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Blog development decisions

Here are some recurring development decisions I make when maintaining my personal website/blog, with some accompanying rationale.

Chris Packham interview in The Guardian

The naturalist, TV campaigner and activist on growing up, autism and asking himself “what is the best use of me?”.

He’s such a brilliant, sensitive soul, but it must be hard work being Chris Packham.

3 questions to evaluate design patterns and avoid unnecessary work that degrades UX (by Adam Silver)

Adam offers tips for how to proceed when we are presented with a request for a shiny new pattern which is not grounded in research but rather follows a fad.

The purpose of design is to solve actual problems. Not made up “I’m bored so I’ll come up with something new” problems.

So how can we evaluate these patterns, avoid unnecessary work and ultimately avoid patterns that degrade UX?

Just normal web things.

Heather suggests that in developers’ excitement to do cool new stuff and use cool new tools and techniques “we stopped letting people do very normal web things”. Things like:

  • the ability to copy text so you can then paste it
  • ensuring elements which navigate also behave like normal links by offering standard right-click and keyboard shortcut options etc. Which is to say – please use the anchor element and leave it alone to do its thing
  • letting people go back using the back button
  • letting people scroll with native scrollbars. Relatedly, letting people get to the links at the bottom of the page rather than having infinite scrolling results which mean that the footer is always just beyond reach!
  • letting the user’s browser autocomplete form fields rather than making them type it

Shoelace: a forward-thinking library of web components

I’m interested by Shoelace’s MO as a collection of pre-rolled, customisable web components. The idea is that it lets individuals and teams start building with web components – components that are web-native, framework-agnostic and portable – way more quickly.

I guess it’s a kind of Bootstrap for web components? I’m interested to see how well it’s done, how customisable the components are, and how useful it is in real life. Or if nothing else, I’m interested to see how they built their components!

It’s definitely an interesting idea.

Component specifications, by Nathan Curtis

Nathan on how complex components require comprehensive specifications rather than ill-advised assumptions, and how Figma can be used to guide engineers to reliably build such components.

I’m still amazed when designers schlep together a few pictures, publish a configurable Figma component, point their developer counterparts at the main component and say “Use Figma’s inspect tool.”

Things have changed. Components are more complicated. Designers are delivering to many different developers. Accessibility has risen to the fore. For design systems that scale, teams are finding it necessary to write down all the details again.

Ben Lomond, bagged

Had a great day with Mark and Alan on Saturday climbing Ben Lomond. Although I’m not much of a hill-walker I reckon that’s the third Munro I have bagged.

We were staying overnight at our friend Jim’s family cabin at Rowardennan and it was a short walk from there to the mountain. The start is steep and the weather progressively worsened until the rain was horizontal, but nonetheless we reached the summit (3200 feet above sea level) in around two hours then skipped back down in just one more hour. We were pretty proud of ourselves to complete the walk in just over three hours!

After that we enjoyed steak pie, fish and chips and victory pints at the Rowardennan hotel. A perfect day.

Mind you, over the last couple of days I’ve been feeling pain in muscles I didn’t know existed!

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