30 September 19 -

Super8: Eight intriguing articles from September.

It’s official: winter is finally over for those of us in the southern hemisphere. As the days begin to blossom from the depths of wintry grey into clear blue skies, spring breathes some much-welcomed warmth and excitement into the air.

William Paxton’s vibrant bouquet of articles is hand-picked to help budding design and technology enthusiasts put the petal-to-the-metal in every way. From UX tips to lead-generation techniques, you’ll find everything you need. Bloom, shake-shake-shake the room; it’s Super8 in September!

1. Should our notifications be more peaceful?

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Michael J. Fordham .
  • Contributor: William Paxton. 

The birds are chirping, the bees are buzzing, and the push notifications are… pushy. Here’s the scenario; you’re sitting at your desk, working away, deep in focus. Until of course, your Mac or PC informs you of a new system update. No time to run it, because a Slack notification demands some attention. But that’ll have to wait, because your Tweet is blowing up, and so are your phone notifications.

These interruptions don’t only impact work productivity, they can also harm relationships with family members, friends, and loved ones.

In this piece, Michael J. Fordham highlights how more considerate notification design can protect us from overwhelming overload.

2.  The makings of a great designer.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Tobias van Schneider.
  • Contributor: Bridget Noonan.

How would you design the ideal design candidate? For Tobias van Schneider—an award-winning multi-disciplinary creative who’s worked with everyone from NASA and Google to Red Bull and Ralph Lauren—there are some clear and common prerequisites.

Tobias lists natural talent, a good sense of humour, taste, consistency, commitment, and a whole bunch of additional soft skills and techniques. Check out the full list and refine your skill set.

3. Contract management and automation is everybody’s business.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written Matthew Hutchinson.
  • Contributor: Sarah El-Atm. 

According to statistics from the Aberdeen Group, 85% of organisations underinvest in contract creation and management procedures. Luckily, spring is the season for growth and development, and this piece by Matthew Hutchinson has practical steps to help you improve your game.

While the creation and management of contracts is critical to every organisation, they’re often like the roots of a tree; largely unseen and underappreciated given the crucial role they play.

So how do you turn a new leaf when it comes to the visibility and efficiency of contract processes in your organisation? Find out in four simple steps.

4. The myth of ‘making it’.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Soraya Roberts.
  • Contributor: Geordie Launder.

Success is more like tending a garden than building a house. It’s an organic, ongoing and evolving proposition rather than a standalone endpoint.

In this long-form think piece, Soraya Roberts dives deep into the myth of ‘making it’; essentially, the fallacy of feeling as though there’s a set of signifiers or a point where you are definitively successful.

Soraya points out that some of the most financially viable and critically acclaimed artists on the planet don’t feel successful. Find out why there’s nothing to worry about if you’re in the same boat.

5. Why some HTML is ‘optional’ code.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Remy Sharp.
  • Contributor: Isabel Silvis.

If you’ve ever wondered why some HTML code is optional—like the closing paragraph tag, for example—you’ll find the answer in the original, intended functionality.

The original paragraph tag was intended to separate paragraphs, rather than wrap them. We’re not suggesting a spring cleanout of code by any means: from a performance perspective, eliminating the closing paragraph tag is the sort of micro-optimisation that may save a byte or two, but because of how repeating sequences are compressed, the absence or inclusion of </p> won’t likely have any impact; it’s more just an interesting anomaly. Are there any others you’re aware of?

6. The surprising benefits of being slightly crazy.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Mark Manson.
  • Contributor: Elliott Grigg.

What do Isaac Newton and Nikola Tesla have in common? Beyond their blinding individual brilliance, they both had a notable penchant for eccentricity. For example, in the process of developing over 200 revolutionary inventions—including the first prototype of an electric motor, the first remote control, and X-ray photography—Tesla also obsessively completed many of his actions in groups of three.

He also calculated everything in his environment, like how many metres to the bathroom, or cubic centimeters of food in each meal. The Roman philosopher Seneca once said ‘there is no great genius without a tincture of madness’. Is there really a genuine relationship between eccentricity and innovation? Find out with Mark Manson.

7. What seven years at Airbnb taught me about building a business.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Lenny Rachitsky.
  • Contributor: Mike McCusker.

If you’re going to heed lessons on building a business, Airbnb seems like a decent blueprint to follow.

Today, Airbnb is home to thousands of employees all over the world: it’s also worth over $30 billion USD. But it wasn’t always that way. Back when Lenny Rachitsky started as an engineer, Airbnb was just a few designers, developers and entrepreneurs with a big, audacious idea.

So, what were the key factors that helped this seedling of an idea grow into one of Silicon Valley’s largest and most well-known powerhouses? From culture and values to goal setting and team standards, Lenny provides the inside scoop into building a successful global business.

8. Exploring the souls of design systems.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Nathan Gilson.
  • Contributor: Elliott Grigg.

Do design systems have souls? Or are they more like a box of toys? When is design a form of patience and caretaking? Should we maintain a level of skepticism around the concept of design systems? What is a design system?

If you’re interested in any, or all, of the answers to these questions, this interview with Reed Enger—an artificial intelligence experience designer—is the perfect piece.

On the one hand, you’ll find out why symphonic soul alignment is critical to a complete, finished design experience that feels positive. On the other? The power and importance of editing. It’s a fascinating, multi-faceted conversation that offers something for everyone.