1. Thanks participants, sponsors, and co-organizers @aaronpk @caseorganic @jasongrlicky for an awesome IndieWebCamp 2012!

  2. #RelMeAuth victory: @rabble logged into #IndieWebCamp.com using his URL, 1st try, zero config. beats OpenID usability

  3. #indieweb folks: use non-AWS hosting, uninstall Java on server, DO NOT sync Facebook and device contacts. (ht @erinjo)

  4. PSA: LAST DAY to download MobileMe Gallery iDisk iWeb data (especially private!) and Plazes•com #indieweb #ownyourdata

  5. this morning: dedicated @IndieWebCamp 2012 to #ilyaz and his ideals: freedom, privacy, and openness on the Internet.

  6. .@indiewebcamp 2012 starts tomorrow! We had nothing to do with Instagram•com and MyOpenID•com being down. Coincidence.

  7. proposed #IndieWeb Checkins session 11:15 B202/03 @osbridge #barcamp per @Foursquare outage today instagram.com/p/MdsXq4A9Zf

  8. my #osb12 #WebActions slides tantek.com/presentations/2012/06/osb12-web-actions in which I propose <action do="verb" with="direct-object-URL">

  9. nice 20 Principles of #UI Design by @bokardo bokardo.com/principles-of-user-interface-design #3 attention resembles focus enabling design: tantek.com/2012/156/b1/focus-enabling-design-distilled

  10. great #OSB12 #IndieAuth talk by @aaronpk! Try IndieAuth sign-in: indiewebcamp.com view source github.com/aaronpk/IndieAuth

  11. speaking today: "Rise of the #IndieWeb" @OSBridge 15:45 room B202/203 opensourcebridge.org/sessions/916 plancast.com/p/bu98 #osb12

  12. #microformats.org at 7: blog post summary of talks given at microformats 7th anniversary party: microformats.org/2012/06/25/microformats-org-at-7

  13. nice co-working with Mozilla Portland #MozPDX today. excited for @OSBridge tomorrow thru Friday: plancast.com/t

  14. "states ... on the dole tend to vote Republican and imagine themselves deeply self-reliant": krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/the-euro-is-flat #GOP

  15. @cackhanded asks "What’s the opposite [to POSSE]?" How about PESOS: Publish Elsewhere, Syndicate into Own Site? re: tantek.com/2012/173/t1/posse-core-indieweb-approach in-reply-to: twitter.com/cackhanded/status/215885630784274432

  16. Great @radar @haxor interview on PubSubHubbub, federation vs engagement, #indieweb @indiewebcamp: youtu.be/1f5RJ8daolg

  17. at last night's #microformats 7th celebration, @willnorris and I came up with "POSSE" as an #indieweb approach: Publish Own Site, Syndicate Everywhere (or Elsewhere). It's a bit awkward, but we think it improves on "POSE" - Publish Once Syndicate Everywhere. In particular, POSSE's use of "own site" while connecting with your "posse" as it were, is really what the #indieweb is about.

  18. Thanks everyone for the well wishes! Celebrating 7 years of #microformats.org: tantek.com/presentations/2012/06/microformats

  19. eyewear amplifies blood oxygenation wavelengths changizi.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/o2amps-by-2ai via @arielwaldman. next: make-up countermeasures.

  20. thanks @erinjo @willnorris especially moderator @nancyscola for a great #PDF12 #indieweb panel. add our hCards: tantek.com/presentations/2012/06/pdf2012-indieweb.html

  21. taught yesterday: nephew2(4) can say ISO8601 date, nephew1(8) the *ordinal* ISO date. previously: tantek.com/2011/224/t1/taught-nephew-ISO8601-dates

  22. "You be you, and I'll be me. ... The world is a rainbow, with different kinds of people." (same event) #individualism

  23. "Do what you're told, right away, don't talk back, just obey!" (sung by nephew#2's graduating preschool class). #obey

  24. drunk guy sits across from me, repeatedly mumbles "computers are the devil's work", goes to the bathroom, screams. #caltrain

  25. Have you lost content/profiles due to 3rd party site shutdowns? Add here: indiewebcamp.com/site-deaths #indieweb #ownyourdata

  26. #iCloud is more iHosting than "cloud". fixed pricing (GB:$/yr; 5:0; 15:20; 25:40; 55:100) is not dynamic, nor elastic.

