Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Monday, January 16th, 2023
There’s a broader point here about declarative design:
Setting very specific values may feel like you’re in more control, but you’re actually rescinding control by introducing fragility in the form of overly-specific CSS.
Wednesday, January 11th, 2023
The past, present and future of blogs.
Tuesday, January 10th, 2023
- It’s enormously valuable to simply follow your curiosity—and follow it for a really long time, even if it doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere in particular.
- Surprisingly big breakthrough ideas come when you bridge two seemingly unconnected areas.
Sunday, January 8th, 2023
Wednesday, January 4th, 2023
Styling a list of nested
details elements to create a beautiful lokking tree view, all in CSS, all nicely accessible.
Monday, January 2nd, 2023
This time last year when I was looking back on 2021, I wrote:
2020 was the year of the virus. 2021 was the year of the vaccine …and the virus, obviously, but still it felt like the year we fought back. With science!
Science continued to win the battle in 2022. But it was messy. The Situation isn’t over yet, and everyone has different ideas about the correct levels of risk-taking.
It’s like when you’re driving and you think that everyone going faster than you is a maniac, and everyone going slower than you is an idiot.
The world opened up more in 2022. I was able to speak at more in-person events. I really missed that. I think I’m done with doing online talks.
There was a moment when I was speaking at Web Dev Conf in Bristol this year (a really nice little gathering), and during my presentation I was getting that response from the audience that you just don’t get with online talks, and I distinctly remember thinking, “Oh, I’ve really missed this!”
But like I said, The Situation isn’t over, and that makes things tricky for conferences. Most of the ones I spoke at or attended were doing their best to make things safe. CSS Day, Clarity, State Of The Browser: they all took measures to try to look out for everyone’s health.
For my part, I asked everyone attending dConstruct to take a COVID test the day before. Like I said at the time, I may have just been fooling myself with what might have been hygiene theatre, but like those other events, we all wanted to gather safely.
That can’t be said for the gigantic event in Berlin that I spoke at in Summer. There were tens of thousands of people in the venue. Inevitably, I—and others—caught COVID.
My bout of the ’rona wasn’t too bad, and I’m very glad that I didn’t pass it on to any family members (that’s been my biggest worry throughout The Situation). But it did mean that I wasn’t able to host UX London 2022.
That was a real downer. I spent much of 2022 focused on event curation: first UX London, and then dConstruct. I was really, really proud of the line-up I assembled for UX London so I was gutted not to be able to introduce those fabulous speakers in person.
Still, I got to host dConstruct, Leading Design, and Clarity, so 2022 was very much a bumper year for MCing—something I really, really enjoy.
I hope to do more speaking too. Alas, An Event Apart is no more, which is a real shame. But I hope there are other conferences out there that might be interested in what I have to say. If you’re organising one, get in touch.
Needless to say, 2022 was not a good year for world events. The callous and cruel invasion of Ukraine rightly dominated the news (sporting events and dead monarchs are not the defining events of the year). But even in the face of this evil, there’s cause for hope, seeing the galvanised response of the international community in standing up to Putin the bully.
In terms of more personal bad news, Jamie’s death is hard to bear.
And I’ve got my health. That’s something I don’t take for granted.
One year ago, I wrote:
Maybe 2022 will turn out to be similar—shitty for a lot of people, and mostly unenventful for me. Or perhaps 2022 will be a year filled with joyful in-person activities, like conferences and musical gatherings. Either way, I’m ready.
For the most part, that played out. 2022 was thankfully fairly uneventful personally. And it was indeed a good year for in-person connections. I very much hope that continues in 2023.
Sunday, January 1st, 2023
Friday, December 30th, 2022
Words I wrote in 2022
Here’s a highlight reel of some of my blog posts from 2022:
- Today, the distant future — 2022 was once unimaginable to some web folks.
- Installing progressive web apps — How I’m letting people know they can install The Session to their home screens.
- Starting and finishing — Some advice for public speaking.
- Declarative design — Defining the inputs instead of trying to control the outputs.
- Re-evaluating technology — The importance of revisiting past decisions. Especially when it comes to the web.
- Democratising dev — How do we share the means of the web’s production?
- Work ethics — Don’t work hard.
