An Event Apart 2017: Evaluating Technology by Jeremy Keith

Jeremy Keith’s presentation focused on the tools that we use to evaluate the tools that we use – as technology is ultimately just another tool in the millions humans have used. Those tools build on each other just as human knowledge builds on that which came before.

Jeremy’s talk also focused on the resilience of technology – how fragile a particular thing is and what happens when it fails. (Everything fails eventually.) He outlines some new technology that fails particularly well, and ties it back to what we’re willing to do and learn for our users.

An Event Apart 2017 Evaluating Technology by Jeremy Keith (pdf)

Specifically, it was built so scientists could communicate hardware-agnostically, starting at CERN with Tim Berners-Lee and then across the world. Turned out it was a pretty decent idea.

The tweet above (and the side it was mirroring) are meant to be read bottom-to-top, in a sense. We could have no WWW without Internet, no Internet without computers, no computer without electricity and no electricity without industrialization.

Pretty much any time you see this structure in the slides, that was the meaning behind it.

One of my favorite parts of An Event Apart is that the speakers riff off of each other and make each others’ presentations stronger by sharing what they know.

Or at least, fallback to a <nav> element, which is better than no fallback at all.

“Let’s treat websites differently depending on whether they’re Netscape or IE!”

“Let’s treat websites differently depending on whether they’re mobile or desktop!”

“Let’s treat websites differently depending on whether they’re progressive web apps or not!”

We are slow learners, apparently. ????

(This one is just a list, they’re not building on each other. Same with the next one.)

Seriously. Design an application, have it rolled out to your internal users (the ones that never get budget to have problems in their tools fixed) wait six months, then go see how they’re using it. Guaranteed you will learn more workarounds for workflows you either didn’t know about or got wrong than you can possibly imagine. We talk about ourselves in IT as “hackers” but if you really want to see hacking, stick a customer service rep with tight  call volume requirements on a shitty application and watch how they’ll turn your application’s intended use inside out to service their clients.

Well, talked.

Sketchnotes by Krystal Higgins.

Notes by Luke Wroblewski.




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