On the Primacy of Interactions

Where I preach for a minute:

The stuff of work for a knowledge worker is not information, it is interaction.

This is because information is the result of interaction – interaction is more fundamental than information and I think this is crucial to consider.

Information has its name because in order for something to be information it has to be (to play with words); in-formation, it needs to have some relation to other information and this is where the power of information comes from, as well as its complexity and, let’s be honest, the messiness.

The energy needed to organise information, to put it in-formation is greater than the energy needed to produce the information to begin with and when organised it is only organised based on finite criteria so to focus on the organisation of information should be thought of as a dynamic process where we think of the desired interactions we need to make possible.

This then has knock-on effects for how we design the user experience and how we store and share our knowledge – do we share our knowledge in frozen form or in richly interactive ways which allows for limitless connections, associations and links to be seen and re-drawn?

That is not a rhetorical question, I would greatly like to know what you think.

blog update 17 Sept 2017

 

Author & Liquid

I launched Liquid | Author to the App Store the Friday before The Future of Text and we have had some time to test it and Jacob has worked on improvements but today is the Sunday after and I’ve had to withdraw it from sale since there are still some issues.

What remains to be done are a number of smaller issues, which I’m sure he can complete on Monday, but there is also the issue with the pinch to collapse into Outline which is concerning me since this is something he has worked on even with a special build. Maybe it’s really simply to fix, maybe it’s more fundamental.

I have also introduced a change which I hope will be quite a big boost for the project, removing Liquid | Flow as a separate product and integrating it into Liquid | Author so that I only have one macOS product and yes, Flow will still be useable from all applications but will now be called just Liquid again :-)

I have therefore re-written the User Guide: http://wordpress.liquid.info/liquid-author-user-guide/

This causes more work and time and stress. Will it ever be releasable? It is simply not easy to develop with a small budget. I hope Author will be solid enough so that the stress on my chest will lessen (I feel like I’m about to star in the original Aliens movie) and I can think more about development and so on…

 

Future of Text

The feedback has been very good and it really is great to have quite a few people from Southampton involved. Second day feedback not as excellent and maybe in the future we simply make it a networking/discussion day? Archived: http://thefutureoftext.org/2017.html

 

PhD

I feel utterly at the mercy of development for Author as to how I can do with my PhD. I am not a literature review or review person nor am I am philosopher, I am an inventor/developer who needs to live in the environment I am trying to invent for. If I don’t have Author to build Liquid Views into, I simply can’t see what I can do.

I mapped out some interactions for mac vs iPad which was useful. What became clear from this is that interactions for executing commands immediately and an equivalent for mouse over to show further information needs to be developed for iOS for Liquid Views:

This is related to mapping functions to interactions for Liquid View in general:

Which situated within the space of textual elements, as shown in a  small view:

And a massive view:

All of which is designed to augment the document’s knowledge lifecycle, in a very wide map, which is best viewed in the Scapple authoring app where you can zoom and pan and which presents design issues for Liquid Views because of its size and interaction complications:

Anyway, tomorrow we go to Oxford and I’ll get to spend some time with Wendy and Edgar will hopefully get to meet Tim.

 

Note: I was planning to design a freeform thinking tool for iOS but it becomes clear again and again that any tool must be part of a real workflow, which is why Liquid Views are a view of normal Author documents.

The Future of Text, Tuesday the 12th

On the second day of the 2017 Future of Text symposium we had a good group where we worked to listing what we feel the important and interesting issues are for the future of text.

This was first summarised in a collaborative Google Sheet like this:

Which I then summarised into this:

This was still quite unwieldy so I put this into Scapple (with errors, there was just a short break). What I did here was to put the names on the left and their paragraphs in the centre, with categories listed on the left as they emerged:

The small text was hard to read and the lines not too informative so I changed the layout. Here The categories are spread (manually) around the screen in chunks based on ‘votes’ (I asked everyone to drag a line from their name to the categories during lunch, to indicate what they thought was important and interesting):

This was slightly useful but it did really highlight the issues with many lines and not having auto layouts based on criteria, such as ‘List By Most Connections, vertically’ but it did help us arrive at the end of the day quote:

The is to work to build tools to augment academic improvement which will be impactful