Trying to teach myself how to make interfaces by making them every day.
722 entries
First: Sep 17, 2019
1 contributor
When you say other ‘states’, does each d...
Random thought, but Futureland is kinda ...
Love reading the behind the scenes :) ...
Can’t wait to see what you learn through...
@lucas @internevin any specific apps you...
Looking good! The top header is nice and...
Love the shadowing icon! Been trying t...
Right. How do you feel about a three col...
Hope your other eye is okay dude!
When your eye is better contact me and l...
@tmm lol just what I had in mind! :)
This looks sick. Love how the space is u...
Digging this evolution + experimentation...
@justin yeah, I totally use FL the same ...
I really like what you wrote there, 'you...
feels like a lot of kerning 0:
This is interesting, really liking the c...
Is this kind of like the daily recap in ...
thanks! I think it’s just alright but a ...
Can't wait for these stats to be live. L...
Really love all these posts about interf...
digging the left version with a stronger...
always a choice: to use outlines, fills ...
You’ve great attention to detail
That gives me an idea to look how older ...
Great to have auto play video back on FL...
The other kind of insight was that when ...
@jessmei, we'll get there :)
The content of your code example ❤️
I really really really like that *hint* ...
don't forget the lock icon
Paused design output
365 days of consecutive output
started studying Zen

It's 11:24PM 😱 and I'm about to wrap. I got a decent design session in making some progress on home page adjustments, which I'm still not entirely happy with but probably hitting the limits of my current visual abilities (lol). I think one thing that might be useful is just like reflecting on the 'primary functions' of the home page and then seeing how that influences the design process. But I know it'll get better over time. I packaged this up and sent it over to @lucas to start messin' with.

I also gave a bit of design time to this black hole experiment. It's really cool because in a lot of ways we don't even know what we are making. We're just bringing together people who vibe well and just making things and seeing what happens. It's really freeing and fun creatively. And it's neat that some how something seems to be coming out of it lol. We are observing it in real time just like every one else even though we are the ones working on it.

But yeah - way too late for me tonight

I was working on an improved home page today among a few other things. Just trying to make everything more balanced after getting some notes from @ethan. The videos at the bottom can be videos of users explaining how they use FL. Perhaps under that I can just provide some simple highlight information that comes up often. It seems the focus of tomorrow will primarily be design so there might be some good space to finish some things and catch up on stuff.

It's 8:11PM and I'm in good shape to cut it early tonight. I had a few good design sessions last week but I'll need to pick up design work this week on a few things and also pick up work on other dimensions of Futureland. It's going to be one of those weeks where I need to be locked in. I'm in good shape to cut it early tonight so that gives me a chance at making a morning creative / design session happen. Let's see what happens this week.

Today I just did a bunch of little tweaking work on these two interfaces I want to ship soon. One is an updated home page and the other is a concept for the links page of news.futureland.tv. I'm thinking about playing with a larger width on the home page just to see if I can make things feel more balanced. The widescreen journal interface on the home page kind of throws everything off so let's see.

It's 11:20PM, in a later cycle of down times. Just some quick design work tonight. I'm going to update this sketch of the home page over the next few days with a clear concept (it'll be interesting to see how long it holds up), just calling Futureland a new kind of journal. It's difficult to be specific about every exact element of it in a single sentence lol.

Also just made some quick updates to this link page for news.futureland.tv. That little project is very much an experiment but I want to finish up any remaining work on it to see it through and see if its helpful in some way. I think it could be.

This week (and last) there's been a lot of thinking and experimental type work and much less direct product design. It's also that I've been sleeping later and that eats into my morning sessions for creative work. Especially on weekends so I need to work at pulling all of that together. Overall my output is pretty good though and I'll keep at it.


It's 2:39PM and I'm on a good clip today. That means I'm in a good place with my daily output before 3PM. That's a scenario that allows me to transition more easily into hanging with family and just open ended thinking not related to anything specific. The latter is hard to do in general because I'm very motivated by the questions I have in my head. I ask myself big questions and it bugs me when I can't answer them. But yeah I'm working on it.

Most of my design work right now seems to be more 'thinking' work more than it is 'interface design' work which makes me wonder what this journal is and should be about. Originally this journal started off as a documentation through the regular practice of learning interface design. But after a year of that I wonder more about design generally not just interface creations. Although I think that's a super dope medium to translate deep thinking into. I never think I'll be the best interface designer. I'm too curious about other things. Cross-disciplinary patterns. Maybe that's the wrong way to think about things. I'm not sure. I do think it's super cool that you can through interface design you can essentially strengthen the part of your brain that things about creating tools for others and I like that with interface design there's no material cost to production. In the construction and imagining of these tools, I never like run out of metal or wood or something. That's what I love so much about computers, no material costs. As long as you have battery life, you're good.

But yeah, now I use this journal as more of a reflection on my practice in design more generally. And I think I need a place for that. Like a place for me to journal about translating ideas or thoughts into multi-disciplinary realties. What's it like to design a book, a chair, some music, (documentary) films, software, video games, companies and so on. What are the patterns in each of them? What discipline am I working in this year and why? Do certain disciplines converge in interesting ways or more often then other ones? What might that mean? This is the kind of stuff I think about and I wonder if it makes sense to start writing about it here while also dropping in process work whether that is interface design (which it probably mostly will be right now) or something else. I would definitely need to rename this journal. I'll think about it. Hm. On that note my fav journal title on FL without a doubt is @kristen's 'sense-making' but looks like she changed the name of it haha. It's just really cool when you combine words like that and turn them into themes. 'sense-making' made me think of film-making and then my own words like pattern-finding and other ones like Buckminster Fuller's comprehensive anticipatory design science. That's a long way of saying I'm not sure what I would rename this journal to, but naming what I'm trying to do seems to feel more accurate when I combine words into new ones.

It's 10:13PM in Toronto and I'm just about to cut it for the night. I very quickly mocked up a concept for some kind of link sharing experiment. Our own little version of HackerNews if you will. This didn't take me long at all, but it was cool to just quickly start throwing stuff into sketch to see what would happen. Let's see if this ends up coming to life in some way and what happens.

It's 8:53PM in Toronto. It's cool getting back into some design work and a bit unexpected it that this 'black hole' experiment (the name I'm sure will change soon) is the reason for it. I started working through the 'profiles' for this concept and Wikipedia was an important reference. Thinking about it from the perspective of encyclopedia started to give me a lot of ideas in general. Especially in terms of like establishing your own mythology about things. It's interesting, an encyclopedia is a kind of nomenclature or documentation for 'a world'. And anyone can just create their own in a way. It's kind of neat to think about that there's nothing stopping anyone from creating their own public encyclopedia. Pretty cool.

It's 5:12PM in Toronto. I was able to get back into some design work for 'working on the black hole'. It's interesting working this way. Like in general working through this in parallel with @marco just feeling things out and trusting the process. But also just in general with this interface design stuff. Just throwing stuff around in the tool and seeing what happens. I think most of my most surface level ideas will be the first ones and that's ok. I think it'll be really important to think about this from first principles though. Like how do I turn down the volume on any ideas or programming I am bringing into the work I am doing before doing it.

All in all, it's fun to be making something visual. The more I practice this stuff the more I think I need to practice drawing. My skills still really limit what I can explore visually.

It's 11:53PM which is absurdly late for me but I had to help a friend. No real design time in today because I was feeling unwell but I'm going to package this up for @lucas right now so he can implement and we can see how it feels. If it's the right direction, we can close it out pretty quickly.

It's 1:31PM. I got a bit of design time in today, just trying to get this home page into a kind of state where I can move on to the next thing. The continual challenge with this home page is just finding a way to present FL in a visually compelling way. I don't like the way the screen recordings feel right now. This home page is a definite improvement from what we had but it's still far off from where I think things need to go.

One of the interesting things about working with @marvindraws on the visuals was that his work allowed us to stay in a more 'conceptual space' as we talked about the project and I think that's important because of how much Futureland changes and evolves each day. In a project that updates this quickly, it becomes challenging to make video assets that are supposed to 'last' at all. It's a bit surreal. I'll make a video on a Tuesday and by Wednesday it is out of date (lol).

So we have to figure out a broad and open way to visually show Futureland. I really like the progress we've made on describing it in its current state. 'Tools to help you repeat things and store process'. I find myself saying 'store process' more often in my day to day life now. Those words seem to accurately capture the gap I felt while trying to express my experiments through other tools. It's interesting how much of 'design' is thinking about stuff like this. Finding the right words. Describing something in a way that makes sense for its intended purpose.

I also think that this is why audio seems to be so well suited for this project. In audio, you can keep things in a conceptual space. Speaking on values and philosophy. Those elements are much more lasting. Futureland continues to rapidly change and transform, but our values and philosophies do not.

I'm just packaging up this simplified version of the homepage for @lucas and I'll chat with him about it tonight. I'm going to move on to finishing the Examples page now.

It's 10:14PM and I'm just wrapping for the day. Later than I'd like but just catching up on a few things. I didn't get that much 'design' time in today and felt out of in terms of 'flow' for this state. But I whipped up a quick (temporary) video asset for this next section of the home page I'm working on. If this works, I'll be able to finish this tomorrow and send something over to @lucas, but these assets definitely need to re-done. This specific one is associated with the sentence, 'Store your process with your friends or by yourself'. I'm not sure if this video asset specifically captures that well. But yeah in general I'll continue updating these. It would be tight if we could get a visual artists on these in the future.

It's 8:16PM. I spent a lot of time catching up on community work today and then transitioned into design later in the day. I don't mind the switch. The main 'designing' I am doing right now is designing little video assets for this home page. I try to just make sure I get through one section each day and send it off to @lucas which I just did. The video asset I created today is a tight focus on the timeline component of journals. I'll need to re-do it because I want to cut between the comments and a clean timeline, I'll revisit that later though. It's not as important as just feeling out how this video works in a real interface. I'll work on the next section tomorrow and just stay at it.

It's worth noting that yesterday, I broke my streak on this journal. It was pretty late and I was behind on a bunch of stuff. So I optimized for sleep, which I have done one other time since surpassing 365 consecutive days on this journal. I obviously really don't like breaking my 'streak' on specific journals and this is one of them. There's a bunch of benefits to repetition in terms of heightened creative states and a bunch of annoying drop offs in creative states without it.

All good


It's 12:58PM and I'm just wrapping on interface design for the day to move into other 'states'. I have been creating the video assets for this new homepage and then expanding on the page vertically. I included a visual of Daily on iOS today for the section, 'Structure your day for flow states'. I think the visual here can be better but we can adjust later. The visuals every where can be better right now.

I've been in a pretty focused state today, just accepting what I need to do and doing it. There's a lot of rendering and exporting videos right now but that's fine I'm just moving through it, until each section is done. I packaged the latest work for @lucas so that he can implement and fill in the blanks. I'll do the same tomorrow with the next section, "Store your process in public or private over multiple years". I imagine the visual for this will be some kind of zoomed in visual where you see entries moving up the screen and then it cuts into the timeline where you can see the date shifting as the cursors hovers over it. Something like that I think.

Spent most of my time fumbling through some new video assets but I packaged this strip down version of the home page and sent it off to @lucas. I'm trying to get some momentum behind this new home page right now, so we're just going to start shipping in-development versions of it to production. There's a chance that when I wake up this might be the new home page.

The way this concept is structured is that it builds vertically. If you have followed the process a bit on Futureland, there's other sections to this and also an 'Examples' page. As I build out each of these sections and create all of the visual assets for them we will just keep adding them to this in-production home page.

In other words, the home page might be changing (hopefully improving) every day this week. <3

Other things worth noting are, I definitely felt out of flow today. I think it mostly has to do with some hiccups while rendering and exporting video assets for these interfaces, a common theme over the last few weeks. But I think I'm slowly figuring out how to work around it. In general, it might be worth studying how to 'kickstart' flow, it might be interesting to practice that specific part of my day in some way.

It's 8:25PM right now. Design time was super limited. In general my time on weekends for creative work is limited unless I'm up really early (5:30AM latest, which I'm trying to work out). I made some tweaks to these profile concepts and I'll pick up design work again tomorrow morning <3


It's 10:15PM tonight. On a tight timeline! I had a few notes on these profiles so I sketched them out and stored process on Futureland. Basically I think it's important of us to make the profiles very customizable in terms of how things are positioned on the profile and the size of everything as well. Perhaps the user can change the colours of their profiles and other customizations. We can set some grid restrictions to make everything feel snappy and elegant while also giving the users the ability to do things like personal or exaggerate elements.

It's 10:10PM. I started my design session a bit later in the morning today so it was a shorter session and I found myself transitioning into a lot of community work and writing for the rest of the day. Today I experimented with switching the visual display of FL to a wide screen window and then playing with unexpected positioning on this grid system just to see what happens. I'm curious if by using the grid systems you can make things feel surreal or unexpected while still feeling elegant and functional. I'm still a super amateur designer, but I learn a lot by just experimenting like this and thinking through things in my own way and seeing what happens.

One thing that we could do with this Interface is create it with static media first to see how it all feels, ship it to production and then slowly work on 1 video asset at time which should just be a moving version of the static media already in production. Something to think about for future interfaces that integrate videos into them.

It's 9:54PM. I need to get to bed immediately (lol). Design wise, I spent most of my time today fiddling with video stuff. It's a slow day working through this stuff trying to figure out the best way to handle video assets on the new home page. The biggest insight has been to use some kind of accurate reference point for 'media' when you are designing layouts.

In a layout a 360 x 360 pixels box that says media looks just fine. It seems like more than enough space. But what I was planning on displaying in that box was a safari window displaying various journals. Those dimensions are not big enough to display the journal in a meaningful way. Whether it's an image or video it never has the effect. The dimensions are more than fine for other things say, displaying a mobile interface. But there's a lot of little details on the Journals so it seems like it takes a larger richer visual to really capture all of it. It's something I'm going to have to think about.

