Bookmark: "Nutshell: make expandable explanations"

Sebastian Greger


Oh, now this is a fun hypertext project! Nicky Case brings us Nutshell, “a tool to make ‘expandable, embeddable explanations’” – it’s essentially Ted Nelson’s StretchText brought to life.

I love the quirkyness, the whimsical design and implementation and the joy of exploring something new. If this were presented as a solution for widespread production use, I would naturally be among the first to ask questions about accessibility; but given the experimental nature of this – published in the Public Domain, free to use, reuse and remix, I don’t see that as an issue here. It’s a fun thing to play around with, experiment further, be inspired and maybe take it to the next level.

Bonus points for mentioning one of my favourite Werner Herzog films, “Lo and Behold”. And I think I’ll take some inspiration from the way the author states their intent to happily donate this to the Public Domain, but not become an open source maintainer in the long term, for my own pet projects:

“Running a successful open source project is just Good Will Hunting in reverse, where you start out as a respected genius and end up being a janitor who gets into fights.” ~ Byrne Hobart

Nutshell is open-source, but this is not a “I will take requests & maintain this for the rest of my pathetic life” kind of project. I am pre-committing, right here, to keeping Nutshell minimalist, and only making minor tweaks. There will be no Version 2.0.0 of Nutshell.

Nicky Case also has a blog and a newsletter – that’s an instant subscribe if I ever saw one!

PS: It took me a while to realize, but Nicky Case is actually also the illustrator behind a comic discussed in the second “Conversations on Legal Design” seminar in 2021; what a small world!

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer. This journal is mostly about bringing toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. I also tend to a "digital garden" with carefully curated resources.

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