14. Vantage point
Firstly: there’s one vantage point I can’t ignore. Here’s a list of organisations for donating to help Ukraine.
When I think about the difference between what we experience in-the-moment versus what we remember, I think about the film ‘Tiny Furniture’. The film was the breakthrough moment for Lena Dunham (who wrote, directed, and starred in it), and includes her real life family as fictionalised version of themselves. (Dunham’s mother is excellent). In the film, Dunham’s Aurelia starts reading the diaries of her mother from when she was the same age, and in it, her mother obsesses over a boy. When Aurelia asks her mother about the man, her mother says he didn’t mean anything. I often think about what seems vivid or confusing at the time but collapses into nothing in the rear view mirror of life. The challenge is that at the time it’s hard to tell what will happen.
I was reminded of this as I read Emma John’s Self Contained. It’s the memoir from the vantage point of a 40-something woman who has no partner or children, and no obvious plan to. I enjoyed the unashamed ambivalence of the book—John never planned to be near-eternally single, it just happened—but others have found this ambivalence uninspiring. But how can she be entirely optimistic when she’s still in the midst of a continuing experience? It’s entirely different from memoirs written decades after the primary events—such as the Pacific Crest Trail of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and the early adventures of Rita Golden Gelman’s Tales of a Female Nomad—where the author knows and has probably made peace with their past.
This month in digital government and design
- NOBL is sharing an interesting article series about effective teams
- why the Biden covid test website actually worked: spoiler, the people building the site had 'a seat at the table' to manage expectations
- I went semi-viral thanks to noticing a good twitter thread about UX
- seanna davidson is making a list of systems thinking of first nations
- What's better than the Liberating Structures handbook? Liberating structures for virtual sessions
- An agile coach at Spotify points out that 'the Spotify model' is not about structure, but actually about aligned autonomy; trust-at-scale; and decoupling
- Speaking of alignment, one of the reasons why Estonia's digital transformation is said to have gone so well is because of an emphasis on co-ordination rather than control
- Tyler Gindraux has written about Doing user research with deaf people or people with hearing loss. (For a companion piece, back in 2019 I wrote about Learning about designing services for deaf / Deaf people)
- The playbook playbook
- Six lessons from participatory approaches in a pandemic. Including go to where people are and do the legwork
- Using scenarios to test assumptions. Includes a link to the excellent UX comics pattern library (which I wish I'd known about back in 2019 when I did my own UX storyboards )
- Martin Underhill has translated WCAG 2.2 into language he (and us) can understand
- I've been revisiting Jason Mesut's 2018 shaping design leaders model. (His feedback on builds he’d now make: add what you enjoy, and talk about the map with others.)
- We often imagine philosophers as being in armchairs and cafes, but for at least one philosopher, manual work is philosophy too
- New Zealand politicians continue to have a sense of humour
- On the power of having a good cry at the movies.
- Joel Coen's "The Tragedy of Macbeth", reviewed by Ethan Coen. Yes, that is his usual co-director… and brother.
- "…notes so Nabokovian, so joyful, intricate, and erudite" - words I've love to write by. This is just one of the beautiful flourishes in David Remnick's superb 2005 New Yorker article on literary translators
- An Autistic Social Butterfly’s Guide to Making Friends, which I think also works for anyone who's not naturally gregarious
- I've referenced the 'somber vs solemn' model of thinking from Paula Scher's TED talk, but didn't realise it was popularised by John Cleese back in the early 1990s
- A charming story of a 'common as muck' reporter going to a Michelin starred restaurant… and loving it
- and finally, tiktok of the month (or at least the pandemic)
Until next time,