Weeknotes 314

Photo of the week:

Setting sun shining through the trees

This week I did:

Connecting things

Did some strategy definition work trying to uncover some assumptions about problems and solutions for user-facing products, services, technologies and data. It’s a big complicated thing, and although it’s becoming clearer in my head I still haven’t figured how to talk about it in ways that make it real for people. Lots more to think, write and draw about.

Don’t influence me

This week’s Irregular Ideas newsletter was about how we aren’t as influenced on websites and social media platforms as we might think. When modern digital media started personalising content for each of us it broke the power of mass communication and propaganda because now none of us gets the same message at the same time, there is no group experience.

The future of online charity donations

As part of my new focused timeboxing for projects I spent a couple of evenings this week working on a blog post about a future direction of charity donations on digital platforms. The premise of the post is that if you apply the internet-era idea of the long tail to online donations then the strategy for charities should be about accepting donations across lots and lots of platforms rather than looking to the fat head of one or two platforms. This will mean a digital giving ecosystem that includes wearables, gaming platforms, messaging, rounding-up apps, large online retailers, even crypto. In this landscape, charities win by being everywhere and getting donations from lots of places, and companies will emerge to manage that presence. Hopefully I’ll finish the post next week.

I read:

Design system metrics

I looked through some of these design systems but none of them had what I want from a design system. I don’t just want to know how to use different components, I want to know what happens they are used in certain ways. I want the analytics results as part of the design system that says when an accordion is used three quarters of the way down the page x% of visitors will interact with it, that an email sign-up box at the bottom of a page gets x email addresses but half way up the page it gets y. Why don’t design systems include these kinds of performance metrics to help with laying-out pages to achieve a goal?

The Feminist Tech Principles

“The Feminist Tech principles are a set of guidelines for tech policy-making and technology creation.”, or, you know, just the right way to do things.

And thought about:

Voluntary reporting on disability, mental health and wellbeing

“The framework has been developed by the government in partnership with large employers and expert partners (including leading charities) to support organisations to record and voluntarily report information on disability, mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.” Looks like a great opportunity for a few charities to get to together and build a product that makes it easy for employers to complete their reporting and sell it to companies that are serious about accessible workplaces.

Collision course

I had an idea for a product a while ago that would allow people to record their progress on online courses, but as with many of my ideas it went no where. And I have an even older idea called Adjacencies where people in cross-functional teams would learn the basics and language of the other disciplines in their team to facilitate better communication and collaboration. This week I’ve been thinking about another idea in the online learning space that involves curating collections of other people’s courses and resources and creates a structured curriculum with learning outcomes, self-assessment, etc., to help people get more value than they might from just watching YouTube videos. Then, rather than a course in SEO, you’d get a course in promoting your website that would be made up of a YouTube video on SEO, a SkillShare course on influencer marketing, and a Google Digital Garage course advertising.

Always triangulate

I learned about triangulation when studying for my masters. And then I forgot about it. Well, this week it came back to bite me with a few situations where I took one person’s understanding of a situation as correct without checking it. Triangulation means using multiple sources to confirm something. I shall try to apply the concept more often.