By @agentofuser’s suggestion, I’m going to try experimenting with this. My instinct is normally to share questions and ideas with specific people or to post on my social media profiles, so this will be an interesting space to do something in between.
Currently reading A Small Matter of Programming: Perspectives on End User Computing by Bonnie A. Nardi. Some notes so far:
- (“End users are not ‘casual’ or ‘naive’, they are scientists, librarians, teachers, architects, people that want to make serious use of computers without becoming professional programmers.”)
- (“Conversational language is a poor medium of HCI because computers lack the context that we constantly refer to, as well as the ability to interpret context to derive meaning”)
- (“Formal languages encourage deterministic outcomes. Conversation is naturally open-ended and not specific.”)
- (“End-user programming languages are more motivating to learn when they are task-oriented: instead of making available only smaller primitives, provide higher-level abstractions that actually do the complete job.”)
- (“Spreadsheet arithmetic is approachable not because most people know how to add and subtract, but because that’s what accountants and business people do”)
- (“Go beyond ‘easy to use’ and prioritize early success within a few hours of use to increase motivation.”)
- (“Avoid ‘having to know everything to do anything’”)
- (“Spreadsheets obviate the need for control structures or variable names.”)
Oh wow, this is great! While I’ve been thinking a lot about end-user programming, I haven’t done as much review of what’s out there on the topic as I’d like, so I’m definitely going to pick this one up. Thanks for the recommendation!
I love that first quote. There’s a ton of users who are very qualified and want more from their tools, despite not being professional programmers, but also including professional programmers.
I mean, think how much repetitive bullshit we have to do on a day to day basis despite knowing how to program just because it’d take an unreasonable amount of time to automate.
I read an article the other day about keyboard-first interfaces for knowledge workers “making a comeback,” because it’s just more efficient, and also because computers aren’t that big of a novelty anymore and the average office worker is way more fluent with them than most app designers give them credit for.
Boris once asked me if I have a social media ‘strategy’ and I described it as sharing demos and things that are possible, no articles or opinions or ephemerality. Today I seem to be hovering on the phrase “a timeline of receipts”, messages from the future that may not be understood or appreciated at the moment but will make more sense with time, proofs of “arbitrage” (thanks Helder), my equivalents of “just setting up my twttr”.
thinking out loud about my funding system while trying to find the ‘signal for x’ metaphor:
home-made crowdfunding platform, like instead of kickstarter it’s rosanostarter or kickrosano
I love both of these portmanteau words. It’s more like a rosano-continuer, and I don’t want to kick my friend @rosano!
Is it helpful to think about platforms in this context or really lean into the opportunities of being a unique individual and customize what this means?
That is balanced against what people understand / can imagine from these existing patterns.
I’ve been meaning to at least list a lot of these platforms and see how they differ.
And of course my bias means that I’m curious about Open Source platforms. Open Collective keeps getting better and I want to do more experiments with it.
I think my App Store experience makes me reluctant to rely on platforms, but I don’t think I have anything against them in principle. As long as you can trust them and hopefully change providers if they’re no longer aligned with your values, it shouldn’t matter. I think I have a particular hesitation with Patreon for my projects, even though they enable many creators I follow and admire. I feel like Open Collective lacks warmth in the interface–I have this impression of it being technical and number-focused–but I respect what they’re doing and think it’s a step in the right direction.
I totally agree. Their pages are kind of half assed social. It’s a side effect of their open source structure and small team I think. I like that I’m also paying for the platform and exposing that.
I like them as a backend provider, and I think more APIs could do wonderful things. The backer widget of SVGs is nice, and I wouldn’t really use them as a location to drive messaging or welcome people. It’s the community bank account and transparent finances, that’s all.
Ko-Fi seems interesting to me, and I don’t even know why. Something about the design and messaging.
Liberapay is an interesting flow through / pay it forward sort of thing, but is clunky and cold as well.
Using Ghost and their membership model would be interesting from a self hosted perspective. Definitely want backer-specific / protected messages.
What does SVG mean? Can you share an example of this widget?
The TiddlyWiki on Fission README has the backer widget — which is generated as an SVG — embedded GitHub - Jermolene/tiddlywiki-on-fission: TiddlyWiki Application for Fission
It looks more impressive when there are more backers
There are a couple of different kinds of embeds you can generate from OpenCollective.
Wow, okay. I didn’t know that’s what that was. So many ways this could be way more impressive. Smart idea definitely.
This is also something that most platforms don’t deal with well, a result of the
SELECT * FROM storage mindset that programmers apply to problems. Instead of presenting figures like ‘0 subscribers’ or ‘$1 per month’ which can make the project seem inactive or not well-supported, the platform could be display something like “Be the first person to back”, until there are at least 5-10 people or a sufficient threshold. Making sure it looks good/impressive (which in some sense also means ‘trustworthy’) should be built into the platform to reduce hesitation from potential backers.
I don’t think that’s a platform issue. It was my choice to embed that with “only” 2 backers … on the first day announcing it!
I’m in control of my communications and marketing strategy, for better or for worse I might have done something like get a bunch of out of band pre-commitments as one example.
But for this project and experiment I think it just grows over time and you keep showing value and communicating.
Mostly programmers under commit to communications.
I forgot it was a Fission repo. My comments were more in the context of individual developers although I think it would create friction for companies too. Liberapay for example displays numbers like “so-and-so is making $2.35 per week” and I think if you’re just one person and you don’t have the ‘legitimacy’ of an institution or company behind you, this will unnecessarily turn away people. I would say that having a decent sized group of people backing you is exceptional, most people that I’ve seen who have sponsor pages seem to be stuck in lower numbers. I interpret this as a system problem.
I think the system problem is getting people to pay for software, not the platform
There is probably stuff that can be done at the platform level, and ones like Liberapay do a really terrible job at the UX/design (and marketing).
Yeah, it takes some thought and thoughtfulness to get this right. That’s the work, really.
Agree to disagree I guess. The cultural training get people to value and pay for software is super important, but I would suggest that to not think about it with the mind of a marketing person is to assume that people will act purely based on their values, and this ultimately means forcing certain people to cross a bridge that doesn’t reflect why they’re there.
I just randomly stumbled upon this beautiful project that provides a lovely overview of the fediverse and points of entry for newcomers. Their mastodon explainer page has a section called “early adopters”—I think just calling it that as opposed to “41 featured users” is a great way to frame something that completely changes the dynamic, something I had wanted to do on my funding page at some point. This is all marketing BS but I believe it’s vital for independent developers that want their supporters to include ‘normal people’.
I’m agreeing with you. Some platforms get the marketing completely wrong (eg Liberapay), but rolling your own bespoke solution leaves you less time to put into marketing. Cultural training and framing is ALSO marketing.
not sure i would use this but i think it’s interesting/ambitious to create a universal system to organize things
I clicked the “confused and sad” link at the bottom of this page. I don’t regret it
finally got around to writing about this concept of apps without timezones. wondering if it already exists with a name somewhere.