I’m Reuben Stanton. This is an intermittent blog of relatively random things: thoughts about technology, reflections on my life and work, and some historical stuff.

My ‘real’ website is here, and I tweet intermittently @absent

Monthly Archives: February 2014

Good bye Melbourne, once again

This post is an experiment in using the WordPress iPhone app, hence the brevity – the app seems ok so far… though I haven’t figured out an easy way to add links yet…

I’ve just about to leave Melbourne for a few months, first to Perth for 3 weeks, followed by 2 months traveling around Spain. I’ll be posting here sporadically when I can get wifi.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been really busy with PhD preparations, some really interesting new iPad work, a few prototypes… hence the lack of updates – I hope to write up some of this in Perth this week.

So I won’t be doing any programming while traveling, but I do hope to do a lot of initial design work and thinking for the PhD and a few other things… I’ll do my best to write about them here when I can.

Time now to finish packing…

Mind reading

When I am reading online and find a great article that I don’t have time or inclination to read immediately, I use Instapaper. It’s great – I just hit my “read later” bookmarklet, and then I can easily find the article, or (more often than not) download it in text format to the Instapaper¬†iPhone or iPad app and read offline – on public transport, in a cafe, on the couch. Instapaper is a great idea, and has been very successful for its developer Marco Ament.

For a while now, I’ve also kept a folder on my bookmarks bar in Safari that I use to save videos (YouTube, Vimeo etc) that I want to watch, but not right away. The folder’s name is “Watch Later” – kind of my own lo-fi version of Instapaper for videos. When I find a video I want to watch later I drag the link into the folder. When I finally get around to watching the video (or decide that I don’t really want to watch it after all) I remove it from the list.

So anyway, today I was reading a blog, the blog post contained a YouTube video, and I was just about to copy the link to save to my folder when I noticed a new little button in the top right corner of the player. Watch later it said. My brain did a little jump РOMG Google just read my mind.

Now, I know that YouTube has been playing around with playlists for a while now. (Hitting the “Watch later” button actually adds the video to an automatic playlist which you can access when you are logged in to YouTube). Because of the same use of language (“Watch later”), and because I’d been having that exact thought at the time that I saw the button, I didn’t care about the mechanics of the action – there was no “what does this button do?” moment. I just wanted to watch the video later. I pressed the button.

This is one of those instances where language is extremely important in interaction design. The button could have said “add to my playlist”. It could have been some obscure icon. I would have ignored both. So much of my positive reaction and hence my willingness to try a new feature was tied to the fact that the software was speaking my language.