The cool thing though is now I have an Apple script now (ty @lucas) that allows me to set any window to a pre-defined set of dimensions, so I can see how our interfaces look at various window dimensions, take screenshots and then build the interfaces around those screenshots to get a sense of how it might feel. It's been a tedious few pomodoros working through this stuff but it is what it is.

It's 10:01PM right now and I could have wrapped earlier but I hit a flow state or something and could not figure out how to walk away from my computer and stop using Sketch. Most moments away from my computer I was thinking about @ethan and @christian's notes on these designs. But I need to wrap cause I haven't cracked this by any means yet but I'm getting some ideas just moving things around and thinking about it. I definitely hit flow states today.

Something I'm kind of enjoying / experimenting with right now is understanding the underlying principles of something and then trying to work as fast as I can with my computer to stop my brain from thinking. I notice that I do this with other disciplines as well. I'll try to work faster as a means to stop thinking and then just see what happens.

It becomes kind of hypnotic, just working super fast and continuously dragging things to Futureland and writing about what I am doing as I am doing. The writing process serves as a sort of thinking time. It's like I'm moving things in the application, then writing about the decisions I just made then moving things in the application, then again writing about the decisions I just made but I'm doing this at a high frequency and this process does something very positive to my mind. I haven't been able to figure out exactly what it is but when I work this way it definitely seems to kind of conjure up flow or something.

It's 1:39PM right now. I spent some time designing some video assets for the new home page but playing with the dimensions is a tedious process. Every time I want to experiment with new dimensions I have to export a new video and I'm also definitely not quick enough (or skilled enough) at navigating front end development changes on this version of the tool. So to make it through those videos I think I'll need to jump on a back and forth session with @lucas, which I'm hoping I can do tomorrow if he's around 5:30AM EST (lol).

I moved on to the next thing I need to which is making some adjustments to the 'Join' interface. This is what a viewer will see after they click 'Join' from the home page. We will probably need to re-work this thing a bit when we move over to an invite only system but the fundamentals could probably stay the same as long as this is performant enough. It's a simple form to create your identity on Futureland. While you are creating it the background oscillates between different video entries from Futureland. As we discover new ones that we like we will add them to the 'playlist', so new viewers will see them while creating identities.

It's 9:12PM and I'm just watching 'Last and First Men' by Johann Johannsson in the background while I get through a couple of things before I sleep. I'll probably need to finish the film tomorrow afternoon. It's pretty awesome so far :)

My design session was a shorter one today but I think I got the essential done. Tomorrow's session will be a longer one. I spent the time I had today putting together a quick little interface that helps users easily upgrade to Futureland+ if they would like to. I sent this interface over to @lucas tonight and he will fill in the blanks and implement this.

Tomorrow my focus will be on designing the video assets I need to close out the new home page.

It's 9:07PM right now. I spent most of the day with family and my design time was limited today but I still got just a bit of interface design work in. I need to be more disciplined about protecting and nurturing my morning design sessions when I move into a different environment. It's something I'll need to think more about whenever I see my parents again, but that might not be for awhile now. The COVID numbers are rising here in Canada and it's likely that we will moved into a heightened lock down with increased restrictions.

I started reading a bit about Wabi-sabi today and it's something that resonates with me. I'm not sure what to call all of this stuff yet, but I find myself really connecting with Japanese philosophy (if you will). Zen Buddhism, Wabi-sabi, just anything that helps me keep my focus on the process and not the outcomes. It's probably super obvious but I am very focused on designing my life in a way that is entirely focused on process and just "seeing what happens" in terms of outcomes.

With the time that I did have to design today, I started reworking this Examples page to match the grid system and spacing of the new home page we are working on. I might create just a couple of quick variants here but I'll finish this part up quickly so we can get it into production and move on to the other things we need to finish.

It's currently 9:55PM right now, so I need to get to bed soon (lol) if I am going to wake up early enough to get a decent creative session in. I had very limited time for design today mostly because it was an important day for my family. I spent the morning catching up on some community stuff on Futureland. Let's see what happens tomorrow morning. It might be a session that's more focused on writing and I can pick up design work in a deeper way on Monday.

The work here focuses on adjusting the Examples page to match the grid and spacing of this new home page concept. In general my understanding of grid systems and spacing has increased but I am still very much an amateur (lol). It'll take me a bunch of studying and practice to learn more about this stuff and try different things. I wouldn't feel comfortable right now, say, giving recommendations on the grid systems we should be using Futureland wide, but maybe one day if I keep practicing that's something I'll be able to weigh in on in my own way. <3

It's 2:45pm and I'm trying to cut off design for the day and pick it up again tomorrow morning. Today I spent time experimenting with and testing various video materials and export settings. Just getting a sense of the type of visuals that might work in an Interface like this. I'll try to keep working through this in my session tomorrow morning. This journal is currently called Interfaces but over time if I keep documenting my work here perhaps 'Design' is a more fitting name. The more I study Design the more it informs how I think about everything I make. I'm curious what will happen when I get a chance to make a film again. I wonder if there's a difference to me between filmmaking and film designing. Hope you're having a great day!

It's 3:46pm and I am trying to wrap up early today like I did yesterday. I still suck at cutting off design time. I kind of walk around my place thinking all day then I sit in front of my computer again to design more then I step away to think and come back. It's good to be really into whatever it is that you are doing but the down side is that if you don't cut off on a specific portion of your day then the other areas of focus suffer. It's something I really need to work on. It's all about optimizing for that first 4 hour chunk of the day and cutting design time once that chunk is completed. I'll keep experimenting.

I spent a bunch of time working on video assets today for this new home page design and videos take me longer to create than other things. I mocked up a version of this new home page design with less videos. Perhaps this can be used as a temporary page that more accurately communicates Futureland and we can integrate the videos as we finish them.

It's 1:34PM and I am just trying to wrap up earlier today to have an earlier down time. It's also part of trying to force myself to hard cut on specific elements of my day. I mentioned this in a previous entry but I let my design time kind of linger because I want to keep working through stuff and I have a difficult time stepping away from specific problem sets when I feel like I almost got something (lol). I added a bunch of new elements to this daily focused home page, which seems to be becoming just a home page concept for Futureland itself. The design right now features a bunch of squares that say, "media" and I will need to fill those in with videos that really capture the essence of this tool and its potential. That's something that I will start working on tomorrow morning.

It's 9:47pm right now which means I am running behind schedule. I got a decent design session in this morning. I could have increased the number of pomodoros in this morning's session but my mind got tripped up during meditation with some frustrations so it took longer to transition right into design work. There was probably a lag time of 30 mins (1 pomodoro). I had what feels like a bit of a break through in this morning's design session. A few days ago, I was in the shower and I was thinking about Futureland (which is almost the only thing I think about), and a sentence just popped into my head. "Tools to repeat things and store process". I kept that tucked away and experimented with it today in the design session and it seems to feel really good. @lucas has a bunch of packages so there might be some cool stuff popping up from him soon to play with and build on.

It's 8:29pm. I got up around 5:30am today and got some design time in this morning. I sent a few packages over to @lucas and that's something I'm trying to bring into a regular cadence. It might be useful to try doing that daily, even if that means sharing only small components of works in progress.

The other thing I have been thinking about is (1) separating my day into 4 hour chunks and getting good at one chunk before moving on to the next and (2) switching between ON and OFF states during the day.

The primary creative activity within an ON state would be designing and the primary activities within OFF states would be things like researching, exercising or anything that gets me to relax. My design time is currently in the morning and I imagine it will stay that way for a long time. So something I have been thinking about is structuring my days in a way where I 'perform' at the highest level I can while designing in the mornings and then use the rest of the day to kind of rest and prepare for the next design session. I do not know for sure (I am studying) but I imagine this is akin to how an athlete lives during their regular season. I have been reading through various scientific papers to form a better understanding of the use of rest in expert performance. Haven't found anything yet, but I'll share when I do.

I spent just a bit of time designing today. Mostly I was reading through this book. I read through it digitally but I find with stuff like this it’s much better to process the visuals through physical copies where I can validate measurements myself and make notes right on the paper. This has been a good pick up and thinking a lot about the measurement and proportion of things has changed how I perceive the world around me. I think my understanding might grow once I start drawing more of these layouts on paper with a ruler and seeing not just the intuitive visual patterns but some of the mathematical patterns behind certain things.

It's 11:16pm, so I am up a lot later than I usually am. I spent time with family tonight and that's one of the only situations I let myself go to bed later. My routine will suffer tomorrow morning for it! I spent some time designing today and make some tiny break throughs in my understanding of spacing and layout. I was feeling a bit down about not being able to understand and apply some of this theory. Today felt like a bit of a step forward, which was motivating! Still a lot to learn man! :)

It's 8:14pm today and I got my design time in. No major break throughs yet in my understanding but layout, spacing and proportions are definitely things I am starting to think about a lot more. I'm trying to form my own fundamental understanding of these things and it's process. Sometimes it takes me a bit to drive concepts into my head. I'm basically trying to figure out fundamentally how things should be positioned, why they should be positioned that way and what are the effects of positioning in those ways vs. other ways. I'm stumbling through this stuff right now but slowly making progress.


I started getting into some deep work around 5:30AM today. Throughout the day there was a heavy focus on Pomodoros and I spent all of the studying design. Specifically trying to form a better understanding of grid systems. There's a bunch of things in my subconscious right now and even more things I do not understand. But I can tell when I need to study the fundamentals of something because I ask myself the same kinds of questions while I am working. I essentially do not understand why I am doing something or why something isn't working. Usually when I go through a process like this it leads to a few fundamental insights about the discipline I am working within. But who knows (lol).

The other thing I did was I ordered a few supplies to start drawing interfaces on paper instead of just digitally. I want a more tactile understanding of layout and I think working with pen and paper will help me achieve that. I want to really practice the skill of quickly understanding the information and media I am working with then imagining all of these elements in various grids. I also want to get better at building a component based design system but I'm not there yet. I think a lot of this studying will help me understand why those systems are even created in the first place and what separates a good one from a not so good one.

I'll continue reading and studying for a bit and then slowly start applying the things I am learning or thinking about into these interfaces.

Good night! <3

It's 8:21PM and I'm trying to wrap up for the night. I still have a few little things to do before I can entirely shut down. I got up around 5:30AM and I was able to spend a decent part of the morning working through this Examples page. I ran into some issues with spacing and positioning while working on this today. It wasn't really anything specific to the design of these Interfaces, but it just felt like I was asking fundamental questions about how things are spaced / placed and why and I didn't have the answer to these questions. I asked some friends for advice and @jchangsta recommended a book. I picked it up. I'll start studying these fundamental concepts a bit more. Forming a higher understanding of them seems like something I'll need to do to push these designs further.


I got up around 4:26am today and got a good little design session in for a few hours. It's nice to be designing again and it's something I really missed doing. Making interfaces is currently my primary form of creative output (outside of writing) so I find it really balances me out. I always like to be outputting daily in some kind of media format, whether that's audio, video, design, code or something else. I don't know why but something about making things with my computer really calms me and gives me a sense of purpose.

I also looked up the definition of design recently and it was, "to conceive or fashion in the mind". I found this interesting. In a way that's like saying to design is to think. And perhaps that's also a way of saying to design well is to think deeply. It's something I find very interesting because every time it felt like I was 'designing' I was never actually in front of the screen moving things around. It's when I walked away from the screen to think or write about how something should be done that felt more like design. But I would always think that part was just 'writing'.

In that sense if:

to design is to think
and to write is to think
then to write is to design.

Yeah I don't know. Just stuff that is floating in my brain. lol

good night :)


A Brief Pause

It's 1:05pm on Thursday afternoon. Over the past few days, I have been thinking a lot about focus. My time by Lake Huron gave me a glimpse into the new space that is created through removing things from your life and process. Even if only briefly. When you remove something, you create more space for whatever's left.

So let's run a little experiment.

I have been designing some kind of interface on this journal for 387 consecutive days. I am going to pause my output here for 1-2 weeks while I focus my daily efforts on producing materials to improve Futureland's onboarding. I believe it's a process that requires a lot of focused writing and perhaps video production.

It's always extremely difficult for me to pause things like this, but I'm curious what I might learn by doing this.

It's 10:30pm on Wednesday night. I got a pretty good design session in today. I spent all of my time further developing Futureland's onboarding experience. I need to see how it feels in the browser, but on a conceptual level it seems like cutting from a black background to full screen video on the background (in special moments) seems to hold up. When I do it in these sketch files, it feels like I'm cutting a doc or something. I'm sure in a lot of moments it will be cool but excessive. For now it seem like it will be fun to play with.

A few additional notes.
My routine is starting to pick up at home. I repeat things so much that now there's little signals I can pick up on to tell if my day is off. My water intake decreased the past few days while I was trying to get set up again at home. It's a little thing (a drop in glasses) that indicates my state of flow. When I'm in flow with my routine, my water intake is high. I'm at 8 glasses for the day right now so things are picking up again. Another signal is the time I eat lunch. If it's like 11:30am and I'm thinking "hm, what should I eat for lunch?", that means I'm definitely having a high output day. To ask a question like that, my mind is aware and ahead of the day. On a lower quality day it might be 12:30pm and I'll think, "ah man I gotta get lunch!". It's an obvious thing but it feels like I'm developing a higher level of precision in my thoughts from just repeating the same day so often.

Running late tonight. I'm still sorting out my flow in terms of design time and routine since getting back from the lake. I thought the flow state would transfer but not exactly the case (yet). A quick little concept. The idea is to have a 'How to:' link on the right side of the interface (maybe you can dismiss it) and it drops down a bunch of interesting things you can explore about how to use FL. For example, how to learn a new skill, how to see through a creative project. This might be a softer implementation of onboarding/documentation to consider. Not sure yet though.

