Showcase of Beautiful Dashboard Design Inspiration

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UI design is a delicate, and often overlooked, art. A beautiful user interface is half of what makes a website great. The best UI combines amazing design and useful functionality to make an app or website simple and fun to navigate.

But if you’re a designer making your own website, finding examples to draw inspiration from can be difficult. You might stumble upon an amazing creation as you browse the web, but if you need some great dashboard UI inspiration right now, we’ve got something for you.

These 13 awesome examples showcase a variety of different dashboards. From simplistic user backends to info-packed analytics reports, striking dark design to elegant light UI, those creating menus and dashboards will find some beautiful inspiration in this collection.

UNLIMITED DOWNLOADS: Email, admin, landing page & website templates


Sprint Report Dashboard by Rafał Staromłyński

Example of Sprint Report Dashboard by Rafał Staromłyński

Paat Bank by Sarah-D

Example of Paat Bank by Sarah-D

Vector Trade Dashboard for Bitcoin

Example of Vector Trade Dashboard for Bitcoin

Product Analytics Management System Dashboard by Kostia Varhatiuk

Example of Product Analytics Management System Dashboard by Kostia Varhatiuk

Money Management Dashboard by Riko Sapto Dimo

Example of Money Management Dashboard by Riko Sapto Dimo

#Exploration – Dashboard by Dwinawan

Example of #Exploration - Dashboard by Dwinawan

User Dashboard UI KIT, Human Resources, Employer

Example of User Dashboard UI KIT, Human Resources, Employer

Cryptocurrency Exchange Dashboard by Den Klenkov

Example of Cryptocurrency Exchange Dashboard by Den Klenkov

Car Dashboard Interface by Aga Ciurysek

Example of Car Dashboard Interface by Aga Ciurysek


Product Analytics Management System Dashboard Dark Version by Kostia Varhatiuk

Example of Product Analytics Management System Dashboard Dark Version by Kostia Varhatiuk

Robo Advisor Web App by Michal Parulski

Example of Robo Advisor Web App by Michal Parulski

Dashboard UI Concept – Dark Theme

Example of Dashboard UI Concept - Dark Theme

Create Stunning Dashboard UI

Finding great sources of inspiration is a crucial step for any designer. Unless you’ve been making interfaces and outlines for many years, it’s a good idea to draw inspiration from other sources. That way you can see what works well in action and expand on it with your own unique style.

This list was compiled with variety in mind, so no matter what kind of dashboard UI you’re creating, you can find something to base your design off of. There are user backends, helpful interfaces, graphs and analytics, and everything in between.

We hope this compilation gave you the inspiration you needed to create a beautiful dashboard of your own.

Awesome Demos Roundup #7

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So many awesome work has been done over the past month! There’s lots of demos and experiments that will make your jaw drop, that’s for sure. From procedurally generated CSS numbers to amazing CSS animations, there’s much to explore and wonder about.

We hope you enjoy this creative compilation!



Anime inspired self portrait


Walking Sprites Demo


Ghibli Slider


∞ Loader animation


Analog Clock in Three.js


Toast Pop!


Wobbly underline






Kalli Hero


Highway Race




anime.js grid staggering demo


Distortion and Parallax Shader




Grid Jr. (Web Audio API + Canvas visualizer)


Paint Drop Hover


Fishing Game


Clip Clop Clippity Clop


Text by circles


Social Links Cube (PlayCanvas)


Color Search w/ React Hooks


React Slider w/ Hover Effect


30 – 50 hogs


GLSL: 3D rotational spatial modification


Procedurally Generated CSS Numbers




Glitched circles


ThreeJS Hover Zoom Channel Displacement


react-three-fiber: suspense + GLTF loader


Awesome Demos Roundup #7 was written by Mary Lou and published on Codrops.

Where to Find the Top Free Templates for Your CMS

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When you’re trying to choose a CMS, there’s a lot to keep in mind. Features, price, and overall quality are all things to pay attention to. But there might be one factor you’re not considering for your CMS: The free templates it has available.

Design is everything in a website. With premium themes being so expensive, you might not initially be able to afford one, so you’ll have to rely on the default templates provided to you.

Let’s go over some top CMS options with great free themes, so you can have a beautiful website without having to pay exorbitant amounts of money.


Sanremo WordPress Theme

If you’re looking for sheer variety, WordPress is definitely the way to go. It comes with a handful of customizable light themes right on its website. These simple, photography-focused templates more than get the job done.

If you’re willing to pay for premium themes, you’ll discover WordPress’s true diversity. There are thousands of user-made themes out there. Sites like Envato Elements offer plenty of choices so do some searching to find what you need.


Jumpstart Shopify Theme

Shopify is an e-commerce CMS aimed primarily at larger businesses, so many of its premium themes can come out to almost $200. Luckily, there are also 10 free themes made by Shopify itself, all offering the elegance you’ll need to show off your new online store. They even come in multiple styles.

