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Marcin Wichary @mwichary
, 48 tweets, 16 min read Read on Twitter
Fascinated by UIs that accidentally amass memories. One of them is the wi-fi “preferred networks” pane – unexpected reminders of business trips, vacations, accidental detours, once frequented and now closed cafés.
Another? The alarm page and its history of painful negotiations with early mornings. (One of these, I’m sure, was for a lunar eclipse; another for sending a friend in Europe a “good luck” text.)
I like that both of these places require you to coax your memory a bit to remember.

What else like this is out there?
Ah, that’s a good one. For me, it also doubles as a list of people I love (and sometimes send gifts to).

(Just like recommendation systems some of them can be painful, reminding of people, places, or events you’d rather not remember. It feels worth thinking about non-obvious aspects like these as designers.)
Oh, wow.

Ah, yes, that’s a good one! Definitely the weather app.

Ah, the last one here is so interesting. You see the last thing you talked about, sometimes unresolved, often not worth addressing – but the tricky part is once you message again, the other person will see it, too.
Another good example that all of these UIs are used by people and often acquire emotional layers:
This is a good one. The purpose of starring on Maps might be often taking a note for the future – but the side effect is that those places starred and already visited often linger forever.
Okay, this one is simply poetry.
Oh, I haven’t seen that avatar UI pattern before.

On my first iMac, the Photo Booth app served a similar purpose – a collection of ad hoc portraits taken on average half a year apart, documenting me getting older.

Okay, whoa. Talk about a plot twist!!!
I feel that just like it’s easier to see changes in people we don’t see very often – rather than in people we hang out with all the time – stateful machines or software used infrequently can involuntarily portion our lives into arbitrary chapters.

Another beautiful example:
iTunes, whose tired, behemoth-like UI carries the weight not just of every Apple music endeavour starting with the first iPod, but even the souls of abandoned iOS apps.

My Gmail Drafts is half blank pages created by mistake, and half really hard emails that I never could get quite right. Sometimes a draft is just the name of a friend next to a past date, and that’s enough to remember what was it meant to be about.


Oh, I love this.
Thank you for sharing this, I hope it’s okay to quote tweet it into the main thread:
As long as we’re going technical, for me it’s git branch names – filling up with abandoned projects and explorations, made harder to recognize by the fact that my branch names are sometimes vague words like “test” or “whatever”.

Yes, yes! Compared to desktop, Chrome and Safari on iPhone make it much harder to realize many tabs are open and don’t get slower because of them; I myself have hundreds of accidental tabs between the two, the earliest ones going back many years.

This is a fascinating interaction.

Open Recent in any application you don’t use very often. My computer is relatively new, but even then here’s Sketch, reminding me of a project from over a year ago.
Whoa, this thread has been written up by both @jkottke and @nickheer on their respective wonderful blogs, with even more examples within:

This, this, this, yes:
(This, for example, is me standing in front of a construction site in Tokyo in February – doubly beautiful since my mom tells me I used to be obsessed with construction sites when I was very little in Poland, something I personally have no recollection of.)
A few people mentioned Bluetooth speaker or peripherals pairings:
Great example of an unexpected interaction of two different components. “The photos are forgotten are until you accidentally use spotlight to load Photo Booth instead of iPhoto!”
I wonder whether there has ever been a piece of software that understood that it’s been offline for multiple years (e.g. its programmers thought about this situation).
Oh, that’s a good one. You can’t even shred those any more! —.—
Which reminds me! Bruce Tognazzini highlighted long time ago how the design of a trash icon on Mac and Windows has a fatal flaw: it looks worse if filled, prompting people to empty it, thus actually reducing the usefulness of the only thing it was meant to do!
Contrary to real-life trash, onscreen trash can gets more and more useful the longer it stays *not* emptied.

The design of the delete function – even details like this – can heavily influence how long the data sticks around. For (in this case) better or (in other cases) worse.
Oh, wow.
I’m so happy people are still sending nominations for this thread.
Always so much joy and pride when something you make gets onto MetaFilter.

…and many wonderful examples inside. “I occasionally get a spam from a dead account formerly owned by someone who broke my heart to pieces. It tiny-kills me all over again.”…
Two more highlights:

“Oh, one of the biggies for me is Google Hangouts, still cheerfully reminding me that long lost friends are offline.”

“My Netflix viewing history is interesting to look through. I can tell when I was sick and/or depressed.”
Memories in the digital world come with a heftier price.
Ah, this is a really good one. The text message notifications from rarely used services.
Uh. That last bit feels pretty awful.

There might not ever be a better tweet to end this thread with. Thank you, everyone!

(I’m going to add a few more examples that I got recently.)

Here’s a funny one:
This one is heart-breaking:
An example of a UI that understands what passage of time means to people:

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