To become a better web UI engineer, study design, communication, and vocabulary. Even if you cut back on some extra technical training, it’s worth it. That’s because the difference between good and great UI work rarely comes from technical prowess alone. It’s distinguished by creativity, visual insight, and sound organization.
Reusability is a bigger issue. Every time you change styling or write a new UI element, consider its impact elsewhere. Think ahead to where the application will grow and how you can cut repetition. It’s more than an blind grep through the code. It’s finding patterns. And visual patterns or usage trends are especially tricky to detect.
I’m far from a data engineer, but every so often I’m curious about what’s going on in the web-based charting world for simple data plotting. Since late 2013 developer Nick Downie has been coding away on this framework, and I’m particularly impressed with the documentation and straightforward usage. It probably won’t be as in depth for hard core scientists, but for many organizations this could be all they need for simple analytics and stat dashboards.
As part of my work on the Pocket Premium purchase flow, I integrated the Filament Group’s Politespace plugin for our credit card form field. It’s pretty simple: when the user blurs off the input field in question we auto add spaces to improve readability (e.g. in our case for Visa cards we add spaces between every four characters). When a user focuses back on said field the spaces are removed.
As I came to understand quickly with my day job, working with international dates can be a major pain across different languages on the web. Not only are you dealing with traditional localization issues, but the format and order often changes significantly. For a while I tried relying on a simplistic in-house JS solution, but that fell apart as our site expanded to a progressively higher set of languages.
Moment.js is an excellent solution to this date problem. Download the languages you need and you’ll find yourself up and running very quickly, whether the issue is display or more complex manipulation.
Influential developer Julie Ann Horvath was recently in tech news for her public resignation from GitHub over harassment during her two year tenure. It’s illuminating hearing her story first hand and underlines a startup tech culture that’s can be very unfriendly towards women. It’s not an easy listen, but it’s important for the community to hear more stories like this so it can actively change for the better.
It’s not just a talk about Julie’s GitHub work experience either; she gives advice for moving your tech career forward, sharing workload among a team and much more.
jQuery creator and Khan Academy dean John Resig was a recent guest on the Shop Talk web design/development show. It’s a solid, smart listen. Pay special attention around the 46 minute mark, where John and usual hosts Chris and Dave discuss the lack of women in the web development community.
Responsive image solutions are still clearly a work in progress. The BBC News throws out their suggestion. Not fully crazy about their syntax given how different it is from srcset and src-n but I’m curious to see how it works in action.