Alexander Skogberg

UX, Web & Design

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Looking back at 2016 and looking forward to 2017

2016 was a challenging but great year for me in terms of work. It marked my first year at inUse, had me giving lectures all over Sweden, put me in a lead position in projects and broadened my skill set further.

Here’s some words about what happened, great things I noticed, personal achievements, stuff I learnt and what I’m looking forward to in 2017.

Designing for touch is essential for all screen sizes

Since I started working with Responsive Web Design back in 2012, I’ve been a strong advocate for Mobile First.

In 2016, it’s more important than ever to design Mobile First due to the changing nature of devices, their screen sizes and their different options for input.

Today, some smartphones are almost as large as some tablets. There’s also tablets that are larger than some laptops. We also have devices like the Microsoft Surface, which offers input from its touch screen as well as from an optional physical keyboard.

Then there’s the growing group of laptops with touch screens like the Microsoft Surface Book.

With a touch screen laptop like the Microsoft Surface Book, users can and will switch between using a mouse, keyboard and touch screen within seconds.

Designers need to design interfaces to support touch input, regardless of screen size.

Terminology should focus on sizes, not devices

Following my argument above, it’s clear that it no longer makes sense for developers to name things like image resources and CSS preprocessor variables after devices likes this:

@media only screen and (min-width: $logo-desktop) {
  .header-logo {
    background-image: url("../img/logo-desktop.png");
  }
}

Naming should focus on sizes, like this:

@media only screen and (min-width: $logo-large) {
  .header-logo {
    background-image: url("../img/logo-large.png");
  }
}

CSS Grid Layout is on my to-learn list

2016 marked the year when I thought myself Flexbox and started using it in production and not just for prototyping. High up on my to-learn list for 2017 is CSS Grid Layout. As soon as its browser support is a bit better, Ill sink my teeth into it.

CSS Grid Layout is looking to be a huge time-saver and solver of some, otherwise, complex and frustrating layout problems.

Want to learn more about CSS Grid Layout? Check out these great resources:

Sketch and inVision makes a great combination

There’s a lot of apps and tools for prototyping available today. On the top of my head I can mention Balsamiq, Axure, Framer, POP and Principle.

Thanks to my experience in front end development, I’ve always relied on HTML, CSS and Javascript when I’ve needed to develop interactive high fidelity prototypes.

However, after having used Sketch (which I was already familiar with) in combination with the web app inVision extensively in projects with Arvato, DigiExam and Praktikertjänst during 2016, they are now my go-to tools for low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototyping.

Sketching on paper is still my favourite technique though :)

I (finally) made my first WordPress theme

I’ve been developing websites using WordPress since 2011, but it took me until the fall of 2016 to write my first WordPress theme from scratch. Yes, it’s true.

After having overridden Twenty Twelve to death in too many spare time projects, I finally abandoned it and created the theme Snoopy that this website is running now.

About time.

Snoopy blushing

My lectures on website accessibility is alive

Since working with accessibility in two major projects, Fejjan för alla (that was sadly shut down) and Tidning för alla in 2014 and 2015, I’ve been wanting to share my knowledge through a lecture as I’ve done with my experience in Mobile First.

Lunchföreläsning på Stockholmskontoret: Tillgänglighet – med @alexanderskogberg

A photo posted by inuse_swe (@inuse_swe) on

After some initial procrastination due to the scope of the subject, I just started working on the lecture whenever I had time between assignments at inUse. Earlier this fall, I held it for the first time for my colleagues in Stockholm and got great feedback.

In 2017, I will drop by the inUse offices in Göteborg and Malmö and educate my coworkers about website accessibility. Just as fun as important.

My colleague Emil Björklund got international recognition

Earlier this year, I was intrigued when my colleague Emil Björklund (@ThatEmil) told me about his submission to the web development competition 10K apart.

He told me he was going to make a responsive website that would support screen sizes down to 0 pixels by presenting the site’s content using Morse code (!) when screens got really narrow. I thought it was just as brilliant as it was silly.

Guess what… he won the whole thing among 400 competitors. Incredibly impressive! It’s a really big deal.

Denver in 2017?

Since late 2015, inUse has a branch in Denver, Colorado. Together with the city of Denver and Panasonic we’re making Denver a smarter and more sustainable city. If you want to know more about this, check out the inUse blog.

Maybe I’ll end up in Denver in 2017. Probably not, but crazier things have happened to me… Anyway, that’s something to find out next year.

Thanks for reading this post. I hope your 2016 was interesting too. Please share your experience in the comment section :)

/Alex

  • Thanks for sharing Alexander! Lots of good stuff as always. Wishing you all the best for 2017.

Much responsive Many CSS Very breakpoint So media query Such HTML Wow