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Topic: Community

The wisdom of community. SOPA and other threats. In defense of readers. Coaching your community. Improving the conversation in comments and forums. Content-focused digital product and brand development. Building magazines and communities. Editorial best practices. The arithmetic of readers and writers. Conferences and communication. Anonymity and online community: identity matters.

  • Network Access: Finding and Working with Creative Communities

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    Real creative change can happen. And is happening and thriving—just outside our usual circles. Senongo Akpem talks about how the design community has changed, and how venturing further afield can help us push the “Reset” button.

  • Help One of Our Own: Carolyn Wood

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    Selfless editor and colleague Carolyn Wood has run into a medical emergency and needs the community’s help. Over the years, she has given us immense gifts without ever asking for anything in return. Let’s pull together and give back.

  • Back to the Future in 2016

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    Practicing kickflips. Standing still. Drawing. Learning JavaScript (finally). Messing around with Arduino. Reading and writing books. Jumping into CSS Grid Layout. Sunbathing with cats. We asked some of our smartest friends in the web design and development communities what new focuses they planned to bring to their lives and work in 2016. Their answers fell into four categories—design, insight, tools, and work—but one idea cropped up over and over: sometimes you need to take a step back in order to move forward.

  • 2015 Summer Reading Issue

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    The dog days are upon us—but instead of giving up in the summer swelter, take heart! We’ve got an extra-special reading list of bright, insightful brainfood. ALA’s third annual summer reader explores what’s been on the web industry’s mind lately, from accessibility to performance, from CSS techniques to web type, from mentorship to more collaborative approaches. It’s a list as cool and fancy as a watermelon-basil popsicle. Yeah, that does sound good, doesn’t it? Kick back, chill out, and get to reading.

  • On Being King of a Shrinking Castle

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    Being your own boss is awesome. You’re the sovereign of your fate—and with that autonomy comes responsibility for making your business thrive. Your time management skills are more important than ever as you continue to get your to-dos checked off. The thing is… if you get an unexpected call from a friend, can you get away from that tyrannical boss of yours to do something unplanned? Are you able to schedule time with friends or family without feeling that you’re falling behind on work? If you can’t afford to take time to strengthen your connections with others, you’re at risk of being the monarch (and the serf) of an impoverished kingdom, indeed.

  • Why?

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    Little kids have an endless supply of Why! Why is everything the way it is? Why do people do the things they do? We grownups don’t pester each other with a relentless stream of why?, and that’s mostly good. But kids could teach us to ask why when it needs to be asked: why are only some people able to build lives they love and find fulfilling work? Does everyone truly have the same chance, or do some of us start the game already a few rolls of the dice ahead? In order to grow, we have to ask the hard questions.

  • Standardization and the Open Web

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    How do web standards become, well, standard? Although they’re often formalized through official standards-making organizations, they can also emerge through popular practice among the developer community. If both sides don’t work together, we risk delaying implementation, stifling creativity, and losing ground to politics and paralysis. Jory Burson sheds light on the historical underpinnings of web standardization processes—and what that means for the future of the open web.

  • Initiation to Code

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    The best person to mentor junior developers turns out to be: you. Mentoring can be a powerful tool for guiding and nurturing new hires, but it also benefits you—and your organization—by encouraging collaboration and curiosity in your everyday work. Alice Mottola offers guidance (and a little agile structure) for approaching the mentoring process—and shows how it can build better code and better engineers.

  • The Illusion of Free

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    The number of predictions that algorithms can make about us from even minimal data is shocking. Although we’re offered privacy settings that let us control who of our friends sees what, all our information and behavior tends to be fair game for behind-the-scenes tracking. We simply don’t know everything that’s being done with our data currently, and what companies might be able—and willing—to do with it in the future. Laura Kalbag believes it’s time to locate the exits.

  • There Is No Data vs. Intuition

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    Heads/Tails, Left/Right, Church/State, Engineering/Design, Logic/Emotion. Oh wait—the flipside of logic isn’t emotion. It’s fallacy. Another fallacy is feeling obliged to join either the faction of the sensibly-clad engineers or the faction of the crayon-toting creatives. Nishant Kothary has found that research is on the side of trusting your gut (then backing up your instinct with testing).

  • Designing for Post-Connected Users — Part 1, the Diagnostic

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    How sustainable is a model where social networks take a central role in our daily routine? Antoine Lefeuvre believes there’s growing awareness that social networking tools don’t necessarily bring out the best in us. While we do want and appreciate tools that let us engage with others and do things together, we’re getting tired of the high price in attention and stress.

  • The Role of the Web, an Excerpt from Understanding Context

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    What place am I in? By giving us the ability to link to anything at any time, the web complicated this question and changed our concept of context. In this excerpt from Chapter 2 of his new book, Understanding Context, Andrew Hinton explores why that happened, and how our resulting “place confusion” affects the way we perceive and use the web.

  • Logically Speaking

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    The human mind has its own logic far beyond the binary states of mere computers. Even in the tech industry, you can’t escape the reality that it takes more than data and solid conclusions to win people over.

  • Tweaking the Moral UI

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    Even at the most welcoming and trusting of conferences, a code of conduct is a necessity. Codes of conduct let people know that organizers are willing to protect participants and solve problems—a way of improving the user experience for our whole community. Here, Christina Wodtke attests to the inclusive power of codes of conduct—and what we need to do to see them adopted across the industry.

  • Cultivating the Next Generation of Web Professionals

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    One of the most meaningful and lasting ways we can impact the future of the web is through the values and attitudes we instill in the next generation of web workers. Through informal mentoring, classroom outreach, internships, and more, we can offer support and opportunities to those new to digital professions. Georgy Cohen suggests practical ways to connect with students and welcome them wholeheartedly into the web community.

  • In Pursuit of Facebook Happiness

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    Our level of happiness and satisfaction on social networks is largely determined by the same things that make us happy in the rest of our lives. You can let your timeline be a perpetual reunion of your dullest second cousins or get out there and join some clubs.

  • Writing Is Thinking

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    When you write about your work, it makes all of us smarter for the effort, including you. Done well, this kind of sharing means you’re contributing signal, instead of noise. But writers are made, not born. We often hear from people who say they’d love to write for A List Apart or start blogging, but don’t know where to start. They feel unfocused and overwhelmed by the task. If this is beginning to sound like you, read on, as Sally Kerrigan walks you through how writing works, and how you can get better at it.

  • A List Together

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    A List Apart gets back to its roots: building community, giving a platform to new voices, and getting people excited about the web. We’re making changes to the way we work—starting with our decision to open-source the code that powers alistapart.com itself—and we want you to participate. Our Mat Marquis invites you to contribute code and concepts via GitHub, get to know our acquisition scouts, and use ALA and its editors to share your ideas and insights with the whole web design and development community.

  • The REAL Real Problem with Facebook

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    The Facebook news feed: featuring the perfect lives and perfect kids of people you barely know, and sometimes glimpses of weird opinions from friends you thought you knew perfectly. Maybe our understanding of identity has outgrown the design of our virtual interaction spaces.

  • The Monster Within Us

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    There’s a monster within you and me—we all have it. It’s driven by primitive needs and it’s relentless, but—plot twist—it’s trying to save your life. Only it doesn’t understand what’s going on and it can hijack your thinking and actions in an instant, making you a menace, or at least a jackass, to everyone around you. Scared yet? Fortunately, there’s a great technique for keeping the monster at bay.