March 2020 Review
Is it just me, or has this March seemed to drag on forever?! I hope that everyone and their nearest and dearest are well. Living in Taiwan, COVID-19 has been in the social conscious since early January. That's even before it was even labelled COVID-19 by the WHO!
Today, and I hope well into the future, life here continues on very much as normal. There are more people than normal are wearing surgical masks on the streets (rationing of these started early on to limit hoarding). Public spaces, office buildings and restaurants also take the temperature and sanitize the hands of those who enter. But, by-in-large, that's it.
It has been interesting to watch from afar how things have developed in Australia. I'm curious to see just how the country recovers from the dual-shocks of the last bushfire season and now this. I'm also curious to see if 'working from home' becomes a new normal once some sense of normality returns.
Fingers crossed that normality returns sooner rather than later. For now though here's my March 2020 highlights package.
An exciting homepage refresh
The most exciting project I'm working on at the moment is a homepage redesign for a client. What makes it both exciting and daunting, is that the page sees ~84k sessions per month. That's far more than any other page I've worked on, ever!
I'm currently waiting for Design approval, and am keen to get into some coding later this week. I do plan to document the journey and track the impact of the changes we make as well. There'll be a few future blog posts coming out of this one.
I've also worked on an almanac website for our Touch Football association in Taiwan. This will help us track our international representatives and their achievements. The site is built with Eleventy and uses Sanity.io as the headless CMS housing all the data.
The site is currently in testing and I'm putting some finishing touches on it. Hopefully, I can have it online by the end of April to celebrate one year since the 2019 Touch World Cup started.
This project shows just how personal (non-tech) hobbies can present opportunities to practice and improve one's web development skills. Wes Bos & Scott Tolinski did a great Syntax FM episode on this topic - have a listen.
I've started diving into Svelte 3 and really, really like what it can do. I jumped into it with Scott Tolinski's Level Up Tutorials series, and have done a few other tutorials to get up to speed since then.
My mind is already buzzing with ideas for small web apps I can build as practice projects. If time allows in April I'd like to get one or two of them out there.
Presenting Responsive Tables in HTML
In what ways can you present tabular data on mobile screens?
This little design challenge presented itself while I was working on the CTTA Almanac site. I toyed with a couple of ways to do this, and finally settled on a simple, but elegant horizontal scroll. In the process, I also learnt about using CSS Grid as an alternative. This blog post covers the two methods I evaluated.
Website Carbon Calculator
I'm guessing that the carbon footprint of a website isn't something that crosses most of our minds as we browse the internet. But now that we're on the topic you might be curious as of just what the carbon footprint of your favourite site is, or heck even your own personal or business site!
The team at Wholegrain Digital are advocates for green web design and have created a website carbon calculator that lets anyone understand the approximate energy consumption and carbon emissions of sites they visit/create.
Just Font's Website is Just Wow!
Taipei-based type foundry justfont's website (Chinese only) is amazing. Set out on a grid paper background, it uses subtle, type-specific animations throughout to create a terrific experience. I'm a huge fan of the entrance animations at the top, which bring Taipei city to life as the page loads. Definitely going to try and create something similar if a future project allows it!
April is just a few hours away and hopefully it's good to all of us. Heck, the world needs it to be!
Stay safe, and stay at home!