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Always, always, always, have respect for your users

“What is responsive web design if not an attempt to treat users with respect? In adopting this practice, we no longer dictate how websites should be viewed but have moved towards a more discursive approach, one that is adaptive to user needs. Yet this responsibility should extend beyond concerns about page layout; performance and accessibility are just as important (if not more so) as these aspects actively limit who can and can’t access the products we’re building.”

Paul Robert Lloyd

The Pursuit of Laziness: Thoughts from Responsive Day Out

Treating users with respect should be a key component to any design, not just responsive ones! Click through to read more about some potential responsive web design principles.

“Today, only 0.4% of female college freshmen plan to major in CS. This lack of participation in such an important and growing field has serious consequences for the future of technical innovation. If women aren’t represented in technology, their ideas, concerns, and designs won’t be included when we create the cities, cars, infrastructure, medicines, communications, companies, and governments of tomorrow.”

Made with Code is a new initiative from Google that aims to bring more girls into computer science. There are a lot of programs like this, but the Made for Code site seems well put together and thoughtful. There are in-browser projects that new programers can play with, tons of inspirational videos, and links to local events and classes. Also it looks like Google is partnering with a few existing organizations to make this all happen, which is really nice to see. There’s also a thorough overview of why coding is important and empowering for parents that aren’t quite on board. I’m really curious to see how hard Google pushes this. With their resources… well, it would be very exciting to see real change happen in the next few years.

“People get blasted by emails all day long, newsletter or Mailchimp-like templates are everywhere and, as a consequence, users started developing some patterns of recognition when in front of their emails: if pattern matches they quickly skim the content and trash the email. Maybe a catchy headline can help gaining a couple of seconds of attention but a good designed newsletter (9 out of 10 times a commercial proposal or a deal-like thing).”

Good looking emails are killing your customer conversions

There is a bit of data to back up this click-baity title along with some good ol’ fashioned design intuition. The take-away here isn’t that good looking emails don’t work, but that emails matching typical marketing email patterns don’t engage customers. Want to really reach your users? Design emails to look as hand-written as possible! Remember, people like to connect with people, not with brands.

“So we, the staff of A List Apart, are putting a stake in the ground: we will be part of this conversation, too. Sexism and discrimination and diversity are not fringe issues—not problems that should be relegated only to niche sites or individuals’ blogs. They’re mainstream issues that have found far too comfortable a home in our industry. An industry we’ve worked too damn hard to grow, guide, and collaborate with to watch it falter and flail now.”

We Have Work to Do: #yesallwomen and the Web

Huge props to A List Apart for standing up for equality, and to Sara Wachter-Boettcher for writing about it with such grace. I’m looking forward to their new culture content!

“When you really think about it, process is just what happens when people realize there’s a problem, put together a checklist to solve it, and then immediately forget about it. Soon, it’s not relevant anymore,” Deng says. “Most companies are full of processes designed to solve problems from a long time ago.”

Process Is Being Told What to Do by Someone Who Has Less Information than You

I could quote this whole article! Do you manage people, or want to mange people? Just go read it already.

(via mayafish)

“It’s actually the engineering culture, and the way the organization is structured to appreciate and support design. Everybody there is thinking about UX and design, not just the designers. And that’s what makes everything about the product so much better…much more than any individual designer or design team.”

Mark Kawano, former Apple designer spoke with Co.Design about how design really works at Apple.

Getting a whole company to think about UX is tough sometimes, but so worth it. Teams of designers can only do so much when designing new products or features. Building a solid experience requires a holistic view of what’s being built, which you just can’t do as a member of one team. I’m not surprised that design culture just is at Apple. It’s the only way they could consistently make innovative products.

“Feminism is not a free-for-all where anything goes, but I would like to think that feminism (in addition to helping women overcome oppression in all forms) allows for women to make choices – even choices with which other feminists would disagree. It allows for women to be sexual and sexually provocative because they want to be. It allows for them to do with their bodies as they choose. Beyoncé, in her current incarnation, seems incredibly empowered. She is sexual, yes – but on her own terms. When Beyoncé wants, she rolls up the partition, so to speak.”

Beyoncé’s control of her own image belies the bell hooks ‘slave’ critique – Roxane Gay (via)

“Sandberg’s definition of feminism begins and ends with the notion that it’s all about gender equality within the existing social system. From this perspective, the structures of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy need not be challenged. And she makes it seem that privileged white men will eagerly choose to extend the benefits of corporate capitalism to white women who have the courage to ‘lean in.’ It almost seems as if Sandberg sees women’s lack of perseverance as more the problem than systemic inequality. Sandberg effectively uses her race and class power and privilege to promote a narrow definition of feminism that obscures and undermines visionary feminist concerns.”

bell hooks

(via womentoadmire)

“Confidence, for me, has always been about judging myself in relation to my past self vs. judging myself against people whom I admire. I think it’s too easy to get discouraged if you look at the work of people with much more experience than yourself and compare your work to them. As long as you are continually improving month after month and year after year, it’s easier to confidently say “I’m getting better. I’m not the best, but no one is. We’re all constantly growing and improving.” Don’t look at something you made and think “this is shit”, think “this is so much better than the shit I was making last year”.”

Letterer Jessica Hische did an AMA on Designer News this morning and it’s chock-full of tidbits like this one on finding confidence.

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