30 April 19 -

Super8: Eight intriguing articles from April.

As April comes to a close, we’ve been focussed on making connections: between our clients and team, between inclusive design and a wider audience, and between you and the best pieces across content, business, design, and tech.

John Broadfoot has curated eight eclectic articles to form an excellent union for April’s Super8, tying together everything our team has been reading and sharing this month.

We’ve got pieces that can help you align with UX guidelines, achieve lightning fast page speed, and make sense of more than 1.3 billion observations of the internet—welcome to Super8 in April!

1. A guide to better designer client relationships.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Eric Karjaluoto.
  • Contributor: Kurt Smith.

Based on his personal experience running a design studio, this piece from Eric Karjaluoto combines cutting insights with comics.

As Eric explains, people who manage or work in design studios often struggle with their client relationships.

His article looks at taking a customer-first approach to form stronger partnerships and deliver a higher quality of creative work.

Even if you work for yourself, you do not work for yourself. Your role as a designer, or anything else for that matter, has little to do with your personal satisfaction. Your role is to provide value to the person/company that hires you. You and I are here to serve.

Paired with some excellent illustrations, this piece can help you better identify creative problems, manage expectations, and work in collaboration with your client’s team.

2. Watching 50% of humanity go online over a single day is pretty mesmerising.

  • Read full article here.
  • Written by The Monash IP Observatory.
  • Contributor: Aziza Mohamed.

The team at the Monash University IP Observatory provides communities around the world with real-time monitoring of the internet.

In this article, they combined their own powerful sensing and analysis technology with an emerging geo-spatial data visualisation tool to observe how and when the world goes online.

Our observational methodology uses the most basic internet messaging protocol that is widely used billions of times a day to establish routes for your email, tweet, or share. After developing a carefully selected set of internet addresses (IPs) to measure, we periodically send them one of these tiny messages, essentially asking, ‘are on you online?’.

With a system that measures each internet connection across the globe, each individual data point contributes to a bigger picture. When looking at the data, clear patterns emerge that show our connectivity across regions, countries, and the world.

3. Web design trends for 2019.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Awwwards.
  • Contributor: John Broadfoot.

It may only be April, but the team at Awwwards have pulled together this year’s web design trends in their latest article.

Their piece finds correlations that aren’t just ‘trendy’: being aware of different techniques can give you the opportunity to experiment and gain new skills.

Covering everything from voice interfaces and image search to Fortnite and machine learning—there’s some unique write ups and examples to carry you through the trends that have rocked the web in 2019.

4. 12 steps to lightning page speed.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Patrick Curtis.
  • Contributor: Rowan Barnes.

At Wall Street Oasis, they’ve noticed a trend—every time they focus on improving page speed, Google sends them more organic traffic.

In 2018, our company’s website reached over 80 percent of our traffic from organic search. That’s 24.5 million visits. Needless to say, we are very tuned in to how we can continue to improve our user experience and keep Google happy.

As Patrick Curtis explains, lighting page speeds makes it easier to connect your audience with your product or service.

However, it’s not as simple as just feeding the Google machine: this article provides a development framework for making technical improvements to your performance and user experience, while keeping organic traffic healthy.

5. Robert A. Caro on the means and ends of power.

  • Read full article here.
  • Written by David Marchese.
  • Contributor: Sarah El-Atm. 

It’s not often we share lengthy reads as part of Super8, but when we do, we hope you settle in for the ride.

This piece is an interview with Robert A. Caro, one of America’s most celebrated journalists and biographers.

The New York Times shares details on his painstaking and thorough job of researching, interviewing, and writing about political figures.

Through his exhaustive research approach, Robert creates compelling stories that build relationships with readers while going deep into the minds of his subjects.

6. Accessibility guidelines for UX designers.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by UX Collective.
  • Contributor: Isabel Silvis.

As this article from UX Collective shares, accessibility is a team responsibility.

The role of a UX designer is to serve as a glue between different teams and ensure that accessible design is celebrated, not enforced.

As designers, it is our responsibility to make sure we design in a way that is usable to all users irrespective of their situation, abilities or context.

This piece on accessibility guidelines aims for WCAG 2.1 conformance level AA.

Covering content structure, device design, touch targets and keyboard only users, this guide can help build empathy through products and platforms that are inclusive of a wider audience.

7. Should we start thinking about ‘a world with no ads’?

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Nicholas Cocks.
  • Contributor: Mel Bruning.

In this read, Ogilvy’s Nicholas Cocks explores how the ad industry can prepare for a changing and increasingly interconnected world.

Debates about what makes advertising useful and existential questions surrounding it are forcing many to look at the future, which for those inside and outside of the industry, ain’t pretty.

As an industry, advertising has come up against both automation and data privacy, while maintaining accountability for online performance.

Clients want to make sure their messages are reaching real people and building real rapport, and in this read, Nicholas considers whether traditional advertising is up for the challenge.

8. Helvetica, the world’s most famous typeface, gets a makeover.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Mark Wilson.
  • Contributor: Bridget Noonan.

What do NYC subway signs, T-shirt slogans, and global brands have in common? Helvetica is one of the most popular typefaces on the planet.

Despite its longevity as a go-to font, here’s why Monotype—the owner of Helvetica—decided to remake it.

Since it’s creation 60 years ago, times have changed. It can be too plain in some contexts, poses scaling challenges, and can be almost illegible on mobile.

With an updated format and licensing options, Helvetica’s makeover offers a new suite of fonts for the future.