Explore My Notes

The End of "Someone" | Seth Godin

I don’t think we have any clue about how disruptive this shift is going to be.

There are people and organizations that are racing to break the fabric of community that we all depend on. Either to make a short-term profit or to atomize/vaporize widespread trust to hide from accountability and to slow change...

In the meantime, it’s worth confirming the source before you believe what you see.

Why We Removed Number Inputs | GOV.UK

The GOV.UK UX and design team are fascinating. Every time I've had to use the website I've found it a breeze, which is an enormous achievement on their behalf. Better yet, they're incredibly transparent and make a lot of their research and reasoning available.

Recently, they changed all numeric input fields (dates, phone numbers, age etc.) across the entire GOV.UK design system to use `<input type=”text” inputmode=”numeric” pattern="[0-9]*">` instead of `<input type="number">`. That almost sounds counter intuitive, given that their goal is to trigger the (very useful) numeric keypad on mobile devices, but their reasoning is pretty bulletproof.

  • Number inputs don't have great support across various screen readers and other accessibility software (which does seem a little odd to me but facts are facts);
  • Some browsers attempt to round large numbers, potentially into exponential notation (e.g. 1429327e+18) or just to the nearest 10;
  • Old version of Safari have, well, irritating traits like adding commas to numbers over a certain size; particularly unhelpful for credit card fields!
  • Scrolling can accidentally change numbers, which is an issue (I've felt that one personally).

Their proposed solution of using a `text` version with the numeric keypad specified solves pretty much all of these issues, and the `pattern` attribute polyfills in for older iOS devices and some other old browsers which may not understand `inputmode` that well. Neat.

Original source: Reddit

Cross-Cultural Design | A List Apart

Senongo Akpem’s Cross-Cultural Design has been on my radar a lot lately; I probably should pick it up. In the meantime, A List Apart have released a little subsection with some interesting insights:

  • Stereotypography is the stereotyping of a culture, region, or other group via a specific font style or typeface. Example used is Neuland, which to me is the Jurassic Park font but apparently has a long historical association with Western ideas of the "Dark Continent" version of Africa i.e. racism. Advice is to avoid any type that attempts to "invoke" a culture, particularly if it has been designed apart from that culture. Makes sense, but worth being reminded of.
  • Google Fonts is banned in China, so use of their free web fonts is non-global without workarounds.
  • Different alphabets have different "visual density" expectations. Asian alphabets such as Japanese are information dense, so readers are used to less white-space but need larger glyphs than in traditional Western alphabets like Latin. I'd never considered that white-space would be a culturally defined construct, not to that basal a level at least.

I don't work with localisation at all, but it's clear that if you do, there's a lot more to consider.

📆 28 Feb 2020  | 🔗

  • Typography
  • localisation
  • culture
  • typography
  • web font
  • cross cultural design
  • Google Fonts 

Tornis | Robb Owen

When you love a website design, you look into how it was made, right? That's what I did with Robb Owen's recent redesign. Amazingly, his incredibly smooth scroll and cursor tracking is achieved via his own JS library... way to make the rest of us feel entirely inadequate 😂

Tornis looks like a really interesting package for site animations. I definitely want to give it a go with some projects I'm working on. Even simple elements like the rotating lighthouse stamp are just very cleanly/smoothly animated. Impressive.

Robb Owen Digital

It's not often that I see a website and just want to explore it, but that's what Robb Owen has achieved. I've literally gone back multiple times just to refresh my memory of it. There's something incredibly elegant in both the motion design and the colour palette. Plus, I'm a sucker for fast rendering cursor tracking animations 😅

I wish there wasn't an initial loading screen, but otherwise a truly enviable personal website.

Clean JavaScript Cheat Guide | Ryan McDermott

An adaptation of Robert C. Martin's book Clean Code for JavaScript (ES6+) full of best practice examples and (probably more importantly) common anti-patterns that they can remove/prevent/avoid. Just a useful resource to check back on from time to time.

