Ahoy Dear Friends,
We all want to be
productive in our work.
However, with messages streaming our way from
every direction, staying focused and
well-organized requires effort and commitment.
And, frankly, a lot of time. As we found
ourselves getting more and more busy in
February, we asked ourselves how we can be
Should we re-organize our email filters and
labels? What about time management? What about
the frequency and length of meetings? How do
we avoid dozens of candidates with weak job
ads? And how do we make our
remote work better?
From “Remote Work For Design Teams”, fully available as HTML book.
As a result, we’ve discovered a few services,
tools and articles that are perhaps less
known, but can be quite helpful when used
consistently. We feature some of these
productivity boosters in this
very newsletter — from email productivity to
better code reviews and scheduling. You can
find more tools in our
article on better remote work, so feel free to dive in.
And as a little friendly side note, we also
have a couple of
front-end/design workflow by
Dan Mall and Nathan Curtis coming soon, along
with some front-end and UX gems as well, of
course. We’d love to see you there.
Let’s boost productivity!
— Vitaly (@smashingmag)
Table of Contents
Code Reviews With Feedback Ladders
Code reviews can bring along communication
issues if a team doesn’t have established
standards. To solve this, Netlify’s UX team
developed a shared terminology that adds
nuance to the feedback and helps everyone
involved to better understand where the
feedback fits into the larger picture.
Feedback Ladder, as Netlify’s approach is called, is based
on the idea of living in a house that is still
being built: There are different kinds of
inconveniences (mountain, boulder, pebble,
sand, and dust) and each one has a different
level of impact on your day-to-day life in the
house. Dust, for example, does not impede life
in the house, while a boulder blocking the
door needs to be taken care of to not block
the work from moving forward. The metaphors
are easy to remember and can be used to
concisely encode the severity of feedback.
Time For What Really Matters
Some workdays are quite fragmented: First the
daily standup with your teammates, then a call
here, a meeting there, and the work that would
require actual focus time is jammed somewhere
in between the scheduled appointments.
is here to change that. The smart calendar
assistant is available as a Chrome extension
and frees up blocks of uninterrupted time to
help you focus on what matters.
To make the most out of your workday,
Clockwise learns your meeting behavior and
identifies how your schedule could be improved
— based on your preferences, of course: It
automatically moves meetings to optimize your
calendar, resolves meeting conflicts, and even
syncs with your personal calendar to ensure
that you don’t miss important personal
To maximize your team’s
productivity, Clockwise can even coordinate
meetings across schedules and move them to the
least disruptive time. A handy little helper.
Overflowing inboxes, spam with backlink
requests, people emailing you on a Friday
afternoon and following up on Monday morning —
there are a lot of things that make dealing
with email unpleasant. However, since there is
no getting around email, there’s only one
solution: Let’s improve the situation
together. With that in mind, Chris Coyier
is running “Email is Good”, a site about email productivity.
“Email is Good” takes a look at things that
make emails annoying, tips and ideas on how we
can do better, as well as little anecdotes
that everyone can relate to. A great
opportunity to reflect on how each one of us
deals with email and the reactions that our
email habits might provoke on the recipient’s
Productive With Online Workshops
Investing in your own productivity is worth it — it starts with code editor settings and browser extensions, but can go further with workshops. As it
happens, we have some friendly
front-end & UX online workshops
dedicated to workflow, design systems, and
web performance and front-end.
Our workshops are packed with
practical examples, video
recordings and friendly Q&A sessions. Each
and every workshop has been a
truly smashing experience
with wonderful folks from all over the world.
There are still some early-birds left, with a
lil’ friendly discount. Perhaps you’d like to
join us and recommend to others
— just sayin’! ;-)
5. Sync Color
Themes For Your Dev Environment
Have you ever wished for a consistent color
theme across your entire development
environment? One that you feel is
pleasant for the eyes and that stays the same
when you switch from your code editor to the
terminal across to Slack?
helps you achieve just that.
Themer takes a set of colors and
generates themes for your development
environment based on them. You can either
start with a pre-built color set or create one
from scratch by entering two main shades for
background color and foreground text and
accent colors for syntax highlighting, errors,
warnings, and success messages.
happy with the result, you can download the
themes you want to generate from the palette —
different terminals and text editors are
supported, just like Slack, Alfred, Chrome,
Prism, and other tools and services. To make
the color coordination complete, there are
matching wallpapers based on your theme, too.
Feedback From Clients
How does your team collect feedback when
working on a website? You’re probably wishing
there would be fewer emails and notifications
involved, right? Well, what if we told you
there’s a (free!) little tool that can help you and
your team with a frictionless, simple way to gather feedback on any live website?
Sound like a dream come true? The
MarkUp For Chrome
extension lets you collect feedback on any
live website from your browser. The entire website becomes a digital
canvas where you can leave comments and
include screenshots allowing your team to see
exactly what you were looking at when you made
a comment and provided feedback. Nifty! (il)
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7. How To
Write A Job Ad
Browsing through job boards around front-end
and UX roles is always an adventure. The
expectations are high, the descriptions are
vague and lengthy, the roles and titles are
obscure, and it’s hard to tell what the company is actually looking for with all the hyped words scattered all over the opening ad. So,
what makes a good job description?
Drawing from her recent experiences with
Calibre, in “How To Write A Job Ad”, Karolina Szczur highlights some of the
useful details to include in a successful job
ad. Among them are an exact, specific job
title without jargon and buzzwords, an
introduction of the organization, must-have
requirements, the overview of day-to-day tasks
and a list of employee benefits.
makes a great point why it’s important to
explain how to apply and how the interview
process works, along with being inclusive and
accommodating. If you need an example, Karolina provided an example of a job ad for a front-end position. A
fantastic resource worth keeping nearby.
8. New On
Smashing Job Board
Current Most Popular Articles
That’s All, Folks!
Thank you so much for reading
and for your support in helping us keep the
web dev and design community strong with our
newsletter. See you next time!
This newsletter issue was written and
edited by Cosima Mielke (cm), Vitaly
Friedman (vf) and Iris Lješnjanin (il).
Sent to truly
We sincerely appreciate your kind
support. You rock.
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