Monday, Monday, Monday, here you are again! Last week was unexpectedly busy at work (hello 12 hour days! It’s been a while!) hence the quiet couple of days. Luckily my weekend was slow and peaceful, the perfect breather after a super busy week! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to tackle whatever is in store for this week. How about some good links to get the day going?
Apple finally announced a smart watch! It’s definitely interesting, from an industry point of view, but I’ll personally be passing on this version. This piece does a great job of voicing my own issues with the new device. It all boils down to this: the Apple Watch feels like a computer you happen wear on your wrist, not a watch that happens to check my email.
Use Your Interface is hands-down the best gif-based interface collection around. Definitely check it out if you haven’t come across it before!
Need some designy retail therapy to really get Monday going? I love this charming (and appropriately named!) script font Monday. Check out those pretty loops, swashes, and ligatures!
One week to go in August! September is looking especially exciting for me…next week I’m starting a new job! I’m joining R/GA here in Portland as an experience designer and I am so. excited!
More exciting news: near the end of next month I’m teaching a two-day Intro to HTML & CSS class for the brand new Portland chapter of Girl Develop It. I can’t wait to help some awesome women make their first websites!
Also I wanted to direct you to Learn to Code with Me, a fantastic blog by Laurence Bradford who happens to be one of the nicest people on the ‘net. She interviewed me recently for her Women in Tech feature. Check out the rest of the blog if you’re a new programmer (or are code-curious) and want help and motivation to keep pushing through the bugs.
Okay okay I think that’s all my news. (Whatta month!) Here are a few articles I’ve enjoyed over the past week—use ’em to kick your brain on this morning.
Have you discovered Gibbon yet? It’s a still-young startup based in the Netherlands that is my new favorite learning app. Gibbon harnesses the amazing wealth of content already published online to power its peer-to-peer learning network.
There are a bunch of other options out there to help you learn. Some, like Treehouse, focus on tech and offer lessons in web design and development. Udemy offers classes in all sorts of things (including how to teach online courses!), but many of them cost money. Most of the services use videos and other rich media to attempt to replicate a classroom setting that caters to visual learners. The courses tend to be more formal and sometimes even scheduled as with the Stanford online courses.
Gibbon, on the other hand, is a more casual, “set it and forget it,” kind of learning experience. Once you choose topics that interest you and set how often you want to learn you don’t have to do anything else. Well, nothing besides actually learning! Gibbon will send you a daily, weekly, or monthly selection of readings from your chosen topics as a reminder to check in and read or watch something.
All the learnable content in Gibbon comes from its users, which is another reason I love it. Anyone can sign up and create a “playlist”, which is a topic full of educational content. For example, this User Experience Design from A-Z playlist is full of 99 articles about user experience, all curated specifically to take a learner from “what is UX?” to solving complex experience problems.
Gibbon figures out an approximate reading time for each “chapter” in a playlist which the system uses to build the reminder emails. Every morning I get an email with around 10 minutes of content in it. And because I subscribe to more than one playlist I sometimes get articles on different topics. I’ve been loving the wake up call! Each day I get a cup of coffee and settle in to spend 10 minutes focussed on learning. The articles are shown in a beautiful distraction-free view that let’s you read without wandering away. And the end of each playlist “chapter” has a big “Mark as Learned” button for a satisfying this-is-done feeling.
Gibbon is free to join as a learner or teacher, but paid plans are available for private playlists. I see a few interesting applications of the paid plans. Teachers could ask students to create playlists throughout a semester, for example, to help teach continuous learning. Or accelerator mentors could build playlists for specific teams to help them grow and succeed. So many options!
It’s a big week y’all: we’re moving house! This time next week I’ll be up on the fourth floor in a cozy apartment. Can’t wait until we’re settled in! To kick this week off right I collected a few thought-provoking pieces from Medium to get your gears moving:
Product design is a fluid field, not unlike user experience, that seems to have a different definition for every team and practitioner. “A Working Definition of Product Design” is an interesting take that leans heavily on user centered design principles.
A few weeks ago popular design magazine A List Apart published “We Have Work to Do: #yesallwomen and the Web”. It wasn’t just a report of the #yesallwomen movement, like some other tech blogs. The ALA was the only tech publication that I saw not only mentioned #yesallwomen (few did even that) but agreed and pledged a new editorial agenda because of it. They are now committed to amplifying the words of people who respect all members of our tech community and to seeking out diverse contributors. And it struck a chord! The comments are full of nice people applauding ALA for publicly supporting diversity. Tech culture win, right?