Last year I started a (now annual) tradition of reviewing my personal goals, and setting new ones. Looking back, I can’t believe how much has happened this year. It’s definitely been a roller coaster, and I’ve definitely grown a ton as a person. Thank you all for joining me on this journey!
Here are a few projects I’ve launched over the past year (all source code available on GitHub, where I made 2,396 commits this year):
- Sass Director: A file generator for Sass partials that uses a single “director script” (aka your
- Gulp Starter Environment: Created for the designers I worked with to learn gulp and get familiar with using Github.
- Happy Moments: A node app that pulls in a single happy moment memory from each day I’ve had this year.
- Travels: A web experiment site that uses filters and blend modes, featuring my travel poetry as content.
- CSSgram: A tiny CSS library recreating Instragram filters using just CSS features.
- Toolsday: A 20-ish-minute podcast about the latest in tech tools, tips, and tricks (hosted along with my coworker, Chris)
- arttheweb.com: A collection of my articles, talks, and web experiments based around designing in the browser.
That was all outside of work. At IBM, I worked on two large-scale pattern libraries (one for Watson and one for Bluemix), built prototypes for product iterations, and helped build a Front-End Development community and curriculum for trainings.
Last year, I said I wanted to “participate in conferences and community” as one of my goals. With that dream in mind, I went about applying to speak at conferences, hoping to get invited to one. Here’s what actually happened:
I gave 17 talks/workshops on Sass, UI interaction, performance optimizations, keyboard ninjary, open source design, goal setting, and CSS filters and blend modes. I wrote 30 blog posts on topics ranging from experimental (like Generative Pixel Art via Sass matrices and blend-mode hacks to create Faux 3d Effects, to quite practical (5 Uses for Sass Maps and a class-based CSS architecture system). I also recorded audio for every post I wrote on my blog and the audiobook version of the SVG Pocket Guide. And finally, I started a podcast about developer tools called Toolsday!
If you'd like to support my code calligraphy or just send a simple thank you, I made an Amazon wishlist of pens, paper, and audiobooks :)
I also started doing code calligraphy as a way to visualize some mnemonic devices and solidify my skills. People on Twitter seemed to really resonate with them, so I want to make more. A lot of people mentioned that they wanted prints, a book, or posters. I’ve got some ideas, but we’ll see how it pans out with time.
I traveled a lot this year. According to my TripIt data, I traveled a total of 139,872 miles to 29 cities in 8 countries. Where? Australia, England, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and France (and many trips around the US too). While short conference trips can be taxing, I do really love to travel. My Instagram is now full of photos from my adventures and I got to meet so many awesome people (the best part of conferences)!
I started to read a lot, too (by read, I really mean listen to audiobooks). I finished 51 books this year. My favorites were:
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- The Martian by Andy Weir
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
- Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Apparently people took notice of my work, but didn’t know where to categorize my contributions. I was shortlisted for Young Designer of the Year while also getting on a list of 2015’s Top JS Devs to Follow and Female Tech Influencers 💪. One day there will be a place for people like us.
Personal Goals Outline
So how am I doing on those overall goals I laid out last year?
- Build quickly, ship things, and learn. (yep!)
- Contribute to Open Source (hell yeah!)
- Share knowledge as often as possible (definitely!)
- Appreciate the creative & talented people in my life (I try)
- Use Vim + the keyboard more often (yes!)
- Up my JS Game (I’m definitely better but should learn way more)
- Performance-first advocacy (yep!)
- Foster designer participation in OS projects (around me, yes — outside, maybe?)
- Participate in conferences & community (LOL. yes)
- Use web components (nope)
- Be kinder ( ¯\_ (ツ) _/¯ )
2016: Small Dreams are Boring
If you follow me for my CSS content, don’t worry — I’m not going to stop writing about other front-end topics, I just also want to understand flux architecture and all the magics of Webpack. I want to understand good API design and improve my knowledge of algorithms and data structures. I think I just need to start building some apps out for this (and I have a few ideas in mind already!)
I also really want to write a book on an entirely different topic — which is about working with images in the browser. It will cover everything from choosing a media format to performance to getting fancy with filters and blend modes. I’m currently in the process of looking for a publisher — so if you know any interested, feel free to forward them my email address (see footer). (also, feel free to send me email to say hello, because why not?)