Notes

⇾ Inclusive Components

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I don’t need to write anything. Heydon did already:

What is inclusive-components.design?

A blog trying to be a pattern library, with a focus on inclusive design. Each post explores a common interface component and comes up with a better, more robust and accessible version of it.

Why?

Because the web is full of interfaces which don't consider the diversity of abilities, circumstances, and preferences of their users.

More answers to you questions on the about page of this project

Photos of Patterns Day

On June 30th I attended Patterns Day, a one day event organised by Jeremy Keith. It took place in Brighton, in the Duke Of York’s, where Remy also runs FullFrontal Conference. As the name of the event already might show, the topics all circled around pattern libraries, components, style guides, and design systems. Despite of the rough trip to Brighton the day before, because of very bad weather conditions in Berlin where I was before, I had a wonderful time and met a lot of friendly people – some that I knew and some that I met for the first time. Great conversations and a long night out followed the event.

Patterns Day took place in the Duke of York’s in Brighton

Of course I brought my camera, but from back, when I attended FullFrontal Conference, I knew how dark this place was and was hoping to catch at least a few good shots. Drew McLellan also brought his gear and made some great photos. I think he just published them in his Twitter Stream, as I can’t find them on Flickr.

I uploaded mine to my Flickr account. And I hope you can see/feel, that the atmosphere was super lovely.

Thanks for putting it up, Jeremy and sorry for being later than expected with my photos.

I have no talent

This morning I watched a video by my friend Danny Gregory, who spoke at beyond tellerrand in Berlin last year. The video is titled “Hello, I have no talent” and Danny encourages people, who think like that, to not get de-motivated and frustrated. He motivates people to keep drawing and to keep remembering that the output you see on someones website or in a community, which often is crazy and wonderful, is just the things they decided to show. This is their best stuff. And it is not their first steps, their failures and their 1000 tries to draw a hand perfectly, when it failed over and over again until they finally were able to draw a hand. He says one thing, which he says about drawing, but which is valid for many other things:

Have fun drawing, ’cause drawing is fun. That’s what it’s meant to be. It’s not meant to make you feel bad. It’s not meant to make you feel inferior. […]

Replace drawing with anything you want and it’s true for you.

The video, though a bit of a different story, reminded me of a situation I have been in, when we had a Wacom Influencer or Evangelist, as they call this group, meeting in Krefeld a few years ago. We were about 20 people in the Wacom European HQ in a room on a sunny day. As we all have been people from various fields of business and not everybody knew each other, we had to introduce ourself for 5 to 10 minutes. The guy next to me on the table constantly sketched stuff and was drawing fantastic pictures. When it was on him to introduce himself, he said, he was working on Dumbledore’s death right now and used to do the matte painting for Alien. Another one showed his wonderful portraits of people he made on the streets in France using his Wacom tablet. Someone else showed his crazy Photoshop work with unbelievable compositions. Robert showed his motion graphics work and then it was on me to introduce myself.

I remember that I felt so little. I felt like I had nothing to show that came close to anything I had seen over the last hour or so. Everybody in this room was so creative and showed their fantastic work. I had nothing visually to show really and just told my story. How I got to where I was and what I was doing now. I also said how amazed I was to see all this fantastic and beautiful work, I had seen over the last hours and I said I wish I was that talented. Then one person raised his hand and asked ”May I say something?” and I says “Yes, sure.” – then he said:

You said you are not as talented as most of us in the room, which I can’t really judge. But you know, one thing I can say is, that it also is a talent to see the beauty in what we do and then to speak about it to other people and show them other peoples work. We need people like you, finding people like us and connecting us to other people, showing and speaking about what we do.

Other people in the room nodded and agreed. And guess what? That made my day. There was this one person saying something really positive to motivate me. I thought, I want to be that person more often and be the one motivating others. Saying something positive. Especially in times when Twitter and the social clubs are full of negativity and bad news.

So maybe, if you think you have no talent, look at you again and ask yourself, if you really have nothing you’re good at or that you love to do. I bet you’ll find something!

Side Project? Job? No idea!

Often, when I meet people at events, we chat about work and life and I ask people if everything is ok. The person I am talking to then starts with things at the job and gets into a few details, maybe ending with a summary, that work is ok, but sometimes a bit stressful. Then, if we not already move on to family life and alike, we speak about projects, which are done next to the work life. And I can see and feel that there is much more passion into what’s said about the projects next to work than about the actual work, where much more time is spent on. I guess this is what we refer to as side project, when it is a passion project, we are doing next to the day to day business.

Now I was wondering, what exactly a side project is and how we define this term? Is it something that everybody refers to in a different way? Is it only a project for a person’s passion? Or does someone earn money with it?

When I received an edition of a newsletter called Inspiration Bits, by Zoran Jambor last week, which started with the headline “Start a Side Project”, I once more asked myself ”Do I have any side projects?” and ”What is a side project?”.

So I read all the articles in Inspiration Bits, that Zoran was linking to. What I take away from reading the articles is, that it seems, that people with side projects are much more productive and creative at their days to day job and much happier. People can tinker and play with ideas, they can try themselves at things, they can’t experiment with during work and so on. So I get this, looking at me, playing in a band, taking photos without calling myself photographer, but then I look at my day to day business, which is running beyond tellerrand and ask myself

Is this my job?

When I started beyond tellerrand in 2010 (and then the first event in 2011), I was giving myself three years to sit down and ask myself ”Is this working?”. With a positive answer to this, I kept on running the event, added Berlin in 2014 and adding another destination next year – even though I had a couple of rough experiences privately. And what I do is, to sit down from time to time – I try to do this at least once a year – and ask myself ”Do you still enjoy what you are doing?” (amongst a few other questions).