- Accessibility is systemic — The difference between inclusive design and accessibility.
- That fediverse feeling — Mastodon is a vibe shift in the best possible way.
I also published the transcript of my conference talk, In And Out Of Style, a journey through the history of CSS.
Sunday, December 25th, 2022
Monday, December 19th, 2022
Friday, December 16th, 2022
Tuesday, December 13th, 2022
Pluralistic: Web apps could de-monopolize mobile devices (13 Dec 2022) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow
But you can’t have a web app without a web-app-compatible browser, and you can’t get a web-app-compatible browser in Apple’s App Store. The only browsers permitted in the App Store are those based on WebKit, the browser engine behind Safari. This means that every browser on iOS, from Firefox to Edge to Chrome, is just a reskinned version of Safari.
Sunday, December 11th, 2022
NASA is posting some lovely pictures on Flickr from the first Artemis mission.
Friday, December 9th, 2022
Wednesday, December 7th, 2022
Leading Design San Francisco 2023
Two months from today I’ll be back in San Francisco for Leading Design. It’s on February 7th and 8th.
This event is long overdue. We’ve never had Leading Design in San Francisco before, but we were all set to go ahead with the inaugural SF gathering …in March 2020. We all know what happened next.
So this event will be three years in the making.
They’ll be sharing their insights, their stories and their ideas — as well as some of their pain from past challenges. It’s all designed to help you navigate your own leadership journey.
I would love to see you in San Francisco! If you’ve attended a Leading Design event before, then you know how transformational it can be. If you haven’t, then now is your chance.
Early bird tickets are still available until mid December, so if you’re thinking about coming, I suggest making that decision now.
If you know anyone in the bay area who’s in a design leadership position, be sure to tell them about Leading Design San Francisco—they don’t want to miss this!
Monday, December 5th, 2022
Jamie Freeman passed away yesterday.
I first met Jamie as a fellow web-nerd way back in the early 2000s when I was freelancing here in Brighton. I did a lot of work with him and his design studio, Message. Andy was working there too. It’s kind of where the seeds of Clearleft were planted.
I remember one day telling them about a development with Salter Cane. Our drummer, Catherine, was moving to Australia so we were going to have to start searching for someone new.
“I play drums”, said Jamie.
I remember thinking, “No, you don’t; you play guitar.” But I thought “What the heck”, and invited him along to a band practice.
Well, it turns that not only could he play drums, he was really good! Jamie was in the band.
It’s funny, I kept referring to Jamie as “our new drummer”, but he actually ended up being the drummer that was with Salter Cane the longest.
Band practices. Concerts. Studio recordings. We were a team for years. You can hear Jamie’s excellent drumming on our album Sorrow. You can also his drumming (and brilliant backing vocals) on an album of covers we recorded. He was such a solid drummer—he made the whole band sound tighter.
But as brilliant as Jamie was behind a drumkit, his heart was at the front of the stage. He left Salter Cane to front The Jamie Freeman Agreement full-time. I loved going to see that band and watching them get better and better. Jonathan has written lovingly about his time with the band.
After that, Jamie continued to follow his dreams as a solo performer, travelling to Nashville, and collaborating with loads of other talented people. Everyone loved Jamie.
This year started with the shocking news that he had inoperable cancer—a brain tumor. Everyone sent him all their love (we recorded a little video from the Salter Cane practice room—as his condition worsened, video worked better than writing). But somehow I didn’t quite believe that this day would come when Jamie was no longer with us. I mean, the thought was ridiculous: Jamie, the vegetarian tea-totaller …with cancer? Nah.
I think I’m still in denial.
The last time I had the joy of playing music with Jamie was also the last time that Salter Cane played a gig. Jamie came back for a one-off gig at the start of 2020 (before the world shut down). It was joyous. It felt so good to rock out with him.
Jamie was always so full of enthusiasm for other people, whether that was his fellow musicians or his family members. He had great stories from his time on tour with his brother Tim’s band, Frazier Chorus. And he was so, so proud of everything his brother Martin has done. It was so horrible when their sister died. I can’t imagine what they must be going through now, losing another sibling.
Like I said, I still can’t quite believe that Jamie has gone. I know that I’m really going to miss him.
I’m sending all my love and my deepest sympathies to Jamie’s family.