Unusually useful

Cover of Unusually useful book for the web

It never occurred to me that one day books could be seen as the new vinyl records. It is surprising how fast technology is perceived to displace printed books that were here for hundreds of years. But also depressing when we have to admit how temporary something like knowledge has become. One day we learn one new thing and the next we have to unlearn it and make room for something new.

It is a well-known fact that the more we have from something, the less valuable it becomes. To what extent then have we devalued reading as an experience by merely publishing more and more literature? It is an interesting question.

To say that you are a reader today and that you still go through all material manually already places you at a perceived disadvantage compared to people who claim to use speed reading or find their own data mostly from their own data-mining activities. Why seek books for an hour in the local library when billions of search results appear in less than a second? We seem to arrive at the interesting bits faster than ever before, but does this mean that our understanding has improved of how we can make them immediately practical?

The books today seem to focus more on technology rather than human needs. After all, the technology is the one that changes much faster. But this then makes these types of books more useful. Today, it is hard to imagine who would interview 50 different people, organize, structure and present their thoughts in a compelling, non-repetitive and accessible way to produce a book like this. Perhaps this "vinyl" book needs an update.

But it also led me indirectly to this question: What would be "unusually useful" for a web designer today? How have the variables changed which make a website successful?

Have we made the web more "unusually useful" as a result of being more knowledgeable or do we insist now to be "responsibly responsive" (and after 10 more years something else)?