So, is beyond tellerrand a side project now? Or is it my job? Or was it my side project, when I ran the Flashforum Konferenz next to being a freelancer and then turned into my job when I decided to run beyond tellerrand full time? I have no idea, what the exact definition is, to be honest. I only know, that I am very thankful, happy and glad that what I am doing fulfils me, makes enough money to make a living with my family with three kids and I keep being humbled as I know that this is nothing someone can take for granted.

So maybe it is my job now to run beyond tellerrand, but I think I keep the attitude of running it like a side project – passionated, always excited and with a lot of joy to create something for other people that they can enjoy, meet other interesting people and have good time at.

⇾ A good and well curated list of events

Jan Constantin has created another very complete and well curated event list for the second half of 2017 over there at Smashing Magazine. Thanks Jan!

Follow the Creation Process of Kirby 3

Bastian Allgeier announced, that he and his team started working on Kirby 3. Similar to what Kai Brach did for his Offscreen Magazine, Kirby started the Kirby Next project and website. The idea of a move like this is to fund the time, where you focus on the work you are diving into for the next couple of months. So in a way it is a bit like running a Kickstarter, but without a goal that has to be reached to have this project become reality.

Kai, back then, answered the question of ”What if the funding goal is not reached or exceeded?” with

[…] If we fall short, we will have to limit the feature set of our website and the scope of the rebrand. If we exceed our goal, we can even include some of our 'nice-to-have' features.

So the benefit is, that you are not dependent on the goal to be reached and you have money you can work with. Often products like his, my event, or – and that is what I am writing about here actually – Kirby, only exist, because the support that people using, reading or attending is massive and they also do a huge part of the marketing for people like Kai, Bastian or me.

Next to the monetary support and benefit for the product owner there is a benefit for the people supporting things like this. If done nicely, you get insights in to the process of something like rebranding Offscreen or the development of Kirby 3. This is valuable information, a nice read and – at least for me – inspiration to see how other people running a business on their own do this. As you know I am a big fan of Kirby (and Offscreen) and I am excited already to follow Bastian, Sonja, Lukas, Nils, Fabian and Nico what they will come up with and – even more exciting – what happens on the way to Kirby 3, how is the decision process for certain task and so forth.

So, if you are generally interested in …

  1. … supporting a software like Kirby (and maybe even planning to use or using it already) …
  2. … supporting an independent system like Kirby and its development …
  3. … how a product development process looks behind the scenes …
  4. … how decisions for or against a feature/way of developing software are made …
  5. … testing the new features and the new UI Kit for the Panel of Kirby 3 first …
  6. … help the Kirby team financially …

… then you should check Kirby Next. Bastian describes in detail what you get and what the money is used for, when states, for example:

[…] Kirby has become a sustainable full-time job for Bastian, but there's still a very limited budget for the other team members. With your help, we can spend more time on Kirby together and release Kirby 3 faster.

On a side note: Bastian is running a Kirby workshop during beyond tellerrand in Berlin as well, which is targeting beginners and experts in the same way. For this workshop we make sure to keep the number of attendees to a reasonable amount of people, so that everybody is able to not only enjoy the hands-on experience, but also ask the questions she/he always wanted to ask Bastian.

Is it really safe to start using CSS Grid Layout?

I have seen Rachel Andrew speak at Patterns Day last Friday in Brighton and many times before. She is known for her well delivered practical talks with a lot of insights on the topic she is speaking about. During the last weeks, I have seen her mentioning, that she already asked the question if websites have to look the same in every browser back in 2002. If you take this in consideration and read her article, where she mentions this again, then you can definitely play around with CSS Grid Layouts. Rachel gives many useful reasons you can quote 1:1 for your boss or client. And she is right when stating:

Your job is to learn about new things, and advise your client or your boss in the best way to achieve their business goals through your use of the available technology.

So it is our job to actually educate the people we build websites for and not to justify things after we built them. We should get to a point, where a client or your boss is not even asking “Why isn’t this looking the same in this browser” anymore, right?

The tradeoff will be the requirement to present a simplified layout for older browsers. However that doesn’t mean “no layout”. […]

This is it and this it what should be common sense already. So don’t be quite about it at your job or project anymore. Read Rachel’s article and if you are not already trying to convince the people you work for and with, then start now.

Sticky Headers by Remy Sharp

I have mixed feelings about sticky headers on web pages, but it annoys me more when the implementation causes scroll jank or contributes to it.

This is what Remy says in the first few lines of his blog post about sticks headers. And, I think, the reason for writing three parts worth ready, which explain how

And even though Remy says, it is ”[…] stuff that's been said before, but is worth saying again.” I can only highly recommend reading this, if you want to use sticky headers on a page.

The three parts are

Berlin for Workshops and Brighton for Patterns Day

Leaving for Berlin tomorrow to run Elliot’s Advanced Typography workshop on Wednesday and Erik’s Letterpress workshop on Thursday. Still seats left for both of them, if you want to joy the fun.

Then, on Thursday, I gonna hop over to Brighton to attend Patterns Day and cover the event with making photos for Jeremy.

Would be lovely to meet you either in Berlin or Brighton. Just ping me.

⇾ Locally Scoped CSS Variables: What, How, and Why

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On June 5th already, Una Kravets published a blog post called Locally Scoped CSS Variables: What, How, and Why in which she explains how they work, what’s possible already and why CSS Variables, aka CSS Custom Properties, are better than what was there before.