Roll up your sleeves! In this newsletter, we’ve put together a few useful books, guides, templates, and resources to help you get started in 2024 off the right foot. You’ll find a few gems around accessibility, UX research, storytelling, and fonts — for designers and front-end engineers.
On our end, we’re working on new online workshops and the line-ups of speakers and workshops for SmashingConfs 2024. In fact, we have 3 lovely stops that year: in legendary Freiburg, once-in-a-lifetime New York, and magnificent Antwerp. (Okay, it might be a few too many adjectives in there!).
This time, we also have friendly bundles for great teams, so perhaps get your incredible team together — for a friendly, inclusive, and memorable experience in 2024.
We can’t wait to see you, and wishing you a wonderful start of the year!
1. Free UI Typography Book
Typography is an essential part of every user interface. It creates balance and rhythm, and if done well, it helps users catch the information they need with just a glance. But what do you need to consider to create good UI typography? That’s exactly the question that Alex Baranov’s eBook User Interface Typography attempts to answer.
Written for people who are just embarking on their design journey as well as already experienced UI designers, the book takes you from the basic fundamentals and principles of typography to building layouts and various design elements. Hundreds of illustrations explain every nuance and principle in detail. You can read the book online for free or buy the PDF to support Alex’s wonderful work.
Another useful resource to help you unlock the power of typography is Google Fonts Knowledge. Produced by the Google Fonts team in collaboration with typographic experts from around the world, it covers everything from choosing type and mastering readability and accessibility to variable fonts and using type in AR and VR. Perfect for designers and developers of all skill sets. (cm)
2. Giving A Damn About Accessibility
Accessibility isn’t just about compliance. It’s about considering different needs and designing inclusive experiences that don’t leave anyone out. If you’re looking for a candid take on accessibility, Giving a damn about accessibility is for you.
Written by Sheri Byrne-Haber, the free handbook takes a closer look at the challenges and opportunities that designing for accessibility brings along. A practical guide that explains how to fight for accessibility, even if it’s hard.
For a quick overview of how to effectively change the culture around accessibility, also be sure to check out Vitaly’s post. In it, he shares small but precious tips that can bring positive results faster than you might think. To help you make a strong case for accessibility, the post also features useful further reading resources, accessibility toolkits, guides, and templates. (cm)
3. UX Research Templates
We can’t improve our products without proper research in place. Yet we don’t have to reinvent the wheel from scratch every time. Fortunately, Odette Jansen has prepared an exhaustive Notion hub with UX research templates for card sorting, gap analysis, jobs to be done, shadowing, stakeholder walkthrough, tree testing and usability testing.
Of course, the templates are quite generic, so as you use them, make sure to customize them for your needs to find the right insights for your work. And if you’d like to dive deeper into UX research, you can find plenty of insights in the UX Research Field Guide at User Interviews. (vf)
4. Upcoming Workshops and Conferences
Yep, 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:
- UX Strategy Masterclass UX
with Vitaly Friedman. Jan 23 – Feb 6
- Interface Design Patterns (Spring 2024) UX
with Vitaly Friedman. Mar 8 – Apr 5
- Resilient & Maintainable CSS Dev
with Miriam Suzanne. Feb 26 – Mar 12
- Scalable CSS Masterclass Dev
with Andy Bell. May 9–23
- Smart Interface Design Patterns Video Course UX
10h-video + Live UX Training with Vitaly Friedman
- Jump to all workshops →
5. Telling Better Stories
How can we tell stories that matter, delight, offer value, and maybe even change the world? To help us communicate more effectively, Jeremy Connell-Waite, Communications Designer at IBM, condensed everything he learned about storytelling over the last twenty years into a set of nine principles. Each principle is backed up by short video tutorials, scientific research, cheat sheets, inspirational keynotes, reading lists, and other resources to teach you the art of storytelling.
Also part of Jeremy’s “Tell Better Stories” project are his One Pagers, hand-written and illustrated summaries of things he learned. The One Pagers explore everything from Walt Disney’s Imagineers to the Japanese principle Ikigai and what we can learn from how Ernest Hemingway or Taylor Swift tell stories. Beautiful masterpieces, jam-packed with storytelling wisdom.
For more learning resources all around storytelling, also be sure to check out Vitaly’s curated list. (cm)
6. Superfamily Of Coding Fonts
Since the earliest days, code has been set in monospaced type. However, options are limited when you want to add structure or hierarchy to your code. Monaspace is here to change that. The superfamily of fonts includes five variable axis typefaces to offer a more expressive palette for code.
The five typefaces all shine with a different personality, yet all are compatible with one another so that you can seamlessly mix and match them. Three variable axis are available, and Monaspace has some other nifty features built in, too. Texture healing, for example, evens out the density of monospaced type to make letters look more balanced. The font family also includes code ligatures for a broad variety of languages. Organized into stylistic sets, you can enable or disable them according to your preferences. Nice! (cm)
7. Free Books For Interface & UX Designers
Think about the last book you read. If it wasn’t as useful as you had hoped for it to be, perhaps you’ll find a better one among free books for interface and UX designers. It’s a growing list of books on everything from accessibility and typography to management, IA, and content strategy.
These books have been kindly shared by the community, with lessons learned by authors for everybody to read and benefit from. A sincere, enormous thank-you to the authors for making their work available to everyone for free. Hopefully, you and your friends will find them useful, too! (il)
8. 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).
- UX Research
- Sustainability In Front-End and UX
- Dealing With Legacy
- Interface Design
- Accessibility and Inclusive Design
- Goodies and Freebies
- New Ways of Working in 2024
- Meet 2024
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.