Not every website needs to solve a big problem and sell a big product. There is incredible beauty in small, helpful websites that focus on one little detail to help us make our lives slightly better. In this newsletter, we celebrate just a few little sites that do just that. A bit of art, a bit of history, a bit of plant guides — we hope you’ll find these gems useful, too.
In our own news, we’ve just announced SmashingConf San Francisco 2022, our in-person conference for designers and front-end developers. The first speakers have already been announced with talks by experts on accessibility, front-end, design systems, performance and interface design. We’ll also be hosting in-person workshops on front-end, design and UX.
We’d love to meet you in person again on March 28–31, 2022, at the waterfront next to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. And we are here to help you convince your manager as well.
— Vitaly (@smashingmag)
1. Plant Guides, From A To Z
Every office, and that includes home office as well, is better off with a lovely selection of beautiful plants. But which plants are easier to deal with for some of us who tend to be forgetful? Which ones require more care, and if so, what does it usually involve?
How Many Plants is a wonderful resource that covers all these questions well. It provides a thorough overview of all popular plants, sorted alphabetically and by care difficulty. You can even filter out plants based on their features (size, format, placement), plant type (traits, origins, pet-friendly) and leaf look (shape and surface). A great reference site to keep nearby. (vf)
2. Covid Art Museum
Of course, design isn’t quite like art. While design tries to solve a particular problem, art makes us think and feel — provoking us and questioning the status quo. But art can also bring around new perspectives and change in times when it’s so much needed.
The Covid Art Museum is a growing online exhibition of art born during Covid-19 quarantine, now with 238 contributions by people from all around the world. Often it’s an attempt to cope with the world around us, and perhaps take a slightly different perspective of how the changed world changed our perception of that world and our lives. (vf)
3. Museum Of Annoying Experiences
How often do you feel frustrated these days? How often do you open a browser window just to find yourself stuck identifying fire hydrants and understanding confusing sentences? Or perhaps calling a customer support service just to be put on hold for for half an hour (at best)?
The Museum of Annoying Experiences takes us on a journey to the year 3000 when bad customer service is a distant memory to observe the exhibits of how it used to be in the past (well, today) when most interactions are incredibly annoying. Each exhibit is interactive and playful, taking a fun take at frustrations around us. Who knows: hopefully in the year 3000, all these memories will indeed be distant, and will need to remind ourselves about how things used to be. (vf)
4. Upcoming Front-End & UX Workshops
You might have heard it: we run online workshops around front-end and design, be it accessibility, performance, navigation, or landing pages. In fact, we have a couple of workshops coming up soon, and we thought that, you know, you might want to join in as well.
As always, here’s an overview of our upcoming workshops:
- Deep Dive On Accessibility Testing Dev
with Manuel Matuzvoic. Nov. 4–18
- Behavioral Design Workshop UX
with Susan and Guthrie Weinschenk. Nov. 3–17
- Next.js Black Belt Dev
with Atila Fassina. Nov. 9–24
- Successful Design Systems Workflow
with Brad Frost. Nov 30 – Dec 14
- Dynamic CSS Masterclass CSS
with Lea Verou. Nov 29 – Dec 14
- Jump to all online workshops →
5. The Musical Time Machine
It’s still quite difficult to travel back in time, but fortunately, we can do so online. What if you wanted to listen to the pop charts extravaganza from the US back in 1955 or Uzbekistan in 1932? Well, Radiooooo has got your back (well, you might need to sign up for a free basic plan first).
The website is a collection of songs collected over decades and now searchable, with filters by genre, speed, country and time period. In fact, you can search by slow for chilling, fast for dancing and weird music for bugging out — indeed, there is something for everyone! And if you want to go fancy, there is a shuffle mode, with songs picked by the curators. (vf)
6. UX Misconceptions And Laws
When we design experiences on the web, usually we rely on things that worked well in the past. Of course, we don’t know for sure how well our solutions worked, and we don’t know if they’d perform well next time around. But out of our experiences views emerge, and then as they find ground, they become more established over time. And sometimes, this is exactly how misconceptions appear.
“10 misconceptions on UX” highlights common views and data around infinite scrolling, making everything accessible from the homepage, original design, mobile-first and user interviews, among others. Admittedly, the creators of the site are quite opinionated, and you might disagree with some statements, but the website is fun to play with, and there are dozens of random fun facts to explore as well.
Also, if you’d like to deep-dive into common principles and heuristics of UX, Jon Yablonski has collected dozens of Laws of UX in his beautiful website, featuring everything from Hick’s Law and Law of Common Region to Tesler’s Law and Zeigarnik Effect. Wonderful resources worth keeping close! (vf)
7. The Timeline Of The Web
The web has been going through quite a few changes over the last three decades. You might remember Perl 5, Firebug, Backbone.js and the end of Flash, but very often most things we’ve experienced on the web appear quite blurry, as they were changing so quickly.
In The History of the Web, Jay Hoffman, with illustrations by Katerina Limpitsouni, celebrates the most important events in the web’s young history. It’s an evolving timeline that charts the events on a timeline, with useful resources and links to follow-up and review. A lovely little project to keep bookmarked, and keep updated as we are evolving the web today. (vf)
That’s All, Folks!
Thank you so much for reading and for your support in helping us keep the web dev and design community strong with our newsletter. See you next time!
This newsletter issue was written and edited by Cosima Mielke (cm), Vitaly Friedman (vf) and Iris Lješnjanin (il).
- Localization & Internationalization
- Designing For Mobile and Touch
- Designing Better Complex UIs
- Friendly Little Websites
- Front-End Decisions
- SVG Freebies, Techniques and Tools
- Front-End Guides, UX, Regex and Docker
- Little Front-End Helpers and Resources
- New CSS Techniques
- Microcopy and UX Writing
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