Took the day off today for the most part. I just got back home from deep week 1. I'll try to swing back into my regular routine tomorrow. :)

Just a very quick sketch here, testing how playing with opacity might feel in an interactive tour.

It's 10:55pm on Sunday night. Tomorrow is my last day here by Lake Huron. My family has joined me here so I'm on an adjusted schedule until I'm back home tomorrow night. It's been a really cool vibe here and it's taught me how useful this kind of space and time is to me. I'm super stoked I got to do this and it's something I'll try to keep doing. A 'deep week'-ish once a month would be so incredible lol

I spent a bit of time tonight progressing through this onboarding work. Right now I'm making various sketches of an interactive tour through Futureland. There's so much stuff work to do under this problem set but I think it will be really useful to new people trying out these tools. It might be something that has a lasting impact.

It's 10:02pm on Saturday night. I'm still here right in front of Lake Huron. My family has joined me now so my schedule will adjust a bit over the next few days. I was alone most of today outside of a virtual conversation with @bierlingm, which was super insightful.

I made some progress on the improved version of onboarding (which is basically nonexistent right now! lol). This is going to take a lot of sketching to get right and I'll give it a crack each morning over the next few days. Tomorrow my time will be limited though. The idea here is that it might be useful to let new guests choose between a guided and unguided first experience through Futureland. A lot of the material we produce for the guided experience will also probably need to be available at any point for those who just want to read stuff before running experiments.

(Noting this for myself tomorrow) Another simple idea could be displaying specific links in the right navigation. These activities like, 'I want to learn a new skill' could be displayed on the right side for new guests in a way where they can explore or dismiss it. That might be a simpler way of handling this to start and then build off that. It's going to take a bunch of experiments. I think people need to understand what a journal is and all of the components of it but then also understand what's possible with these kinds of tools and behaviours. Just need to keep putting time into this!

Good night for now. See ya in the morning! :)

It's 9:45pm on Friday night. I spent most of the morning and afternoon working through designing a new onboarding experience for Futureland. There's still a ton to do and I'll get another session in tomorrow morning. I had a few break throughs today in terms of making the experience more visual.

I think what happens next is we either take the guest through an interactive tour of FL so they can see and explore a journal in its end state or have them create their own journal and publish an entry or perhaps you show them other journals to explore or all of that. This will require a bunch of thinking and sketching. I think this will be interesting.

Other notes are at times I'm finding it difficult to concentrate. Morning's are easiest to meditate drink water, drink espresso and then get into some deep work. As the day rolls on it becomes more difficult to stay focused. There's nothing that takes my brain out of the loops of the problem sets I'm solving. Like even sitting here alone listening to the waves my brain will continue to try and puzzle together something I am thinking about. Meditation helps a ton but I find there's also value in like things that overwrite my brain in a way like video games. I didn't bring a console set up here but I find that works super well for me. Oscillating between deep work sessions and then quick video games sessions to over write any thought patterns and loops.

I spent a bunch of time working on onboarding today. Most of the time was spent thinking and studying and less time specifically designing. I was thinking a lot about how Futureland should be described. What are the things that someone needs to know when they first start using Futureland? Why do they need to know these things? I think a lot of this work is a good cue for tomorrow. I think tomorrow morning, I'll start by simplifying some of the work I did today and then start sketching out some interactive components of the onboarding experience. Maybe creating a journal and producing its first entry is part of it. Maybe suggesting some journals to explore could be another part of it.

good night for now <3

I made a few new additions to these profiles. Playing with icon sizes, positioning, and a new message icon. There's a lot of work that needs to be done here. @lucas shared a bunch of feedback that I have to factor in to the design of these profiles. I'm on limited design time today as I get settled into this new location. Things should pick up tomorrow though. I'm trying to get some good sleep tonight to start strong tomorrow.

The other thing that might be worth noting is that starting tomorrow, I'll be putting most of my time into trying to improve onboarding on FL. So it will be interesting to see how that affects what I spend my time 'designing'. Let's see what happens tomorrow.


I got up around 5:10am today. I made some espresso and then got right into design work. I got a few hours in and it was good. I focused on trying to get these profiles done. I'm about 2-3 more deep work sessions away I think from closing out a complete draft.

When I woke up this morning I saw that @lucas had created a Deep Work journal. This reminded me how important pomodoros are in my process. A lot of the valuable work I have done has come out of that technique. I have kind of drifted away from it over the last little bit. My process has adjusted a bunch as I work through FL. I feel working through FL puts me in a kind of hypnotic state. Continually creating and reflecting. I brought back the pomodoros this morning and it made a huge difference in my output. I'll continue with that and I think using it in combination to working through FL will help me jump into flow states faster. I'd love to see deep work tools integrated into Futureland itself for quick access. A deep work mode that you can easily toggle might be neat.

Deep weeks

I'll likely write more about this on Futureland, but tomorrow morning I leave for a house by the water that's about 3.5 hours north of where I live (Toronto). It's an experiment to see what happens if I isolate myself from any distractions and immerse in deep work for several days in a row. While I'm there I'll be focusing on improving FL's onboarding, writing and reading. It'll be cool to see what happens and of course I will share the process here. I'll likely have a bunch of open time to think, if anyone is around over the next few days we can video chat and I'd love to hear your perspectives on FL. <3

See you here tomorrow!

It's 10:11pm on the night of Monday September 28 2020. I got up around 6:30am and spent most of my morning / day writing an email that was sent out to all of our subscribers. It's part of an experiment in trying to understand the most useful way to communicate with our users in a period cadence. The point is, today is another day where my design session happened in the evening. In this case my time was very limited. I spent just a bit of time filling out this list view of journals to see if it still feels any good or if something isn't working. Sometimes doing simple stuff like this gives me time to think. I'm wondering about how open journals should be displayed on profiles. If they should be marked in some kind of official way. Open journals belong to the entire community not just a single person, I wonder how we could show that visually. It's still not entirely clear that you can 'join' open journals on Futureland. There's a lot we need to work on.

On Wednesday morning, I'll be heading to a house by a lake for a few days to dive deeper into my creative work. No interruptions for multiple days. It will be interesting to see how my creative output changes while I'm there. I'm hoping to spend most of my time there working on FL's onboarding. I think the set up might be conducive to recording audio and making videos.

I'm going to get some sleep now. Let's see what I can do tomorrow.

It's 10:42pm on Sunday night. I can wake up around 4am/5am every other day because I go to sleep just before 11pm. In other words, I currently make up for the sleep I lack every other day. Today was one of the days where I get up later. So I'm designing now at night while watching a documentary about Buddha. I spent a some time sketching out a way to view all of a users' journals in the format of a list. I also made other little tweaks to icons and opacities on the interface. Let's see how tomorrow goes. :)

It's Saturday night at 10:17pm. A brief but design session tonight making some incremental improvements to the sketches of these profiles. I adjusted the the size and placement of the list icon. It feels better now. I added opacity on all private Journals to differentiate them from the other Journals in the grid. It's funny even these brief sessions add up over time and I often get little ideas that I note and build on later in longer sessions. Integrating this 'daily cadence no matter what' has transformed all of my creative work. I can never predict exactly how a project will get realized, but I know by just throwing some attention at it every single day no matter what it kind of always stumbles towards progress.

I started today's work around 5:30am today. Instead of designing though, I did a bunch of writing about Futureland and got back to everyone who emailed us this week. I'm glad I was able to get back to everyone. I have a bunch of video chats set up and I'm super stoked to learn from everyone about FL. If you want to hang this week or soon and chat about FL or share how you use it and I can share how I use it let me know.

Maybe tomorrow morning will consist of a deep design session. Hard to say. Since I go to bed around 10:30pm / 11pm each night, I find I can only wake up around 5am every other day. Let's see what happens in the morning.

See you in the morning :)

Simple icon addition to this profile sketch. My design time was limited today for two reasons. I got up around 7:30am and my mind was racing with a lot thoughts about Futureland. As I mention almost every day, I do my best design work early in the morning before anyone else is up when I'm still groggy just stumbling over to my Mac. Some days when I start my day without that morning session, my mind is ZOOMING with different ideas for FL. Different insecurities, excitements, confusions. I have a lot of ideas for Futureland, I'm still processing deleting twitter and the experience from our recent email to subscribers. It's putting my mind in a bit of whirl - I'm finding all of it really interesting and it's peaked my curiosity.

Another quick note about waking up that I noted in Early rising. It's not realistic to wake up around 4am or 5am if I go to bed close to 11pm. I can do it one day, but then I'll need to catch up on sleep the next day. So it's just something I'm going to have to keep practicing as I try to move my design time to that early morning session.

It's 10:01pm now. Let's try again. I'll see everyone tomorrow. Thanks for everything you're doing.

I got a decent design session in this morning on new FL profiles. I started by populating these Journals with real information, which lead to adjustments to spacing and the position of text in each of the Journals. Then I started working through how highlighted journals might be displayed. It feels natural that the first row is dedicated entirely for highlighted journals. When a journal is highlighted, it takes up the entire first row with room for 3 more highlighted journals. If no journals are highlighted, the first row just functions as a normal row. I'll continue working through other elements of this tomorrow.

I write a lot about sleep and wake times here because it ultimately determines the quality of my work here. My down time yesterday was 10:37pm and my up time was 4:46pm. The down time is ok, the up time is really good for me. I was able to get a few hours of uninterrupted work in before things start to get more noisy and distracting in my life. I'll try and cut off in the next 10~ minutes and repeat an early start tomorrow.

I am starting to think more about concentration. So many of the things I am working on right now have to do with concentrating my attention in a specific place to work something out. I wonder about how to further develop my concentration. What I could practice that could increase it over time.

Lastly a note on breaks. I think by taking breaks while working on something (entirely letting go of the material I am working on) helps me work on things for longer periods of time and often leads to break throughs as well. There's a bunch of science on the benefits of continual rest and stress cycles and I won't try to link to it now. I can say that the best release for me outside of high intensity cardio is playing video games (which I don't do that often). But it's something I tried to bring back this morning. I set a timer for 25mins to work then take a 5min break. The best 5min break is a quick video game session (I set a timer for this again). I'll have my Nintendo switch on my desk and then I'll just play something and it entirely takes my mind off the work. Then I return to the work once the 5minutes is up. I have specific thoughts on the types of games that work best for this kind of break. Basically anything with very small problem loops. If you're on a 5min break and you're playing a game where you need to travel across like a vast landscape before anything happens - not good. I find the best games for this purpose are ones that give you immediate and rapid little problems to solve.

I have another variant of a redesigned profile developing. There's still a lot to add but it might be coming together in an interesting way. This might seem like simple visual tweaks to the existing profiles but the hope is that all of this is building up to an interesting way of exploring someone's identity 'in process'. Especially, as we allow for the exploration of each others' Stats. I'm just taking it one component at a time here as I give these profiles another pass.

Like I wrote yesterday, the quality of my design output or the quality of my practice in general is ultimately correlated to the time that I go to sleep and the time that I wake up. The earlier I go to sleep and the earlier I wake up, the better everything is. I work best when I start at 4am or 5am. When it's still dark outside. It gives me the feeling of working at night (which I love) but it's ultimately more sustainable for me over the long term. Last night I got to bed pretty early, but had to handle some personal stuff in the morning which threw off my schedule a bit. I'll try to get bed as soon as I can tonight and give it another try. It's already 9:54pm. Better hurry.

I spent a bunch of time today answering emails, which is rare for me but in this case pretty fun! (lol) That means my design time continues to happen in the evenings. Today I spent a bit of time creating a few more variants of journals that could be displayed on a redesigned version of FL profiles. I spent a bunch of time thinking about stats as well but to move this forward in a more tangible way I'll need to put a few more hours into design.

A few additional notes:

I use Futureland a lot myself and through the day I note ideas or quirks I experience. Friends here send me all of the quirks and bugs they find too (which is super useful) and then I process all of that when it's time for me to design. Some times I find it can be helpful to just grind out a lot of design variants as a means of understanding something. Other times, if I do not know 'why' I am doing something I can get immediately lost and confused. When I do not know why I am doing something there is no gravity. Nothing to measure the quality of my decisions. The more I think about the problem set, the more I ask FL users what to do and the more I use FL myself, the less time I need to produce quality design when I am on my MacBook Pro. Kind of interesting how that works. I think that pattern applies to other aspects of working on FL as well.

Also weirdly, the quality of my daily process and therefore my design work depends entirely on when I sleep and when I wake up. I have written about this in this journal a bunch but I think I do my best design work very early in the morning (4/5am), a time which I usually never wake up (lol). Also through repeating the same routine each day, I can see big differences in my work from when I go to bed at 9:30pm vs. 10:30pm or 11:30pm. Waking up super early and finishing most of my routine before lunch seems to yield the highest quality output for me. And I feel the quality of my practice drops a lot in the afternoon and into the evening.


Got into some design at the end of the day today. Building out the profile view in a grid format which is a refinement of the current profiles. In this design, each of the journals is slightly smaller and all of the information is pulled together in a simple way. The user can drag journals around and order them however they would like as well as highlight specific journals. When the user highlights a journal it gets a thicker white border. There's a stats button which will allow you to see a user's public stats which might be an interesting way of exploring what someone is working on.

I wonder about this grid format, I feel like some combination of these large journal icons and a list might be ideal. When you have a lot of journals it can be a lot to scroll through. But maybe that's something that doesn't matter right now. Perhaps adding search functionality here might be useful. I'm not sure yet. For now it might make sense to stick with a refined grid layout. I'll sleep on it.

