Frankly, I‘ve never been a big fan of self-reflection by the end of the year. I like to believe that I always have a plan, and that I diligently move towards my goals year after year. There is barely a need to review the entire year, as the trajectory is quite clear and is right in front of me! However, for 2022, my wonderful partner convinced me to join her in a self-reflection session to take a very close look at 2021 and explore achievements, goals and plans for 2022.
I was very skeptical at first, but I rolled up my sleeves and went through the entire 4h-long session (here’s an example of the session). It was just a review of the year, but it prompted me to question so many things that have been a part of my daily routine for years. An email signature that’s been outdated for a while, the to-do list with so many items tucked at the end of the document, and a calendar that was quite messy and perhaps a little bit too busy. My cooking skills, my running frequency, my reading activities, my podcasts and connections with my mentors and friends.
By the end of it, I had scribbles and ideas and activities all panned out all over the place. I even dedicated a few more hours to review everything one more time and turned notes into action points — with dedicated slots for everything that I felt was important in my life, now reserved in the calendar and in my reminders.
Looking back is useful, and it helps us look forward, just to find that right direction that we want to take to be happy, and to make people around us happy as well. In this newsletter issue, we look at some of these little things to help you get off to a good start in 2022.
I sincerely wish you the most wondrous and smashing of things this year, with a healthy, productive and truly, truly happy time without too many deadlines and too many busy calendars.
1. Podcasts To Subscribe To
What podcasts are you listening to? What inspires you, and what helps you discover things you’ve never known? These are the questions that we’ve asked on Twitter, with plenty of great suggestions coming from the community. Work-Life is a lovely podcast with advice on how to improve your work and how to work better, while Darknet Diaries is a fascinating listen on hackers, breaches, cybercrime, and all the things that dwell on the hidden parts of the Internet.
You can always find a better outlook on things in A Bit Of Optimism, and learn to improve your design workflow with the Design Better Podcast. There is plenty more about all sides of design in Design Matters and 99% Invisible. All great podcasts to keep in your library for a walk in the park, running or just a bit of evening cooking. Ah, and of course, there is our very own Smashing Podcast, too. Just sayin’! (vf)
2. Mentorship Platforms For Personal Growth
We all want to grow professionally, but how do we decide how exactly do we grow? There might be plenty of things that interest us, and plenty of roles that we could try out, but there are probably so many other things that we don’t think about in the busyness of daily work. That’s when having a good mentor can make quite a difference. Fortunately, there is no shortage of options for finding a good mentor to help you with a bit of sound advice or just share some of their thoughts.
Some of these options are listed in Free mentoring platforms for developers and designers, with plenty of sites available free of charge for all kinds of interests, from startup mentorship to programming/design mentorship to career mentorship — all the way to office hours offered by CEOs and CTOs for any questions that you might have. (vf)
3. Job Interview Questions
You might be heading in a job interview later this year, so what do you need to know ahead of time, and how can you be well-prepared? The Tech Interview Handbook provides some useful pointers around the different parts of job interviews, from system design to behavioral rounds to algorithms. You can also run through plenty of questions that are often asked in job interviews and plenty of resources available on FrontEnd Masters.
Finally, if you need to get better at negotiating your salary, you’ll find a couple of useful pointers Ten Rules for Negotiating a Job Offer (also notice part 2). Hopefully, this should help you be a bit more prepared for that job interview! (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:
- Smart Interface Design Patterns Video Course UX
with Vitaly Friedman. January 2022.
- Accessible Front-End Patterns Masterclass Dev
with Carie Fisher. Jan 20 – Feb 3
- New Adventures In Front-End, 2022 Edition Dev
with Vitaly Friedman. Feb 3–17
- Front-End Testing Masterclass Dev
with Gleb Bahmutov. Feb 8–16
- Jump to all online workshops →
5. Inspirational Websites Around The World
How often do you stumble upon Cyrillic websites? What about Japanese sites? Or sites from specific, but obscure industries? When we want to explore unusual design patterns, it might be a good idea to look in unusual places. For example, Cyrillic.Design showcases Cyrillic websites that often don’t make their appearance in popular galleries. All entries can be filtered with tags, and new websites are added regularly.
SiteInspire organizes websites by industry and category, allowing to search for health industry-related websites or architecture-related projects. Design Made in Germany showcases work done by German designers, and Responsive-JP shines the spotlight on brilliant work by Japanese designers. Finally, you can find plenty of landing pages on One Page Love and Land-Book, while Personalsit.es collects small and lovely personal websites. Now, this should keep you busy for a while! (vf)
6. Prince Of Persia
Just like the original MS-DOS version of the game, you can use the arrows for movement and the Shift key for using your sword, drinking potions, and grabbing wall edges when jumping. The source code, original maps, and other details have all been documented here where you’ll even find credits to Jordan’s source code for the original Prince of Persia game. You can now play the full game as a native app on any mobile device: there are 12 levels to finish in 60 minutes. (il)
7. You Are Not A Machine
The last couple of years have been challenging, and our work can be demanding to say the least. We all are deeply passionate about what we do, but sometimes we get a little bit too lost in that passion, forgetting about ourselves. If I feel like a day isn’t quite as productive as it should be, I remind myself of an honest, wonderful post “You Are Not A Machine” by our dear friend Paul Boag back in the day. Even today, 8 years later, it’s still a good reminder that not every day has to be about productivity.
Paul also runs a friendly newsletter with honest and practical advice about all aspects of any career in digital, but also how to deal with clients, stakeholders and how to broaden your skills in the industry. Worth subscribing and keeping an eye on! (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 Vitaly Friedman (vf) and Iris Lješnjanin (il).
- Design & UI Inspiration
- All Things UX
- Lovely Little Website Gems
- Inclusive Design and Accessibility
- UX Writing and Microcopy
- Inclusive Design
- Figma Tools and Workflow
- UX Workflow
Looking for older issues? Drop us an email and we’ll happily share them with you. Would be quite a hassle searching and clicking through them here anyway.