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Smashing Daily #50: The Ogonek, Hypotheses, Idling

The 50th edition of The Smashing Daily! In this edition we have links about type, a suggestion to start using hypotheses instead of requirements, an introduction about CSS regions (and the shadow DOM), some links about responsive images, there’s an article about the glorification of being busy and an amazing art project about silent letters. Enjoy!

The Ogonek1

English is probably one of the easiest languages around, even it’s characters are simple. There is no word with a cedilla in it, and there definitely isn’t a word with an ogonek in it—a Polish character element. In this old but fascinating article by Adam Twardoch you can learn everything you need to know (and probably more) about the ogonek.

The Ogonek is a Character Element2

Replacing Requirements With Hypotheses3

We make websites based on requirements, a set of rules we set at the beginning of the project and have to follow all along. Josh Seiden thinks we need to replace requirements with hypotheses. Sounds like a good idea. However, the hard thing about hypotheses is that they can turn out to be false after some serious testing. For scientific research this is an excellent result—for a startup this can be disastrous (but probably still better than spending a fortune on something that doesn’t work).

Working With CSS Regions And Shadow DOM4

If you think front-end development is hard enough as it is, you’ll be surprised about how hard it’s going to get in the near future. Things like CSS regions (and especially the Shadow DOM and Web Components) are even hard to understand as a concept. Razvan Caliman tries to explain these things in this article.

CSS Regions and Shadow DOM5

Stretchy Pictures6

Aegir Hallmundur wrote a great article about wrong assumptions when working with mobile, and he comes up with a nice responsive images technique that you might want to use every now and then. A bit complex, but it might just fit into your project.

Responsive Web Design—Problems From The Coalface7

James Young did a great job with collecting a long list of problems people encounter while working on a responsive website. He even wrote some conclusions and recommendations. A good read.

The “Busy” Trap8

I think the worst part of the culture I live in (western business culture) is the glorification of being busy. I really believe that idling and doing nothing9 are very important activities, but that’s definitely not something the culture I live in encourages: be productive and work long days are our mantras. Tim Kreider wrote a good article about the busy trap. You should read it.

Is it Really Good to be Busy?10

Flowchart: How To Retinafy Your Website11

Here’s an over-simplified flowchart by Thomas Fuchs about the choices you need to make for optimizing your images for retina screens. An important question that is missing here is if you really need to optimize your images? Performance should really be an important part of this flow chart.

Type News: One Down12

Looking for inspiration with your next design? Why don’t you start where it starts: with the right font. Here’s an edition of Type News, the weekly newsletter filled with new fonts and news about type in general.

Last Click


Many languages have so called “silent letters”—letters that are written but that are not pronounced, like the letter w in the word written. Momo Miyazaki, Manas Karambelkar, and Kenneth Aleksander Robertson visualized these silent letters on several ways in Silenc, a beautiful work of art.

Research About Silent Characters14

Previous Issues15

For previous Smashing Daily issues, check out the Smashing Daily Archive16.


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Vasilis van Gemert is the Principal Front-end Developer at Mirabeau in The Netherlands and a board member of Fronteers. His aim is to close the gap between design and (front-end) development. He believes the excess of knowledge he has can be better used by others, by more creative and smarter people. You can follow him on Twitter.

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