The CMS is also fairly popular, so you can expect to find free third-party Shopify themes online.


Versus Webflow Theme

Webflow is a code-free CMS made for designers, so you’d expect their themes to be great – and you would be right. Their free themes are very distinctive from one another. Don’t expect the same bland template over and over again.

There’s quite a few more of them than other CMS competitors tend to offer as well, available in a range of categories. And since this platform focuses on design, you’ll be able to customize them as much as you want.


Bedford Squarespace Theme

If your website makes use of plenty of beautiful photography, any Squarespace template would work well for you. There are over twenty themes, all available on any Squarespace plan, and each one a great example of elegant design.

The one downside to Squarespace is that there are few third-party themes available, and a majority are premium. So, if you don’t like any of the free default themes, it may be best to pick a different CMS.


YG Glow Drupal Theme

This free and open source CMS was created by a dedicated community of developers, and they haven’t neglected to fill out the theme project with nearly 3,000 free templates.

The problem is that it isn’t very friendly to navigate. Many themes lack demos or even screenshots, so your only option is to download each one to see if you like it.

Luckily, Drupal Free Themes was created to fix this issue. This site has a clean layout and is much less confusing to navigate, and every theme comes with a demo and a list of dependencies. If you love Drupal for its features but struggle to find a good theme, you can now have the best of both worlds.

The Best CMS Templates

There are many CMS options with awesome free templates out there, and this is just a handful of them. Which should you choose?

Shopify and Squarespace offer elegant templates with no fuss. They’re good choices if you just want a beautiful theme right out the gate. Webflow also has great themes, and has a high degree of customization available as well with its design-focused CMS.

Drupal and WordPress both share a large community that’s made thousands of themes. Drupal hosts them right on its website, though its themes tend to be simpler and made with functionality in mind. WordPress themes often have a larger focus on beauty and design.

Whatever you choose, remember that you’ll be rewarded if you’re willing to do some digging. Almost every CMS has a community creating third-party themes that are entirely free to download. You just have to be able to find them.

What Every Dev Company Needs to Know about NoOps Development

Original Source:

It seems like everything is getting automated these days.

And I mean everything.

Who would’ve thought that we’d be automating development teams, though?

69% of development companies agree that process and automation improvement is a top priority, so it makes sense we’re heading in this direction.

This rise of automation has formed a new development model known as NoOps, which stands for no operations.

The name means that this approach involves no operations input, cutting out the “operate” step of the continuous development model.

Continuous development model

That’s right. The developers are capable of launching, testing, and fixing apps on the fly without any interruptions or downtime.

Follow along as I further cover what NoOps is, the benefits of using it, and how to implement it.

What is NoOps?

NoOps is a new development approach that involves relieving developers of needing to constantly work with operations members, speeding up deployment time, testing, and workflow.

It stems from the previously popular model of developers and operations teams working closely called DevOps.

Instead of working together, service providers give development teams the proper cloud infrastructure, patching, backups, and resources to work on their own.

Traditional DevOps vs NoOps

That means programmers no longer require feedback and approval during development, and can operate completely independently.

This also allows the operations department of a company to focus on what they do best: project management, talent acquisition, and so on.

However, NoOps is typically most beneficial for startups that begin with this continuous development model. It is much more difficult to switch to NoOps when you have existing environments, pipelines, and deployment procedures.

As an example, NoOps does not work well for enterprises that are still stuck with a monolithic legacy application. This would require a re-write of most of their codebase to make it fit with the NoOps ideology.

Additionally, if a company adopts NoOps later in the business cycle, they may have to shrink the size of their operations team.

If a startup launches with a NoOps model from the beginning, they have the potential of staying lean for longer. The saved resources can be put towards other aspects of business growth, like marketing.

What Are the Benefits of NoOps?

There are many benefits to be gained by adopting a NoOps model. The first of which is that it maximizes development time.

The post What Every Dev Company Needs to Know about NoOps Development appeared first on SitePoint.

Colossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, China

Original Source:

Colossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, China
Colossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, China

AoiroStudioAug 15, 2019

Kris Provoost has shared via his Behance, the colossal ‘under construction’ site of the upcoming Changzhou culture center located in the southern Jiangsu province, China. Picture a total floor area of 365,000 sq.m, which according to Archdaily is going to be six times the size of the Louvre in Paris. Designed by Gerkan, Marg & Partners, an international architectural company based in Hamburg, Germany. The Changzhou Culture Center is due for completion in 2020, for now let us admire the current development mesmerized by the following collection of architecture photography and photojournalism by Kris.

Architecture & Photography
Colossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaColossal construction of an upcoming Culture Center in Changzhou, ChinaImage courtesy by Kris Provoost

About Kris Provoost

Kris is an architect currently based in Hong Kong, he is also an incredible architecture photographer. Make sure to follow his work via his Behance.

