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Today’s Web is a shopping mall.

It is populated by struggling creators, relentless advertisements, and dominated by large chains and fast-food services.

There isn’t much room for mid-sized businesses, and customers and workers alike barely interact with each other.

You don’t feel comfort at this mall, all you can feel is annoyance and despair.

Let’s instead imagine the Web as a fertile farmer’s market, full of countless vendors selling local produce.


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There’s a good chance that this decade will be remembered as the start of the decentralized age of computing.

Blockchains are already being applied to hundreds of new decentralized apps, protocols, and systems meant to replace existing monetary systems.

New technologies like decentralized finance and cryptocurrencies are experiencing tectonic shifts in short periods of time. Stability in the industry will bring new tools that can benefit whole new sectors. The healthcare data industry is one of the largest opportunities for these rapidly maturing systems.

Healthcare has already been turned on its head dozens of times. But decentralized systems have the…


I’ll be working with Mozilla to help reshape the economics of the web in 2021!

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I have been granted a Mozilla Fellowship for 2021!

I have been writing recently about the future of digital currency, including micropayments and new models for creator compensation. In November, I hosted the Future of Micropayments conference, an online event focused on possible paths forward for these new financial models. I’m excited to continue this work next year with a Mozilla Fellowship, made possible by Coil.


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Fixing the web involves taking care of Creators.

Creators have three options for surviving online: closed marketplaces, recurring subscriptions and invasive advertising. It’s time for something new.

You’re in an arcade.

This arcade has a million machines.

Instead of coin slots, the games have different payment methods. Some are ad-supported, frequently pestering you with annoying pop-ups. Others won’t let you play until you enter your credit card. Some require a monthly subscription, and the rest have an up-front cost that is too much for casual use.

Some people will pick a few machines they like, and most will give up. Why can’t you just pay a quarter for a quick match against a friend? …


Have you ever found yourself turning on a light switch or opening a window without even realizing you were doing it? So much of the everyday technology in our lives has been simplified to the point where we hardly even notice it, even as it takes up larger portions of our daily lives.

Our culture has become so used to “Walk-By” interfaces that we accept them as part of everyday life. They’re stable, robust, and user-friendly. They have reached a certain kind of technological maturity, unlike newer web-based inventions which are still developing.

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Pass-through technologies like light switches get people to their goals without them needing to focus on the interface. Flickr: saaby

With COVID-19 driving us indoors and into…


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Speaking about “Designing Human Technology” at CES’ WPP Terrace with Cleve Gibbon, CTO of Wunderman Thompson (Photo by Vanessa Camones)

This was my first year speaking at CES, the 100,000+ attendee strong technology trade show in Las Vegas earlier this month. I spent three days visiting companies on the trade show floor, at invite-only press events, and in hotel rooms.


Designing for fancy new technology can mean we ignore the elegantly practical tech we already have

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“The Incoherence Of Bluetooth Pairing In The Early 20th Century” by Zimpenfish

You’re probably familiar with a scenario like this: You get into your car and all you want to do is pair your phone to the car through Bluetooth. But to do so, you must wade through a whole menu of items, put each device in pairing mode, and fail a few times before they finally pair. The same goes for pairing a speaker or other devices.

If you’ve already resigned yourself to this situation as just an inevitable inconvenience of the modern world, let me tell you a story about what might have been — and what could still be.


AR has been eagerly awaited for decades, but so far, it has failed to truly deliver

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Augmented reality demo featured in M. W. Krueger’s book ‘Artificial Reality II,’ 1991.

What you’re looking at above is the state of augmented reality nearly two decades ago. It’s also a clue as to why, today, Magic Leap is reportedly looking for more venture funding after having already raised more than $2.6 billion from Google and other Silicon Valley giants but has little to show for it beyond an expensive AR headset that’s rumored to have unimpressive sales. It’s also a cautionary case study for Apple, which is reportedly planning a launch of its own AR headset line in 2022.

This ’90s demo has a strikingly similar interaction model to Magic Leap’s user…


Tech that looks cool in the movies is often distracting and frustrating for real users

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Amazon’s Home of the Future consists mostly of voice-activated parlor tricks. Photos courtesy of the author.

Science fiction visions, especially as presented in movies and television shows, have infected our approach to UX and product design. They have nudged us to mistake visualizations that were created for maximum dramatic appeal for solutions that are feasible and desirable, especially over the long term. What looks cool in a science fiction film is frequently frustrating, distracting, and convoluted to use.

I recently got a chance to preview Amazon’s “Home of the Future.” It was the oldest thing I’d seen in years. You can see why in this photo I took of the interior: Sterile and impersonal, it looked…


We’re creating new technologies without giving thought to the danger they could cause if they fail

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Electricity is such an integral part of our everyday lives, we hardly even think of it as a technology. There’s a very good reason for that: Decades of careful regulation and planning across many industries and levels of government have worked together to make electricity pervasive, rarely prone to outage, and as safe as humanly possible. But somehow this approach is rarely followed in current technology development — even for products and services where failure can, like electricity, lead to extreme danger, and even death.

A few years ago, for instance, I got a sneak preview of an upcoming luxury…

Amber Case

Design advocate, speaker and author of Calm Technology + Designing With Sound. Research Fellow at Institute for the Future. Caseorganic.com

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