3 people to follow

At KLM, Marco and I send out a monthly e-mail with some of the best things we came across that month. In one of the version I linked to 3 people I really like to follow, because what they share often sparks your thinking.

Auke Hoekstra, Researcher
Auke is a researcher at the TU in Eindhoven and has a strong vision on electricity and vehicles.

In 2040 Norway wants all short haul flights (leaving the airport) to be electric. In this series of tweets Auke describes the idea.

What if it could be done?

There is quite a big network effect when it succeeds. Planes that do not pollute, are silent and have a shorter runway can be much closer to cities and have less limitations. It’s one of these moments where a technological innovation can have a big impact on the the playing field.

Auke on Twitter

Ben Thompson, Strategist
I’m a big fan of the Stratechery website, where Ben Thompson share his ideas and dissects a tech companies strategy.

This story about Uber bundles is fascinating. It highlights how Uber boosted competitor Lyft and how Google seized the opportunity resulting in a reposition from Uber towards being a platform.

Ben Thompson on Twitter

Horace Dediu, Analist
Horace became known for analysing a lot of Apple data and becoming spot on predicting Apple related to sales and volumes.

Since some time his new object of interest is micro mobility where he analyses the need for a new form of mobility. Most ridesharing trips are short and don’t need a car.

He argued ridesharing companies would move in this direction. Hence all the bicycle and scooter start-ups flooding big cities.

And when there is a gold rush the winners are people selling pick-axes. A Chinese company called Ninebot bought Segway and is a key supplier in this new rapid growing industry.

Horace Dediu on Twitter


Reading tips from 2018

The books and stories I liked most are about long term thinking and taking a long view. How to be sustainable on all axes. People, profit, planet.

All four books are very honest, discussing mistakes, lessons and luck. How staying close to key principles – and open to others – help to build great companies.

Om’s blog is great, and this is a great interview with Brunello Cucinelli, the king of cashmere on quality and long term thinking

Yale’s Most Popular Class Ever: Happiness this is a sign of the times.

The Leading Design Slack, started by Andy Budd. There are so many valuable discussions happening here.

2018 was the year I spend more time in different Slack groups then on social networks. I closed my Facebook account and I’m thinking about doing the same with Instagram.

I still love Twitter and make a lot of pictures. I have put some on VSCO


Running in 2018

Didn’t reach my goal, yet, 10k at a 4.00/km pace. Next year. Overall 2018 was an awesome running year, running over 800 km, alone, with family, friends, colleagues, in the rain, snow, sun and in different countries.


New challenge

After 3 years working as a UX manager for KLM, one of the Dutch corporate icons, its time for a new challenge.

This week I joined, a new Dutch icon. I will be responsible for Product Design.

I had an awesome time at KLM/AirFrance and I look back on a great time with great people.

KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines, somewhere above France
KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines, somewhere above France


How to stop the #internetofshit from happening?

Technology has become a fundamental part of the fabric of our lives. It’s taking over our house, cities and cars. It defines how we travel, date and connect to friends and family.

The always connected smartphone was as a firestarter. It created the fabric for a lot of services to build upon. It’s the device you take to the bathroom and bedroom. It’s the screen between you and your partner.

While smartphones brought us here, they won’t take us to the next step.

The future is this magic symbioses of smart devices and services all around you.

It’s your car remembering who you are. It’s the friendly voice reminding you not to forget to bring the gym clothes for your kids, again.

It’s technology as a layer that is omnipresent, device independent.

Finally everything becomes smart… right?

The problem
Unfortunately we all know this isn’t happening. The open view that brought us the web is gone. Closed systems and vertical integration won. They succeeded in bringing us the best user experience. Think about Amazon, Apple or Tesla. Total control is awesome, right?

But this doesn’t really scale, does it?

Apple can’t build all the technology you want to use in your life, even if you would like it to. The reality of a lot of connected devices and services that surround you all day is much more complex be controlled by just one company.

The next level is open-closed relations. Where you design a great singular experience while offering services from partners, integrated while separated.

And since you will need each other at different moments the relationship is not a winner defines all.

To make it worse, the experience is moving from a single private device to a range of different interfaces being used at different moments in time, some will have screens, some will be public, others will just use voice, or sensors and can be private.

The main question is. How do we design for these open-closed relations?

The proposal
I don’t know the answer, but I do want to find out.

I believe that design for these complex ecosystems of closed companies is one of the most challenging design problems we will face in the next years.

Towards SXSW I will interview designers on how they are approaching this problem. At SXSW I will present the findings and a framework how we can design for these situations.

If you like this idea, please vote on it when voting opens.


The shift or roles and responsibilities for designers @ UX Riga 2018

Had a great time giving a talk at the UX Riga conference on how roles and responsibilities for designers are shifting.

As the (digital) experience is becoming a ‘system’ challenge we move towards different ways of working and involving more people into the design process.

This has its effect on the skills designers need. Shifting from makers to change makers.

Great event, lovely city, wonderful people.


On Changing Your Mind…

I never liked running, it always seemed boring and pointless.

With three small kids and changing to a job where I’m in the same office a lot – which I also reach by car – running became the easiest maintainable solution to get some extra movement during the week.

It’s convenient, you just put on your shoes, go out and you’re done.

Changed my mind
After two summers and now my first winter I have totally changed my mind about running. I no longer hate it, I really love it.

Being outside for a while. Trying to get better and faster with every run. I’m still surprised that something I did not like at all became something I now love.

Apple Watch + Strava
Over the past years I tried a couple of different devices to track my activity. It started with Fitbit devices (Classic, Flex, Charge), then the Pebble 2 and eventually I ended up with an Apple Watch 2nd generation.

