Make UX simple again

Welcome to the 9th edition of Designer’s Digest. I just updated my website, now you can view all past editions here. Today we have a good mix of typography and UX-related content. We also have a winner from last week’s typographic error hunt. Did you find it? It’s in this sentence: 

“Fixel is a unique grotesque with a human touch,"

Should be quite obvious now right? It’s the straight quotation mark at the end, it should be curly. 10 of you found the mistake, and another 5 found an unintentional mistake 😅 Aisling O’Rourke, you’re the randomly picked winner! 🎉 I’ll reach out to arrange the reward. 

In this newsletter:
🅰 Satoshi (Geometric sans-serif variable font)
🅰 Container query units and fluid typography (10 min read)
🤬Make UX simple again (7 min read)

How’s it going? I’m on 4 hours of sleep today but I’m happier than I have been in years. Yes, taking care of newborn twins is stressful but I love spending time with them when I can (and when they’re not too fussy 😅). I can’t imagine how that would work if I still worked full-time.

Speaking of work, I decided I’m not going to actively look for a new job for a while. I want to rebuild the business that was thriving before I started to neglect it. This weekly newsletter was the first step and I’m glad to say that it’s successful. So far, the open rate has been around 46%, which I think is quite good for a list of 20,000 subscribers. I’m currently working on updating my personal website to increase newsletter subscriptions, as well as reviving the Better Web Type blog. More on this in the coming weeks.

I also used to have a Slack community for Better Web Type with more than 1,000 members which I later closed down. Another stupid mistake 🤦‍♂️ I’m now opening a new one, not just for typography but design in general. It’s called DESIGNR and you can join right now (hurry, the invite link expires in a few days). I might limit access to paying members only in the future 🤔

🅰 Satoshi
As I said earlier, I’m currently working on a small redesign of my website and I was looking for a nice modern-looking geometric sans-serif font. I turned all the usual free font sources upside down but couldn’t find one. Then I stumbled on a random website and really liked the font it was using. I checked what font it was and it was Satoshi. I looked into it and found that it’s free and variable. Perfect! Maybe I’ll use it for some work in the future. You can download it here if you need something similar.

🅰 Container query units and fluid typography
Stephanie Eckles wrote a detailed and thorough article on replacing viewport units with container query units when using fluid typography. This is a cool approach that is way more flexible than using viewport units which are always tied to the size of the viewport—so if a container size changes but the viewport doesn’t the size of font remains the same.

🤬 Make UX simple again
Gatekeeping, bullshit job listings, shitty bosses, smartasses, and the list goes on. The UX industry is littered with problems. Is this a sign of an industry getting more mature? I don’t think so, I actually think it may be the opposite. The UX industry was in a better place just a couple of years ago, we started going down a weird path lately. Why do companies refuse to do UX research? Why did the recent layoffs target designers so much? Well, probably because there are a lot of UX researchers and designers out there that suck. And a lot of companies have had a bad experience and realised that it’s simply not worth it. That is completely our fault.

We should stop bullshitting each other, always coming up with fancy new research methods and stick to what works. We should also stop selling bullshit like UX bootcamps and lies that you can learn the skills to be a designer in a couple of hours on YouTube. I’m sorry, but no, you can’t be a designer after a couple of weeks of training and a shitty project that you worked on. My favourite quote from Mat Venn’s article:

The barrier for entry is always talent and enthusiasm. Same for pornography or being a magician.

— Mat Venn

That’s it for this Monday. Have an awesome week! 👋


P.S. Do you enjoy this newsletter? Forward it to a friend or tell them to subscribe here. I’ll be forever grateful! 🙏

Matej Latin

I’m a self-taught designer proving that you don’t need a design degree to make a career in design. I went from doing boring graphic design work to working for big tech companies as a Product Designer. I thrive in the grey area between design and web development and I wrote a book about web typography for designers and web developers.

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