Andrew Travers Andrew Travers is an interaction designer and researcher. He’s the author of Interviewing for research.

Andrew Travers

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Better read

I’m not alone in finding Twitter a harder place to be these days. If nothing else, I’ve become far more aware of when it doesn’t feel right. And at the moment, that’s pretty much all the time. But this isn’t another I’m-quitting-social-media post. It’s about what I’m doing instead.

Over the past few years I’ve constantly told myself, regularly in vain, not to read more but to read better. This current hiatus from Twitter has become an opportunity to make good on that.

Here’s a sample of the stuff I’d otherwise have been tweeting about in January from (i)Books, Pocket, Medium and Reeder.

How I Got My Attention Back
—Craig Mod

“I could live on Twitter all day, everyday, convincing myself I was being productive. Or, at least inducing the chemicals in the mind that make me feel like I’m being productive. Read more news. Send more replies. Start more threads. Each incoming reply activating a corresponding dopamine pop. Largely pushing nothing in the world forward.”

This classic Craig Mod piece isn’t new but one I’ve returned to a lot in recent months as I’ve tried to disentangle myself from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and (most of) Google.

Eliminating the Human
—David Byrne

We were eight years in power
—Ta-Nehisi Coates

“In short, Obama, his family, and his administration were a walking advertisement for the ease with which black people could be fully integrated into the unthreatening mainstream of American culture, politics, and myth.

“And that was always the problem.”

Coates success, built on these essays for The Atlantic have made him, predictably, a target but he’s is pretty clear-eyed in this on Obama’s compromises and his failures as well as his successes. The epilogue felt rushed and full of anger, lacking the lyrical detachment of what came before, but this is beautiful, powerful writing.

All out war
—Tim Shipman

Consider this one homework for the new job.

A Prouvé of plumbing, a Rogers of rewiring
—Dan Hill

The great joy of Dan Hill being quite so prolific is continuing to find pieces you haven’t yet read. Like this one on the service layer underpinning the UK’s Victorian homes, republished on Medium.

Rands in Repose - How to Write a Blog Post
—Michael Lopp

Introducing our secondary colour palette
—Gail Mellows

I’m utterly biased about this piece by one of my favourite designers, but Gail’s played a pivotal role in helping my old team at Co-op experiment and learn what works.

The whole point of our work on the Co-op’s design manual was exactly this: to create something simple and allow it to evolve naturally over time. Gail’s piece captures some of that learning beautifully.

GDPR and Google Analytics
—Jeremy Keith

Data portability
—Jenni Tennison

Latest Firefox Quantum release available with faster, always-on privacy with opt-in Tracking Protection and new features
—Nick Nguyen

I’ve been using Firefox since before it was even called Firefox, but it’s a long time since it has been near good enough to be a default browser. So in recent months, it’s been heart-warming seeing Mozilla once again find its ability to match exemplary values with a really quality product. Firefox Quantum is very, very good. A reminder of the internet we (thought we) lost.

These pieces by Jeremy, Jenni and Nick are tied loosely together by privacy and control, something I’ve been trying, slowly, to act upon this month. Making more deliberate choices about my email service, my browser, my search engine.

Find Work-Life Focus: A Trello Insider’s Guide To Personal Productivity
—Justin Gallagher

So much of my working life these days is spent in Trello, it made sense that maybe my to-do list should be there too. This piece, and in particular the mis-en-place routine has, so far, made a difference. Don’t be put off by the self-help title.

Women, Plandids, Power
—Rachel Coldicutt

“Technology has changed the power dynamics of how women look, how they appear, and made the Woman’s Gaze into a culturally significant force.”

I read every piece Rachel publishes, and learn something every single time.