Sunday night, just a little bit of design time on these Join buttons for open journals. On weekends my time can be limited, but I'm working on it :)

It's Saturday night and I'm just about to go to bed. I spent just a bit of time designing tonight. I still haven't figure out how to unlock those early morning (4am) sessions consistently. With this pandemic, it's likely the easiest it ever will be to figure out. Each day is kind of the same. For tonight, I sat in front of my computer for a few moments and threw a 'Join In' button on a sketch of our interface for journals on Futureland. The idea is to make it more clear that you can join open journals and participate in that process with others. I'm surprised people figure out how to do this on their own. Currently it's revealed through clicking the expand (…) button on the side bar of journals. Not everyone figures it out, but some people do. It's 11:17pm now, so I likely won't be making that morning design session tomorrow but it still feels like I'm on my way to figuring it out. :)

I put a little bit more time into tweaking the full screen entries tonight. Minor adjustments to the text in passive and active states. I still need to adjust how the left and right arrows are displayed here, but I think by the time I wake up in the morning @lucas will have already worked out something cool. With design sessions I find what makes the most impact is time of day and energy levels. Interface design doesn't necessarily flash to me in an instant or something like an insight. I might get an instant insight for something new we should add to Futureland, but the process of actually sketching it out is something that requires concentration. I just need to grind out a bunch of variants over days to figure out the best way to do something. So if my design session happens in the afternoon or in the evening, it's usually a wash. I like stumbling out of bed very early in the morning, making an espresso with my eyes half open and then sitting in front of my Mac barely awake with my head phones on. That's how I get my best work interface design work done. I'll try and make it happen tomorrow.

Adjusting the spacing. I find it is so much easier to design on an external display than on my MacBook Pro. At least when I am doing desktop design. I find the dimensions of everything seem to click better on this larger display.

Added left and right arrows. Removed the entry count from the top right corner. It said, '1/11 Entries'. I'm not sure how useful that is. I'll need to adjust spacing in that area now.

Added the entry's text to the top right in a larger text. Not sure how I feel about it yet.

I did not like how the comments were being separated. Feels better with just a black pane.

As of yesterday, I have been making some kind of Interface for 365 consecutive days. The kind of surprising thing was that I didn't even realize it. I was looking through my Daily around lunch and I saw the number '365' beside Interfaces. I was thinking back to the first time I did one of these experiments with music and then code and how much my life has changed since then. It's pretty crazy to think about. I would have never imagined that doing something for 365 consecutive days would be an almost casual thing. I think after almost 3 years of working this way my mind and life has changed in a way where it can be difficult to remember how hard things were before all of this. Thanks for everything. <3

Might need to tighten up the side bar here a bit more but I'll do that in a different variant. I want to see through a wider one first to see what happens and how it affects the feeling of reading and composing comments.

Just experimenting with how these look. I'll cut the grid out for now as well. I don't think it will end up making sense to show it by default.

Sketching more variants of Journal 'units' on FL Profiles. Nothing I really like yet and that's ok. It's still very early.

I'm starting to work on variants of the Journal units for new FL Profiles. Still a ton of work to do here…

Just working through variants of these Journals on Profiles, might start a new file just to run through a bunch of these variants.

One of the hardest parts about creating these profiles is going to be working on the units for Journals. Just starting to sketch out ideas. This will be a grind because I need to just push through a lot of variants with this to make sure I've thought of everything.

Trying to space this grid of little squares correctly. It feels as though this grid should only be triggered in a certain instance and now by default.

Sketching out how Journals can be listed out on this profile. The height here of these bars is 56px. The draw back of this approach is how do you handle users that have tons of Journals. Perhaps there's some kind of search functionality and the ability for the user to pin specific Journals to the top of their profiles. A lot more thinking to do here.

Developing this variant of a new Futureland profile out a bit more. I've added in a profile picture, username, total entries, total journals and total marathons. The spacing feels pretty good right now I'll continue sketching and see what happens.

This is one layout. In looking at these three components I think the first one can be tightened up a bunch. Let's see.

Starting to think about lay out options for these new profiles. Other components that will require deep thinking are, what elements should be included in these profiles and what elements should not be included. Obviously when you visit a user's profile you need key information, profiles need to function as a way to explore the Journals the user is connected to and perhaps they also need to be a way to understand a users activity. Similar to GitHub perhaps you can see some interesting data on the user's creative output.

Just starting to work on a new design for Profiles on Futureland. It's been a long time since I have had a chance to work on these and Futureland has developed a lot since we created the first Profiles. I want to work through a lot of variants on these so this will be a process. :)

Sharing these updated Journal interfaces with @lucas for feedback. I wonder how much he will hate the dotted borders lol :)

Perhaps the border is solid when you are Shadowing. I'm worried that the black and white here is a clear enough distinction from the default shadow button. Hm.

I'm experimenting with a dashed border on the 'Shadow' button, sorry if you already hate this.

This is how Shadows could look when you trigger it from this side bar. Also here the separation is clearer and how to toggle between seems clearer too.

Some updates to this side bar after some great feedback from @lucas. Making it clearer how to switch between Daily and Shadows. Also removed the date to clear up this interface. Feels a lot better now.

When you toggle over to Shadows. I like the idea of the background changing shades when you toggle between Daily and Shadows to make the different in functionality more clear here. Might be more pleasing to use this way as well.

Working on an initial way of handling 'Shadows' on Futureland. This interface will function as a kind of 'Home' view. It will show you all of your recent entries as well as entries from collaborative Journals where you are a contributor. You will be able to access Daily here (Journals you want to return to regularly) and you will also be able to use this view for Shadows, journals that you are shadowing. It's tough to know how to integrate all of this into our interfaces in a cohesive way. A good starting point is putting these elements in their own place for now to launch the functionality and learn more.

I took 'Daily' out of the menu in the bottom right. I think it is useful that we have this form of prioritization. Users can still navigate to a lot of different things with a single click, but in terms of importance we can put the most used things in the top navigation of the Interface and the less used things in the bottom navigation of the interface.


Added the edit button into the 'Daily' side bar and adjusted spacing a bit. I also added another icon for Daily into the top right navigation. So now there is an icon for Daily and Shadowing. The idea is that you would click them to trigger their respective sidebars on any interface. They will be persistent until the icon is clicked again. You can also trigger these side bars by using your keyboard.

Trying a 3 column layout here, where 'Daily' can be persistent as you are navigating around Futureland. And of course toggled on and off with a keyboard shortcut.

Trying a different approach where everything moves to the right (and closer together) when the daily side bar is trigged into a kind of 3 column layout.


Trying out another variant of this daily side bar but I'm not sure if it is going to work. Instead of being an overlay this one completely blocks out the elements below while still showing some of the elements to encourage the user to retract the side bar once they are done with it. Might not make sense. Hm.

I'm experimenting with making this 'Daily' interface something that can be triggered on any interface in Futureland. This version here takes a blurred overlay approach. Might be too much for right now and I'll try other variants. I'll also try integrating 'Shadows' into the same sidebar. You'll be able to toggle the information easily.

3 icons at the top right of the screen. 'New Entry', 'New Journal' and now 'Shadows'.

Adjusted the icon for Shadows. I could not find anything that was appropriate so I had to make my own icon for now. We might be able to do something neat when a user hovers on this icon.

I was experimenting with an open book icon for 'New Journal' on the top right menu. I reverted it back to the closed book. I also added in a new icon for the shadow side bar. Although it's probably a confusing one to use since Journals have side bars as well. I'll try something else. The idea though is that you can click a third icon at any point and it would show you all of the Journals you are shadowing for easy travelling and reviewing.

Created another variant of 'Daily' on desktop with adjusted text sizes and spacing to more accurately match the other elements on desktop. Hm. Feels better I think.

Adding in missing elements to this sketch of Daily on desktop + adjusting spacing based on using test version. Specifically here I added in the 'Edit' button to rearrange the order of Journals in your daily. I missed that and I think I improved the position of it for this context. All of the elements in Daily feel a little too big to me. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I'll need to use it more and see what others think to understand.

I am trying another side bar variant with the 'Shadow' button. Here the Shadow button is positioned on its own and everything else has more vertical space as a separation. I think I like something like this better.

I'm starting to experiment with integrating a 'Shadow' button on Journals. I moved the expanded menu button up to try and reduce clutter but I don't feel too good about that. I'll need to play around with the position of these a bunch. I will try as many variants as I can to see what makes sense.

It's likely very difficult to notice, but I added a grey vertical line to increase the feeling of separation a bit from the rest of the Interface.

A sketch of Shadowed Journals on the left. You would have to click some a side bar icon to trigger this part of the interface.

Adjusting this additional 'Shadowing' side bar concept to 200px to match the Journal side bar. I'll need to then center the Entries appropriately. Just seeing this through to see how it feels.

Trying to see if I can tuck the list of Journals you are shadowing into another side bar on the left. I just think it's important that you can navigate between all shadowed journals very easily. I imagine something like how Google Reader used to feel. Where you can see everything that has new updates and then quickly cycle through them seeing each Journal pop up on the screen. I do not like the idea of having too many of these tiled views on the Interface so it's going to take a lot of experimentation and just working through this to figure it out.

I spent a bunch of time today thinking and writing about different components of Futureland. Thanks to everyone who is always messaging me and sharing feedback on using this thing. I'm starting to sketch out an improved version of the Activity view, in this concept there's something called 'Shadowing'. Users would be able to Shadow projects, which means they can opt-in to updates on them but the creators will not be notified of it. This would be a careful step in understanding how concepts like 'Following' or 'Subscribing' should or should not work on Futureland.

We have a working version of 'Hints' in the developer version of Futureland. It will likely be in production very soon. While I am hovering over objects on this Interface, you will see 'Hints' displaying more context about everything I am hovering over on the bottom right of the screen. I am very proud of the work we are doing here because it's been a fun collaboration between @lucas and I and also because I believe this is rooted in good design principles.

I'm starting to feel a lot better. The fidelity of my routine is beginning to get back to normal levels. I made all of the 'Hints' more contextual. So instead of saying Journal, in some instances it will use the name of the Journal - in this case that's 'Interfaces'. This way more of the Hints are contextual to the Journal you are viewing. There's some tweaks that I still need to make to this but I think we should be able to ship this tomorrow.

Slowly integrating back into my routine now. My eye is still recovering. I can look at the screen a bit more. I added more hints to these Journals. When you highlight over the text on the side bar on things like a Journal's title, description, contributors, Hints will give you a bit more context about it.

Still resting my eye, but I think I am getting better. Let's see how I feel tomorrow morning. Adding some more hints to 'New Entry' and 'New Journal' button.


Adding more hints to the Journal's interface. I can basically only use one of my eyes right now so it's limiting how much work I can do. This hint is for a Journal icon, which you can change in Settings.


Basically can't see out of my right eye currently so just adding some hints here. When you hover over a comment or a bookmark the bottom tool bar/info bar/'hints' (?) will show you what you are hovered over. The info is currently displayed as, 'This is a comment' or 'This is a bookmark'. It should probably include more context like, 'This is a comment from { }' or 'This is a bookmark titled { }'.

Daily on desktop
This variant is narrower and with smaller text. It's hard to really know what makes sense at this point. It's probably time to start playing around with this and seeing how it feels.

Daily on desktop
I am working on one narrower variant of this before I send these Interfaces over to @lucas for feedback and experimentation.

Daily desktop
Adjusted the sizing of text here and spacing. The text of the date and total daily entries is larger now. The text of the Journal title is a bit smaller. I increase the distance between the last Journal in the list and the Add Journal icon. It might be worth playing around with this a bit now.

Starting to add hints to our new Journals Interface. As I hover over buttons in the menu here, you can see hints are being displayed in the bottom bar. Here the bottom bar is displaying the purpose of each button. We will add these kinds of hints across all of our Interfaces over time. I'm really excited about how we're doing this! :)

Daily desktop
Tweaking the size of the text in the Daily sidebar. Adjusted the spacing of everything in that space. I also decreased the width to 360px and adjusted everything on the right side accordingly.

Daily desktop
Adjusted the text size of the Daily sidebar on the left side. Now I need to adjust the size of the other elements. Maybe the Daily sidebar should be draggable. Maybe that's something we can think about later.

Decreasing the width of the Daily Log here. I centered the feed of recent entries accordingly

Daily on desktop

Playing around with more stuff. So the text on the left in the Daily log can probably be smaller across everything. That whole interface can be smaller. I can decrease its width too. I added the entries in here on the right side of the Interface. A realization I had while dropping these entries in is that this side of the Interface can display your own recent entries AND also all recent entries from Journals where you are a collaborator. This might be super helpful for team based Journals.

Daily on desktop

So much to finesse here still but this gives me a 'feel'. Who knows if that will or will not mean anything as the minutes progress.

Daily on desktop

So much to finesse here still but this gives me a 'feel'. Who knows if that will or will not mean anything as the minutes progress.

Daily on desktop

Yeah something like this probably makes more sense. The width of the Daily log is now 480px here. Also it would be great if I could tag these entries some how like quickly on the fly. Like I don't want to have to write Daily on desktop at the top of each entry but I do need a way of associating this with something.

Daily on desktop

Trying a 48px distance between each Journal on the Daily log. Maybe that's too large, maybe that works I am not sure yet. It's one of those things I think needs to be felt out through use. Immediate thoughts now are that it is very unlikely that I need to split this down the center. So I'll play with some other dimensions.

Daily on desktop

The Interface is split into two. The icons and menu will of course continue floating on the right. I think I will experiment with putting the Daily log line on the left side and then a feed of recent entries on the right side. Immediate thought is that the space in the left side might be larger than I need.

Starting a design session on Daily for Desktop. Adjusting my desk to the standing position. I am trying to disconnect from the idea of sitting while working with multimedia. Perhaps I will let myself sit while writing but any time I am doing something with multimedia I will always stand. This distinction is natural because I use a separate device for writing (AlphaSmart Neo2) than I do for working with multimedia (MacBook Pro). I think this will be a permanent thing for me. Keeping writing on a separate device.

I am starting to work on design variants for 'Daily' on desktop. I'll experiment with a split screen kind of view to start where you see your Daily Journals on one side and a stream of recent entries on another side.

