October 18, 2022 Smashing Newsletter: Issue #375
This newsletter issue was sent out to 222,219 subscribers on Tuesday, October 18, 2022.
Ah, designers! As we are moving from one project to another, often there isn’t enough time to pause for a moment and review our existing processes. Are we running our in-house design workshops efficiently? What about our interview process and onboarding for designers? Are we thorough enough and detailed enough with our design critiques?
In this newsletter, we’d love to prompt you to stop for just a moment and revise how you work. Explore what our UX colleagues are doing: which tools they use to get things done. There are plenty of resources and conversation starters in here to kick off a conversation in your team.
If you are looking for more conversation starters, we have some wonderful UX workshops coming up soon — from mastering design processes to Figma workflows to product design and live UX design training. Plus, our 9h-video course on smart interface design patterns, with yours truly.
We also have a Design Systems Online Meet-up coming up on Tuesday, November 15 — with friendly sessions on themeable design systems, components and lessons learned from big and small design systems out there.
Happy UXing, everyone!
— Vitaly (@vitalyf)
1. Design Pattern Catalogue
Maggie Appleton sits at the intersection of design, anthropology, and programming. And this combination leads to a fresh approach to design patterns. For her Pattern Catalogue, Maggie gathered design patterns from her observations and research. She doesn’t tackle the patterns you’ve already read about often but offers a look at things that are often overseen.
Algorithmic transparency, folk interfaces, spatial web browsing, and assumed audiences are some of the topics that Maggie explores in her essays. You’ll dive deep into algorithms that make their reasoning visible, explore how people reappropriate existing software to solve unique problems, and why naming your invisible audiences can free you from unspoken obligations. Inspiring! (cm)
2. Effective Design Critique Meetings
Constructive design feedback helps designers think outside the box. It improves ideas, encourages collaboration, and, ultimately, helps develop a team’s talent and grow their careers. However, getting design critiques right can be a challenge. To change that, Jes Kirkwood explores how to give designers feedback they can actually use.
Tanner Christensen summarized four things that working at Facebook has taught him about design critique. When he started at Facebook, he was skeptical that the time spent on design critique was time well spent, but he soon learned to embrace the notion that dedicating a few hours every week for a meeting can prove itself to be valuable to everyone who attends.
Another great read on the topic comes from Alexandre Brito. In his guide to design critique, he presents a straightforward approach for what to do before and during a design critique session to make sure it’ll be successful.
Last but not least, the team at Overflow published a step-by-step guide to enhance your design critique meetings. The tips are based on real-life methods and are tailored for both presenters and facilitators. (cm)
3. Tips For Better Design Workshops
Online design workshops often feel more official than face-to-face workshops. You don’t see people’s emotions, and discussions and jokes are often spoiled by technical delays. And then there’s the potential barrier that the tools in use can impose. So what can you do to engage your team even more to ensure the workshop leads to the results that everyone has been hoping for? Slava Shestopalov shares seven hand-picked tips for awesome design workshops.
From providing an easy-to-use Sandbox canvas to ensure that everyone can share their thoughts and ideas to sprinkling in emojis for a high team spirit and running pre-workshop interviews, Slava’s tips help you set the scene for an effective workshop experience that gets everyone involved. Your workshops won’t turn into long brainstorming sessions but they’ll deliver actionable results. (cm)
4. Free UX Guides
What fuels the world’s best design teams? With their series of free eBooks, DesignBetter grants us valuable insights. Their library includes 11 books on everything from design engineering and business thinking to enterprise design sprints, design systems, product design, animation, and more.
To get you fit for the UX challenges you might come across in your day-to-day work, Maze published a collection of practical guides with expert advice and insights into industry topics. They cover usability testing, UX research, product discovery, concept testing, personas, survey design, and more.
The User Experience Research Field Guide by the folks at User Interviews also dives deep into UX research — from planning and conducting sessions to analyzing and reporting findings. Fantastic resources to take your UX skills to the next level. (cm)
5. Upcoming Online Workshops
That’s right! We run online workshops on frontend 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:
- Pushing CSS to The Limit CSS
with Amit Sheen. Nov 2–10
- Deep Dive On Accessibility Testing Dev
with Manuel Matuzović. Nov 14–28
- Mastering the Design Process Workflow
with Paul Boag. Nov 15–23
- Designing The Perfect Web Forms UX
with Vitaly Friedman. Nov 17–18
- Figma Workflow Masterclass UX
with Christine Vallaure. Nov 17 – Dec 1
- Smart Interface Design Patterns UX
9h-video course on interface design with Vitaly Friedman
6. Mastering Product Design Interviews
How to ace a product design interview? Garron Engstrom has interviewed and been interviewed hundreds of times, and this experience has given him valuable insight into what counts. From understanding what skills are being assessed to preparing for specific questions that might come up, in his guide to design interviews, he dives deep into all of the potential interview formats you might come across.
But what is an “interview format”? As Garron explains, companies use several types of interviews to gain different insights about your experience and see you from different angles. Taken together, they give the company a holistic view of you as a designer. Garron goes over the five most common product design interview formats — portfolio review, app critique, background, problem solving, and take-home exercise — so that you’re well prepared for what’s about to come. (cm)
7. Practical Dashboard Design Tips
Dashboards need to present important data in a way that users can tell what’s going on at a glance. To get that information across quickly and efficiently, the design and layout of the dashboard become all the more important. But no worries, you don’t have to be a designer to build a great dashboard.
To help you communicate key goals and metrics, the folks at Geckoboard published a checklist with 12 practical dashboard design tips. Handy guidelines you can follow along, no matter if you’re about to build a dashboard from scratch or have a dashboard in need of a redesign.
Another fantastic overview of dashboard tips comes from Adam Fard. He collected 14 handy dashboard UI best practices for stakeholders. They help you empathize with your users and enable you to create dashboards that solve problems with a minimal cognitive burden.
Susie Lu looks at dashboard design from a storytelling perspective. In her blog post “Storytelling in Dashboards,” Susie explores why framing exploratory visualizations as a form of storytelling matters and how to design storytelling in dashboards effectively. A great read that helps us see dashboards from a new perspective: as a choose-your-own-adventure story. (cm)
8. UX Knowledge Base
UX is a wide subject. Now imagine someone explored almost every aspect of UX and summarized the most important findings so that you don’t have to do all the research yourself. Krisztina Szerovay did just that for her UX Knowledge Base.
The UX Knowledge Base gives you a complete overview of all things UX. From affordances and Hick’s Law to feedback review and design workflow, it covers more than 140 UX topics. No worries, you don’t have to dig through lengthy articles; instead, Krisztina presents each topic as beautiful, handwritten sketchnotes that highlight the key points and takeaways at a glance. An encyclopedia-like resource, perfect for anyone new to UX or designers seeking to brush up on their UX skills. (cm)
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).
Useful front-end & UX bits, delivered once a week. Subscribe and get the Smart Interface Design Checklists PDF — in your inbox. 🎁
You can always unsubscribe with just one click.
- Knowledge Hubs For UX Designers
- Sustainable Design Toolkits
- Web Typography
- UX and Design Process
- Better Meetings and Career Paths
- Useful CSS Techniques
- Design Inspiration From Remote Corners Of The Web
- Privacy and Security
- Little Helpers
- UX Playbooks
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.