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Weeknotes 20:19

November 8, 2020

Week of November 1-8

My youngest took a picture of me working with the guinea pig she made for me on my shoulder (she placed it there).

This week was a potpourri of different projects.

  • I realized over the weekend while writing a case study for a recent project that I had not provided a fallback for CSS Grid layouts for browsers that don’t support it. The project had a quick turnaround so I went back and added those fallbacks post-launch Monday. Progressive enhancement is important to me and it matters to me to craft these fine details.
  • For the fallbacks, I ended up using Flexbox. I probably could have used Flexbox to start with. But it feels wrong to have to define widths of flex items. I really wish that gap was more widely supported and that it had a feature query to target older browsers that don’t support it.
  • I really would like to put more thought into a default fallback strategy when using CSS Grid. I find myself using it more and more. It is a great solution to the layout problems that I am trying to solve. But I feel like most of the fallbacks I write are just re-creating the layout another way which begs the question of why use Grid in the first place if I am just creating a layout twice anyway. I would really like to read about fallback strategies other developers are using for new CSS layout tools.
  • I got to put on my consulting hat on Monday for a call with a new client. Actually it is a referral from an existing client to another department. I was able to answer their questions and assure them that the way we build things will address findability and ease of use. I enjoy those consulting opportunities and it is great to partner with clients that trust your judgment and value your input.
  • I dusted off a project that has sat on the shelf for a couple of months. We started working on a redesign of the Greater Washington Partnership over a year ago. We have started and stopped a couple of times throughout the year due to personnel changes. Recently, they brought on a new CEO and it was decided to hold off on the launch knowing that some of the content would need to change due to changing priorities and focus under new leadership. We got feedback from their team this past week and will be working to make some updates and put the final polish on it to launch in a couple of weeks. I am excited to have this project go live after working on it for the past year.
  • I was able to take a day to work on an internal project for the LGND site. Our team wanted to add filtering to our case studies page. I have used filtering in several other WordPress projects recently so I was excited to apply what I have learned in those other projects to benefit our site. Now I am just waiting on a teammate to have the time to apply the new categories to each of the case studies so that I can push the changes live to the site.
  • I have one other project that is close to launching. We built a new backend for NoMa BID with a simpler page builder. On Thursday, I walked their team through the new backend and they are really excited about how much easier it looks to use. I also got some important feedback to add some functionality that will improve the page creation/page edit process even more. Over the past few weeks, I have been putting together a guide on how to use the new page builder. I find it a challenge to write documentation but I recognize the important value that it has for the usability of the products we create.
  • On Friday, I jumped in and helped on a project that has a very quick turnaround. The challenge of this project is that there were still design changes being made as I began building the site. One of the things I like about Figma is that I have access to those changes as they are happening in real-time. After building out the HTML, I started adding styles and layout. By the afternoon, I had to rewrite some of the HTML to incorporate new design changes from the morning. I enjoy getting to be a part of these projects that different teammates are jumping in to help make it a reality. I was able to build out most of the desktop layout by the end of the day and then hand it off to the other devs on my team. I find it difficult to hand stuff off that is still in process but it is gratifying to know I did my part and helped to move the project forward as I need to give my attention to other work this coming week.
  • Evernote updated last Sunday. And they made a lot of changes to the app, many of which I was not happy about. They changed the formatting and now only offer a few font choices (similar to Google). You can no longer center an image by using the align buttons (only works on text). I used the centering for calendars in which I track events, projects, and other things that happen in my life in a visual way. Most of the formatting changes that I don’t like affected these calendars I keep. I also miss being able to open a note in another tab or window. I found this helpful when wanting to reference another note while writing a separate note. Evernote is the one app that I use that tends to change a lot and it is always a bit disorienting when those updates hit.
  • I wrote a post this week about a site that I was involved with for about 9 years. This week marked a ten-year milestone of a redesign project that I implemented right after I joined the team. GodSquad was a one-of-a-kind Internet resource for equipping Christians to reach the college campus. It was the second professional site that I worked with. It was a unique opportunity in which I wore a variety of hats and had a lot of ownership over the direction and evolution of the site. It was fun to reflect and share a part of my Web history.

Online Reading

  • Accessible Interactions – I enjoyed this post by Jeremy Keith where he explores the easy parts of accessibility and the hard parts. He also talked through a specific example. Is always fun to read about someone else’s thought process as they implement solutions.
  • Addictive Animations – Dan Wilson explains how to use CSS animations with some Javascript solve a problem of running two simultaneous animations in CSS that modify the same property.

Reading

  • I read Psalm 33 as part of my Bible reading plan on Tuesday. It was a very appropriate passage to keep in mind on election day and beyond. It helped me to keep a bigger perspective and give me peace in the midst of the craziness of this election.
  • Remember Death – I love how the author unpacks the richness of the gospel as he explores this very sobering topic.
  • My copy of Designing Interface Animations came in the mail this week. I have wanted to read this book by Val Head for some time. I took an SVG Animation Masterclass through Smashing Magazine last month so reading this book on the heels of that seemed appropriate.

Watching

  • The West Wing (Netflix) – I am almost finished watching the series. I watched the Election Day episode of the last season on the real election day. That fictitious election was decided by Nevada.
  • Somebody Feed Phil (Netflix)- My family was so excited to watch new episodes of this Netflix series.
  • The Mandalorian (Disney+) – And we are excited for new episodes of this Star Wars drama.
  • The Great British Baking Show (Netflix) – We have also been enjoying new episodes of season 8 of this show on Netflix.
  • I am really hoping that Netflix releases a new season of The Repair Shop soon. This is one of my favorite shows and I enjoy seeing the different artisans practicing their craft.

Video Games

  • I decided to play a franchise season of MLB The Show 20 with the Tampa Bay Rays. I became a follower and fan of the team when we lived in Orlando and starting going over to Tampa a couple of times each summer to see them play starting in 2009. It was fun to see them go to the World Series though I had wished for a better result. I had bought MLB The Show late in the shortened season and just played games with the live roster on the day of those games. But I enjoyed the Rays team so much that I wanted to play a season with them. This is the first time I have ever played a season in the offseason. But this has been a strange year. I bought and played Madden 20 starting in April. I am not sure how far I will get but I am just enjoying each game as I play.
  • NHL18 – I also picked this game back up. I am invested in NHL at all but I really enjoy this game.  I bought it several years ago when it was really cheap and started playing it in the summer (first of the off-season sports games). I had created a franchise and had played two seasons with the team in the past 2 years. I picked it back up last week and started season 3 with that team.

 

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