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Topic: Industry

Why design has a massive role to play in the evolution of the web and the next generation of web products. Getting and keeping clients. How to write software that is not just “internationalized” but truly multilingual. Getting real about agile design. Evangelizing oustide the box: web standards and large companies. Working from home. Flash and standards: the cold war of the web.

  • Another 10k Apart: Create a Website in 10 KB, Win Prizes!

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    In 2000, Stewart Butterfield launched the original 5k competition to celebrate the merits of simplicity and brevity in web design. Ten years later, An Event Apart joined forces with Microsoft to launch the first 10k Apart, adding progressive enhancement, accessibility, and responsive design to the mix. Now, An Event Apart and Microsoft Edge are back with an even tougher challenge: design a compelling experience that can be delivered in 10 KB or less and works without JavaScript.

  • Finding Opportunities in the Mistakes We Make

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    You flung yourself headlong into your career. Suddenly you realize you’re barely keeping your head above water and you’re not even sure where you’re going. Time to reflect, says Clarice Bouwer, and do some small experiments designed to find the course corrections that will get you back on solid ground.

  • Strategies for Healthier Dev

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    Chen Hui Jing played basketball full-time for many years before teaching herself web development. So she knows a thing or two about fitness, and has learned how to port its lessons to a more sedentary lifestyle. Pulling together an impressive array of research, Chen suggests that brute discipline may not be the best way for knowledge workers to approach fitness. She proposes gentler strategies that will keep us alive and well and doing the work we love for years to come.

  • The Future of the Web

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    Is the web’s way forward to be defined by a bunch of renegade mavericks armed with Flash or JavaScript? Matt Griffin argues that it may not be so bad to let web authors kludge together the things they’d like to build, and follow where their mistakes lead us.

  • Promoting a Design System Across Your Products

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    Our industry has gotten really good at making living style guides out of parts: reusable components like color, typography, buttons and forms, voice and tone. We’ve also learned how to map skills to these parts by mobilizing the best people to make decisions across platforms. But, argues Nathan Curtis, a third element is crucial to any design system mission: products. What products will use our system? How will we involve them?

  • Looking for “Trouble”

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    Venting isn’t exactly an innocent activity. Rolling our eyes at a struggling client—no matter how justified we may think we are—hints at a skewed sense of entitlement. It means we’ve forgotten that our experience working with others reflects their experience working with us. Orr Shtuhl shares how the team at Blenderbox changed their “venting culture” to proactively hunt for subtle flags of distress and take responsibility for their clients’ side of the experience.

  • Design for Real Life: An interview with Sara Wachter-Boettcher

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    Good intentions can easily blind us to bad ideas—accidentally awful outcomes that alienate and distress our users. It’s time to take a hard look at our processes, to recognize and work through our biases toward idealized users in ideal situations. In this interview with managing editor Mica McPheeters, Sara Wachter-Boettcher talks about what she learned while writing Design for Real Life.

  • The High Price of Free

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    Our industry is remarkable for how many of us do unpaid labor—sometimes for exposure, other times to give back to the profession and help our peers. We’re all grateful for the free software, learning, and support made possible by this generosity. But in coming to depend in it, we can’t forget that people need time to pay the bills and assure a secure future for themselves and their families.

  • Groups of Five

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    Technology rests on a discovery of patterns: of behavior, association, energy, thinking. How valuable those patterns are to us is constantly being renegotiated as we experience a series of reveal shots that show us another part of the big picture, and yet another part of the big picture, and so on. To rely on a favorite cliché, it’s turtles all the way down.

  • The Distance to Here

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    The people who determine product strategy move through a world of analysts, media, division leads, shareholders, stakeholders, monetization, and marketability. They seldom get a chance to come back to the corner where users and designers mingle. Rian van der Merwe suspects that increasing the communication distance between the decision makers and the product’s builders and users leads to a loss of perspective—and the results are products with marketable features that no one really needs.

  • Resetting Agency Culture

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    When we prioritize billable hours over people, our work environments can take a turn for the tense. Some agencies try to combat low morale with foosball and fancy perks, but what really matters is investing in people: fostering a workplace that supports dialogue, collaboration, and professional development. From onboarding new hires to ongoing engagement, Justin Dauer shares some starting points for a healthy office dynamic and confident, happy employees.

  • Mentorship for the Novice Expert

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    We’re short on mountaintops where we can find mentors, but the good news is mentors are actually just people like you and me who keep at it. They work at listening, ask people how they prefer to learn, make time to meet. Lyza Gardner talks about her early-morning motocycle practice, and how she loves gradually building her mentoring muscle by overcoming the embarrassment of being a beginner and just doing it.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Managing and Making: It Doesn’t Have to Be One or the Other

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    We take it for granted that career progress means moving into a management role. Even people who thrive in the individual contributor role feel the pressure to join management. Shouldn’t both capacities be valued, so we can find where we genuinely fit in and do our best work? Rian van der Merwe has gone scouting up the career path and realized it’s okay to turn back and be the other, oft-overlooked but equally important half of the management/making dynamic.

  • The Specialist-Generalist Balance

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    Specialists? Generalists? It’s not a question of which is better, but about finding the right mix for your team and your work. Specialists offer valuable expertise, but over-reliance on specialization isn’t always good for workflow—too many niches can lead to silos, bottlenecks, and poor communication. Garin Evans recommends that, instead, we build teams that play off the best traits of specialists and generalists, encouraging collaboration and innovation as we go.

  • The People are the Work

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    You take pride in your creativity and brilliant work, but the web is a place of transience. Businesses evolve, client needs change, sites are outgrown, and it’s time to start building again. Can you be content with the work of presenting content on the web? For an approach to creating something that stands the test of time, Matt Griffin and the Bearded crew took to heart an old adage in a surprisingly new way.

  • The Challenge for the Tiny Global Business

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    Long ago, a company had to grow to a certain size before it could embark on international trade. With digital goods, that’s no longer so. Learning all the applicable laws and taxes can be daunting, but that’s what allows the small business owner to stay independent as an exporter.

  • From Empathy to Advocacy

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    As designers, we’ve devoted considerable attention to the concept of empathy. But how do we ensure that empathy for our users translates into actionable steps that then guide our design decisions and behaviors? Lyle Mullican explores how we can go beyond listening to our users, and start advocating on their behalf.

  • How to Interview

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    The interview: the high point of the job search. Where it all comes together. How do you get to talk to the right person? What should you talk about? First off, don’t use the “Apply” form. Also, don’t think of it as a test, but a conversation both sides can learn something from.