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Designing a Utopian layout grid: Working with fluid responsive values in a static design tool. | Utopia

James describes his process for designing fluid grid layouts, which very much involves working with the grain of the web but against the grain of our design tools:

In 2022 our design tools are still based around fixed-size artboards, while we’re trying to design products which scale gracefully to suit any screen.

No To Spy Pixels

Almost no-one has given informed constent to being tracked through spy pixels in emails, and yet the practice is endemic. This is wrong. It needs to change.

ooh.directory

A directory of blogs, all nicely categorised:

ooh.directory is a place to find good blogs that interest you.

Phil gave me a sneak peek at this when he was putting it together and asked me what I thought of it. My response was basically “This is great!”

And of course you can suggest a site to add to the directory.

Why you should never use px to set font-size in CSS - Josh Collinsworth blog

Reminder:

em and rem work with the user’s font size; px completely overrides it.

Craft — PaulStamatiou.com

I often use the word quality when referring to apps, products and services I hold in a high regard but another word that often comes up in this context is craft. Craft, as in something that is handcrafted where something someone spent a lot of time on and maybe even embedded their own personal touches and personality in it. Often something handcrafted feels more premium.

Aegir.org | Five Moons

In a way, I find these pictures—taken by someone from the ground with regular equipment—just as awe-inspiring as the images from the James Webb Space Telescope.

Building the new Utopia homepage | Trys Mudford

Trys has written up how he made that nifty little resizing widget on the Utopia homepage.

Envisioning Our Shared Storm with Andrew Dana Hudson - Long Now

This observation feels spot-on to me:

The shift that I noticed, totally anecdotally, is literary writers are starting to write more dystopian climate futures and science fiction writers are starting to write about climate solutions.

The Customer Onboarding Handbook [PDF]

A free PDF with five articles:

  • The Brand Experience Gap by Emma Parnell
  • Ongoing Onboarding: Taking Customers from First Use to Product Mastery by Chris How
  • Just Add ICE: 3 Ways to Make Your Customer Experience More Meaningful by Candi Williams
  • Effectively Researching and Using Customer Journey Maps by Lauren Isaacson
  • Using and Abusing Surveys in Customer Onboarding by Caroline Jarrett

Three of those authors spoke at this year’s UX London!

Fermented Code: Modelling the Microbial Through Miso - Serpentine Galleries

Y’know, I started reading this great piece by Claire L. Evans thinking about its connections to systems thinking, but I ended up thinking more about prototyping. And microbes.

Your design system contribution practice is doomed to fail by Amy Hupe, content designer.

This is a great analysis by Amy of the conflicting priorities tugging at design systems.

No matter how hard we work to foster these socialist ideals, like community, collaboration, and contribution, it feels as though we’re always being dragged to a default culture of individualism.

dConstruct 2022 – Photos by Marc Thiele

Marc very kindly took loads of pictures at dConstruct on Friday—lovely!

Modern alternatives to BEM - daverupert.com

Dave rounds up some of the acronymtastic ways of scoping your CSS now that we’ve got a whole new toolkit at our disposal.

If your goal is to reduce specificity, new native CSS tools make reducing specificity a lot easier. You can author your CSS with near-zero specificity and even control the order in which your rules cascade.

Happiness Is Two Scales

The common way to talk about happiness is as a single scale: unhappy at one end, neutral in the middle, happy at the other end.

I think that model is wrong.

Instead, happiness and unhappiness are two separate, independent scales.

Pizza Exchange Rate | FlowingData

This is a story about pizza and geometry.

The interactive widget here really demonstrates the difference between showing and telling.

Body Margin 8px | Miriam Eric Suzanne

I love this kind of spelunking into the history of why things are they way they are on the web!

Here, Detective Chief Inspector Suzanne tries to get to the bottom of why every browser has eight pixels of margin applied to the body element in the user-agent stylesheet.

The Dangerous Populist Science of Yuval Noah Harari ❧ Current Affairs

We have been seduced by Harari because of the power not of his truth or scholarship but of his storytelling. As a scientist, I know how difficult it is to spin complex issues into appealing and accurate storytelling. I also know when science is being sacrificed to sensationalism. Yuval Harari is what I call a “science populist.” (Canadian clinical psychologist and YouTube guru Jordan Peterson is another example.) Science populists are gifted storytellers who weave sensationalist yarns around scientific “facts” in simple, emotionally persuasive language. Their narratives are largely scrubbed clean of nuance or doubt, giving them a false air of authority—and making their message even more convincing. Like their political counterparts, science populists are sources of misinformation. They promote false crises, while presenting themselves as having the answers. They understand the seduction of a story well told—relentlessly seeking to expand their audience—never mind that the underlying science is warped in the pursuit of fame and influence.

This tracks.

Harari has seduced us with his storytelling, but a close look at his record shows that he sacrifices science to sensationalism, often makes grave factual errors, and portrays what should be speculative as certain.

Utopian project kickstarter — Figma

Do you like the ideas behind Utopia? Do you use Figma?

If the answer to both those questions is “yes”, then James has made a very handy Figma community file for you:

This work-in-progress is intended as a starting point for designers to start exploring the Utopia approach, thinking about type and space in fluid scales rather than device-based breakpoints.

The Demo → Demo Loop - daverupert.com

I’m 100% convinced that working demo-to-demo is the secret formula to making successful creative products.