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[EN] Quick thoughts on creating new information models


As product designer, it has been appealing to me, understanding everything around a 'successful' product.

Defining success and 'product' is beyond this short text, of course. But let's say it's something useful and valuable for you and your friends. Something self-sustainable. Which is designed to last at least until it's valuable to its users.

I've followed and designed a few extensions for twtxt "2.0", a Web client. And recently I was playing with the idea of encrypted messages, inspired by Fatline messaging.

And I reached to a point of

Why creating another tool, even if it's a toy project?

I won't say it's meaningless to create something for fun. Not at all. Although my designer mind starts popping out saying "Hey, have you thought about who is gonna use it?" (besides me, of course)

This morning I reached to Willow Protocol:

Willow Protocol - Home
Willow Protocol - Spec summary

It brings to us the idea of a 3D data model: paths, timestamps, and subspaces.

Willow started as a minimalistic reimaigining of Earthstar. Over time, we did a lot more reimagining, and a lot less minimalism.

Interesting, huh?

I was thinking on... Do blogs could be transmitted on P2P like Bittorrent instead of storing those on servers? What about IPFS and some others?

I've found that some are hosting their texts on Git... What about going away from always-online models to something refreshed on demand?

I've previously discussed that new models have a lot of interesting technical features, although usually aren't easy to use by a critical mass. So we are in a paradox.

Do we design something better? (Usually it's cool to improve something, and our intellectual side is joyful)

Is it better enough to stop using what we already know?

Very often, this is the step that we skip, to design something which is not only better, but more convenient.

Us, the users... we are biased, and what we feel confident about using it's perceived as better. For better, let's say again, more convenient. Subjectively better.

I was listening a podcast in Spanish, saying that there are already many messaging services, more than it is convenient to use.

That even if the new shiny platform is more secure, more private, more whatever... our friends, colleagues and family are already in another platform.

For me it's Telegram and Whatsapp. Everyone is on Whatsapp (and mobile carriers offer that for free, which is convenient in my country).

So, I only have there my 'deepest' friends and my wife. I've abandoned Signal, Session, XMPP, IRC and many other hipster platforms.

Even my wife is always complaining that I'm her only contact on Telegram, ha!

So our challenge as designers is understanding what is the 'pain point' which will make worthy to suffer the discomfort of trying out the new solution and feeling comfortable again.

Yes, time and cost are part of that discomfort. That's why most prefer the mainstream free service which sells our data. That's why we use adblockers instead of stopping loading a site we like. And yeah... it's painful to pay a monthly suscription. (Not complaining, only pointing that out as a designer)

So, going back to twtxt, I've talked about it in events. I share how to use it in other media in this blog. What I usually find is "Why should I move away from TwiXter? or from Mastodon. Or whatever microblogging alternative, to your hipster protocol which is costly and 'inconvenient' for me?"

For Willow it could be something similar, I don't know for sure and I hope it'll find it's niche.

I see that the project is funded, which is cool. That allows to talk about the project, and get sufficient amount of users, to make it stand out in the sea of alternatives.

My only concern would be going back to what has become a joke now:

XKCD - Standards



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