Creating modular tools for users to build their own workflows and interactions

”Each person’s mind works a little differently, and each person remembers and processes information a little differently. I think we all work at our best when we work with tools that fit how our minds work.”

When other people build tools for us to use, they either design tools after their own workflows and mental models, or worse, they design it for a mass market of millions of people who all sort-of-but-not-really work and think in similar ways.

Building tools for others usually means the creator builds for their own workflow/mental models: universal design. We create tools that work OK for the majority, but great for no one.

Tools you build yourself can grow and change as your workflow changes over time: less of a sense of digital permanence

Are our tools extensions of who we are? At what point does it just become a part of our mind? Relevant: the extended mind hypothesis

Cool Approaches


Defining everything around workflows rather than applications.

Verb-noun-modifier approach (e.g. Find mentions of Dogs in my notes)

Extensive use of the command palette, smart context-based dropdown filling

In conventional App-driven operating systems, functions are segregated within different Apps. The process of moving from App to App generates friction that takes you out of flow, and distracts you from your intentions.

Notifications are off by default unless you specific your availability in the rules of the space (really valuable esp in an attention economy)