Today was the first day staying at my new place. In the morning I bid farewell to my friends who are leaving for Mexico during two months and generously left their home for me, and I went to the nearest study hall. It was hot and had cramped quarters, but is perfectly fine for me, and I dedicated the day to fix the things I had broken moving fast. Once I saw I had the game in working order again, my enthusiasm renewed: I think I’m shaping a good product.

One thing that had me vexed was the ceaseless fiddling with the colors, or more accurately: the information hierarchy of the visual design. I just couldn’t figure out what was more important and I found myself going back and forth options. Finally walking to the study hall, it came in a flash: I can’t figure it out because I’m thinking in terms of visual systems. The hierarchy is changing because the state is changing. When I hover over a shape, I want it to gain prominence. Simple enough. But when I press it, I want to know where I can drag it. The focus changes to the target. When I release the shape, it moves to the target and I’m back to the initial state. With some more subtleties I was able to reason out the proper hierarchy for each state, and I saw that the color scheme I had envisioned had proved insufficient for the hierarchy I needed. Fortunately this will be trivial to implement, and I was glad to have reasoned it out, because—in design as in code—one can come to an acceptable solution through endless fiddling, but understanding the generalizing principles gets you there faster. And the result is the quiet confidence of an intelligent solution.

A similar thing happened with code, in my rush to have a working prototype I had cheated and wrapped functions which were firing before expected in timeouts. I took them out and traced what was going on: turns out these cheats were cascading into needless complexity, so I took the time to trace the flow of execution carefully, and with this most of the unexpected behavior disappeared. This gave me exactly the same pleasure I had solving the information hierarchy problem: an understanding of the underlying structure that gives hope moving forward.

After work I hit the nearest gym. It’s very nice (for a city-run gym). Had a great workout. Home is perfect for work: it has a standing desk and an external monitor, besides being pleasant, comfortable and well-located, like RenĂ©’s place where I stayed before. All is lined up to have a great couple of weeks finishing this off.