Andrew Travers

Andrew Travers is a designer and researcher. He’s the author of Interviewing for research.

Say something

Posted on 30 Jun 2022

There was a point last week where I was sat with Firefox, Atom and Github open for the first time in forever, messing around with includes and code commits and felt the strangest wave of happiness coursing through.

Without waffling about ‘materiality’, there’s a quiet satisfaction that comes from being closer to code and craft and that gradual process of refining, ironing out idiosyncrasies and making a thing just a tiny bit better. Ethan Marcotte says it best: ‘let a website be a worry stone’.

Also via Ethan, a playback of Jeremy Keith’s recent appearance at CSS Day in Amsterdam (YouTube | Transcript), doing the sort of reflective, but hope-filled ‘where we came from’ and ‘where we’re headed’ that he so excels at. I’ve missed that sort of talk, those sort of events, it’s thrilling seeing people coming together in spaces like this again.

In Jeremy’s talk he touches on design principles, a favourite topic of his and mine, which included this great line:

Because the hard part about design principles, isn’t saying what you value. The hard part about design principles is saying we value one thing over another.

James Boardwell wrote about the place these sort of principles and that kind of thinking have had in shaping the work he and his team have been doing at Ministry of Justice.

James’ piece reminded me how much I learned from him at Co-op and how talented the group of people that helped form Co-op Digital were. I’m so glad I was able to appreciate it at the time, and not just looking back. A pretty special time.

I’ve spent way too much time in the last year thinking and rethinking the relationship I want to have with Google.

From going all-in to grudging surrender to positive hostility, that Google account isn’t going away. But I can limit how much of my life goes through Google’s services. It helps that, more and more, Google’s core services, once ground breaking, are really not great?

So, I’ve doubled down again on Fastmail and other privacy-first services and I’m feeling a little more at peace at how I engage with the interest than I was.

Fastmail doesn’t shout about this much, but I think one of its most compelling features that it enables you to manage Google mail and calendars from inside Fastmail — even sending from Gmail if that’s what you need it to do. Non-judgemental user needs.

I watched more Glastonbury on TV this year than I’ve ever done. Although I’d carefully planned all the stuff I wanted to see, calendar entries and all, it was the bits I stumbled upon that I got most from.

Despite it being an occasionally baffling experience on iPlayer — especially on Apple TV — three days of Glastonbury coverage is such a privilege to have. Long live the BBC.

Confidence Man and Self Esteem were new discoveries and instant favourites; loved Wolf Alice for just being loud and urgent; and Nubya Garcia — supported by another favourite Joe Armon-Jones — gently coaxing a hungover Sunday crowd. My only wish was that the TV coverage had extended to include Emma-Jean Thackray’s set too.