I used Nike Plus for a while, only it failed on me a couple times not recording a run (once at the start of a race). Since 2018 I’m back on Strava and I really like the community and dashboards.

Apple Health
I’ll make sure all of my data goes into Apple Health. It’s amazing how good of a hub Apple Health has become. It’s really nice to have one place where you can collect all kinds of different data about yourself and build a dashboard.

I’m still frustrated that I have years of activity data in Fitbit and I’m not able to get it out into Apple health. I basically had to start over again.

2018 targets
My first target was to finish the 8k, afterwards it became the 8k under 34 minutes and being able to run to the beach and back. Which I now all completed.

For the end of this year the target is to run below 4 minutes a kilometer for 10 kilometers in a row.

Strava data
Strava data


Google and Facebook launching object recognition platforms; beyond the barcode scanner

The barcode scanner never got hold in the western world. WeChat has turned it into a big success connecting the physical and virtual world.

With the most recent Google IO and Facebook F8 presentations we see both companies moving into the domain of connecting the physical world to the virtual world, building Mobile Object Recognition as a platform. The camera is no longer the end of an interaction (sharing), it’s the start of an interaction (recognise this). The company that can turn this into a platform is the company that can leverage the payments that are connected to physical spaces.

Facebook Google Object Recognition
Facebook Google Mobile Object Recognition

The Google keynote

The Facebook keynote


Swiping stories and how mobile interaction patterns evolve

Once in a while a new interaction pattern pops-up and you wonder why it took so long to figure out.

The ‘stories pattern’ is one of these patterns. It’s a truly native mobile experience. Born on native.

Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Medium
Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Medium

In design we often still treat the touch screen as a regular computer screen. We moved from skeumorphic design, a way to make people understand a new medium by reusing anchors from the past to a more mobile originated visual design.

Infinite scroll
Facebook figured out that if you build a smart infinite feed people will scroll indefinitely. It’s still a web pattern based on the scrolling behavior of your mouse. It works fine on mobile too.

Tinder familiarised us with card swiping on a phone. Using one hand to hold your phone and use your thumb to go through dozens of cards like an experienced card dealer in a casino throwing out the cards.

Google matured the card concept with their Material Design guidelines and Google Now.

The stories pattern
Snapchat was the one to crack and grow the ‘stories’ pattern. Successfully copied by Instagram and now rolled out into Facebook (test) and Medium.

It’s a way to horizontally swipe through something with one hand, like a deck of cards. Only the cards fill the entire screen.
There is no vertical scroll or partial view, it’s screen to screen to screen. Building a horizontal oriented infinity feed of little experiences or moments.

Stories features on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Medium
The great thing about this pattern is that it works just better with the motion of your thumb.

You stretch your thumb a little bit and there is something new.

Figure from: A comparison of smartphone interface guidelines using primary navigation patterns by Pukar Bhattarai, HCI-E MSc Final Project Report 2016 UCL Interaction Centre, University College London.
Figure from: A comparison of smartphone interface guidelines using primary navigation patterns by Pukar Bhattarai, HCI-E MSc Final Project Report 2016 UCL Interaction Centre, University College London.

Something that might be fun. It’s addictive, you can peek at the next card, on small swipe and your on to something new that might be exciting or not. The Skinner box.

This is the one-armed bandit of mobile. It’s a nice and small gesture and it’s addictive.

Good design is as little design as possible

Dieter Rams, 10 principles for good design

As often with great design. In retrospect it’s staring you in the face. Why something so simple was so complicated to discover.


Building habits

I started blogging over 12 years ago. Starting a blog was the easiest way to share ideas and work.

Over time it got easier, WordPress came around and I got better at it.

The challenging part of writing is starting with it and keep doing it. It’s like any other skill. You have to create a habit, stick to it and keep practicing.

When to hit publish?
When Twitter and Facebook really took of I moved from blogs to Twitter and my posting frequency declined and died a slow death. There is so much good stuff to read. Why should I write more? When is something enough to publish?

I do miss it, not because I have something to share with the world. I like how writing makes me organise my thoughts. And make it easier to shape an idea into something that can be easily communicated to other people.

Since a couple of years I co-organise the Behavior Design meetup in Amsterdam. It’s a quarterly meetup about the design of behavior. We ask experts and designers to share their insights.

Over the years I learned a lot about how to change behavior. The model that BJ Fogg presents still stands out to me, because it’s so simple and easy to apply. (B) Behavior = (M) Motivation (A) Ability (T) Trigger (B = MAT).

So let’s try some behavior design analysis to my writing :)

So here’s my goal. Writing helps me structure ideas. I want to improve this behavior (B) and be better at communicating ideas.
The motivation (M) is ‘oke’, it’s not really high, I don’t want to be a writer. I do wan’t to improve. I do like writing.

In BJ Fogg his model you want all actors in the model to work together. If motivation is low, you need to make it really easy to do and by creating a trigger you ensure that you keep doing it.

My Ability (A) is quite high. I have a million excuses to do other stuff. Although finding 30 minutes to write can’t be that hard. There is no technical barrier anymore. Medium is a great way to share stories and get feedback from people. All you need is browser and a computer. No excuses here.

Then the most important part. The trigger (T), it’s what makes you start and what keeps you going. I used to write a lot on my daily commutes in the train. Which is a great trigger. Sit, music and a slow internet connection. I now commute by car to the office, so I need to find another time and pace.

Having a pace is important. Don’t start at a pace that is too high, and don’t make it too slow either, if you don’t write often your stories become way to important and to important to finish.

Not sure what my pace and trigger is yet. Let’s start with once a week.