, but when it’s time to publish, the only thing I can do is copy and paste. While the handwriting portion of workflow will never go away, I could see combining the computerized portions in this way, since the distinction isn’t as “drafts” vs. “publishing,” it’s “ideas” vs. “publishing.” And I like that.
“Most people by now carry versatile smartphones in their pockets that not only allow directly working with and analyzing one’s data but also collecting it through a multitude of sensors. But more critical than the actual data collection is the way this information is presented. For lowering your carbon footprint, the hard thing to do is usually also the right thing to do. Therefore, an application developer’s main goal has to be to motivate without scolding, frustrating or even angering. I think a good benchmark for a personal informatics interface is imagining how it would fare in the worst scenarios imaginable: for example, when trying to encourage its owner to wait for half an hour for the train after a long and exhausting day at work. In such a context, annoying sound effects, patronizing on-screen text or childish graphical representations can easily lead to the opposite of the developers’ intentions: a frustrated owner deleting the app from their phone.”—Dominikus Baur (emphasis mine). As in all things, less is more. Via Benjamin.
Liz passed me this link, as well as this series of thoughts from Anne Galloway. Both have opened my mind up in the last 12 hours, and I’m suddenly considering new ideas and possible interactions. These were the kicks I needed to get myself out of the visual paradigms of Dribbble and Instagram, and into something, well, different.
Week Notes #7, Bi-Weekly/Bi-Coastal Edition: Mar 9-22, 2012
It’s been a busy two weeks. Here we go:
Scrit Scrit Is Official As though there were any doubt, Scrit Scrit is officially the name (and spelling!) of my project. Yay. The spacing is still up in the air, so if you’ve got a preference, let me know in the comments. I’ve been mulling and writing and typing different variations all week, and I still haven’t decided. Scrit scrit. Scrit Scrit. Scritscrit. Scrit-scrit. SCRITscrit. ScritScrit. scritscrit. scrit-scrit. Scritscrit. Scritscrit. Oh, whatever.
Personality Design Scrit Scrit got defined and boxed in over the last two weeks. For me, this is probably one of the most important work I’ll do on Scrit Scrit, because her personality (yup, it’s a her) is the at the very core of what she’s about. Read more.
Yelp Hackathon Last Wednesday, I headed out to San Francisco to go play with my friends at Yelp and some hacking on the site. Naturally, I can’t show any of the work that we did, but I had a lot of fun with JR and got some feedback on Scrit Scrit. Other than getting the feedback though, Thursday–Saturday was a wash as far as getting work on thesis done.
Third Prototype I wrapped up and analysed the third (and final) prototype this week. A fun thing happened though: after I did the final documentation on it, two people uploaded a bunch of new scrits. Yay! Read more and check out the prototype.
Visual Identity After doing a bunch of sketching and playing around in Photoshop, Illustrator, etc., I’ve come up with nothing too inspiring for the logo. After chatting with Liz about it, we agreed that since I’m not going to be an identity designer, it would be fine for me to coordinate with someone external to design the logo for me. If it doesn’t pan out, I’ll suck and it up and design on my own, but if I can take that off my plate, it would be great. I did decide on Populaire and Andes as my display faces, and Helvetica Neue for body; I’m still undecided about color.
For next week:
- Design one screen a day (that’s seven screens total)
- Comp the homepage for scritscrit.com
Steven Johnson, the author of Where Good Ideas Come From, writes about why the Bay Area needs to help finance the Bay Lights project.
Here’s the Bay Lights:
The Bay Lights is very similar to a project that Michael Yap and I did last semester for our Public Interfaces class with Jake Barton and Ian Curry of Local Projects. You can see our project here:
Our project is less of an art project and more of a public works project, one that aims to transform the experience of riding a bike over the Williamsburg Bridge as well as create increased bicycle awareness. Experienced as a biker on the bridge, our project would feel like a companion on your trip, perhaps playing with you, or encouraging to keep up your pace. From afar, the installation would mirror the movements of cyclists, creating not only a visual spectacle, but also public awareness about the number of riders traversing the East River on a regular basis.
One of the things I recognized early on in my design process is that the success of my project was going to dependent heavily on its emotional design. Handwriting, as public as it sometimes is, is an intensely personal thing. In our society, our handwritten signatures stand for who we are and what we believe. Bad handwriting is a source of shame for some; beautifully lettered documents are lusted after.
Asking people to open up and share handwriting, drawings, sketches, doodles, etc. is an interesting request, because some people will simply be too embarrassed or scared to share their work. Some people will be really excited to have a platform that caters to their preferred method of expression. But the majority of people are going to fall in between those two extremes, and it’s going to be up to Scritscrit’s personality to assure them that the experience will be positive, fun, and rewarding.
I’m not a particularly good storyteller (ask my long-suffering friends), but I know that as a designer who works with people as my primary medium, experiences are really what I’m designing; this means that I need to know how to craft stories that people want to tell others.
Perhaps the most important hook of a good story is a character that you identify and empathize with. Using Aarron Walter’s Design Persona template, I’ve developed Scritscrit’s personality. It’s a work in progress, but I feel good about the direction she’s headed in.
Let me know what you think.
Scrit Scrit is the doodle you left in your notebook that came to life. She takes various forms, from the spirals, stars, and cross hatched lines you drew during class, to the funny little face of Jesus you pen over and over when you’re on the phone. She’s Napolean Dynomite’s Liger, and the lead singer from that A-Ha Take On Me video.
Scritscrit is perfectly imperfect. She’s got scribbles, scratches, and eraser marks on her. She celebrates creativity in all its forms, even (especially?) the forms you might not think are creative. She’s an original.