How ‘Occasional’ might look when you expand it. The title highlights in white. The chevron becomes white as well and flips down and then reveals the Journals you’ve added to this section. You can see Add Journal in Occasional as well. I wonder if this is the best way to handle this.

I’m experimenting with displaying an Occasional section in Daily. The way it could work is it defaults to a collapsed state and then when you click the title or the chevron it will expand revealing any Journals you’ve added to ‘Occasional’. You’ll be able to see streaks on all of these Journals and you can move them to Daily whenever you’d like. Or move Journals from Daily to Occasional.

I'm starting to sketch out ideas for a section in Daily that is marked 'Occasional'. Perhaps it is a place to put Journals that you are not entirely focused on but want quick access to. There's a lot of Journals like that for me. Ones where I am interested in them but they are not part of my daily output (yet). I'm experimenting with making the circles and Journal names smaller for ones in the occasional section. I'll need to play with this a bunch more. I'll try keeping everything the same size and perhaps hiding it at first as well. Perhaps you tap and then it reveals any occasional Journals. The other thing I will need to work out is how to add them to the Occasional section. Maybe @lucas has some perspective on that. Once this is done I will start working on improving the design of Daily on desktop.

Hm. Adjusting my approach here a bit. If a user collapses a Journal's side bar, I think we can interpret that as the use indicating that she understand what this Journal is about and wants the information to get out of the way. So the only essential things that the user would need (if she has all the information she wants about a Journal) is the ability to perform strong actions. Viewing a Journal's store, viewing the Journal as a grid or accessing the deeper menu if she wants to share the Journal or access its settings.

Adding the logo and icons into the collapsed side bar, I will experiment with adding the live user icons here but I might need to increase the sidebar width to 80px.

Here's an early look at a Journal's timeline sitting on a side bar with a width of 72px and the Entries in an adjust center position.

So I'm just starting to experiment, let's say that the collapsed side bar on Journals will be 72px and I'll build that out and see how it feels.

Alright, I think I got it balanced a bit more now. Hope I'm right about these dimensions. Back to that collapsed side bar now.

I am sure you won't notice this but I increased the width of the left side bar by 4px. :)

Working on the Journal side bar in a collapsed state. I'm noticing a few little issues with the spacing in my designs. I'll need to correct them before I can really move on from this.

Experimenting with adding a helpful message in the bottom footer. In this case the message is describing what a Triangle is on the Interface. I originally thought these would be like persistent messages but now I think we can actually display these dynamically as additional context depending on what the user is hovering over. We might be able to create a cool experience where a user can learn about anything on the Interface just by hovering over it.

Perhaps when you hover over a triangle (bookmark) it increases in size and displays a preview of the Entry's text like how a Comment works on the Timeline. I worry about two things. Can we get buy with a triangle as a symbol for 'Bookmarks'? Maybe. They can be things like important pieces of information or important events in a Journal. The other thing I'm worried about is whether everything on this timeline is too small. It might be something we need to play around with through use.

What if a Journal's bookmarks were triangle on the timeline? If there's text perhaps when you hover of them they could rotate and then point to the text. Right now Bookmarks are given titles but perhaps they should just display a preview of the text from that Entry. That would make creating Bookmarks much easier. You could just do it from within an Entry menu with two clicks.

I realized something. In terms of noting our own positions on a Journal's timeline, we can use the same symbol as a live user icon. Why should they be different? When you are on a Journal and see the icon of another person live on the timeline it kind of feels like you are in the same space. Why would you not see yourself in that space? We can indicate our own positions in the timeline in the way we indicate someone else's :)

I had to reduce the size of the profile icons when you hover over them on a Journal's timeline. I found this little bug where if they were too big they would collide with the live user icon to the left. I wonder if this size increase is enough. I wish they were bigger but not sure what to do just yet.

If we hover over a comment on a Journal's timeline, how should it look with multiple lines of text? I kept the width of the text preview at 80px and the height is currently 36px (not sure if that makes any sense). Perhaps as this interface is expressed through smaller dimensions the way these comment previews are displayed changes.

Maybe when you hover over these profile icons on the timeline they could look like this. They increase in size by 200% and then you see the comment text in white. I wonder if we should use white or one of the greys we are using on the other parts of the Interface. The text is small so perhaps white is the optimal choice and the entire component functions as a 'link' to that Entry so perhaps using white in this context makes sense. I will need to try and see how this should look with longer text.

Experimenting with an adjusted way of displaying the day as you hover over a Journal's timeline. Here a small circle is used instead of a rectangle. Perhaps a circle fits better with everything else. The date is displayed in white. I'm worried that both the circle and the date are too small. It's interesting to see circles and lines pop up often in these sketches.

Adding in the icon to create a new Journal. Adjusting the icon we are using to see how it feels. I made it grey instead of white to keep more focus on the icon for publishing new Entries.

Seeing how this Interface looks with a longer Journal description. I also changed the link area to 'Website' from a url to keep an exact width. I'm not sure how I feel about this yet. I like seeing the urls but this works for now.

Experimenting with putting the text based menu on the bottom right of the Interface and key icons at the top right.

Ignoring the floating text on the right navigation and centering Entries based on the right edge of the screen instead.

Changed the position of the store and grid icons in the left sidebar. It's closer to the title of the Journal since the icons trigger the some of the strongest actions on the Journal. I also added the 'more' icon into that little group of icons. I'm really happy with that decision because it is out of place in our current design. It feels much more balanced and intuitive here.

Adding the timeline in with circular profile icons to signal that there is a comment on that point of the timeline. You can't see the contents of these little circles but I think the various colours of users profile icons might make this looks pretty cool.

Added this footer in which provides tips and shortcuts for users. I feel good about the positioning of the text. It's aligned with the menu above, 16px from the right edge.

Two Entries here. I need to test this with a variety of Entries but I will come back to that!

Adding Entries back in now and adjusting the dimensions of them while trying to maintain visual balance everywhere.

Playing with the left side bar here. I added 16px to its width and then adjusted everything else accordingly.

I'm working through each component to see if I can make the entire Journal feel more visually balanced. Been thinking about / tinkering with this for a few days now. I'm very slowly starting to form my own understanding of perception and balance. I have a lot to learn. I was looking at the counter in our kitchen the other day and I realized it has similar lines to our Journals. I need to study this kind of stuff more.

Experimenting with putting little profile pictures in each of the circles. Same effect when you hover over. The profile icons will get bigger and reveal some of the comment.

Experimenting with signalling comments with circles instead of the profile image for a cleaner timeline. When you hover over a circle it will display the profile icon and comment.

Fixing a little bug I just noticed with the side bar line overlapping the footer line.

I reduced the size of the icons in the side bar and increased the spacing of them. I think they were taking up way too much space. I also 'slightly' adjusted the grey that we use for body text and in other parts of the Interface.

Experimenting with a little footer on Journals that display keyboard shortcuts and other little updates for users.

Still a bit too dumb to know why this rectangle does not look centered. Ignore how crammed the left side bar is.

In the process of moving things around to see if I can make Journals look more visually balanced.

Adjusted the typography in this 'Thank you' to the same as the 'Upgrade' page. Again a smaller header with larger body text.

A hover state on this little upgrade component. Again not entirely happy with this yet either. I think perhaps the interaction should focus more on that 'Upgrade for' text. I will need to come back to this as I study more.

Added a header. The header is smaller than the body. I am not sure if I am happy with this right now but it is a pattern I noticed on Apple's website I thought I would try it out. I don't feel confident enough yet to make strong decisions about these mechanics so most thing remain experimental. The more I work with this stuff the clearer it gets. I also put the 'esc' for exit' back at the top because we will not be implementing that footer concept this week.

With persistent footer on the bottom. I'm not entirely happy with this yet because I wish the side bar was persistent in some way. Or something. I'm not sure yet.

'esc to exit' displayed on the bottom of the interface. If we implement it this way, it would represent the first integration of a monospaced font since last year.

This is likely hard to see but I am experimenting with a persistent footer on all desktop interfaces to give users tips, display keyboard shortcuts and other processing based notifications. This might help us take some stuff off areas where we display or compose content.

It might be hard to see but this is Jim (@wwwjim)'s interface for Tree Explorer on his writing tool, Reading Supply. You can play around with it here: https://reading.supply/explorer. I have to share this here because it is going to be a major inspiration in the things I sketch right now. I have such huge respect for Jim's work because I feel his interfaces push aesthetics in a cool way while retaining focus on its core functionality. It's rare that I come across a balance of those two things in a way that is executed this well.

More variants of this page. Experimenting with removing the header and moving up all of the text. This gave me the idea of putting all little tips and hints on the bottom of the screen in a bottom bar. We explore this on the publishing interface with word count on the bottom (if you haven't noticed) I think there's more we can build on there.

Trying a variant with larger text and stripping away elements. I have a lot to learn. I think for me producing more variants of everything is essential because it's not just about getting this stuff done but I need to actually go through the process of making this stuff over and over again until it clicks and I understand it on a deeper level. I need to find a way to increase my intensity while working on this :)

When a user tries to publish over 50 private entries without Futureland+, thought this could be a simple way of of notifying them. The content drops down a bunch of pixels and decreases its opacity. Then there's a simple message at the top notifying the user that they need to upgrade if they want to publish more than 50 Private Entries. It is probably worth noting here that unlimited public entries are free in case they want to adjust their Journal to public instead of upgrading.

Just making this quick before I forget to try and make another variants of the Journals that is a bit more visually balanced on the screen. I'll come back to this and I'll also need to find a way to maintain that balances across various dimensions.

Working on a 'thank you' that is shown after someone upgrades to Futureland+. You will notice that there's a rectangle here that says, 'Futureland+ onboarding film in development'. This will likely be included in the design of the page. In certain instances, I would like us to include more unfinished aspects of the Interfaces on the screen like this as a way of signalling what we are working on and also as a way of allowing users to visually see the tool develop. This might be cool if we can do it in a way that improves instead of taking away from the experience.

Giving myself a bit of a break tonight. :)

Getting this concept for a 'plain text' personal website out of my head.

Just starting to think through how a user might switch to Futureland+. A lot to think through here. I actually have no idea how to design this. I need to see how other software has handled this…

This is obviously missing a bunch of elements. I am trying to form a better understanding of when the Entries feels central and in focus and when they do not. So I am stripping away all elements and starting to slowly put them back in to better understand how each element is affecting the Interface.

Made the collaborator icons a bit smaller to fit with the other icons. Changed the date and time convention on the Entry component and made the text smaller. I am trying to figure out how to make the Entry component feel a bit tighter.

Removing the live viewer icon on the collapsed state to tighten the sidebar further into the side of the Interface.

Trying to further tuck in the collapsed state of the side bar to the side of the Journal's interface.

Just seeing how this might feel with Interfaces between the text. Most of finishing the home page is just writing each section, which in this case is the hardest part. It's kind of helpful to sketch out a few Interfaces right now but more useful to just keep writing.


I removed the large sign up text from the bottom of this page since it is already in the top right menu. I think we can highlight it in a more interesting way. The top right menu is also a persistent location available to the user as she reads through all of the materials. I'll think about a more interesting way to highlight. Something moving on the screen would be very nice.

I added a bunch of opacity to the Futureland logo, adjusted the inactive sections to be a deeper grey and change the little highlight icon from a circle to a square which I think works better. I increased the line-height of the text to 28px and adjusted everything else accordingly.

Moving everything up a bit. Not sure how I feel yet. Perhaps other things could be more visually balanced as well.

Imagining a how a user might navigate to different sections of this homepage. I wonder if it makes more sense to put this little list based navigation on the right side of the Interface.

Working on a new home page for Futureland. This will be updated modular. There's a bunch of things to explore and add.

I'm starting to work on a new 'home page' for Futureland. The way I see this project is that a home page is essentially a visual table of contents to navigate the conceptual elements of this project. It's a way of presenting all of the information someone might need to form a complete understanding of what Futureland is. It's presented in a specific way and should eventually be visually appealing while always letting function dictate its form.

Adjusted the width of the media to 480px and centered. Feels better like the media is 'framed' which makes sense if you are just publishing something with out any notes. Once you start typing the media will transition to the left side of the Interface to make room for writing.

Perhaps with no text the media takes up the entire width and is now below the text prompt. If you type something the media will hug the left side of the Interface as in the other sketches.

Trying out putting the media on the right side with a few details about the file so that the focus can remain on the writing. Feels right. I think this should only be triggered when you start typing though.

Starting to adjust this publishing view so that it can accommodate more media dimensions. It also displays the file name and file size now. I am not sure how I feel about this yet because it's kind of cool, but also kind of unnecessary. I'll try another approach where I really tuck the attachment into the side. I also think it should only ever be tucked in when you start typing or if you have already been typing.

Very experimental right now. Having Daily pop out on the right side of the screen on Desktop when you click its icon. Perhaps it can stay there persistently if you want so that it does not take you away from the current screen you are on. There's a bunch of information missing here, just trying to get a feel for if this makes any sense. I will probably have to design a dedicated desktop one to know. Seems like that much screen for this kind of interaction might be overkill on desktop though.

Experimental. Putting the menu in the top part of the Interface to see what happens. This opens up the right side of the screen, which can be used to expand and collapse 'Daily' so you can see it without ever having to leave the screen you are on. Not necessarily liking this. I'll try and integrate the side bar Daily with the existing icon based menu and see what happens.

Dimming the publish button when you haven't typed something. Going to highlight it in green just now to make it clearer and more functional. A suggestion from @pugson.


With media added. It's 720px with decent spacing between the header and the body text. I think we should maintain the auto play aesthetic when you add a video. I've always loved that part of FL.

Increasing the line height of this text a bit. Feels a lot better like this I think

Typing here caused the Journal's name to brighten and increase in weight. FL is no longer inferring that you are publishing to the 'Interfaces' Journal, now it IS the Journal you are publishing to. You can click the Where field any time you want and delete the Journal there and enter the name of a new one.

