Slow & seamful

"Seams afford moments of pleasure, revelation and beauty."

  • I've been a member of Uncommon for a couple of years, their well-considered perspective on slow has made its way into Composure in various ways. I was won over immediately on my first visit to uncommon.cc, which was designed to be slow and "seamful" by intention. Contrast this to the dominant model of business and design, optimizing for more, "seamless,"and  faster everything. From their new initiative called Slowly Together

"Slowly Together isn’t an argument about why slow is better than fast or an anti-technology manifesto. Nor is it a paean to minimalism. It doesn’t presume that everyone has the flexibility and income to make certain choices.

It simply asks us to make room in our lives for being slow, to find the pace and rhythm that sustains and enriches us. How that expresses itself is unique to each of us - it might change how we approach meals or how we use technology. It might mean finding more opportunities to walk instead of drive or welcoming meandering conversation whenever the opportunity exists. It may be as simple as making each moment about just one thing."

  • But of course, the smartest designers have been talking about "beautiful seams" for decades now ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

"And this leads us, finally, to the concept not of the seamlessness of designed experience, but of “beautiful seams.” 

This term was coined by the late Mark Weiser, a pioneer of ubiquitous computing and the Chief Technologist at what was at the time the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Instead of the discourse of smooth, distinction-obliterating, disempowering seamlessness which was then (and is to a significant degree still) dominant in discussions of ubiquitous information processing systems, Weiser wanted to offer users ways to reach into and configure the systems they encountered; ideally, such seams would afford moments of pleasure, revelation and beauty."