  27. On 2012-06-30 all your content+permalinks on #Apple MobileMe Gallery, iDisk, iWeb dies. #iCloud #ownyourdata #indieweb

  28. Old @Foursquare nearby checkins was nice clean focused quick glance #mobile #UX. Why be yet-another noisy FB G+ Path?

  29. DO NOT UPGRADE iOS @Foursquare. *nearby checkins-only* view GONE, replaced by global shit-stream ala FB, G+, Path etc.

  30. Simply brilliant. "Why I wear the same thing every day, and what I wear." by @Timoni: blog.timoni.org/post/24619757935/why-i-wear-the-same-thing-every-day-and-what-i-wear #ux #design

  31. going to @UXHappyHour (uxhappyhour.com/sf); looking for IRL feedback on Focus Enabling Design: tantek.com/2012/156/b1/focus-enabling-design-distilled

  32. Focus Enabling Design Distilled

    Interface elements either help the user experience, or hurt it. A redesign should consider possible features and choose a minimal set justified by essential use-cases. — Focus Enabling Design[1]

    Where the previous post was a narrative, this is a minimal summary and step-by-step.


    Every interface element of a focus enabling design helps the user do one of these:

    • stay focused:
      • do a quick action
      • add to current activity
    • refocus on an
      • emergency
      • a higher priority activity

    and must avoid both of these:

    • switching among similar priority activities
    • refocusing on a lower priority activity

    Question Every Interface Element

    When (re)designing for focus, start with questioning every interface element.

    Does this interface element encourage focus?

    There are two important aspects of focus:

    • staying focused on an activity in a productive state of flow - focusing on one cognitive task at a time until completed is more productive than switching back and forth
    • having the right focus - if there's an emergency or a higher priority activity, it's more important to switch to it

    There are two ways an interface element can help a user stay focused:

    1. do a quick action - does the element allow the user to quickly collect or handle something and return to the current activity without breaking flow?
    2. add to current activity - does the element help the user with their current activity?

    There are also two exceptions where encouraging the user to change focus is worth the cost of context switching:

    1. emergency - does the element notify/alert the user of an emergency and/or allow them to take action on it?
    2. a higher priority activity - does the element remind the user of another existing higher priority activity, or encourage starting a new higher priority activity?

    If an interface element does one of those above four, keep it.

    Or does this interface element distract the user?

    There are also two ways that interface elements typically distract users, specifically by encouraging them to:

    • switch among similar or lower priority activities - thereby suffering from context switching time and mental fatigue costs, hurting overall productivity
    • refocus on a lower priority activity - anything that encourages you to switch your attention to a lower priority activity (whether existing or new) is hurting your sense of will. It's a priority inversion.

    If an interface element encourages either of those, it is a source of distraction. Drop it.

    Try that out and let me know how it works for you.



  33. My kind of Saturday morning cartoon: youtu.be/hjbwVzJR8w4
    "TRON: Uprising" first episode (31:39s). #tron #tronuprising

  34. introducing Focus Enabling Design: tantek.com/b/4JB1. comments welcome on G+: plus.google.com/109182513536739786206/posts/Pmwwfgv3K3v #ui #gtd #focus

  35. From Citation UI To Focus Enabling Design


    While brainstorming an update to the citation UI on my posts, I realized that prioritized use cases could be used to create a more focus enabling design, both for citations, and in general.

    This actually started with going through Falcon feature requests, specifically, archive navigation links. For the purpose of this post, suffice it to say that the archive navigation design I came up with required redesigning the existing permalink and citation interface - as seen on my notes (AKA tweets) and article pages:

    2011-061 Falcon blog links/embeds interface

    It's a simple design inspired by others, with some flaws (e.g. too small label text), and worth reconsidering.

    Interface elements either help the user experience, or hurt it. A redesign should consider possible features and choose a minimal set justified by essential use-cases.

    The permalink/citation interface use cases I came up with clustered into two broad categories:

    • a quick action - something done quick enough to easily resume whatever it was you were doing before
    • part of an activity - something done as part of a larger task, project, or effort

    Action Clusters

    Here are some common permalink quick actions, clustered by motivation:

    • bookmark, add it to a text file (save, for yourself)
    • IM, DM, txt, email it (send, to someone)
    • IRC, tweet, status update (post, publicly)

    Unsurprisingly, these clusters overlap quite a bit with Web Action Motivations and Clusters with "post" and "share" referring to the same clusters.

