📝 This Week in Web Design and Development

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Should I use WordPress or React Hooks?

Huh? To a lot of us, that’s not an either/or question. It’s just weird. But that’s because you are on one side of the canyon or the other. You either understand both of those technologies well enough to know what they do and how they are or aren’t related. Or, you don’t understand either of them so it doesn’t matter. There is a weird area in the middle where you understand just enough to be confused.

I find this type of stream-crossing confusion to be one of the most common types of confusion for beginners. It’s not confusion about a single technology, it’s how they combine.

Should I use Markdown or JSON?
Can I use flexbox in Gatsby?
Can I use custom properties in Jekyll?

📝 This Week in Web Design and Development

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🕤 I’m terrible at predicting the future of anything. I’m always wrong about what startups will succeed, for one thing, and I have no idea at all what big changes to CSS we might see in 2020. Adam Argyle had 5 interesting predictions, some bolder than others.

Just in case it helps steer any cosmic forces, I say let’s keep talking about container queries every chance we get. Zach recently put together an interesting timeline of the concept.

📝 This Week in Web Design and Development

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Howdy, y’all! Earlier this week Figma launched Auto Layout which allows components to work a lot more like elements on a web page and respond to the text within a frame. Just like this:

Make sure to check out the video tutorial that Figma posted which walks through building a layout from scratch and how this latest feature can speed things up considerably.

📝 This Week in Web Design and Development

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🔇 Why is the web so quiet?

(Robin) Why is sound used so sparingly in web design today? Well, it likely has something to do with the pop-ups of yesteryear and the intense background music that would jolt us awake whenever we visited a website that used a bunch of Flash. Because of the work of a few bad apples we’ve all collectively come to the same conclusion:

Unless there’s a video playing, websites are entirely silent.

But the other day I was playing Death Stranding and clicking around the UI. Every button prompt in that game makes an audible click! that is so very satisfying and gives you feedback: yes, you have just clicked that button. I cannot imagine what this game would feel like if its UI was entirely devoid of sound. It would all feel so much less satisfying, that’s for sure.

There are interface sounds for warnings, accepting prompts, and holding a button down. There are sounds for moving down or up in a menu, for moving deeper into the interface, for cancelling back to the previous menu.

I guess it’s not just games. The latest version of iOS is mostly silent and will only provide me with audible feedback if I’m typing. So I wonder if this is a context issue — when we’re sitting in front of a TV, it’s fine that we’re being bombarded with sounds because our focus is entirely on the TV. But when we’re on our phones, whether that’s on a website or an app, then we’re likely out and about and those sounds could annoy people around us.

I wonder if this is something that we can experiment with: making small web projects that push back a little on this thing that we’ve all collectively decided to avoid. Maybe we can make the web not only work better, but sound better, too.