The taxonomy of liminality is structure. We operate tools with different combinatorial potential. The binary light switch has the smallest one, stick shift in your car and a computer keyboard have more.

As we move from the light switch to the keyboard we need to onboard ourselves into the models and combinations available to us in order to make use of the technology in front of us.

There is a threshold beyond which the combinatorial potential is blinding and there is essentially no more structure.

The most simple example would be of course, a piece of paper, or a white board.

There is no point trying to calculate all possible things that can go on a piece of paper.

If we play the same progression from the user’s side, all of those structured interfaces warrant learning, and cementing mental models. Where the unstructured piece of paper requires un–learning (or at least ‘emptying the cup’) in order to ideate and write new mental models.

White board sessions are so useufl because they are shortcuts for us to let go of structure and then type it back into our structured common universe.