    All these action examples do share a common aspect: they're things you can quickly do and get back to whatever activity you were doing with minimal context switching and hopefully without getting distracted.

    That common aspect for actions are what distinguishes them from activities, which brings me to my second set of permalink/citation interface use cases.

    Current, Other, And New Activities

    Sometimes permalinks and web citations are used for more than just a quick action. Sometimes they are part of, and add to either the current activity or another activity, or inspire creation of a new activity.

    The two general activities where I seem to use permalinks and/or web citations the most are reading (e.g. one referenced article after another) and writing. In this context writing encompasses a broad set of specific long form authoring and content editing: writing or adding to email/post drafts, wiki pages, event organization pages, project plans, or any other kind of topic or goal focused documents.

    If I'm researching a topic for a blog post and find a relevant source, then citing a permalink to that source is actively part of my current activity.

    Sometimes I'll be reading an article and it will mention something worth quoting or citing in some other draft or post in progress.

    Finally, an article might have sufficiently new and significant information to motivate me to start writing a new post, wiki page, etc.

    GTD, Focus, And Flow

    It struck me that perhaps it would be useful to evaluate and rank each of these (quick action, current/other/new activity) within the context of Gettings Thing Done (GTD) methodology, and more broadly, how they impact focus and productivity flow. I used a few simple criteria:

    • staying focused on the same activity is good: focus is an ends in itself
    • handling interruptions without breaking flow is good
    • context switches are harmful to productivity:
      "for all types of tasks, subjects lost time when they had to switch from one task to another, and time costs increased with the complexity of the tasks, so it took significantly longer to switch between more complex tasks." 2001-08-05 apa.org: Shifting Mental Gears Costs Time, Especially When Shifting to Less Familiar Tasks
    • context switching to a new (unfamiliar) activity is costlier than switching to another activity:
      "They got "up to speed" faster when they switched to tasks they knew better, an observation that may lead to interfaces designed to help overcome people's innate cognitive limitations." ibid.

    Using those criteria to evaluate the clusters of use cases:

    quick action
    ok if done under a minute, or instead (preferably?) collected to an inbox per GTD, thereby keeping a sense of flow
    add to current activity
    good, e.g. if part of (re)searching a topic. If the user did arrive via a search engine, especially with a specific search term, show links to topically related posts.
    context switch to another activity
    likely bad, it's defocusing, and context switches hurt productivity overall.
    might be ok or even good if it's a switch to a higher priority context/activity/project. Anything that helps reinforce your own prioritization is a form of empowerment or at least encouragement.
    new activity
    bad in general. Anything that provokes a new activity is always defocusing, and mentally costlier than an existing activity.
    except for emergencies. The only kind of new activity that's worth losing your focus for is an emergency, something that is realtime sensitive (inaction resulting in damage/loss).

    I found it amazing to see a whole spectrum from good to bad in a list derived just from a few citation interface use cases. It made me wonder if this analysis might be scratching the surface of a larger problem.

    Interfaces of Distraction

    I and others have pointed out that we are surrounded by addictive interfaces of constant interruption that ding, alert, growl to distract us from whatever it was we were doing.

    Constant interruption is just one form of the interfaces of distraction that encourage us to click around, perhaps to maximize page views (e.g. any news site with popular article lists), or worse, train us with intermittent reinforcement to habitually seek out distraction.

    We're surrounded by this behavior: people on their smart-devices checking sites/apps for activity, and repeatedly clicking red/bold new messages numbers just in case someone they care about said or did something on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, email. Even popular articles lists might work like that - maybe the next article you read will be entertaining and/or relevant, maybe not. Better keep clicking, just in case.

    We don't need the machines to build The Matrix to distract and pre-occupy us, we've already done it to ourselves.

    Once you start to realize just how much of how many of the interfaces we use every day are designed for distraction, the problem can seem overwhelming.

    Paper books and notepads start to look really attractive.

    Focus Enabling Interfaces

    Choosing tools that encourage focus is a necessary first step. We must do better: build focus enabling tools as well.

