29 January 16 -

Super8: Eight intriguing articles from January.

Well, hello 2016. What an awesome year it’s going to be. Mark Twain, Yogi Berra and Niels Bohr have all been credited with advising us not to make predictions about the future.

So we’re going to follow that advice and stick to keepin’ it real. By real, we mean eight awesome articles that were published this month. Also known as our super-packed Super8.

The Augies have hit the ground reading and we’ve collected a bunch of articles that hopefully give you a broad taste of what’s been published this month. It’s great to see so much good content being written. People making you think, people inspiring you to change your actions, to change your behaviour, to try something new.

If there’s an article that you stopped listening to season 2 of Serial for, paused Making a Murderer or ordered a third latte at your favourite cafe just so you could keep reading it, then add the link in the comments below and we’ll be sure to check it out.

1. Content + display patterns.

design + content

You only need to start reading some of the comments in this article to appreciate that Daniel Mall has managed to explain something with which most designers, developers and information architects have struggled for years – the intersection of Content and Design patterns.

Daniel explains that content and design patterns are incomplete without each other. In order to build a site that people can use, every element that people see on the screen needs a content and design pattern applied to it. It’s about embracing the different pattern types and learning how they scale that makes this technique so valuable.

This article should be compulsory reading for anyone working on content rich websites.

2. You probably know to ask yourself, ‘What do I want?’ Here’s a way better question.

growth

This is a timely article for all those who have undertaken the annual ritual of New Year’s resolutions. I can’t remember if it was Fredrich Nietzsche or the Red Hot Chili Peppers who said, “I like pleasure spiked with pain” but this article reminds us that we should consider the personal sacrifice and compromises required to achieving our goals.

It’s about asking yourself what are you really willing to go through in order to achieve and get what you want? Whether it’s work life or personal life, there can be difficult trails to walk in order to taste the sweetness of success at the end. But you need to know whether you’ll walk those trails in the first place.

3. Virtual reality helps save baby’s life.

virtual reality

For decades, surgeons have used visualisation to prepare them for theatre. However, it relies heavily on the surgeons’ ability to imagine what is they will encounter once the incision is made. What if we could use virtual reality technology to allow surgeons to practice the procedure before picking up a scalpel?

This is one of those articles that makes you not only excited about the opportunities that technology helps create, but also allows you to see the positive impact technological innovation has on other industries – especially medicine. Imagine being able to say to a patient that their previously inoperable medical condition now had a reasonable chance of success simply because doctors were able to use technology in order to visualise and practice a difficult surgery.

If you feel like some inspiration right now, this is the article to read.

4. How company culture shapes employee motivation.

culture

This is a great article. It has been referenced many times in the August office over the past few weeks. But I think it is mistitled. I think what Lindsay and Neel are describing is the impact of how you choose to motivate your team inevitably impacts the culture of your team.

Lindsay and Neel discuss the six main reasons why people work – according to their research. While there are certainly a lot of experts in this space, it’s refreshing to a read a piece that is human in its approach and easy to understand when it comes to peoples’ motivations.

ToMo has certainly become a focus for everyone August. You’ll understand what I mean by reading the article.

5. Evernote’s 5% problem offers a cautionary lesson to tech companies.

business

If you’ve ever watched a few episodes of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, you will know that every establishment Gordon visits suffers from a common problem – a vast and unmanageable menu. It seems this problem is not unique to the restaurant industry and this article links Evernote’s recent fall from grace to its enormous menu of features.

Maintaining a core identity is important in any business. But it is particularly important, as we’ve seen with Evernote, in a product-based business. Making sure that new features feed back in to the core experience of what you set out to build in the first place is a paramount.

This is a lesson from which every business can benefit.

6. Jedi principles of UI animation.

design + animation

I love a good metaphor as much as the next person, especially if it involves the San Antonia Spurs. The team at Adaptive Path have written a fantastic article on the role of animation in user experience and user interface design using Star Wars (and, more generally, science fiction) as a metaphor.

If you consider yourself a UX and/or UI designer, you should give this article ten minutes of your attention. Using a Star Wars metaphor breaks this topic down into bite size chunks that you can easily relate to. I found myself smiling at the connections Kit makes between UX flows and sci-fi characters.

7. Transparency vs infotainment.

business growth

At August, one of our team values asks us to ‘be transparent’. This is one of the values with which we often struggle with because it lacks context. Can we be too transparent? Is it helpful to be transparent all the time? Should we be transparent with everyone?

But with great power comes great responsibility. I like Gregory’s philosophy that those who are transparent in business and share a lot of information about their company also need to act as ‘neighbourhood watch’ and ensure that the standard of transparency remains high. Keep the airways filled with substance.

Gregory’s article addresses the slippery slope of transparency and the perils of racing your competitors to the infotainment bottom.

8. The dotted line principle: start today, fill in the gaps tomorrow.

content

I wrote this paragraph using the dotted line principle described by Herbert Lui in his article. This is the third version and I am updating the number in this sentence every time I review what I have written. I admit that I face the challenges he raises, fussing over word selection and sentence structure. I think this is going to help me with my writing. I hope it helps you with yours too.

Maybe it needed a fourth review…

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And that wraps up the first Super8 for 2016. Don’t forget to sign up below to receive Super8 in your inbox and our monthly eDM.

As always, if there’s an article that you just couldn’t close the browser on in January, add it to the comments below and we’ll check it out.