📆 27 Feb 2020  | 🔗

  • JavaScript
  • JavaScript
  • best practice
  • GitHub
  • advice
  • tips 

Pa11y & Koa11y | GitHub

A neat little npm package that runs accessibility (a11y) tests on web pages to whatever WCAG or other standard you need. The fact it can be automated at build time should be very useful. There's also a GUI-based version, Koa11y, which looks useful for quick spot checks. I'm a little surprised there isn't a web hosted version or even a browser plugin, but perhaps someone will fork the project in the future.

Jamstack, IFTTT and Netlify: A Power Trio | Andy Bell

A good look behind Andy's "microblog", a small website that powers his Twitter feed and link list via a mixture of IFTTT, RSS, Feedbin, Eleventy, and Netlify. Includes step-by-step guide and source code. Would be interesting to see if The Old Reader has anything similar in terms of API integrations or scrapable feeds 🤔

The Jamstack enables me, a designer who codes, to make incredibly cool shit and I am all for it!

Interactive Sherlock Holmes | Paravel

What a wonderful project. The folk at Paravel have taken the Sherlock novel A Scandal in Bohemia and recreated it as a bespoke website. Of course, the whole site is beautifully designed, but the real showstopper here is their (light!) usage of animation and sound. There's something engrossing about reading a chapter set on a wet winter's night and hearing the sound of rain on window panels in the background.

That's the kind of interactivity that the web was built for and I love it. (It's also a cracking argument for copyright expiration and public domain art works.)

Discoverd via Trent Walton.

Utopia CSS | adactio

If you’re already using CSS locks, modular scales, and custom properties, Utopia is almost certainly going to be a good fit for you.

If you’re not yet using those techniques, but you’d like to, I highly recommend using Utopia on your next project.

An intriguing new project from some of the brains at ClearLeft for "elegantly scaling type" on the web. Personally, I'm all for anything that reduces or removes the need for breakpoints in my CSS!

📆 20 Feb 2020  | 🔗

  • HTML & CSS
  • Typography
  • CSS
  • ClearLeft
  • library
  • Utopia
  • type
  • web font
  • breakpoint
  • fluid layout
  • intrinsic design
  • responsive design 

Passive Zombies | Into the Wonder

An excellent breakdown of the linguistic and grammatical differences between the passive and active voice and the similar but distinct simple and continuous aspect. Not something I've ever truly grasped myself; also some nice tips on writing i.e. don't just avoid the passive voice, understand why and use it appropriately.

An easy test for whether or not you’re dealing with a passive voice construction is whether you can add “by zombies” and the sentence makes sense. “I was robbed by zombies!” “Have you ever been kissed by zombies?” “Our country is built on laws…erm, by zombies.”

LifeMap | Ritwick Dey

Well it's been a long week of other distractions rather than writing, but I have built up several things to link out to, so I guess a round of links from the web is in order.

A graphic representation of education, divided into time periods (e.g. "primary school") with interests growing or being removed. Looks like rock strata.
Now that's a pretty (useless) CV; I see why it became known as the "greatest ignored CV ever"

Originally created by Ritwick Dey (and weirdly hosted on Flickr), the mock-up data visualisation of Dey's life has earned some serious kudos on Reddit and deservedly so. The visuals have an immediate impact and are just very aesthetically pleasing, even if (as many Redditors have pointed out) actually using it as your CV would be a quick shortcut to the reject pile. To be honest, I've been dabbling in something similar (though far simpler) recently, so found seeing the execution of, and reaction to, something much superior to my own attempts kind of fascinating.

Note: this was originally part of a full article titled "Spiders, Dinosaurs and CVs" and the 49th post in my New 52 challenge. That article also linked to Lucas the adorable arachnid, the trailer for Into the Spiderverse, the Wildlife Photo-Ark project, and an article looking into the history of palaeoart. For posterity, the opening paragraph has been kept above.

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