Mar 10Liked by TfT Hacker

I love this concept! Several threads here:

- we learn to use a tool by watching other humans use the tool as well as trying to use it ourselves. this is why I love pair programming with other developers. I learn far more by watching the way they interact with their machine and structure their work and think through problems in a whole-life way. see the apprentice/journeyman trades system in history, etc.

- digital spaces make it difficult to learn from others by watching. we have our own private glowing rectangles, isolated in our own rooms. even youtube videos of people working are highly edited / curated, not truly useful for learning how to use the tool.

- this is similar to ethnographic research. sitting with users while they live their lives and the tool usage takes place in context. there are some good works on this sort of thing in anthropology / sociology.

- basically, every product team that actually does their job well inherently does this. they enter into the WORLD of their user and place their software in context. unfortunately, this excellent research is trapped inside of companies in their internal wikis, their private video archives. for example, the Muse team did extend user research before building the first version of Muse. if only this research could be shared!

- We started experimenting with "workflow walkthroughs" during Tools for Thought Rocks sessions, where someone spends 5-7 minutes showing off how they execute a specific workflow, such as "taking notes in a meeting" or whatever. It's not feature focused or tool focused, it's the workflow, which usually consists of one or more tools used in tandem. It was enlightening to see what people actually did! But the default was to slide into describing "features" of the tool - which is not that helpful. "Let me watch while you do it."

I would love to somehow see this idea of a shared repository of workflows come to light! I think we could all stand to learn from it, whether you're a tool user, a toolsmith, or a researcher.

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I love this idea of shareable workflows.

Even though you mentioned it wasn't what you were suggesting, there's absolutelly also something to be said for shareable workflows for users between tools (portability and discovery)!

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This is explorative effort.

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