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🔖 Tech Culture Can Change (archive) by Danah Boyd

The normalization of atrocious behavior is the first step of, and makes room for, more serious inappropriate actions like sexual harassment and assault. This needs to stop. Guys who replicate this culture to fit in and get status continue to perpetuate this behavior even after receiving power in a group.

Men in tech need to:

  1. Recognize how a culture of sexism makes tech inhospitable for women. This reduces the quality of innovation and creates societal harm.
  2. Repent our actions that have hurt others and actively and voluntarily apologize for them.
  3. Respect others struggles, strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Enable repartition of power — support, fund and empower women and people of color.

🔖 Overthinking “likes” (archive) by Ana Rodrigues

Likes have layers of meanings. They can mean many different things:

  • A metric of popularity
  • A way to show people that you see them and you care
  • A bookmark for yourself
  • A channel to show (or hide) your tastes, particularly on platforms like Twitter that sometimes share what others have liked)

With the IndieWeb you’re in control. You can decide what you want likes to be and whether or not you even want them to be on your site at all.

🔖 Research by the developed on the developing (archive) by Themrise Khan

Research into the issues of the “global south” is dominated by institutions and researches of the “global south”. This research isn’t balanced with an equal voice and perspective from the “global south”. For example:

  • Migration: Issues like border control are looked at from the point of view of preventing illegal migration to the “north” rather than on the reasons why those from the “south” are forced to migrate.
  • Gender: Terms used in the “north” are applied to the “south” without taking into account the different cultures, religions and patriarchal structures. For example, ‘Unpaid care economy’ might mean walking miles to fetch water in rural areas, or access to child-care assistance in urban areas.

The decisions of how the studies are conducted aren’t being developed in the “south”. The hurdles of being published in the “north” means researchers in the “south” don’t have the liberty to develop their own research agendas and methodologies.

🔖 Designing in the open (archive) by Kjell Reigstad

When participating in conversations on open source project your technical background or history in the company doesn’t matter as much as how you conduct yourself and the value you provide in the discussion.

With open source work you have to let strangers look at your initial sketches. This forces you to articulate and present your work better — clearly explaining ideas and anticipating questions.

By designing in the open you expose yourself to multiple perspectives and ultimately the work is better for it.

🔖 Design Tip: Never Use Black (archive) by Ian Storm Taylor

We often see things like the road, our office chair or a shadow and assume they’re black, when in fact they’re not. As seen in Wayne Thiebaud’s work, shadows are some of the most saturated part of a work. Most blacks we see in our lives are a colored-dark-gray.

An example of saturating grays
An example of saturating grays

Stay away from #000000 pure black, add a bit of color to it. More saturation for darker colors and much lesser for light ones.

🔖 How the Web Became Unreadable (archive) by Kevin Marks

There has been a trend to reduce the color contrast of text on the web. As screens have improved, designers have started using lighter typefaces and lower contrast ratios. But, as more people use devices in outdoor environments where screens aren’t as clear to look at, there is a need for text to be be better legible for everyone. The physical screen and the context it is used in should be considered when picking colors.

Color contrast explained

The baseline typography and colors should work for most users regardless of their eyesight. Contrast ratios between two colors are:

  • 1:1 when the background and text are the same color
  • 21:1 when its black text on a white background
  • 4.5:1 is the minimum ratio for clear type
  • 7:1 is the recommended contrast to aid those with impaired vision

Note that the recommendations are minimums and shouldn’t be treated as starting points.

🔖 Why messiness is a good thing for product teams (archive) by Brian Donohue

Sometimes it feels like a waterfall process is what is required to build product, but in reality, it is a mythical place of calm and clarity. Creativity in inherently uncertain, and so it needs space to be uncertain.

More experience should mean that you know what you’re doing but, Ed Catmull, President at Pixar explains, “What we’re doing is inherently messy. The goal isn’t to prevent the mess, the goal is to ensure it doesn’t get too messy.”

The chaos of creativity can be tamed by working principles. Intercom has three:

  1. Think from first principles
  2. Ship to learn
  3. Think big, start small

🔖 The Shape Of The Machine (archive) by Mike Hoye

Google’s monitor and monetize system can be broken down into three parts. In isolation these parts seem to be well-intentioned.

  • Performance: AMP will speed up your web pages
  • Search: Faster loading pages are better search results
  • Advertising: Ad revenue keeps websites alive.

Put them all together and it becomes a thinly veiled extortion scheme. And unlike Microsoft and Facebook, Google still pretends that it is doing good work with good intentions.