Web Directions Conferences for web and digital professionals

Reading for the week of Feb 3 2020

Our weekly newsletter (sign up down below) has for years featured links to articles, podcasts, videos, and more of interest to the sort of folks who come to our events, across design, product management, front end engineering, and people/talent/culture.

But for some reason I’ve rarely the reposted these to our site. So for 2020 I’m going to change that, and post a (hopefully weekly) set of links to things recently found interesting and which I hope you will too.

If you’d like to get them a little earlier, sign up to our newsletter, to get them ahead of the weekend every week.

People, talent and career development

Advocating for your training budget

Developing your career, capabilities and knowledge is a lot of work, particularly in fields like ours that change so rapidly.
There are many great free resources (blogs, articles, podcasts, videos), but good training and education, books, courses, workshops, conferences cost money. 
Your professional development is great for you, but it’s also a huge benefit for your employer, so, how can you go about advocating for training and education budgets? In this video, Teresa Torres and Kim Nicol look at some strategies and arguments.

How to manage an employee with depression

According to Mental Health Australia

“Almost half the total population (45.5%) experience a mental health disorder at some point in the lifetime.”

if you are a leader or manager, the chances that you’ll manage people with depression, anxiety and the mental health challenges are very high. This Harvard Business Review article summarises a detailed report (the full report you’ll have to pay for, but just $8.95) but has some very actionable suggestions including

  • breaking down large projects into their component parts
  • focussing on Positive Outcomes and Criticise Less

and more.

What does impactful engineering leadership look like?

Jessica McKellar, CTO of Pilot, and a significant figure in the Python community shares lessons from her career.

“When engineering management is done right, you’re focusing on three big things,” she says. “You’re directly supporting the people on your team; you’re managing execution and coordination across teams; and you’re stepping back to observe and evolve the broader organization and its processes as it grows.” 

Engineering and Development

The 2020 Web Developer Roadmap

When I first started developing for the web, this was the full stack of Web technologies: HTML.

OK, if you were pushing the boundaries there was CGI (no, not Marvel related), and you probably had to setup a server but getting to to speed was literally a matter of hours-to-days.

What does our landscape look like in 2020? Trey Huffine takes a look at what it takes to become a Frontend, Backend, Fullstack, or DevOps developer with this visual guide.

Six web performance resolutions for the new year

Web Directions speaker Tammy Everts shares her six resolutions when it comes to web performance this year. It’s not all technical either (that’s the thing about technology, it never really is). 

Web Components have finally arrived (maybe?)

There are many controversial issues developers face in our industry. Tabs versus spaces? is it pronounced jif? (Tabs and “no” people, fight me).

But looming large is something almost as important–web components. This is a technology long in the making, which promises to diminish the need for frameworks like React and Angular our development is increasing dependent on.  

Apple Music’s online music player uses Web Components, Firefox browser’s entire UI is built with it, Salesforce’s Design System (and many other corporate design systems) uses it–it’s definitely something that’s far past experimental or something interesting on the horizon.

If you’re interested in knowing more, there’s a couple of recent articles you’ll find valuable.

Viljami Salminen talks about why they use Web Components on the Duet Design System, with a high level outlining what they are, and why they are valuable, alongside some myth debunking.

At Salesforce’s developer site, Lee White has a very detailed introduction to Web Components, as well as a deep consideration of accessibility and Web Components.

Product and Design

Are design patterns human enough?

Design patterns, ‘descriptions of repeatable forms that a given technology can take’, are a common tool for designers. In this essay, Laura Galos asks ‘are design patterns human enough?’

“as tech moves away from screens and becomes increasingly invisible and ubiquitous in our lives, designers will need to rely less on patterns based on how humans interact with technology and do more to observe and leverage human-to-human interaction patterns, or interpersonal behavioural patterns”

Design for the long-term

Recent Web Directions speaker Cyd Harrell spoke on “The Informed Life” an interview-based podcast that explores how people from different fields manage their personal information ecosystems to be more effective. In this conversation, she discusses the differences between designing for civic and commercial projects and what it takes to design respectful systems that stand the test of time.

4 Common Misconceptions of Product Managers 

Like any field, but particularly as a still emerging area of practice, Product Management suffers from misconceptions. In this article, Tony Pelosi, Product Director at BCG Digital Ventures and a number of colleagues have

“put together a list of four common misconceptions that still persist regarding product managers. For each misconception, we’ve provided our preferred reality and some concrete steps that PMs can take to break these misconceptions”

Can I keep this up?

OK, that’s a bumper edition, but as they say ‘begin as you mean to finish’. So let’s see how I do in the weeks and months to come.

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Join us in 2019:

  • Web Directions Code://remote 2020

    A global remote-only conference for JavaScript Developers and Front End Engineers.

    Exclusively Online September 2020

  • Web Directions Product://Remote Design & Management 2020

    A global remote-only conference–product design and product management.

    Exclusively Online November 2020

  • Web Directions Summit 2021

    A conference for the whole digital team–featuring product, design, front-end dev, and new people/talent/culture tracks.

    Sydney See you in 2021