When you push the 'New Entry' button on one of your Journals or a Journal that you are a collaborator on, FL will infer that you want to push to this Journal. You will notice that in the 'Where' field 'Interfaces' is a dim grey. I can change the Journal by clicking on the Where field and typing in a new one.

When a Journal is inferred like this the body of the Entry will be in focus, so you can just start typing or adding media right away. Once you add media or type the Journal's name in the where field will brighten (become white) and its font-weight will change to bold. I'll show you that in the next screen shot.

Starting to work on these improvements to the publishing interface again. Adding this adjusted menu in to see how it feels. I'll start working on the 'body' part of the interface now.


Had a good conversation with @lucas this morning. Making improvements to this new menu. Increasing the size of all icons, working on different states. Inactive, Hover and Active. Got a good feeling about flow state today.

Perhaps if you are viewing a Journal in which you are a contributor and have a streak in your contributions, that streak will show up at the top of the Interface for only you to view. Here it is displayed as, '211 consecutive days'.

Experimenting with adding store, grid and video chat icons to the collapsed state of this new side bar.

Experimenting with adding the grid, store and video chat icons into the side bar instead of in the body of this Interface

I'm working on creating space for live icons on the new timeline. Once this is in a higher quality and stable space we will start moving it into production and then we will need to start experimenting with timeline position on other places on the Interface to see how it does or does not open things up! :)

Integrating collaborators into this mobile view. Feel way too small to be functional right now. I’ll play with it.


Including Add media and Publish to the right side of the interface to see how that feels. Balanced the date to be in line with those elements.

Added a Publish button and Add file icon. Not sure how I feel about them yet. Generally feel like they need more work.

Adjusting the order to match the mobile interface. I'm not a big fan of that link icon, but let's just roll with it for now.

I adjusted the order of key Journal details, moving the URL higher up so it’s more related to the title and description. I adjusted the spacing of every element to make everything feel more balanced, easier to read and interact with. Also added the number of collaborators above the collaborator icons.

Reducing the size of the icons on the top right. They were too big before and this seems to look cleaner.

This view shows detailed information on a Journal. It is triggered when an icon is tapped. You can leave it by tapping the icon again. I wonder if that’s intuitive enough.

There’s Settings and Share buttons on the top right in case someone wants to edit or share the Journal.

Added a little link icon beside the URL in the side bar. I hope this is not getting too noisy.

I adjusted the order a little bit here. Changed 'First entry' to 'First' and moved it closer to the total number of entries to make it easier to draw the connection. I increased the spacing of the url and the collaborators as well to accommodate the change.

Adding some details about the 'First entry' in the side bar. It gives you a quick insight into when this little digital space started, which is always nice.

A quick adjustment. I remembered that we need to include some icons on the top right that allow you to globally manipulate the entries in a Journal (put them in a grid) or interact with the Journal in a different way (support or purchase something off the Journal)

Adding a large Journal icon and collaborators icons to the top of this Interface. I imagine right now they will all trigger the same thing. A full screen view that includes more details on the Journal. I tried to make these icons large to consider the contexts we use our phones in. I use the other icons 'comment' and 'more' a bunch on mobile. I think they are too small but they don't bother me that much right now. It works for now but it's something we can definitely tweak to make it a bit easier to use. In time.

Adding grid, video chat and store icons to the Journal. Not sure how I feel about this yet but it should work for now.

Adding some missing components to the side bar. I have included a space for the url and also added an icon for an expanded menu that will reveal things like, 'Copy link', 'Tweet' and 'Settings'.

Imagining a simple hover state on this arrow. When you hover over it with your mouse the arrow will turn white and the word 'Collapse' will appear in a satisfying way. Perhaps similar or the same as the way the entry menu is revealed.

I'm making some subtle tweaks to this. The timeline is now shifted to the right of the entries a little more. I'll need to continue o play with this and to really know if it makes sense we will need to implement version of it to get some tactile feedback. But I like how we can more deeply connect the timeline to the entries and also remove it from the far left placement that suggests that it is a global set of controls.

I also added a left arrow under the Journal information that allows you to collapse this information so that the interface is more focused on the entries and the timeline. I'll need to work on a collapsed state. I'll get to that in the morning.


Quick tip from @pasquale, moving the timeline closer to the entries. He also suggested messing with adding it to the other side real close almost hugging the entries.

Killed the outline around the Journal icon to differentiate it from the collaborator icons and to not muck around less with people's work.

Expanding on this side bar concept. The idea here is that this opens up a lot more space on the screen. You can hide or show the details on the left of a person or a journal.

Slight adjustment to the position of the menu on the right that you probably won't notice!

Moving the profile icon and the section titles to the left. Feels more like a desktop application this way. Might be a better use of space

Adding this timeline component in so I can get more of a contextual view into this. I need to find a way to show the profile icon, stream and journals in relation to this timeline a more. Profile icon needs to be bigger.

Moving the profile icon and the section titles closer to the content to see if everything feels more balanced on the screen.

Stream and Journals back on the side with an adjusted weight and size. Profile icon is now the focus removed user name for a cleaner view. I adjusted the size of the + button by the right menu to match the profile icon on this interface.

Information on a user can only be revealed through a click. It is not permanently displayed. It's interesting to see but it is not the purpose of Futureland. There's a lot of implications to what we show here so it's something that we will need to play with and have the courage to kill when it's not working.

I moved the Stream and Journals section links back to the top with the icon and user name shifted to the left. This is starting to feel right but I need a degree of implementation to see how all of this feels. I also adjusted the menu back into the top right. I raised it a bit into the top of the Interface. Also need to see how this feels but I want to tuck things into the sides as much as I can to slowly work towards making this feel more like a desktop creative application.

Lowered the menu on the right to see how that feels. Might be interesting and perhaps more useful don't know yet.

Spreading out the elements across the screen more. Seems like this is moving in a better direction.

Sketching this stream view on mobile dimensions to see if it gives me any ideas. Kind of does. I increased the text size of the output/entry header to match the larger text on the rest of the interface. It makes me want to hide those icons some how or adjust them in some way.

A menu is trigged with the expand icon is clicked. This is something we can build on and improve but could be useful to design this way for now as we are learning.

Adjusted the sidebar icons to be in the top header of the entry which seems to be more intuitive and cleaner on the screen. There's two icons now. One for comments and another to trigger and expanded set of actions. This is helpful because we can put new interactions in that little menu as we learn more about how people want to interact with each entry. I think we can make that little icon that triggers the expanded menu kind of fun to use!

Adjusted the date and project component on the entry header to adopt our existing style which is simpler and cleaner.

Needs work! Trying to figure out how to best represent this Journals on the screen. I can use no icon, an icon or the media from its contents. the current version shows media and I think it's cool

Adding a spot to search through someone's Journals. It is text that simply states search and the user's name. When you click it, it will highlight white and blink with a cursor to signal it is ready for input.

Experimenting with adding labels of disciplines on the right side of this projects view so you can sort someone's projects (journals) by discipline. This would mean Projects/Journals can be tagged. This allows you to see the different kinds of things a person is making with his computer, films, animations, software, writing, music and so on and then navigate through their work with that understanding

Just starting to think about how to organize a person's projects (or Journals) on Futureland. It's a bit of a tough thing to figure out because we're moving in a direction with the volume of someone's creative output is expanding exponentially. What is the right way to organize all of that. How do we use projects to express our identity? Why do we use projects to express our identity? What is a project? I'll need to write about this a bunch tonight before I can start some more squares on this thing!

Adding a simple little highlight on whatever section of a Profile is selected. 'Stream' or 'Projects'.

Adding a profile photo to the top, I thought I could get away without it but doesn't feel right for some reason.


Added three icons to the right of the entry now. Increased the width of every line of the comment icon.

Adding a link button below the reply button. So now there's kind of a tray of little icons beside each one of the entries. Could work.

Experimenting with moving the publish button to just below the top right menu on FL.

Just starting to sketch out ideas for updated Profiles on Futureland desktop… need to get my thoughts down first

I really enjoy the design of https://reading.supply and I'm a huge fan of Jim's (@wwwjim) work in general. I often find myself GEEKING on whatever he's making!

I enjoy this interface a bunch. I like how it uses the entire screen and it feels a bit like a desktop application or a creative tool. It's something I'd love to see us do more on FL.

Made improvements to the spacing and text size of this interface. Events should be more independent and readable now in this variant. I need to make a comment badge for these little reply / comment icons.

Just a subtle to the text when you make a new output / entry to a project. Reverting to shorter text.

Making some more simplifications to this interface. Adding some descriptive text back in and adjusting the placement of everything. Also a new comment icon. I will try and make another variant that highlights how many comments there might already be in a discussion.


Another variant. Trying to reduce focus on ‘self’ by removing profile images. Maybe this puts more focus on the content and less focus on the presentation of identity.

Trying to integrate a reply / comment button. This seems like it might be working.

An output / entry takes a large part of the interface. I might be fine with that for now. I like the increased focus on conversations here. Telegram was a useful reference.

Still working on this Public Activity interface. I’ll need to get this top bar right and perhaps everything else will fit into place from there. I’m trying to value conversations over outputs / entries in these variants to see what I learn.

Just starting to experiment with putting more focus on comments / conversations in Public Activity on Futureland.

- Maybe if you drop a single emoji on something, it displays the output in context. Usually when we use a single emoji like this, it's because we simply dig something!

- Maybe when you write a comment with more text, the text is given primary emphasis since you are now sharing thoughts and ideas which is its own contribution.

A couple of things I need to finish on the Mobile interfaces so we can get that out to users, but I need a bit more time to think about it. So I'm just starting to little file and sketch together in preparation for desktop improvements. In a bit of a rush tonight! See ya in the morning on this stuff!

Working on an update interface to start new projects on mobile screen. Been struggling with this one this morning, but maybe kind of getting somewhere now. Apple's files app is a continual reference.

Working on a new project component for mobile that's triggered from the Log and other places. Pretty obvious there's still a lot to do!

Making some adjustments to the colours of this stats view. Just trying to make this interface simpler, while amplifying interesting high points.

Started reading about Zen specifically, 'Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind' by Shunryu Suzuki. I have been thinking a lot about how I can integrate some of these ideas into the way that I design interfaces. Many of the ideas are similar to what I experienced in my own learning experiments. But of course here they are much more refined and clear.

Slight adjustment to the spacing of the day, date and total outputs to try and create more symmetry. Something @pugson caught while looking at these interfaces. I think it looks a lot better!

In the Log, I am trying to increase focus on the present day and on your own creative process.

Focus on the present day

You will notice a large heading at the top which tells you what day of the week it is. Your total outputs for the day have also increased in size so you can quickly glance at it and see where you are at.

Focus on your own creative process

I've tried to make it easier for the user to focus on her own creative process by bringing images of recent outputs into this Interface. As the user is publishing through the day this interface will fill up with recent images from the user's creative process.

Also I found this green on @tmm's website: https://meagher.co. I like it a bunch.

Wondering how Futureland’s log might look if it was more focused on the present moment. It would be great if it also helped keep your attention on your own creative process and nothing else.

Haven't looked at this interface in awhile. It's cool and I think there's a lot we can learn from it. I'm super stoked to get back to designing for desktop once some more of this mobile web stuff is done. There's a bunch of ideas I want to try that might be interesting!

Also @tmm you had a huge jump in contributions from 2016 to 2017. What happened? lol

Putting stats on the bottom now opens this interface a bunch. I haven’t added a line that separates the bottom menu from the primary content yet. I wonder if it can work without it?

I'm enjoying a bunch of things about this interface. I like the sizing and layout of things a lot here.

Removing the top bar and adding labels to the bottom menu + adding a persistent floating publish button opens up the space on the screen a lot. I’ll play with this across the other interfaces. Seems like a big improvement!

Experimenting with a new top bar. The hope is a more delightful visual as well as a clean integration of a back button. I don’t like using this purple highlight too much, I feel it’s a bit of an overdone kind of thing but it obviously works.

This is a simple take on a project specific stats view. It’s not the best variant yet but it might do the trick just to start. I’ll need to adjust how we think about the top bar a bit to make it easier to go ‘back’ on Mobile.

I find that documenting my progression through an interface like this is really helpful. Each time I try something new in any part of the interface I create a new variant. Every now and then I will zoom out and look at all of the variants. Sometimes I will take something from a previous one and integrate it into a new one. Or by looking at each of the variants I can see if what I am working on now is truly an improvement over what I did in the past.

Working on interfaces that show you more data on your specific projects on Futureland.

Adjusted the header here again and adjusted the icon placement of comments and share. I’ll probably play with this icon placement more. The heading seems like a bit of an improvement.

A more minimal header which I think might look better. Perhaps things fade as you scroll. Perhaps that’s a dumb idea for web mobile! Not sure. There's big spacing here from the content to the header. I'll need to play with that too. Sometimes looking at other stuff and then looking at these interfaces again helps.

Playing with a stronger separation of the top heading. Not sure how I feel about it yet! I’ll try variants with this for sure.

Playing with the spacing of these two little lists. I’m not happy with this yet but it seems to work for now. Maybe they can both be converted into visuals similar to above. It might be more immediately useful that way.

In the Daily Active Projects section, I could probably move the outputs over by another 8px - 16px.


Starting to experiment with showing Daily Active Projects in the Stats view so you can get a sense of which projects you are focusing the most at any point in time.

Added a little moon to the Average Publish Time. Alternatively would be a little sun if the average was an AM. Not sure how I feel about it yet. It might be helpful to become more aware of whether your work is happening at night or during the day.

Some quick sketches on integrating a 'New Project' button into this Interface. Not happy with any of this yet!

I don’t mind how clean this screen is. I like the narrower selection buttons at the top. Also like how the top line is longer than the others. It’s a pattern I’m noticing in iOS lists. Maybe it’s everywhere but it makes sense.

