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24 ways to impress your friends


The great work of web, where it all comes together. Except when it doesn’t and we need to re-examine the distance between how things are done and how they could and should be done. Advent articles revealed here cover managing projects, both business and personal; smoothing the flow of work; thoughts and techniques for working smarter and being better; and getting the most out of what we do.

  1. There Is No Design System

    Jina Anne

    Jina Anne silences the night to talk about how we talk about Design Systems. Can the language we use impact the effectiveness of the solution? Fear not, if mighty dread has seized your troubled mind. Design systems of great joy we bring to you and all mankind.

  2. Making Distributed Working Work

    Anna Debenham

    Anna Debenham harnesses up the huskies and puts them to work to figure out how teams distributed across multiple locations can work effectively to all pull in the same direction. With modern workforces distributed from north pole to south, can they all be kept running in step?

  3. Gift Giving to the World (Wide Web)

    Frances Berriman

    Frances Berriman asks us to give the gift of consideration to those who are using the web on constricted devices such as low-end smart phones or feature phones. Christmas is a time of good will to all, and as Bugsy Malone reminds us, you give a little love and it all comes back to you.

  4. Designing Your Future

    Christopher Murphy

    Christopher Murphy channels the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come by not just look into the future, but shaping the form it takes. By taking action now you can affect the outcome down the road, making all the difference when it comes to a big life change such as leaving full time employment.

  5. Surviving—and Thriving—as a Remote Worker

    Mel Choyce

    Mel Choyce harnesses the huskies of hard toil to the sled of flexibility to slide off to a location of her own choosing. In a time when it makes less sense than ever to all be cooped in the same room staring at our magical screens, Mel offers up words of wisdom on how to survive, nay, thrive out there on your own.

  6. Design Systems and Hybrids

    Jina Anne

    Jina Anne circles back to carefully look again at the popularity of design systems and how they impact the different roles within our teams. A good system enables all the reindeer to pull forward in a cohesive motion, yet has space for individuals with very shiny noses.

  7. Care and Feeding of Burnout

    Jessica Rose

    Jessica Rose sets out her recipe for identifying and caring for the symptoms of professional burnout. This time of year is the perfect opportunity to pause and reflect – are you burning the advent candle at both ends, and if so, what should you do about it? Let’s find out.

  8. Why Design Systems Fail

    Una Kravets

    Una Kravets takes some time to consider the implementation of design systems, and how and why they might not succeed. Don’t let your design system be like a New Year’s resolution that starts off well but fades by the Spring. With appropriate care it should start to blossom as the snow melts away.

  9. Stretching Time

    Christopher Murphy

    Christopher Murphy puts distractions to one side to discuss the issue of time management and procrastination. Whether you’re trying to finish up projects for Christmas, or are yet to buy your final gifts before the holidays, this could prove some well timed advice to take you into the New Year.

  10. Public Speaking with a Buddy

    Lara Hogan

    Lara Hogan stands up and goes it alone to expound on the benefits of presenting on stage with a buddy. Preparing and delivering a presentation to a room full of people can be a daunting task, and sometimes two heads are better that one. Not even Rudolph could pull that sleigh alone.

  11. Solve the Hard Problems

    Drew McLellan

    Drew McLellan brings our 2015 calendar to a motivational close with some encouragement for the year ahead. Year’s end is a time for reflection and finding new purpose and enthusiasm for what we do. By tackling the thorniest design and development problems, we can make the greatest impact – and have the most fun. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

  12. Crafting the Front-end

    Ben Bodien

    Ben Bodien fosters seasonal goodwill with his sparkling vision of web workers as dedicated craftspeople: understanding and sharpening the tools of our trade; appreciating the challenges, nuances and responsibilities of our craft; and instinctively knowing when something just works. Hope and joy for the new year!

  13. Designing for Perfection

    Greg Wood

    Greg Wood confesses to student kitchen rage and abandons his pursuit of that goal – perfection – impossible in our agile, fast-moving, rapidly iterating milieu. The perfect Christmas dinner, however, remains a worthwhile ambition.

  14. Front-end Style Guides

    Anna Debenham

    Anna Debenham spruces up your workflow by surveying the snow-strewn field of web style guides, and explaining how to tie them up nicely with a bow for the benefit of you, your faithful team of developer huskies, and your ever-loving clients.

  15. Circles of Confusion

    Andy Clarke

    Andrew Clarke whittles his early photographic experience into an innovative approach to deciding what matters most in a user’s experience of a visual design – capture and order what needs to remain consistent, and share the process (and the port and stilton) with clients.

  16. Put Yourself in a Corner

    Meagan Fisher

    Meagan Fisher mines her dissipated youth for ways of coping with procrastination and distractions, and gives us some advice for dealing with those times when concentrating on the task at hand is difficult. Just in time for your new year resolutions, perhaps?

  17. Good Ideas Grow on Paper

    The Standardistas

    The Standardistas (Christopher Murphy and Nicklas Persson) extol the virtues of getting away from the computer and (dare we say it?) abandoning the default use of Google and Wikipedia as conduits of inspiration, in favour of simple tools and lateral thinking to grease the runners of your creative sled.

  18. Extreme Design

    Hannah Donovan

    Hannah Donovan recounts her recent retreat (with twelve other web geeks) to /dev/fort “to think up, build and finish something – without readily available internet access”. Usually there’s only one kind of cold turkey suitable around Christmas, but it paid dividends for the project’s outcome.

  19. Rocking Restrictions

    Tim Van Damme

    Tim Van Damme tackles the thorny issue of overcoming designer’s block with a handy list of do’s and don’ts to help you get back on track. Creative block hits nearly all of us at some point, and so having some simple methods of breaking it can be invaluable.

  20. User Styling

    Jon Hicks

    Jon Hicks takes a peek at using CSS to apply custom user styles to change the appearance of sites within your own browser. Put your existing knowledge of CSS to good use to make your own browsing experience more pleasant and productive.

  21. Diagnostic Styling

    Eric Meyer

    Eric Meyer describes a technique for using CSS as a diagnostic tool for finding potential problems or issues within a page. Going beyond the styling for the delivery of a site, the use of CSS as an author-time development tool holds many possibilities. Now if only there was a selector to show me which presents I’ve forgotten to buy this year.

  22. Fast and Simple Usability Testing

    Natalie Downe

    Natalie Downe describes a simple approach to usability testing for those of us working to tight timescales or budgets. That’d be nearly all of us then. Learn how to make the most of your available user testing time, and perhaps this year you’ll not end up quizzing auntie as she stuffs her face with turkey.