Microcosmographia by William Van Hecke

Comment Genres

Microcosmographia vi: Comment Genres

Microcosmographia is a newsletter thing about honestly trying to understand design and humanity.

Have you ever had something crappy that you made get really popular? A while back, while waiting for the bath to fill up, I made a quick video to demonstrate a problem in iOS that wasn’t present in earlier versions. It was pretty rough, but it got the point across.

For whatever reason, this video got picked up by Daring Fireball, iMore, 9to5Mac, and quite a lot of people on Twitter and Reddit. Literally the lowest-quality UX-related thing I have ever posted to the internet has become my most famous.

(The lesson here is clearly “Dance like Gruber’s watching.”)

(Not really, that’s a terrible lesson.)

It has been fun to watch the genres of comment that emerged:

The whole experience has been amusing for me, a person without toooo much invested in an online persona. But it has reminded me of how noisy it must get for people whose lives are all about posting things online and listening to what strangers have to say about them.

My life might be more like that soon. Right now I’m working on a second UX book, one that’s web-first and fully self-published. I would like it to be much more famous than that video or any talk or post I have on the web today. It’s going to require some nation-building, as it’s called in Sarah Bray’s fabulous book Gather the People. I hope I can build it gracefully.

A Science Book For Your Consideration

I’m prelly sure that Our Mathematical Universe by Max Tegmark is the most interesting book I have read. It advocates for the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis, which is the only personally satisfying explanation I know of for why the universe exists, why it is the way it is, and why being a consciousness inside it feels so weird. The idea doesn’t just ring true, it rings MAXTRUE.

This book has also weirdly contributed more to my ability to maintain perspective and peace of mind than anything I have read that was intentionally about mindfulness or meditation. Perhaps I’ll write a letter about why, if you like.

Thank You And Be Well

Sometimes it is gonna be about UX design. Sometimes it is gonna be about YouTube comments and physical cosmology! But it’s always gonna be about trying honestly to understand humans.