    Using techniques like the GTD/focus/flow analysis above, it may be possible to deliberately design for focus, that is, build interfaces of focus, or focus enabling interfaces, simply by prioritizing more focus enabling use cases.

    Nevermind the misalignment of incentives for companies to build interfaces of distraction (more page/ad views, time on site etc.) rather than focus, I want to build focus enabling interfaces for myself, for the Indie Web, and for anyone reading my site, because doing so benefits all of us.

    Prioritizing Focus Enabling Use Cases

    Starting from the permalink/citation use cases and sorting them by effect on productivity/focus, here's an ordered subset to consider for more focus enabling designs:

    1. critical: new emergency activity
    2. good: add to current activity - helps focus
    3. ok: quick action / collection -> return to current activity
    4. good but risky: context switch to a higher priority activity
    5. ok but risky: new higher (than current) priority activity -> hurts focus yet helps will power, potentially.

    This is where focus enabling interfaces must draw the line, and in fact, explicitly avoid other use cases:

    • context switch to similar (to current) priority activity
    • new similar (to current) priority activity
    • context switch to lower (than current) priority activity
    • new lower (than current) priority activity

    This prioritization still leaves a few open questions:

    • How does an interface know what is the user's current activity?
    • How important is it compared to another possibly new activity?
    • How does an interface determine what's an emergency (or not) for a particular user?

    These questions are challenging in the abstract, however, when solving a particular design problem, they help prioritize the focus enabling aspects of the design.

    Toward Focus Enabling Design

    In the past few years the field of user experience design has grown to encompass both different sets of skills, and different approaches and methodologies. Here are a few:

    In 20+ years of UX/UI design (since the time it was called HI (human interface) design), and searching for "design for focus", "interfaces of focus", "focus enabling design", I haven't found nor heard of prior similar analyses (possibly because the problem of distraction has only recently become pervasive). There are plenty of "distraction free" products (e.g. WriteRoom) that are designed for focus, but no analysis nor development of a theory/methodology/practice for focus enabling design as there are for those listed above.

    If we want to address the problem of distraction it's not enough to design for what users want (people like distractions), nor their emotions (people anxiously check their inboxes/activity), nor their wide range of devices (for distractions on the go).

    If we want to create interfaces that empower users by keeping them focused, we must explicitly prioritize focus enabling design.

    I think the above analysis is a good start, and I'm going to put it into practice with the design problem described at the beginning of this post: a user interface for permalinks and citations of articles / blog posts. That's next.

    Thanks to: Erin Jo Richey, Timoni West, Kevin Marks, Aaron Parecki, and Joël Franusic for reviewing drafts of this post.

    Follow-up: Focus Enabling Design Distilled.

  36. if you thought Google Plus +1 button markup was bad, note the memory use: 1.5MB each: twitter.com/davidbaron/status/207628803420327939 #webactions

  37. Why not to host others' comments on your #indieweb site cpj.org/2012/05/thai-webmaster-conviction-chills-press-freedom-onl.php  (if visiting Thailand) ht: @danny_at_cpj

  38. progress: Twitter permalinks drop hashbangs #!, now serve content w/o JS: engineering.twitter.com/2012/05/improving-performance-on-twittercom.html Perhaps add hAtom too?

  39. #FluentConf @microformats dinner 17:45 Colibri on Geary microformats.org/wiki/events/2012-05-29-meetup plancast.com/p/bm4r facebook.com/events/234962289948285

  40. West coasters, there are still @dConstruct tickets. Will likely sell out today, if you want one: dconstruct2012.eventbrite.co.uk

  41. got my @dConstruct 2012 ticket. get yours here: dconstruct2012.eventbrite.co.uk and see you in Brighton.

  42. good #indieweb reads: 2 @BenWard posts on personal blog design/architecture: benward.me/blog/unfinished-again benward.me/blog/time-place-design-principals

  43. 5 weeks til @OSBridge and @IndieWebCamp! Get your flights + hotel. Note: @VirginAmerica flies to PDX starting in June.

