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An Essential Tool for Capturing Your Career Accomplishments

Imagine you‘re ready to apply for your next job. Like most busy professionals, you probably haven‘t updated your rsum or your portfolio since you looked for your current job. Now you need to update both, and you can‘t remember what work you‘ve done over the past few years. (In fact, you can barely remember what you‘ve done over the past few months!) So you scramble to update your rsum with new content. Then yo

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Making Room for Variation

Making a brand feel unified, cohesive, and harmonious while also leaving room for experimentation is a tough balancing act. It‘s one of the most challenging aspects of a design system. Graphic designer and Pentagram partner Paula Scher faced this challenge with the visual identity for the Public Theater in New York. As she explained in a talk at Beyond Tellerrand: I began to realize that if you made everything the same, it was bo

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Standards for Writing Accessibly

Writing to meet WCAG2 standards can be a challenge, but it‘s worthwhile. Albert Einstein, the archetypical genius and physicist, once said, ‘Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction.‘ Hopefully, this entire book will help you better write for accessibility. So far, you‘ve learned: Why clarity is importantHow to

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Trans-inclusive Design

Late one night a few years ago, a panicked professor emailed me: ‘My transgender student‘s legal name is showing on our online discussion board. How can I keep him from being outed to his classmates?‘ Short story: we couldn‘t. The professor created an offline workaround with the student. Years later this problem persists not just in campus systems, but in many systems we use every day. To anyone who‘d call that a

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Getting to the Heart of Digital Accessibility

Quick! Think of the word ‘developer‘ or ‘coder‘ - what‘s the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe a whiteish male in his twenties living in a busy metropolis, wearing a nerdy t-shirt and hoodie? Someone a bit like Mark Zuckerberg? Or maybe a younger Bill Gates or Sergey Brin? Any of the dudes from the HBO series Silicon Valley, perhaps? Certainly no one like me. By tech standards, I‘m old. I‘m also f

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Cross-Cultural Design

When I first traveled to Japan as an exchange student in 2001, I lived in northern Kyoto, a block from the Kitayama subway station. My first time using the train to get to my university was almost a disaster, even though it was only two subway stops away. I thought I had everything I needed to successfully make the trip. I double- and triple-checked that I had the correct change in one pocket and a computer printout of where I was supposed t

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Usability Testing for Voice Content

It‘s an important time to be in voice design. Many of us are turning to voice assistants in these times, whether for comfort, recreation, or staying informed. As the interest in interfaces driven by voice continues to reach new heights around the world, so too will users‘ expectations and the best practices that guide their design. Voice interfaces (also known as voice user interfaces or VUIs) have been reinventing how we approach

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Figure It Out

Color is, without a doubt, the visual element most often misunderstood and misused. As mentioned earlier, when designing visual representations, color is often the first visual encoding that people use. It‘s also quite limited to about a dozen, distinguishable colors. It‘s a potent visual element, but one fraught with accessibility and perceptual problems. A general rule of thumb: Save color for things you want to draw people&lsqu

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Responsible JavaScript: Part II

You and the rest of the dev team lobbied enthusiastically for a total re-architecture of the company‘s aging website. Your pleas were heard by management-even up to the C-suite-who gave the green light. Elated, you and the team started working with the design, copy, and IA teams. Before long, you were banging out new code. It started out innocently enough with an npm install here and an npm install there. Before you knew it, though, you

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Resilient Management, An Excerpt

In Tuckman‘s Stages of Group Development, the Storming stage happens as a group begins to figure out how to work together. Previously, each person had been doing their own thing as individuals, so necessarily a few things need to be ironed out: how to collaborate, how to hit goals, how to determine priorities. Of course there may be some friction here! But even if your team doesn‘t noticeably demonstrate this kind of internal Sto

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Request with Intent: Caching Strategies in the Age of PWAs

Once upon a time, we relied on browsers to handle caching for us; as developers in those days, we had very little control. But then came Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), Service Workers, and the Cache API-and suddenly we have expansive power over what gets put in the cache and how it gets put there. We can now cache everything we want to and therein lies a potential problem. Media files-especially images-make up the bulk of average page weight th

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Jobs To Be Done

In this chapter, you‘ll learn about these plays: How to create a jobs-driven roadmapUsing job stories to solve specific design problemsHow to architect the structure of a solutionTesting assumptions directed by JTBD A software company I once worked for held what were called ‘hackweeks‘ once a quarter. This was a time for developers to work on ‘whatever they wanted,‘ as it was framed. Give engineers time to pla

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Responsible JavaScript: Part I

By the numbers,JavaScript is a performance liability. If the trend persists, the median page will be shipping at least 400 KB of it before too long, and that‘s merely what‘stransferred. Like other text-based resources, JavaScript is almost always served compressed-but that might be the only thing we‘re getting consistently right in its delivery. Unfortunately, while reducing resource transfer time is a big part of that whole

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Accessibility for Vestibular Disorders: How My Temporary Disability Changed My Perspective

Accessibility can be tricky. There are plenty of conditions to take into consideration, and many technical limitations and weird exceptions that make it quite hard to master for most designers and developers. I never considered myself an accessibilityexpert, but I took great pride in making my projects Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) compliantish. They would pass most automated tests, show perfectly in the accessibility tree, and

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Nothing Fails Like Success

A family buys a house they can‘t afford. They can‘t make their monthly mortgage payments, so they borrow money from the Mob. Now they‘re in debt to the bank and the Mob, live in fear of losing their home, and must do whatever their creditors tell them to do. Welcome to the internet, 2019. Buying something you can‘t afford, and borrowing from organizations that don‘t have your (or your customers‘) best in

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Everyday Information Architecture: Auditing for Structure

Just as we need to understand our content before we can recategorize it, we need to understand the system before we try to rebuild it. Enter the structural audit: a review of the site focused solely on its menus, links, flows, and hierarchies. I know you thought we were done with audits back in Chapter 2, but hear me out! Structural audits have an important and singular purpose: to help us build a new sitemap. This isn‘t about recre

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Daily Ethical Design

Suddenly, I realized that the people next to me might be severely impacted by my work. I was having a quick lunch in the airport. A group of flight attendants sat down at the table next to me and started to prepare for their flight. For a while now, our design team had been working on futuristic concepts for the operations control center of these flight attendants‘ airline, pushing ourselves to come up with innovative solutions enabled by

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The Untapped Power of Vulnerability Transparency in Content Strategy

In marketing, transparency and vulnerability are unjustly stigmatized. The words conjure illusions of being frightened, imperfect, and powerless. And for companies that shove carefully curated personas in front of users, little is more terrifying than losing control of how people perceive the brand. Let‘s shatter this illusioned stigma. Authentic vulnerability and transparency are strengths masquerading as weaknesses. And companies too

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Responsible JavaScript: Part III

You‘ve done everything you thought was possible to address your website‘s JavaScript problem. You relied on the web platform where you could. You sidestepped Babel and found smaller framework alternatives. You whittled your application code down to its most streamlined form possible. Yet, things are just not fast enough. When websites fail to perform the way we as designers and developers expect them to, we inevitably turn on ourselv

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