Diversity in Tech…
Who gets hired and promoted?
(and who defines a culture fit?)
Who speaks at conferences?
(and who do you retweet?)
Who do you work for?
(and who’s the target audience?)
Who writes the user profiles?
(and who’s use-case is too fringe?)
Those are necessary discussions, but…
I don’t want to moderate them
Let’s talk philosophy!
A designed space inherently represents the ideologies of those who designed it… In other words, software is an embodiment of the philosophies and cultures of its designers and how they think.
What do we believe?
How do our tools and processes reflect those beliefs?
This is a discussion
A Queer Primer
[the oversimplified version]
“Strange” or “Peculiar”
1800’s: becomes a (sexual) insult
A big tent movement
The queer and transgender movements came into their own in the early 1990’s in response to this sort of exclusionary “oneness” that was promoted my cultural feminists and many mainstream gay rights activists… These alliances were not based on a presumed shared biology or set of beliefs, but on the fact that these different groups faced similar forms of discrimination.
—Julia Serano, Whipping Girl
"We’re all the same"
We’re all different
“We’re normal too”
There is no “normal”
“Normal” is Suspect
Who defines it? Who benefits?
Queering The Web
The Web as a New Medium
(Tim Berners-Lee turns the creator/consumer hierarchy on it’s head)
(Douglas Engelbart, Steve Jobs, and how we got to now)
Little Humans in Big Data
(Capitalism, big data, and the problems of modeling humanity)
A Sassy Vision
(What does Sass believe? Where are Natalie, Chris, and Hampton taking us?)
1. The Web as a New Medium
Tim Berners-Lee, 1989
A medium with a mission
Web for all. Web on everything.
Control is a limitation, adaptability is a strength
The fact we can control a paper page is really a limitation of that medium. You can think – we can fix the size of text – or you can think – the size of text is unalterable. You can think – the dimensions of a page can be controlled – or – the dimensions of a page can’t be altered.
—John Allsopp, A Dao of Web Design
Web vs Native
2. Defining User-Friendly
Bootstrapping vs Plug-and-play
1968: The Mother of All Demos
(the mouse, hypertext, view switching, networked computers, early GUI)
Augmenting human intellect
Giving users the tools to build their own tools
The NLS was not about providing users with ready-made software and tools from which they choose or consume but rather it was about bootstrapping, or “the creation of tools for expert computer users” and providing the means for users to create better tools, or tools better suited for their own individual needs.
1976: Apple I
(proprietary bullshit in my pocket)
Identical, easy-to-use, low-cost appliance
“Invisible” closed interfaces (the “just work”)
At this point, customization is no longer in the service of building, creating or learning – it is, instead, for using the computer as one would any home appliance and ideally this customization is only possible through software that the user drops into the computer via disk just as they would a piece of bread into a toaster.
Any barrier that exists between the user and some part of the system will eventually be a barrier to creative expression. Any part of the system that cannot be changed or that is not sufficiently general is a likely source of impediment.
—Daniel Ingalls, Byte 1981
3. Little Humans in Big Data
The world is not structured — data is
What’s unique is un-trackable
gender dropdowns & facebook interests
Community Pages are also an illustrative example of how data structures and computational power lead to certain kinds of interfaces or modes of presentation. Under an increasing pressure to monetize the data they store, Facebook looks for ways to limit difference across the site.
Target ads, Facebook year in review, Google ad words…
Be Humble. We can not intuit inner state, emotions, private subjectivity.
—Carina C. Zona, Consequences of an Insightful Algorithm
4. A Sassy Vision
What does Sass believe?
Brings community to CSS?
Brings bootstrapping to CSS?
- Lori Emerson: From the Philosophy of the Open to the Ideology of the User-Friendly
- Ben Grosser: How the Technological Design of Facebook Homogenizes Identity and Limits Personal Representation
- Carina C. Zona: Consequences of an Insightful Algorithm
- Douglas Engelbart: The Mother of All Demos
- Avdi Grimm: The Soul of Software
- Eric A Meyer: A More Compassionate Facebook
- Mike Monteiro: How Designers Destroyed the World