The Things We Forget on the Inside Looking Out

I just finished moving away from Medium because I forgot that my house is pink.

I just finished moving my new writing away from Medium and onto my personal website because I forgot that my house is pink.

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When we’re on the inside looking out, it’s very easy to forget what people are seeing from the outside.

When I publish my own articles on Medium, I just see my content.

What I see on Medium.

However, that’s not what my readers see when I share links to my articles. Instead, when readers aren’t already signed in, Medium shows them intrusive signup modals and banners that get in the way of actually reading my content.

What readers see on Medium when they aren't signed in.

What readers see on Medium when they aren't signed in.

And if that’s not enough, Medium’s paywall model actively limits how many articles someone can read in a given month. When you publish an article, you have the option to “Allow curators to recommend my story to interested readers,” which makes the story part of Medium’s paywall.

Adding an article to Medium’s paywall.

As a writer, the impact of choosing to let curators recommend your story isn’t easy to see. If you check this box, many of your readers won’t be able to read your article without becoming a paid Medium member—and your article won’t be included in organic discovery unless someone already follows you or a publication that included your article.

What unpaid readers see on Medium when they hit their reading limit.

When I write content about my thinking around UX, design, and business, my intention is to share my ideas freely with whoever might be interested in reading.

Medium, however, gets in the way for my readers. And I forgot that, because I’m on the inside looking out. That’s why I’m now publishing my content on my own personal website. (It’s actually quite refreshing: it’s nice to have a place of my own in an era of shared platforms).

There are many areas where we can find ourselves on the inside looking out. Perspectives. Platforms. Mindsets.

Take disabilities. When we aren’t personally living with a disability, we’re on the inside looking out on an entirely different context and reality of living. It’s easy to forget how important accessibility standards are for creating inclusive environments and quality of life. It’s not because we’re ignoring it: it’s because we aren’t able to see it from our own perspective without remembering that we do, in fact, have a perspective, and that things may look very different from the outside.

Take a moment to consider what aspects of your work and life you’re seeing from the inside.

If you realize you can’t tell what colour your house is, figure out ways that you can go outside and see what you can learn.

  • Accessibility
  • Design
  • Product Strategy