refine refine refine

There are lots of places—but two in particular are top of mind—where I’m storytelling these days. There’s this very difficult form of storytelling where you have to craft an experience of discovery for someone. You have a project, and it’s on the Internet. Someone comes to some part of it. From somewhere. Maybe someone told them something about some part of it; What they were told may be correct, incorrect, useful, or distractionary. (Is that even a word?) And every single one of those variable things would be different for each person.

And I have my ideas, my wants, (what I may want this new person to do,) and my way of seeing and understanding the world and this thing this other person is experiencing. I can use language, colors, design (esthetics, affordances, familiarity, etc.,) audio, video, gamification, revealed complexity, feedback, and more.

I create something, and release it into the world. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, it is the best thing I can possibly create. Later, I look at it—perhaps after seeing someone encounter it for their first time and their having a flawed experience, perhaps after asking someone to review the thing, whatever… Later, I look at it and omgbecky I suddenly see several serious, glaring flaws. Not spelling error type “flaws” — no, this whole story is told backwards, or this isn’t the right thing to tell at this point in their journey type flaws.

I used to get petulant when that happened. I’d worked so hard on it, and now it’s clear that my best wasn’t very good after all.

But today, my reaction is the opposite. I get really execited! “Wait— slow down— I’m scribbling notes as fast as I can,” excited. I used to think, “where were you when I worked so hard on this,” and now I’m thinking, “being able to see that this thing actually sucks, is awesome because now I can make it better.”