  44. nine year old blogs lunch, changes school: grist.org/list/nine-year-olds-lunch-blog-shames-school-into-making-changes via @cwodtke @billjohnston. blog: neverseconds.blogspot.com

  45. nytimes.com/2012/05/20/sunday-review/the-debate-over-the-american-community-survey.html via @BenWard. "this is not a scientific survey. It’s a random survey." #GOP #Florida #idiocracy

  46. Time to upgrade literacy. Introducing Mozilla Webmaker: mozilla.org/webmaker. video: youtu.be/i8Ri-e-xqGw #indieweb

  47. Happy #Raptureversary! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_end_times_prediction (Apparent #Googlewhackblatt before this post.) Celebrate again next year?

  48. hiking up to Buena Vista Park Summit for annular eclipse observations. bring your analog tools and join us. peak 18:33

  49. did #baytobreakers in 1:36:36, 3+ min faster than last year, despite less sleep, 5lbs heavier, feeling slower. #b2b101

  50. This: theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla by @oatmeal via @cssquirrel. #tesla #geek

  51. "participants who were primed for rational thought were less likely to express religious belief." articles: http://healthland.time.com/2012/04/27/losing-your-religion-analytic-thinking-weakens-religious-belief/ summarizing from ScienceNOW news: http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/04/to-keep-the-faith-dont-get-analytical.html itself an announcement of a paper in the journal SCIENCE: "Analytic Thinking Promotes Religious Disbelief" http://sciencemag.org/content/336/6080/493

  52. "Are we welcoming to people who aren't like us? Does that make us stronger? I believe it does." - @BarackObama

  53. Plazes shutting down 2012-07-01 (Nokia acquired 2008). Download your data: plazes.com/home/zip_file #ownyourdata #indieweb

  54. Which webmail services if any have filters for sender presence/absence in address book? beyond from:(n1 OR n2 OR ...)

  55. "sorry that I offended ..." blames listener, is not an apology; "sorry I was offensive" is. #cnn #brogrammer: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/05/07/tech/web/brogrammers/index.html hat-tip: @kyledrake.

  56. article and post permalink pages: please put date near the top/header - helps to quickly understand temporal contexts.

  57. frustrated by articles + blog posts found via web search lacking clear date published - no idea when news/advice out of date.

  58. interfaces must focus on current activity, minimize context switches to other or new activities (except emergencies).

  59. Enjoyed Anathem - A Few Non-Spoiler Quotes


    I'd picked up Neal Stephenson's Anathem a while ago, but didn't really venture past a few pages until my friend Joel Franusic highly (re)recommended it, and told me it changed his life.

    I have a lot of respect for Joel (we've had quite a few upsightful dialogs) so I decided to give the book another go. I picked up the mass market paperback at The Booksmith and have been reading it during flights, Caltrain, MUNI, and a few late nights here and there. Other than some minor annoyances at the lack of rigor on multicosmic theories, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I'm not ready to call it life-changing just yet. However, there are practices, cultures, and systems in the book that I'm still considering, analyzing, and trying to figure out what may make sense to try in our world. With that said, rather than a book review, here are a few quotes from Anathem that will provide a feeling for it without spoiling the story.

    Pinprick maths

    "Pinprick maths?"

    "Some are no more than a one-room apartment with an electrical clock hanging on the wall and a well-stocked bookcase. One avout lives there alone, with no speely, no jeejah. Perhaps every few years an Inquisitor comes round and pokes his head in the door, just to see that all is well."

    Ambiguity: troubles or relief?

    The only shard that lodged in my memory was his concluding line: "If this all seems ambiguous, that's because it is; and if that troubles you, you'd hate it here; but if it gives you a feeling of relief, then you are in the right place and might consider staying."

    Interface not made for literate people

    I went into the shade of the great roof over the canal and sat on a stack of wooden pallets, then took out the cartabla and figured out how to use its interface. This took longer than I'd expected because it wasn't made for literate people. I couldn't make any headway at all with its search functions, because of all its cack-handed efforts to assist me.


    "Here it's all about the messals. The maximum head count is seven. That's considered to be the largest number you can fit around a table such that everyone can hear, and people aren't always splitting off into side conversations."

    Skyscraper math

    "She's the Warden Fendant of a small math on the top of a skyscraper in a big city that is in the middle of a sectarian holy war."

  60. finished reading Anathem. tantek.com/asin/006147410X

  61. web citation uses in activities: add to current activity or context switch to another pre-existing or a new activity.

  62. all the web citation uses I've found are quick *actions*, or potentially part of a larger *activity* / context switch.