30 July 15 -

Super8: Eight intriguing articles from July 2015

The mornings might be cold in July, but this month’s Super8 is hot. We’ve scoured the internet and hand-picked eight great articles to intrigue and inform. If you’ve read an article you just couldn’t press the back button on, send us a link in the comments section and we’ll be sure to take a look.

1. Why your in-house content team needs high quality visual content.

content

Of the information your audience consumes, a massive 90% of what their brains process is visual. It’s why Andrew McKernan makes the compelling argument to invest in quality photography. And the good news is you can do it without spending an arm and a leg.

Going that extra step to produce images that are consistent and enhance your brand inevitably increases your website’s credibility. Images draw in your audience, and help to build trust in what you’re trying to say.

But the real message of this article is make sure you account for visuals from the get go, and test, test, test.

2. Performance: showing versus telling

development

Every developer is aware of how important performance is to a website, but convincing colleagues and clients of the importance can often be a daunting task. Providing metrics and graphs to show site performance doesn’t really ‘mean’ anything to a designer or a client – they’re just numbers. Everyone, however, is able to recognise the difference between a website that loads fast and one that loads slow. They can see and experience the difference.

In this article, Lara Hogan describes how Etsy share their performance story with the team in a way that everyone, from the receptionist to Systems Administrator, is able to understand. Using the Watch Video feature from webpagetest.org they were able to save video examples of Etsy’s website loading on different internet connection speeds and different locations around the world. They then presented these examples on the office wall monitor for everyone to view.

This is a great example of developers using tools we might take for granted to educate our colleagues and clients about an issue we should all be thinking about at the start of a project.

What other tools and metrics could we use in a similar fashion? Let us know in the comments.

3. Why more companies are looking at alternative managements structures, and why you should too.

management

Running a business in a time where there is so much information available is incredibly helpful but also rather daunting. Belle Beth Cooper’s article is definitely in the former category.

Belle sheds light on the alternative management structures applied by four innovative companies – Medium, Buffer, Basecamp and Treehouse. It’s a great read to find out more about why these companies operate the way they do and how they make it work.

If you haven’t heard of these companies, Belle gives a quick overview, but make sure you explore them on your own, too. For example, you may have heard about Buffer’s alternative salary policy, but did you know about Medium’s hierarchy of circles?

Keep an open mind when reading this article and be prepared to be flexible. Maybe one of these companies’ policies is something you could look at for your own business.

4. 12 little-known CSS facts (the sequel).

development

CSS might be one of the simplest developer languages to learn but even after 18 years’ existence, there are still things even the most seasoned developer might not know.

You may not use these tips every day, but each tip has a Codepen example, so it’s a good idea to favourite a couple for a rainy day or learn them all to show off at your next CSS Meetup.

5. Development & technology for marketing content: a look at the future.

marketing

Pete Wailes reflects on some innovative pieces of marketing using technology that wasn’t available until recently (by that he means two years!). He discusses the need for teams to be cross-disciplined in their approach in order to produce and market exceptional content.

Pete uses three examples to illustrate his point. At their heart, these three campaigns use the same technology as a traditional web app. But the results are novel, data driven and creative.

Pete makes the point that developers, designers and marketers need to start to think outside the box – that box being the web – if they want to create varied, interesting and creative campaigns that grab people’s attention.

6. What I learned when I gave up the ‘9 to 5’.

work

Lots of people write articles about becoming a freelancer, giving up the full-time job to start their own business and why flexible working hours should become the norm. What I like about Jacob Laukaitis’s article, though, is how personal and human it is.

He timelines the history of work through his own personal tale – parts of which I think a lot of us can relate to. Jacob advocates for flexibility in working hours and location.

It may not be possible for some companies to offer this kind of policy to their staff, but there are industries where a flexible approach might alleviate a great deal of pressure for employees and employers.

If nothing else, Jacob’s article offers a great perspective on an alternative work life that may become our future one day.

7. Perf audit: loading performance.

development

Is there such a thing as having a developer crush? If so, I have a developer crush on Paul Irish. He’s always putting out easy to understand tutorials and presentations, so there’s no wonder he’s a developer advocate for Google Chrome.

This time Paul takes a detailed look into why the new Reddit mobile site was taking so long to load.

It’s great to see the process he takes to debug the issues. These include using some of the Chrome dev tools lesser used features and doing so in Github allows other users to be involved in the discussion.

8. The four seasons of work-life balance.

personal development

Carson Tate argues that in 2015 the concept of work-life balance is a little dated. What do you think? Instead you should try and find a rhythm that works for you, not everyone else. Using nature as a guide, Carson provides examples of how each season is different and how you might be able to use each to improve your life.

Whether you use some of the concepts Carson describes in her article or find your own way, I believe it’s important to find something that works for you and your family.

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