10 of My Favorite Articles of 2013

my-favorite-articles-of-2013

I’ve never subscribed to the newspaper. This year I’ve even cancelled my few remaining magazine subscriptions. There is just too much great, free, specifically-relevant-to-me content out there on the internet to need much else. And with two munchkins clamoring for my attention reading is something I already don’t have a lot of time for.

Enter Instapaper. I love Instapaper. It’s a little app that let’s you save articles you don’t have time to read now for later viewing. Pop it in your browser and you can easily save any website article. Open it up on your iPhone or iPad and all your articles are there, ready to read.

This year I’m taking a look back to some of my favorite articles from 2013 and sharing them with you. I’ve left out articles about running which make up the bulk of what I read and am just including features about design, business, author websites, and work/life balance. Without further ado, here are 10 of my favorite articles of 2013:

 

Efficiently Simplifying Navigation, Part 1: Information Architecture

Smashing Magazine

information architecture

This is a great primer on Information Architecture, which is a vital first step to designing any website. This article came out after all our extensive navigation/content work on the new Wenatchee.org site, but I’ll be especially coming back to this site for other projects with large amounts of content. While it might not be the flashiest part of website design, getting navigation right is vital to providing a great user experience.

 

Setting Your Priorities – Fewer is Better

Predawn Runner

I know I said I culled out the running articles for this blog post, but the ideas in this article go beyond just training for an event. Setting your foci for your life, lining up your priorities, and cutting other things out are all things I’ve talked about before and believe in. I love Greg’s quote here:

Ask me when the NBA season will start, and expect a blank stare.  My favorite movie?  Well, I’m still stuck on Braveheart – I have seen few movies the last few years, other than occasionally on an international flight.  And my favorite show is Phineas and Ferb, as it is about 80% of what I watch these days (with the boys, obviously).

For my life that’s totally true. My priorities are: family, church, running, and work. Ask me about anything outside of that and I won’t have too much to say.

 

10 Things To Do Every Day To Improve Your Life

Barking up the Wrong Tree

improve-your-life

The internet is filled with ways to make your life better. Many of these are fads, impossible to implement, or off the wall weird. Here’s a list of 10 easy, common-sense things to do that will make you happier, backed up with scientific studies. Again, these are obvious things (spend time with friends and family, get enough sleep, exercise), but we always need reminders.

 

Design is not Art

Medium

This article finally articulates a lot of my thoughts about Art & Design. Design solves problems and makes things easier for people. Art is interpretative and can cause problems – it’s made to be seen make you think. When we as designers mix the two we often create more problems for our users and end up with a lower-quality design.

 

Remember: You Are Not Your Work

Nick Ohrn

I think we all need this reminder sometimes, and maybe none of us more than creative business-owners. When we put a project out there we’ve often put a lot of ourselves into it. We need to remember to that there is a difference between that work and who we really are. Nick does a great job encapsulating this idea.

 

Best Practices of Combining Typefaces

Smashing Magazine

contrast-font-weightsCreating great typeface combinations is an art, not a science.

I couldn’t agree more with the opening line from this article. But that being said there are some great rules that you can use to help your type look better. This article outlines these rules with practical examples to show you how to implement them. This write-up is actually great for anyone – from those banging out a flyer in Word to experienced print designers.

 

10 Ways to Improve Your Author Website

Write it Sideways

How about another top 10 list? JP Jones explains 10 quick ideas on getting your author website polished. He has a few of the same tips I mention in my post 6 Things Every Author Website Needs, which just strengthens those points. Author websites should be easy to tweak and update (is yours not?), so these are tips that any writer can begin implementing now.

 

How to Change Your Life: A User’s Guide

Zen Habits

Leo’s blog has been one of my favorites for many years. In this post he has a list of “How to Implement Daily Changes” that really summarizes most of what he writes about. This is a great place to start getting into his writing. If you want more details or more continuos inspiration to make changes then by all means subscribe to his blog. But if you could just follow these 7 tips you’d be able to make great changes in your life.

 

Bringing a knife to a gunfight

Andrew Clarke

the wrong tools

This “article” is actually a deck of slides from one of Andrew’s presentations from earlier this year. He outlines the problem facing many web designers these days – the tools we are using to design responsive websites and apps weren’t built to do this kind of work. Besides just presenting the problems Andrew also outlines some solutions. The website/app field is in a deep state of flux with tools that are built for creating responsive websites constantly arriving. I think it will still be a few years before everything shakes out and consistent workflows with industry-standard software is commonplace.

 

46 Reasons My Three Year Old Might be Freaking Out

Jason Good

And let’s end on a lighter note. Jason’s popular post is absolutely hilarious and parents of little kids can appreciate how dead-on these absolutely illogical reasons for freaking out are.

 

How about you? What were some of your favorite articles from this year?