A love letter to Twitter

Since its inception, our generation has struggled to pin down an answer to the question, “What is Twitter?” I’ve seen attempts at describing Twitter as microblogging, a messaging platform, a broadcasting tool, a social network, an information network, an interest graph, and real-time communication. Twitter, itself, has used phrases such as, “the world in your pocket,” and more recently, “a global town square.”

That it hasn’t (yet) been holistically and easily describable in a single phrase is part of the beauty of Twitter to me. It does so many things for so many people. Whatever adjective or metaphor used, I think of Twitter as a service. Because that’s how I’ve always seen it. It’s a service driven by the people and operated for the people. And it is literally in service to people around the globe.

Twitter is people-powered. It has always been about people. The way people connect to each other, they way they converse and interact, what people share, what they’re doing, what they’re thinking… and what they love. Twitter is unique and wonderful not because of the service itself, but because of the people who use it, and how they use it. continued

Growing Twitter Design

First, the whole point of this post. We’re expanding the Twitter Design Studio. Whether you’ve ever thought about working at Twitter or not, think about it now. We have a few open spots that we’re looking to fill in the next couple months. One of the desks in this photo of our studio could be yours. If we run out of space, we’ll make room for you.

Critiquing by Twitter Design on 500px.com
Critiquing by Twitter Design

What we’ve been up to

We post samples of recent work on our Dribbble account. We’ve started posting photos of the studio and the team on 500px. (Some are embedded here in this post.) And, of course, we tweet too, from our team account, and all our personal accounts. Want to know more? Ask me or anyone on the team anytime. Here’s a tip: the service on which we all work makes us all easily contactable. We’re a pretty open bunch, and we’ll answer any questions as openly and honestly as we can. continued

Wired.com: Ten years later

Ten years ago today, we pulled back the curtains on a redesign of Wired.com. The actual design and the code that rendered it are long gone. But they were significant in their time.

The redesign of Wired News in 2002 marked the first time a large, well-known, daily-content publisher had dropped tables for layout, and embraced the separation of markup and style in a rather new (at the time) approach to web design. Several prominent blogs, and niche content sites (zeldman.com, meyerweb.com, alistapart.com) had broken ground, and were already using and evangelizing a greater adoption of Web Standards.

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Taking flight: a new Twitter logo

I wrote a post for the Twitter blog today on our new bird:

Starting today you’ll begin to notice a simplified Twitter bird. From now on, this bird will be the universally recognizable symbol of Twitter.

Whether soaring high above the earth to take in a broad view, or flocking with other birds to achieve a common purpose, a bird in flight is the ultimate representation of freedom, hope and limitless possibility.

Cranking (by Merlin Mann)

Merlin writes so beautifully.

“And, although I’m confident that I will always think my daughter is The Greatest Thing in the Universe, I’m also all too aware that this feeling will not always be reciprocated in quite that same way or with quite that same enthusiasm that we both enjoy right now.

She won’t always run to my bed in footie jammies.

I’ll only get that particularly noisy and personalized wake-up call for a little while. And, I only get a shot at it once a day. At almost exactly 6:00 AM Pacific Time.

Then one day? I won’t get it any more. It will be gone.”

30-Second Rule for App Success

Those of you who saw my talks at either Future of Web Design in NYC, or at Webstock in Wellington may remember a segment where I urged delivering value as quickly as possible. In that segment, I compared the act of taking and sharing a photo with Hipstamatic, and the same in Instagram. I posited that one of the biggest reasons for Instagram’s runaway success is how quickly you can snap a photo, apply a filter, and share it with the world. It delivers value in three short steps, and it’s fun.

Here is Instagram’s founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom, validating this deliver-value-quickly notion as a key to Instagram’s success:

“Products can introduce more complexity over time, but as far as launching and introducing a new product in to the market, it’s a marketing problem,” Systrom tells Fast Company. “You have to explain everything you do, and people have to understand it, within seconds.”

“In the mobile context, you need to explain what you do in 30 seconds or less because people move on to the next shiny object. There are so many apps and people are vying for your attention on the go. It’s the one context in which you’ve got lots and lots of other stuff going on. You’re not sitting in front of a computer; you’re at a bus stop or in a meeting.”

First Autistic Presidential Appointee Speaks Out

Go, Ari.

In December, he [Ari Ne'eman] was nominated by President Obama to the National Council on Disability (NCD), a panel that advises the President and Congress on ways of reforming health care, schools, support services and employment policy to make society more equitable for people with all forms of disability.

And Ari’s open call to those of us who work in technology:

If we put one-tenth of the money currently spent on looking for causes and cures into developing technologies that enable autistic people with speech challenges to communicate more easily — so-called augmentative and alternative communication [AAC] — we’d have a vast improvement in the quality of life for autistic people and their family members.

Avoiding the Uncanny Valley of Interface Design

From Francisco Inchauste, on the topic of UI that imitates realism:

It is so easy to love a certain effect and want to use that everywhere. Not all projects need to have the selections sitting on a perfectly lit wooden bookshelf. On one hand we want to be creative and make something that is appealing and can sell the product. On the other side we have to question the cost of that approach on the experience itself and balance style and function with purpose.

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