Added average publish times to this Stats view of Futureland’s Log. This is something I’ve always wanted to know because I want to know when I’m working I. The night and when I’m working in the morning. I wonder if there’s any patterns here. The average time is useful to me because it serves as an overall indicator of when I’m doing my creative work. For a long time I’ve wanted to shift my creative time to very early in the morning like 3am - 9am to see what happens. I haven’t been able to do it yet but it’s something I think about a lot.

This interface needs a bunch of work. The Average Publish Time section might be useful enough in its current state but I’d like it it was more visual. If there was an immediate way to see if on certain days you’re working when the sun is out and others if you’re working when it’s late at night.


These lines feel too harsh I’ll probably try and ditch them tomorrow. I might add some kind of graph aesthetic behind the bars. Maybe not though might be over kill for now.

I’m done designing for today.

Adding a way for you to dive into more stats on specific projects. Apple’s screen time is a heavy influence.

Experimenting with something I am calling dots. They give you the ability to quickly track anything you want in your Log. The ideas is that you can use this for things that you want to track data on but do not want an entire project for. An example could be water intake. The more I use the Log in my work and my life, the more I want it to reflect all of the things that are currently important to me. I want all of this in one place.


Added a toggle button on this interface to switch between your finder view and your stream (all outputs). Also changed the height of the toggle button to be more narrow. I might play with this on the log as well now to see if it works.

Adjustments to this Finder view on Futureland to make it easier to manipulate on mobile screens.

Folder layout in the iOS files app. I enjoy the spacing and sizing of things here. Very large and useable on a smaller screen. When you contrast this kind of an interface against the the Finder view on the Mac, you really get a sense of how differently we manipulate interfaces on each of those screens.


Software is a tool. Something that the user should always control and manipulate within their own creative process.

Throughout iOS, people - not apps - are in control. An app can suggest a course of action or warn about dangerous consequences, but it's usually a mistake for the app to take over the decision making. The best apps find the correct balance between enabling users and avoiding unwanted outcomes. An app can make people feel like they're in control by keeping interactive elements familiar and predictable, confirming destructive actions, and making it easy to cancel operations, even when they're already underway.

- Apple iOS Design Guidelines

I was chatting with some friends the other day about why using an iPhone can feel so much more personal than using a Mac. When I was growing up, the ability for people to immediately understand and manipulate an interface was not a common thing. There's been so much progress in software design since then. I think this paragraph on Metaphors from Apple's design guidelines starts to get at why:

People learn more quickly when an app's virtual objects and actions are metaphors for familiar experiences—whether rooted in the real or digital world. Metaphors work well in iOS because people physically interact with the screen. They move views out of the way to expose content beneath. They drag and swipe content. They toggle switches, move sliders, and scroll through picker values. They even flick through pages of books and magazines.

- Apple iOS Design Guidelines

I have been studying Apple's Human Interface Guidelines, starting with their iOS Guidelines. There's a subtlety to the language that is really easy to miss. I enjoyed this paragraph on feedback within an interface:

Feedback acknowledges actions and shows results to keep people informed. The built-in iOS apps provide perceptible feedback in response to every user action. Interactive elements are highlighted briefly when tapped, progress indicators communicate the status of long-running operations, and animation and sound can help clarify the results of actions.

- Apple iOS Design Guidelines

Maybe I'm just a huge nerd. But I dig the convergence of elements here. It's really cool to think about where software is at right now and where it might be going.

Playing with an adjusted top menu now. I don’t particularly like text on top like that but it might make sense for now.


Experimenting with adding a third button to the bottom menu here. This changes how I think about the top menu a bit in these interfaces.

Making some minor adjustments to this overlay while on the phone. I adjusted the font size to be a bit more readable. I also added a small arrow to the left of one of the folders. I'll expand on this tomorrow. I'm designing with sub projects in mind.

This is a variant that is standing out to me right now. I've made a subtle adjustment to the radius of the buttons that most won't notice, but I think it's a lot better. The publish button gets a separate color treatment than the bottom menu buttons. I also reduced the weight of the line separators on the bottom and top menus. Again subtle but important to keep your focus on the middle of the interface while still creating a feeling of separation where it matters.

I moved the publish button to the top right of the Interface which opens up a lot of flexibility in the bottom navigation. This makes a lot of sense for our current requirements. Now I am sketching variants of this top menu. When I sketch out variants, I get a stronger understanding of all of the variables of the component. What matters and what does not matter. What I know and what I do not know.

What is the ideal design of the output component on Futureland? I'm starting to sketch out variants of the component to understand what makes the most sense. It's one of the core building blocks of these interfaces.

I also adjusted the top bar to have a smaller profile picture. I added a line separator as well. I'll try adding the publish button to the top right of the mobile interfaces to see how that feels. It should open up more flexibility in the the bottom navigation.

Getting closer I think. The text is probably too small for people who aren’t me!

I'm starting to sketch out other components of this updated Activity view on Futureland. Something about it is not working yet. I'll make some variants of this comments object and see what happens.

Adjusted the menu on the bottom to be simpler. I don't see a reason to exaggerate anything right now. Probably need to adjust that down arrow on the Log to something more memorable.

I am working on Activity in our mobile interface this morning. These are straight forward variants of the output component. The same as the existing component but with subtle visual refinements. Text size has changed. Character spacing has changed and I've tweaked all greys.

I'll start thinking about how else this can be improved now.

Mix of grey and black. Cool how the line separators don’t carry all the way through to the icons.

Reproducing this Twitter tray to understand it better. I learned a bunch about spacing objects on the screen and also how to handle the character spacing of text at varying sizes. You can increase the character spacing when dealing with smaller text and decrease it when dealing with larger text.

This might be an obvious insight, but it's cool coming to these realizations in your own way.


I am still creating variants of each component. The menu tool at the bottom is far from complete, but I'm digging this change from green to purple to mark projects that have you added to for the day.

Starting to generate variants of each component in this Interface as a way of thinking about what works and doesn't. Or what works best and what works just a bit.

Added an outline around the profile image, needs work. Playing with variations of how it might look if a particular icon is selected in the bottom menu. Not sure how I feel about it right now. Maybe it needs to feel more alive or something.

Adjusted the top buttons to be text instead of icons with a slider inspired by iOS. Starting to build out the persistent bottom menu. Not sure how I feel about the size of the + button yet. The profile image should link back to the user's profile but that probably needs to be more obvious.

Digging the way this outline pops or something. There’s a subtle shadow around the bottom that is nice. A cool mix of greys.

Experimenting with an adjusted menu button. And a tray of buttons at the top of the interface depending on what you are viewing. I'll need to see this on my phone to see how it feels. Might be a dumb idea but I'm kind of digging it for now.

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman

Two of the most important characteristics of good design are discoverability and understanding.

Discoverability: Is it possible to even figure out what actions are possible and where and how to perform them?

Understanding: What does it all mean? How is the product supposed o be used? What do all of the different controls and settings mean?

I've started studying, 'The Design of Everyday Things' by Donald Norman. It's been brought up with me a bunch of times. Pretty cool so far.

Really dig the spacing and sizing here. I wonder if that little line separation has to be there. Button size is neat. I like how compact this whole component feels.

Thinking a bunch about rounded corners. Integrating them into the Log on Futureland to see what I learn.

Really dig the way this looks especially the shadow under the album cover. It hangs a bit lower than my brain expected. Makes me happy

Studied Twitter's input component a bunch today and started interpreting insights in my own way.


Working through this reproduction of Logic Pro X. I think it's interesting at least on Interfaces like this how buttons are grouped. A group of buttons is a small collection of everything a user might need when they try to transform something in a specific way.

Starting to work on reproducing the interface for Logic Pro X. This is going to take me a bit. On Mac applications the buttons follow the same pattern. There's a slight adjustment in Logic Pro X, the buttons are a bit lighter and larger than in other applications. The shape remains relatively the same.

There's subtle details on the buttons that I can't figure out how to reproduce. I can't exactly match the grey right now. And there's a flatness to the button that is hard for me to replicate for some reason. It's bothering me a lot. I'll keep messing around.


Finishing up this reproduction of Safari. The difficult part for me here was the icons which I repurposed from other places. The most learning was in how you can use greys and gradients to create a metal like feel where the controls of the browser are. I'm just starting to see the parallels between industrial design and the interfaces of Software. Still have a lot to learn.


I started reproducing the Safari window tonight. I might have accelerated this video too much, but I find that reproducing Interfaces like this is one of the best ways for me to learn and think about things on a deeper level.

I use the same approach when reading. If I want to really understand something from a book or from somewhere on the Internet, I transcribe every line and make notes during that process.

In general I'm curious to see what I learn from reproducing the interfaces of a bunch of Mac applications. Things like, Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro X, the finder window, notes, etc.

I'll work on this more tomorrow.

I was chatting with @pugson and he suggested adding a component to the top of the Profile stream that allows for composition and inputs. This seems to make sense. I am not happy with this interpretation yet. The right one will take some time.

A component like this might be useful on all of your projects as well.

I was talking to friends who use FL yesterday about the Log. A common note that came up was, "Why is my Log always empty?". It is not currently clear how to add Projects to the Log. Currently you click an arrow that points left and it reveals a drop down menu. I thought maybe using an equalizer icon might be more fitting. Maybe it should be on the right side of the interface instead of in the center. I have always seen the Log as something that allows you to bring your projects in and out of focus.

The Log works well for me and I use it every day. I think there's value in starting to slowly tighten it up. I would love to one day see a visual of the times I usually publish on Futureland. It might create a heightened awareness of my behaviours.

Starting to think through basic sketches of a grid that displays recent outputs from projects and people you follow on Futureland. I don't have much time today, so just getting something down for reference really.

A thing to think about is what might be most important. Highlighting a project that has been updated and letting it oscillate through outputs or displaying the latest output it self. The text currently displays a preview of the output's notes which I think makes sense and provides the closest relationship to the creator who published.

Naming this open space 'Stream' instead of Outputs because the things you share here will not just be 'Outputs' but could be any artifact from your process at all. The name can obviously be changed and I figure you'll tell me if you hate it.

I also added a Follow button to someone's profile. Maybe on Futureland you can Follow a person and everything they publish or just a specific one of their Projects.

All of this is experimental.

Had a bunch of conversations today. One of them was with @emu and he talked a lot about how he wished there was a 'thinking space' on Futureland. A space to share various artifacts from your process or consciousness that might not be part of any project yet. I thought this made a lot of sense. There's a lot I want to share on Futureland, but I don't always have a place for it. I started to share this concept with others and the response was immediately positive.

So I started sketching some interfaces for a feed that shows all of your outputs including random ones. The idea is that when you visit someone's profile you can see all of the projects they are working on but then flip over to an 'outputs' view where you can see a feed of every artifact from that person's process. A place where it's fine to be messy. And when an output / artifact is associated with a project it will add a project tag that you can click.

Not a fan of calling this feed Outputs But might be a good place to start.

Continuing a train of thought from last night. When you hover over this Project object, the object illuminates since it sits on a black surface. Still not working yet, but I think the concept of illumination is directionally correct.


Another night just kind of thinking about design and looking at objects, designing random things. It's been interesting and I feel like I'm finally starting to dive into this in my own way. The main thing I was struggling with was how to break down design into something that I could relate to and process in my own way. How do you break down a feeling into components? I started to find some kind of answers by looking at physical objects more in various light conditions and asking how I feel or why it might be designed the way it is.

Still have a lot to learn.

Spent a bunch of time just studying interface design tonight. I've been thinking a lot about simple icons that fulfill multiple purposes. It might be something that we can incorporate more into Futureland.

Working on an Interface for updated project settings on Futureland. It's part of connecting Futureland projects to Twitter threads.

Later night than I wanted. Making some improvements to this design for how direct messages might work on mobile. Added a button to the top left that will trigger your conversations to slide out from the left. Still thinking this through the. Not sure how I feel about this icon. And need to review other elements I might be missing.

An interface to connect everyone learning a specific skill

I added icons to see if it makes this view more informative at a glance. At this point I think the most important events are when someone new starts a project, when someone creates something or when a user interacts with another project. I still think the spacing is off here but maybe it's good enough as a starting point.

Functionality for the future that I was thinking about was, what if there was automatic grouping of users learning the same skill. For example if you decided to learn how to code you would automatically be connected with 3 others in some type of group chat. Just something to think about in the future.

An interface to connect everyone learning a specific skill

Thinking through how this might look on mobile. Definitely not happy with this yet. Just feels off and like it is missing something fundamental. Within the activity portion of the Interface it's difficult to just glance at the view and quickly understand what's going on. I have some ideas and I'll play with more tomorrow.

An interface to connect everyone learning a specific skill

Adjusting the location of the Join button. Moved all primary content lower on screen. Moved key information about view including number of projects, number of outputs and number of users to the top left.

This is an interface that attempts to connect anyone learning a certain skill. I added number of users to the info in the top right corner and I added a Join button to the center of the Interface. Not sure how I feel about its position yet. I might think about this on mobile to better understand how something like this should work.


Tonight I started working on a new interface. It aspires to connect everyone who is learning a certain skill. The general idea is that once you decide to learn a new skill, you should be able to turn on any computing device and immediately be connected to everyone else in the world who is learning that skill right now. I am limited in my abilities as a designer here, but I think on a conceptual level this could be really cool. There's a lot to work through.

I am thinking maybe we start by trying to connect everyone doing #100DaysOfCode projects on Twitter and see what happens.

Slight adjustment to the project view. Integrated total project outputs with Twitter share and link copy buttons.

Adjusting project design to display the total output number at the top. Adjusted position of Edit project text.

Making some small improvements to profiles. Adjusting spacing of key information and adding a space for a url.

Working on direct messages on FL. Finishing remaining empty states, adjusted the input field to be more readable. Talked to @lucas and made some decisions on when @ for users is used on the Interfaces and when it isn't.

