I'm Aza Raskin @aza. I make shiny things. I simplify.

I'm VP at Jawbone, focusing on health.


Order from Chaos: Future Web Directions

My talk from FOWA. It is, I believe, the first talk ever to use seven consecutive slides of static visual noise.

It’s a talk about solving security problems with people, Ubiquity, making fun of people, and leveraging design with inspiration. You also get to see me attempt to overcome technical difficulties.

I’m very interested in feedback about how I can make the talk better. If you’ve got any suggestions, please let me know and I’ll try to incorporate them.

RT @aza Order from Chaos: Future Web Directions | Follow @aza on Twitter | All blog posts


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@Everyone: The slide show doesn’t actually start till 7:05.

My sympathies. It’s sad that presentations without technical issues are the aberration.

It is a sad that your Firefox addons and settings can’t follow you to another computer.

If you’re on someone else’s computer and you’re used to having ubiquity, mouse gestures, or whatever installed it’s like having a hand tied behind your back.

On a side note: I have to turn off addons frequently due to performance problems, it would be nice if I could easilly see what my addons are doing and what their performance drain is.


Sorry, but it’s terrible in terms of visual distractions. Heaps of stuff on screen and this dude fixing the laptop… Really hard to focus on what you saying mate.

Aza Raskin

@Art: Yeah… sorry about that. I’ll try to get better video for the next presentation I do :)


It could be my computer, but is this video supposed to look like a stop motion video? Doesn’t do it on all vimeo videos, only the ones for this guy about fowa.

Sebastian L Lewis

@jimmy, Not sure what the problem is but I have a lot of problems with Flash Player myself, usually when it overheats my laptop. If you copy and paste the following URL into Quicktime Player (File >> Open URL or command u) or another video client that supports H.264 and AAC that might solve your issue with this specific video.


If you still have a problem there then it might be an issue with H.264 decoding performance.

Nice talk aza. :-) Hard to judge due to technical difficulties and the resultant spanner-in-the-works, tough to be in your shoes! Hope the following are not too negative:

_Perhaps some more large-scale structure? It felt a bit ambling to me, I’d personally prefer something with either some clear sections, or many perspectives from a single point, or a linear story
_Lots of ums! (I blame the technical stuff)
_I know the hat is a bit of a ™ but on stage it hides your face in shadow
_The old stage technique of not walking and talking at the same time might be worth experimenting with. Watching you walk and talk I found a little distracting
_A bit more acoustic space might be great. S Jobs is great at this, sets something up, takes a drink of water, lets the crowd simmer. Silence is another musical element, as they say ;)
_Looking back to the screen is best avoided (I know – technical issues!)
_Maybe instead of laser pointer, try a zoom into a particular feature you want to point out. Laser pointers sometimes dont come up on videos (you did have one?)
_The animations in 23:55 are cute, but I found them distracting
_Would love you to stick a copy of the slides up here are well, to let us at home click through them as you do.

Hope this is not too negative, I found the content good, but the structure/direction kind of confused me!

Scott Newson

I agree with keith on the point of using silence a bit more.

On the other hand:

-I wasn’t bothered by the hat or the walking while talking. I wonder if I’d more or less bothered if I was watching from the live audience?

-With a screen that size and that far away, its hard enough to watch it and you at the same time. And looking back at it makes the point that now you want people to look up at the screen.

-Experiments with zooming during a presentation would be neat. I’d be concerned about it being distracting or difficult to implement while talking. In general I feel that having to use a laser pointer during a presentation is bad form, the slides should be simple enough to be explained by whatever you are saying without you having to point the audience at every word. The one exception to this might be when you want to point out a details in an image or mockup. In this case a pointer makes more sense than zooming in because you get to keep the context of the image.

Very interesting talk overall though! The comments about designers and engineers were very meaningful to me and my context.



@Sebastian thanks for the tip, unfortunately its just my crazy old mac mini that is the problem. Once I get my imac back I”l be sure to check the video out.

Aza Raskin

@Keith and Scott: Thanks for the feedback. Silence is a powerful rhetorical tool. I’ll try to use it more.

I didn’t have a laser pointer — clearly something was wrong if you guys thought I did — but the zoom technique sounds intriguing.

Great talk Aza,

Right at the point of one of the technical mishaps you were mid way through a point that I really wanted you to finish.

You started to say something about how all designers should be programmers so that they understand how the computer works. Obviously you didn’t finish this statement so I am really curious what your philosophy is on this.

Personally I am not sure I agree if this is your entire statement. In my opinion I think because developers have been the ones designing software, it is for this reason we are where we are. No offense to developers because they are a very important clog in the wheel, it just that they do think like a computer not like the average human. Thus designers (mainly interaction designers) are essential if we are every going to make computers work they way humans think.

I am becoming a big fan of your work and your ideas because you think out of the box and your innovations make sense. Some of the could use a more intuitive interface but none the less they are very cool.

To me designers and developers think from different sides of their brains and thus in most cases both are necessary and each should focus on what they do best rather than trying to do something that is unnatural to them.

So please finish your thoughts on this, I am very curious.

BTW – I love the concept of ubiquity but I often get confused with what I am supposed to do next after I have acquired my results. i.e tinyurl – I see the results but often struggle trying to get the results to go some where else.

Simple things like copy and paste (old style computing) don’t work thus it gets frustrating. Feedback on this as well would be nice.

Keep up the awesome work.
~ Christian

thank you ، fuull nice

It could be my computer, but is this video supposed to look like a stop motion video? Doesn’t do it on all vimeo videos, only the ones for this guy about fowa.

If you’re on someone else’s computer and you’re used to having ubiquity, mouse gestures, or whatever installed it’s like having a hand tied behind your back.


On a side note: I have to turn off addons frequently due to performance problems, it would be nice if I could easilly see what my addons are doing and what their performance drain is.


Simple things like copy and paste (old style computing) don’t work thus it gets frustrating. Feedback on this as well would be nice.


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