Since she was born in your notebook, Scritscrit knows you very well. She’s always casual, fun, and honest. Sometimes, she’s little mischievious. She likes sharing links to cool, artsy stuff online —- videos, images, articles —- but it’s never over the top, and it’s never very frequent. She wants to encourage your creativity and sharing, not drown it out with her own.
Nice, but not saccharine.
Honest, but not rude.
Artistic, but not on a high horse.
Approachable, but not a push over.
Hip, but not alienating.
Informal, but not sloppy.
On the scale from Unfriendly to Friendly, Scrit Scrit is almost entirely friendly.
On the scale from Dominant to Submissive, Scrit Scrit falls between neutral and submissive.
The voice of Scrit Scrit is original, kind, and straight forward, and more than anything else, human. She’s honest and witty, just like you. She’s curious and interested, and wants to learn more. Scrit Scrit is genuinely excited about life, and she’s always observant. She’s got a running inner-monologue that comments of the hilarity of modern life. She’s a big fan of non-sequiters and dry observations.
Scritscrit uses contractions and localizations like y’all. Sometimes she says “Mornin’” instead of “Good Morning,” because even though she hasn’t had her coffee yet, she still wants you to start the day off happy. Scritscrit’s a writer, so she likes to use words that play nice with other. She’s not afraid of a funny rhyme here or there, onamonapia from time to time, or even a pun. She’s maybe a little sly, and she likes to verbally wink at you.
Scritscrit is just like you and me. She just wants to tell a good story. She wants to make people chuckle or say, Ahh! in awe. If someone makes a mistake, she wants to help them out and quickly move on without making them feel bad about themselves. She’s cool, but never too cool to stop and help.
If something really goes wrong, like her server goes down, or a password is declined, she’s straight forward, serious, drops the humor, and just tries to get people out of trouble.
She is always forthcoming and honest. If something is wrong for a period longer than a few minutes, she tweets about it, to make sure people know what’s up.
In App Greeting
Helloooooo Anna. Good to see you again.
Mornin’. Hope you’re having a good one so far.
Hi, John. Looking mighty fine today.
Days like this make me want to curl up with a good book and a warm blanket. How about you, Nathan?
Dog days of summer, huh, Sarah? Wish I was on the boardwalk, listening to some Bruce.
Tada! Your Scrit was successfully uploaded.
Thanks for joining us on Scritscrit, Allison. We’re happy to have you here, and we know your friends will be, too.
Grrr. Looks like your scrit didn’t finish uploading. Sorry about that. Try again?
Bummer, we haven’t found any of your friends on Scritscrit yet. Want to invite them?
Hmmm. Your feed’s a little empty. You could follow some popular Scritsters, or invite your friends.
Ugh, our bad. One of our servers is temporarily down. We know about it, and we’re already working to resolve the issue. We’ll be back up shortly.
We’ve got all kinds of social features that help you share your scrit with the awesome people in your life. Link to them from Twitter and Facebook, embed them on your Tumblr —- or use ifttt.com to do all kinds of crazy stuff.
Scritscrit is a place to share your handwritten work —- just the parts you want people to see. Doodles and lyrics, poetry and prose, line drawings and lists and notes to yourself. Express yourself in the most personal way possible: your handwriting. Own it.
Scritscrit is a fun and respectful community of people just like you. The everyday creatives: writers, listmakers, doodlers, note takers, note makers, coffee drinkers, tea drinkers, insomniacs, lyricists, journalers, designers, illustrators, and artists. People who make, people who do. People who use handwriting to get to where they’re going, and people who want to share it.
Color inside Scritscrit should always look like its been applied to a slightly off-white piece of paper, or even a kraft paper brown, depending on where in the app it’s located. Scritscrit should feel like a Moleskine or regular Field Notes. Ideally, Scritscrit will develop its own line of high-quality note– and sketchbooks; the identity should match those.
Color imprinting and registering don’t need to be perfect; therefore, color splotches and misregistration are totally permitted within reason.
Line drawings are a large part of the identity. These are never very complicated, but they do make use of varying weight lines and some color, as applied by markers. The color palette is basic, as in a standard pack of markers.
Scritscrit is how you take notes. Therefore, your headers are very obvious, and your body copy is uniform. But, because we’re being honest with ourselves about how this is a mix between computer and handwriting, Scritscrit finds a balance between sketchbook, illustration, and font.
General Style Notes
Scritscrit seeks a balance between sketchbook and illustration. Doodles will occassionally appear, especially as bullets, and Scritscrit does not shy away from handdrawn elements like hatches, lines, bubbles, maps, arrows, etc. These should appear to be random, and should never get in the way of the content or the calls to action. The drawings shown in the interface should never be too intricate, or make someone feel like they couldn’t have drawn that themselves. This is not a sad hipster notebook.
Ex: Surprise & Delight
Special doodles appear on holidays, fun cultural events, and for beloved individuals. For example, March 20th is Macaron Day in NYC. This is the sort of thing that Scritscrit loves and would call out. In other words, very similar to Google Doodles, but … better.
Easter eggs: Unexpected moments of humor that may have an overtone of nostalgia referencing kitschy pop culture of the past
Random funny greetings and doodles in the headers of the app. These don’t appear directly in the workflow, since Scritscrit wants you to be able to concentrate on what your friends are doing.
Anticipation is also built into Scritscrit, since you want to know what your friends are drawing —- you want to see what they’ll come up with next. Scritscrit definitely doesn’t want to get in the way of that.
It’s also possible that Scritscrit will develop into a method for other people to create anticipation for their own projects, similar to how Dribbble works.
Scritscrit loves her participants, and she wants them to love each other too. She handwrites a welcome note to each new member, and she encourages her participants to do the same for their friends (similar to how members of Dribbble use their first shots to thank the person that invited them).