It’s an exciting week here at Smashing! The SmashingConf is taking place in our hometown Freiburg, Germany (check the conference photos), where it all started. It’s always a great pleasure meeting the friendliest designers and developers who all share their experiences and learn from each other. We hope it’s a time that folks will hopefully not easily forget!
- SmashingConf Antwerp 2023 (Oct 9–12, 2023), our new conference on design & UX in lovely Antwerp, Belgium
- SmashingConf Freiburg 2024 (Sep 9–11, 2024), in Freiburg, Germany with 30 early birds available now.
In this newsletter, we dive into some lovely little website gems — exploring sounds, colorful illustrations, visualizations and handy encyclopedias. We hope that they’ll help you make your site or app a bit more accessible!
So, see you maybe later this year or next year? ;-)
— Vitaly (@vitalyf)
1. Iconographic Encyclopædia
Have you ever heard of J.G. Heck’s Encyclopaedia of Science, Literature, and Art? If not, there is no better time than now to explore it. The Iconographic Encyclopaedia project is a reimagined modern edition of the 19th-century encyclopedia that explores everything from astronomy to zoology in more than 500 engraved steel plates and 1.6 million words.
For the digital version, more than 13,000 illustrations were extracted from each steel plate as a separate image so they could be shown within the text where they were referenced. Additionally, an overlay of hotspots was created for each plate so clicking a figure could display details of what they were and where they were mentioned in the text.
The illustrations are not only a pleasure to look at, but you can also use them in your projects freely without any restrictions. A labor of love that creates a bridge across centuries and technologies. (cm)
2. Dimensions Of Everyday Objects
A two-liter soda bottle, a type D plug and socket, and an IKEA Billy bookcase. They don’t have much in common besides being everyday objects, do they? And that’s what makes them so interesting, even though it might not seem like it initially. The project Dimensions celebrates the beauty of seemingly mundane everyday objects like these.
To enhance our collective awareness of the parameters and dimensions of the things around us, Dimensions creates dimensioned drawings documenting the standard measurements and sizes of the objects that make up our world — be it bathroom sink accessories, walkways, tech equipment, and even animals and characters from pop culture.
The drawings are available for download in 2D and 3D formats and free for non-commercial use. A fantastic resource for architects, designers, artists, illustrators, and generally anyone curious about the world. (cm)
3. Visualizing The World’s Systems
Everything in the world is interconnected, part of one big system, and seeing how things relate can help us see the bigger picture. That’s the idea behind System. The public resource wants to break out of the old approach of clustering the world’s data and knowledge into disciplines and departments and organizes it in a global system instead.
System uses AI to extract statistical results from millions of peer-reviewed studies, starting in health and life sciences, and organize the statistical relationships in a large-scale graph. You can explore the system of a particular topic and discover what impacts it and what it impacts in return, dig into a particular relationship and analyze the data backing it up, or go directly to the sources from which System has extracted the data. System is growing daily as science advances. Impressive! (cm)
4. The Encyclopedia Of HR
Covering everything from finding and keeping top talent and adhering to company core values to managing payroll and contracts, HR can be an intimidating topic. Whether you’re running a small design agency and need to take care of HR or are considering a career in the field, the free HR Encyclopedia helps you address the big and small challenges that human resources brings along.
Aimed at HR professionals of all experience levels, the encyclopedia features more than 700 articles and podcast episodes with valuable tips and advice. You can use the search bar to find what you’re looking for or click through the topic tabs to see entries for key areas such as hiring, onboarding, people management, compensation, employee forms, or HR tools. A handy resource you might want to keep close. (cm)
5. Upcoming Workshops and Conferences
That’s right! We run online workshops on frontend and design, be it accessibility, performance, or design patterns. 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 a quick overview:
- Interface Design Patterns UX Training UX
with Vitaly Friedman. Sep 8 – Oct 6
- Accessible Components from Design to Development Dev
with Carie Fisher. Sep 14–22
- Typography Masterclass UX
with Elliot Jay Stocks. Oct 16–30
- Customer-Centric Product Strategy Workshop UX
with Debbie Levitt. Oct 18–26
- Design KPIs Masterclass UX
with Vitaly Friedman. Oct 31 – Nov 8
- Accessibility for Designers UX
with Stéphanie Walter. Nov 6–15
- Smart Interface Design Patterns Video Course UX
9h-video + Live UX Training with Vitaly Friedman
- Jump to all workshops →
6. The Sounds Of Space
What does a black hole sound like, or a comet passing by? Does the wind on Mars sound the same as the wind on Earth? And does the sun produce any sound at all? The Sounds of Space takes you on an auditory journey through our solar system.
The site features sonifications and recordings from the eight planets in our solar system, plus the sun, a black hole, and a black hole merger. The gravitational waves, vibrations, and radio emissions transport you directly into strange and exciting worlds far, far away. (cm)
7. Little Alchemy
Are you up for a calm little game? Then Little Alchemy 2 might be for you. It all starts with the four elements: air, earth, fire, and water. Your task: combine them to create something new. Earth and fire creates lava, for example, water and earth turns into mud.
The new items you create are added to your stock of alchemist ingredients, making room for combinations that are a lot more complex. But beware, what starts out quite simple, will quickly get more challenging — and quite addictive, too, as 720 items are waiting to be discovered. Will you be able to create plants and even humans? A magical experience. (cm)
8. Fuss-Free Cooking Inspiration
It was a long day at work, you’re hungry, but you don’t have any idea what to make for dinner? Then SuperCook has got your back. The site scouts popular recipe websites to match whatever you currently have in the fridge.
All you need to do is enter the ingredients you have at home (or choose them from the list with just a few clicks), and SuperCook will do its magic. How about some roasted onion and tomato spaghetti with a poached egg? Or a five-ingredient falafel, maybe? Perfect to get some new cooking inspiration. Bon appétit! (cm)
9. Smashing Books
Promoting best practices and providing you with practical tips to master your daily coding and design challenges has always been at the core of everything we do at Smashing.
In the past few years, we were very lucky to have worked together with some talented, caring people from the web community to publish their wealth of experience as printed books. Have you checked them out already?
- Understanding Privacy by Heather Burns
- Touch Design for Mobile Interfaces by Steven Hoober
- Image Optimization by Addy Osmani
- Check out all books →
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 Geoff Graham (gg), Cosima Mielke (cm), Vitaly Friedman (vf), and Iris Lješnjanin (il).
- Designing For Mobile
- Design & UI Inspiration
- All Things UX
- Lovely Little Website Gems
- Inclusive Design and Accessibility
- UX Writing and Microcopy
- Inclusive Design
- Figma Tools and 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.