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This is a web page

Design, Writing

If you’re a web designer, I challenge you to think about the words first. Instead of starting with a style guide or a Photoshop mockup, start with words on a page.

What do you have to say? If you don’t know, there’s not much use in adding all that other cruft. Just start with one page, with a single focus. Write it and publish it, and then iterate on that. Every time you’re about to add something, ask yourself: does this help me communicate better? Will that additional styling, image, or hyperlink give my audience more understanding? If the answer is “no,” don’t add it.

At its heart, web design should be about words. Words don’t come after the design is done. Words are the beginning, the core, the focus.

Start with words.

Blogging really helps you shift to this way of thinking.

Though it’s often still a challenge when your client wants to see a design first, so they can shoehorn their words in. We‘ve all experienced it at some point.

Invariably, the solution to this problem can be found in not skimping on the discovery phase. As much as we all want to get to the fun bit, it’s such an important step.

I like to send clients a bunch of questions. Get them to write about their business, so you’ve got some words to get going with.

This is a web page. from Justin Jackson.

We can have a different web

IndieWeb

“Nothing about the web has changed that prevents us from going back. If anything, it’s become a lot easier. We can return. Better, yet: we can restore the things we loved about the old web while incorporating the wonderful things that have emerged since, developing even better things as we go forward, and leaving behind some things from the early web days we all too often forget when we put on our rose-colored glasses.

When I envision the web, I picture an infinite expanse of empty space that stretches as far as the eye can see. It’s full of fertile soil, but no seeds have taken root. That is, except for about an acre of it.”

A wonderful reminder from Molly White that beyond the reinforced walls of big tech, “the old web” still exists. And those things that made the web what it was in the “good old days”, like setting up a personal site, blogging, using RSS, creating blogrolls, webrings, and so on is becoming easier and more accessible by the day.

We can have a different web from Molly White.

Ready to Party Like It’s 1999…Again

IndieWeb

A growing backlash against technology’s dominance threatens to stall the heady growth of the industry. The nerd set is fighting back against capitalist entrenchment, building new open infrastructure that respects user privacy and eliminates gatekeepers. A revolution is underway to make it even easier to publish on the web, push content and software features across networks, and find meaningful successful as an indie producer.

You can feel it in the air. What’s old is new again. Blogs are returning. RSS is again ascendant. Email newsletters—popularized once more by Substack but now migrating to even better services—are all the rage. Mastodon, Pixelfed, Lemmy, and other open source software are enabling new social networks to form—yet this time no longer beholden to Big Tech.

Hell yeah 🤘

Why I’m Ready to Party Like It’s 1999…Again from The Internet Review.

File over app

Obsidian, Technology

Today, we are creating innumerable digital artifacts, but most of these artifacts are out of our control. They are stored on servers, in databases, gated behind an internet connection, and login to a cloud service. Even the files on your hard drive use proprietary formats that make them incompatible with older systems and other tools.

File over app is a philosophy: if you want to create digital artifacts that last, they must be files you can control, in formats that are easy to retrieve and read. Use tools that give you this freedom.

You should want the files you create to be durable, not only for posterity, but also for your future self. You never know when you might want to go back to something you created years or decades ago. Don’t lock your data into a format you can’t retrieve.

I’ve been fascinated by Steph’s philosophy since I starting using Obsidian.

Creating a resilient system of plain-text files, that will stand the test of time, makes a lot of sense. It’s the Rule of least power and the KISS principle all rolled into one – or something like that.

After all, when an app disappears or becomes obsolete, nobody wants their content to disappear along with it.

File over app from Steph Ango.

Finding good websites

Technology

I think it’s really important that every blog have a Links page or a Blog Roll. In today’s internet, finding good websites is difficult, and similar to the early days of the net when everything wasn’t listed in a search engine, the best way to find content is by word of mouth.

In Links page update Brandon talks about the importance of spreading good links by word of mouth (via your personal website).

Only fitting that this should be the first post on my new /links page.

Links page update from Brandon.

Monthly Newsletter

Once a month I curate a newletter for designers and developers interested in static sites, privacy and web performance. Check out past issues to get an idea.

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