Empty states for direct messages. Added new message icon which triggers a search function for you to select who you want to message.

Making adjustments to the direct message design based on early sketches of a mobile use case.

Added a subtle input prompt for this direct message interface, input styling and send button which only appears once you start typing. Switching back and forth on font styling. I think this is cleaner and better.

Starting to explore subtle improvements to the output component on Futureland. Specifically, trying to make who's publishing more prominent. This is still very very far off. Have to experiment with various output types and profile images. And just trying to make it better in general.

More work on a list view for profiles. Starting to experiment with using small rectangles and then anchoring attributes like output number and marathon state just slightly outside of it. Need to see how this looks with longer project descriptions. Still not there yet but I'll experiment more. Maybe there's some aspects of the Log that I can incorporate here.

More work on a potential list view for profiles. This still needs a lot more experimentation. Obviously real world project data but also what's the best to highlight outputs or Marathon projects. The part I like about this is the simple distillation into text.

Starting to think through what a list view might look like on projects. I think this might be useful for users who have lots of projects on Futureland. This sucks right now and it needs a lot of work. I'll experiment with more.

Thinking through quote blocks on Futureland. This needs work, not sure how I feel about it yet but it's a start. It's funny I'm doing this for the first time ever in my life.


Starting to add more contextual real world data into these markdown styles to see how it feels. I ended up changing the code block, adjusted the colour of the text and made the background darker. These code blocks might not be ideal in terms of contrast on low performing displays, but I think I like them. I'll need to play with this more though and get some more perspectives.

Getting down my own thoughts on a little Mac app for Futureland. But definitely not working right now.

I have been using the new log concept daily and adjusting the design based on my experiences. Design now includes a quick reflection of yesterday's output when you open the log for the first time each day.

Adjusted the design of the log so that you can add new projects to it without leaving the Interface. And added text that explains the purpose of the log when a user opens it and has not added any projects to it.

Adjusted spacing and label positioning on stripped down version of Log. Starting to work on a desktop version now. I'm thinking, since there is more space - should other things be included? Should be integrated with another view. Not sure.

Stripping this down so we can implement and start playing with it. @lucas put something together already and we've started using it to see what works and doesn't work. Really stoked on this.

Really excited about this concept. I've started sketching out a new tool for Futureland that we're calling, 'Log' for now. The idea is to have a single and immediate daily view that shows you how you're doing across everything you're making and learning using Futureland.

It will show you things like: a streak for each project, the last time you added an output and perhaps how many outputs you made that day. I think this could be really useful tool, especially when connected to Futureland's other components.

Working on a component for 'windows' you use when setting up new projects. Definitely not working yet. I need to do more research and find some interesting references for this.

Working on components for fields. I'll think of a few more here. Pretty straight forward right now. I'm not happy with the disabled / inactive states yet. I feel like they could be more interesting some how.

Thinking through button concepts. It's really helpful to break down a set of Interfaces into components like this. But I still have a lot to learn. And I think there is a separation between components and mechanics in the Interface if that makes sense. I'm probably using all of the wrong language, but I'm having fun and want to understand this a lot more.

Starting to design from the perspective of components. This is something I need to work on and study a lot more. I'm really stoked to dive deeper into this soon.

Working on Profile settings for Futureland. My days are super busy right now and I have a little bit of time each night to design.

A little bit more work on a new settings menu. Adding hints and explanations. I might have to cut these down a bit.

Thinking about how we might express thoughts, insights or random artifacts that we are learning about our users on the Activity page.

Super busy day almost forgot to design something. Was walking to bed and then had to turn around and turn my MacBook back on. I'm sketching out a new login screen for Futureland and for some upgrades we have coming to authentication in general.

More work on a text based activity feed. Not a fan of this blue, but not sure what other colour to use to retain a functional feel yet.

Thinking through a simple text based representation of various kinds of activity on Futureland as a means of exploring for now.

More thinking into how to highlight projects that have outputted across 365 consecutive days. Wondered if it made sense to call these projects 'Marathons'. I tried the word 'Skill' but it didn't quite make sense, because skills are not limited to the results of these projects. Hm, maybe the word Marathon could work in this context. What do you think?

Thinking through text only outputs on Futureland. Should the text be limited and then expanded or always show in full view?

Thinking through some kind of verification and highlighting for projects that have outputted across 365 consecutive days. Open to any feedback on this. I'll be putting a lot more time into Interface Design in general over the next bit.

Quick sketching through a concept where you could a model of the Earth to explore various projects happening around the planet. To make this work, Earth would have to be visualized in a way where some of the information is removed. Things like clouds and colours may be unnecessary. The idea is that you would explore projects by geography and based on what you see you might connect with the projects in various ways.

Random sleep chart thing, thinking about sleep… limited time on outputs for this month but still making very mediocre stuff

Sketching out more random concepts for how someone might explore projects on Futureland on mobile. Kicking the can as usual

Resting this weekend, made something random. But it was nice to just click around and not think a lot.

Wondering how users can explore projects on mobile and explore Futureland in general on mobile. Kind of lost with this right now, probably need to spend some time writing about it / studying interface design on mobile a bunch more.

Super limited time tonight. Started thinking through how users might explore project Journals they are subscribed to when viewing Futureland on their phones.

Making more adjustments to this home page concept for Futureland. Trying to simplify it and remove elements to see how it works. Also increasing its width.

More thinking on an adjusted home page for Futureland. It puts more focus on the question we're trying to answer which is becoming the nature of this experiment in general.

Sketching an improved version of the home page for Futureland based on some good conversations

Early thinking on how we might handle subscribing to projects on Futureland and how someone might view all of the projects they are subscribed to

Don’t have my Mac so sketching some pretty terrible interface ideas on my iPhone.

Something I’ve been thinking about is how should a feed work on Futureland? I don’t think it makes sense that you would see an output out of context among other outputs out of context. Perhaps the feed would just be a display of projects you’re interested in that have been recently updated and you can decide to go into them to explore further?

Spent most of my time working on a film about Futureland today. Just seeing how a video might fit into this concept.

Adding a table of contents to this concept that explains the history of Futureland and other data.

a sketch of a page that explains the current state of Futureland, aspirations, hypotheses, challenges, data.

Trying to eliminate the pop up window when users are adding collaborators to Journals.

I'm still on a limited schedule but I played with this a bit more, randomly dragged the comment window out to the full width of the image and its kind of interesting.

Trying to make more visual improvements to comments. Not happy with the way this right now…

A little more work on this onboarding concept. Spent the whole day writing code. I'll probably take a break from this for now because something about it feels off right now. My mind is pretty occupied by with some code I'm trying to work out.

Working on a new visual onboarding concept for Futureland. I'm feeling pretty good about this. The idea is to create something that feels like a video but occurs right on the Interfaces that the user will be using. This could be an interesting way of sharing the purpose of each Interface and its components.

Experimenting with more visual on boarding concepts. This still needs a lot of work but I'm getting a better sense of how to handle this. It's kind of like a video that explains something, but each component of the explanation is triggered by a click in a visually appropriate location.

Starting to think through some visual onboarding concepts for Futureland. A lot more to do here.

Early sketches on some kind of project based feed for Futureland. A lot of work to do here.

Making a few more improvements to the home page concept. I'll work on this more tomorrow.

Thinking through more improvements to Futureland's home page. I need to make a video assets to continue to get a feel for this. I'll probably do that tomorrow.

More thinking on how to handle comments, what if I force everything to the right side? I still have a lot to learn about screen design in general.

Sketching out new improvements to Futureland's homepage. Updating all of the Interfaces to display the current iteration of the tool, considering how visitors might be able to explore projects and building out components that show various use cases. I'll need to start making a few videos to progress further on this update.

Thinking through how a new user might select a profile picture when they first start out on Futureland. I'll need to start thinking through a settings menu soon.

My friend and filmmaker Karl Kai came by the house today. He set up his profile on Futureland - futureland.tv/karlkai - and gave some really good feedback on the tool. It was a lot of fun. This oscillation of working all day on something and then opening that something up to feedback in the evenings has worked really well for me in Film and it seems to be working well in Software as well.

Here I'm thinking through how we might realize some improvements to the timeline on the Project Journals. I'm really excited about this.

Worked on a bunch of different Interface improvements today in Sketch. This is an Interface to create new projects on Futureland. It's a system that was created when we were trying to figure out how new users would register for Futureland. The concept is we cut to a full screen Interface that is hyper focused on a singular purpose in certain key instances. Here we are repeating this system when a user creates a new project on Futureland.

Spent a few hours working on improved interfaces for some upcoming changes to Futureland.

This is the longest amount of time I have spent designing in a single day. It was fun, I'm learning a lot.

Working on concepts for a new homepage and project creation workflow. We made a lot of progress on this today.

Sketching some ideas for handling audio on the output editor. Had a good session in general today working on Futureland interfaces with Lucas.

Here I am working on an improved login screen for usability. It's an easy Interface to use but everything is too small on the screen right now. Then I spent a bit of time thinking about buttons. And then reworked the publishing view again with the results of my button experiments. I'm liking where it is going. It seems like the more I strip away elements and focus on spacing, placement and size, the better things feel.

Tomorrow Lucas Fischer, a software developer arrives in Toronto from Germany. We met on the Internet about 45 days ago. I rented a house for us in a cool neighbourhood in the city. We'll be living together for a month and working on Futureland. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

I'll write more about this tomorrow.

I am still tweaking the publishing view. I started removing more elements, playing with the typography and weight. I adjusted spacing as well and had a lot of good conversations about UI today in general. It's interesting how detailed it is and how much you have to just keep playing with things until it starts to really work. It's just like learning other disciplines as well in that you have to be willing to make a bunch of terrible things before you make good things. This can be harder when it's visual. Most people don't want to be seen as someone who lacks taste or aesthetic sense, but the reality is that it's about combining patterns, learning from references, understanding people and computers. The idea that you can just start organizing all of those things into coherent Interfaces is not realistic. It takes time and it takes practice. You have to make a lot of things and see what happens.

Still reading about interface design and applying some of those lessons to sketches of the publisher on Futureland. I'm still learning about visual hierarchy and the appropriate ways of emphasizing something, often by de-emphasizing something else.

Tonight is my last night Mexico and I'll be flying back to Toronto in the morning for an intense January and February.

I spent a bit of time studying Interface design before creating something in Sketch. I did this a lot while learning how to code, reading a lot of books and creating at the same time. I think a natural transition is happening in which I'm starting to put more focus into design.

For something to feel designed, it has to feel as if a lot of thought and consideration has gone into each material you are seeing. When something feels 'designed', it's as if it 'knows' you in some specific context. Perhaps quality of design = quality of thought expressed through materials.

Spending some time thinking through how users might interact with someone else's project. There's still a lot of work to be done here.

I also need to start spending more time studying user interface design in general. Both the technical operations of Sketch and various design philosophies as well.

Thinking through improvements to the upload interface. Making text bigger, changing the word 'push' to 'upload', increasing the size of buttons and refactoring the layout of the audio interface. Will continue experimenting with this over the next few days.

There's a lot more I have to study and experiment with, but I'm learning a lot.

Limited time today. I spent the time that I did have thinking through elements for the audio interface on Futureland. I'm so used to putting most of my time into writing and studying computer programming. I need to figure out how to put more of my time into designing Interfaces.

In a way it seems like making interfaces is a new medium than writing code. The way we interact with computer based devices has changed so much that it seems the interface design industry is still learning what's possible and makes sense on all of these new screens and the contexts they enable. Whereas; the computer programming concepts underneath these devices have been the same.

I spent a bit of time tonight thinking through an audio interface for Futureland. The interesting thing about Interfaces is that they need to look attractive and be functional. I can't imagine how a designer could nail both perfectly on a first attempt. Perhaps you start making an interface a certain way because you believe it ought to function that way. And then by watching someone else use it you see many of the subjective ideas and beliefs you brought into your design. Now with this new knowledge and awareness, perhaps you can make something better.

It seems if you want to make things that people love using, you have to get good at observing the world around you. Asking, "what is so special about the things we universally love?" and then regularly translating those observations into materials until you find the answer.

Thinking through how to handle the selection of multiple outputs to add them to a collection or delete them. I've worked out two different concepts here so far.

(1) the user would select a bunch of outputs and then 'groups' would appear that they can add them.

(2) the user would select a bunch of outputs and then an input interface would automatically appear where the user can just start typing and it will auto complete with existing projects that the user can push to. I also created a new concept for a delete button.

There's a lot to fit on these Project views. It's an interesting challenge trying to figure out how to keep a particular view focused but also 'fast' meaning whatever a user might need is immediately available to them.

It seems you kind of have to predict what the user is going to do on each view. It definitely helps to use the tool yourself.

Experimenting with a new way to view outputs on Futureland that puts more emphasis on the content and functions as a timeline. As you scroll an indicator the left will display the date. Perhaps it could go back beyond a year to show progress over multi-year time scales. For example, I am still coding every day beyond 365 days. Or perhaps it functions as a central feed of user's output across all projects as far back as the beginning.

Starting to think through how users might publish audio to Futureland using a web interface.

Various interfaces I worked on or refined today while working on web publishing for Futureland

More thinking on how project selection / tagging might work when users are publishing outputs on the web. I like this simpler approach.

Some quick thinking on wire frames for how projects would be displayed during publishing outputs…

Quick mock up of confirmation after a user adds authentication to their accounts. I'll probably scrap this.

Thinking through Interfaces that help existing users enable authentication on their accounts.

Spending a bit of time thinking through web publishing. I'll work on this more tomorrow.

Ridiculously simple login page to start running some experiments on user authentication

Another version of a simple on boarding screen that is displayed once a user starts a project on Futureland Alpha.

Thinking through a concept where after a user starts a project on Futureland, the screen goes black and a text message conversation starts with the user.

Making improvements to the Interface users see when they are starting a new project on Futureland