27 September 18 -

Super8: Eight intriguing articles from September.

Sometimes it feels like our industry moves at the speed of light. We’re constantly on the cusp of what’s claimed to be radical and revolutionary change. If you’d like a hint of what’s to come, this month I look into the future of design, code, business and tech.

Whether you’re exploring new ways to learn things, design for data, or get to Mars—I’ve got a piece to help prepare you for the journey ahead.

Welcome to Super8 in September!

1. Designing with code.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Matthew Ström.
  • Contributor: Richie Meldrum.

Matthew Ström explores how design tools have made leaps and bounds in bringing web design closer to the finished product—the code.

While applications like Sketch turn ten in 2020 (where does the time go?), there’s some exciting new tools on the horizon that continue to bridge the gap between the two disciplines.

We’re in the middle of a design tool renaissance. And as the number of tools available to designers grows exponentially, ideas that were once considered fringe are finding a broader audience.

This article offers some excellent examples of how building prototypes early can identify design shortcomings, while generating new ideas about how content and interactions behave: both outside applications and on the web.

2. This research on human hibernation could get us to Mars.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Gemma Milne. 
  • Contributor: Mark Davis.

Let’s face it, 2018 has been a pretty heavy year so far. It’s more than tempting to want to fast forward until the human race gets back on track, but in lieu of time travel, here’s why our most realistic option is hibernation.

Gemma Milne explains how a medical technique called ‘therapeutic hypothermia’ has the potential to help humans hibernate for longer periods of time, allowing for lengthy trips across space.

While we don’t expect to clock out just yet, reinforcing exploration and research is a worthwhile pursuit we can get behind.

3. In killing Inbox, Google takes a swipe at its most passionate users.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Mike Elgan.
  • Contributor: Robin West.

If destruction is a natural part of creation, then Google has put this philosophy to the test with a series of products developments, releases and nixes.

As Mike Elgan explains, Google’s decision to close Inbox is a disruptive move that ignores passionate users unmeasured by algorithms or metrics.

Passionate users are far more valuable to Google than indifferent users. They try new things. They buy stuff. They persuade the public in Google’s favor.

While it’s easy to discount abandoned products as failures, it’s worth being aware of how these changes may affect user adoption and engagement—especially when the update impacts the daily routine of checking your inbox.

4. Firefox Reality wants to bring the ‘whimsical web’ to VR.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Luke Larsen.
  • Contributor: Lucas Mounsey.

There’s no doubt that VR has been a hot topic for a while now. It’s been attempted many times in the past, but according to this article from Luke Larsen, we finally have the tech in place to execute real-world applications.

Firefox are putting their best foot forward when it comes to VR—providing developers with the tools they need to get around the futuristic tech.

While the current offering is limited to a floating web browser and some equally gimmick-y tech demos, putting the tools in the hands of the creative masses is a step in the right dimension.

5. Why ‘sleep on it’ is our most useful advice for learning.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Junaid Mubeen.  
  • Contributor: Aziza Mohamed.

It’s one of humanity’s oldest clichés, but there are tremendous benefits to catching some extra z’s when it comes to processing and problem solving. If you’re having a tough week at work, or wracking your brain over a difficult problem, it can feel counterproductive to try sleeping on it.

In a REM sleep is where our ideas crystalize and recombine into new, creative thoughts. The link between sleep and inspiration is so pervasive that the phrase sleep on it exists in most languages.

But as Junaid Mubeen shares, our brain often builds bridges between new bodies of thought while we snooze.

Try sleeping on it the next time you feel anxious or frustrated—you may just wake up to a “Eureka!” moment sitting in your cranial inbox.

6.  Designing with difficult data.

  • Read full article here.
  • Written by A List Apart.
  • Contributor: Mike McCusker.

During design, it can be tempting to ignore unideal content. You know the type. Unwieldy tables with too much text. Vertical images placed in banner spaces. Graphs and numbers that don’t align.

There’s always a balance to strike between making something quick and over-building. As with all things in design and on the web, it depends. It depends on the data, the audience, the project, and the goals.

While these content types can prove to be challenging, it’s vital to ensure your design is ready for everything a client, or contributing audience, can throw at it.

This article offers some excellent advice: try ‘breaking’ your design before it leaves your hands, so that you know what to consider, what to prioritise, and what you can get away with.

7. Watch this net capture orbital space debris for the first time in history.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Daniel Oberhaus.
  • Contributor: James Otter.

We’re on the brink of commercial space travel but with hundreds of thousands of pieces of space junk flying around the planet, it’s becoming increasingly important to clean up after ourselves—something mankind is notoriously lax at.

There are currently over 500,000 pieces of space junk in orbit. These space debris removal technologies will be crucial to space access in the future.

The Surrey Space Center (based in the wonderful Guildford, UK) have developed an epic space net to fish interstellar garbage out of the air, and back down to earth—where the trash will be burned up upon re-entering the atmosphere. Check out the link to see it in action.

8. Photography mapped.

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

Digital cameras have made photography more accessible than ever. But have you ever been disappointed with a photo that should have ‘popped’ more? A grand vista that looked a little flat, or a night shot so grainy it looked like it was snowing?

If you’re curious about finding your way around a camera, this tool created by photographer Simon Roberts provides simple visuals of how various settings can affect the way you take your next photo.