Susan J. Robertson on “Aging Out” of Tech

I’ve been thinking about tech and aging lately. It feels so much like a young person’s place to be, with the emphasis on spending all of your time learning and working, be it paid work or side projects. I’ve been the oldest person, or one of the oldest, at most places I’ve worked the past few years. And recently a friend talked about aging out, specifically in regards to being a woman in tech, making plans for what to do next since she knows so few older women in tech. It got me thinking, a lot. I realized that I hardly know any women over 45 who are still working in tech. It’s less than the fingers on one hand.

Susan writes about her particular experience of being a woman in tech, but over the break I found myself thinking about many of the same things. I quite enjoy learning new skills, but I also find myself rejecting the implicit assumption that by participating in tech culture I must devote all my free time to learning and staying on the cutting edge.

I feel that tension more often these days as I move deeper into a role that is weighted heavily towards management (as opposed to writing code). I worry that the further I get from day-to-day coding, the less portable I become in the tech economy. I also wonder how much tolerance I have left for an industry that overwhelmingly values novelty and aesthetics over accessibility and usefulness.

Jorge Arango on Design Artifacts

Loved this graf:

It’s easy for us to fall into the trap of believing that artifacts are the design. I’ve seen situations where stakeholders specify upfront the types and quantity of “deliverables” for a design project, with no regard for what they will be used for. Designers willingly comply because they, too, tend to measure their progress based on the wireframes, sketches, prototypes or whatever else they’ve produced. This is a mistake. Artifacts are communication tools. They’re a sort of language we employ when communicating intent; a means to create ​a feedback loop between the design team and others in the world — which is to say, a means for bringing others into the design team. Using the wrong feedback loop with the wrong audience at the wrong time can do more harm than good.

(Via Kevin Hoffman.)