Personal site

Collective #540

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Largest Contentful Paint

Philip Walton explains how to make it easier to know when a page’s important content has loaded using the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) API.

Read it


This content is sponsored via Thought Leaders
Get a Free .design Domain Name For a Year

Thinking of building your portfolio? .design is like .com, but it’s more relevant to what you do as a designer. Includes free SiteBuilder.

Learn more


Create and Deploy a Node.js, Express, & PostgreSQL REST API to Heroku

Learn how to create a local REST API with Node using an Express server and PostgreSQL database in this tutorial by Tania Rascia.

Read it


Lazy load embedded YouTube videos

Arthur Corenzan shows a smart way to embed a YouTube video using the srcdoc attribute. Remy Sharp also adds IE11 support to this solution.

Read it



A CSS Houdini library giving some cool features to your site (turn on Experimental Web Platform features or use Chrome Canary to see the effects). By Una Kravets.

Check it out


Design Principles for Developers: Processes and CSS Tips for Better Web Design

Andrew Spencer practical guide with helpful tips for creating better web experiences.

Read it


Inspired Design Decisions: Ernest Journal

In this third instalment of Inspired Design Decisions, Andy Clarke will teach you how to use frameworks to create layouts as engaging as in the well-known Ernest Journal.

Read it


Time to First Byte: What It Is and Why It Matters

Learn all about the “Time to First Byte” (TTFB) metric in this article by Harry Roberts.

Read it


Procedurally Generated CSS Numbers

An awesome demo made by Adam Kuhn.

Check it out


Async Generator Functions in JavaScript

Valeri Karpov explains what async generator functions are and shows some practical examples.

Read it


Quick tip: using scrollIntoView() to show added elements to a container with overflow

A great tip by Christian Heilmann on using scrollIntoView.

Read it


Building an extensible app or library with vanilla JS

Chris Ferdinandi shares some insights on building a modular and extensible vanilla JavaScipt application.

Read it



Ethan Marcotte discovers some accessibility issues with the AMP Story format.

Read it



Turn any website into an API with this machine learning powered tool.

Check it out


The birth of Inter

Learn how the new open-source typeface used by GitHub and Mozilla came to be in this article by Carmel DeAmicis.

Read it


ThreeJS Hover Zoom Channel Displacement

An amazing channel displacement demo by TheFrost.

Check it out

C540_paulreact-three-fiber/three.js train app

Paul Henschel’s interesting experiment based on a SwiftUI train app. Read more about it in this tweet.

Check it out


Introducing git-revise

Nika Layzell introduces git-revise, a new tool to overcome the downsides of git rebase -i.

Read it


Crash Course: Headless WordPress with WPGraphQL, ACF, and React

A crash course where you’ll learn the basics of how to get a simple headless WordPress setup with WPGraphQL and React.

Watch it


Metaprogramming in JavaScript with jscodeshift

Kacper Kula’s article on how to analyze and modify your programs using Facebook’s jscodeshift.

Read it


JAMstack Templates: How to Launch Fast, CMS-Powered Static Sites

Francois Lanthier Nadeau shares the results of a JAMstack site challenge with lots of insights.

Read it


Stop Misusing Toggle Switches

Some useful advice on when to use toggle switches and when to avoid them.

Read it


Circles #3457

A mesmerizing animated circles demo by Dan Wilson.

Check it out


Uno Platform

In case you missed it: Uno let’s you build mobile, desktop and WebAssembly apps with C# and XAML.

Check it out

Collective #540 was written by Pedro Botelho and published on Codrops.

Do Design Sprints Work (and Are They Worth It)?

Original Source:

Truth be told, there’s a lot of value that comes from doing design sprints. However, it’s not as simple as adopting Google Vision’s original system and instantly being able to create better digital products or getting greater consumer buy-in. 

Let’s take a look at what design sprints are, why they can be valuable, but why you also might need to steer clear of them. 

What Is a Design Sprint?

In basic terms, the design process looks like this:

A design sprint, looks like this instead:

Essentially, it removes the build and launch phases of the typical design workflow, so that design teams can get to a validated concept more quickly. 

That said, the design sprint process is anything but quick and simple. 

How Does a Design Sprint Actually Work?

It’s a heavily structured, multi-day process that enables design teams to:

Research the problem, opportunity, and/or market. (This depends on what you’re trying to build – e.g. website, app, new feature for an existing product, etc.);
Formulate a hypothesis;
Visualize the concept through storyboarding;
Prototype the solution;
Test it with real users.

Teams is the operative word here. A design sprint is a highly involved process that normally takes place over an entire week — and it’s the collaboration of each team member that allows the process to be successful in the end. 

A design sprint team can include anywhere between four and eight people, though it’s suggested that the ideal team include the following: 

Facilitator: the person who organizes and manages the sprint;
Decisionmaker: the CEO or other executive who makes the final call;
Designer: the person who builds the prototype and product;
Marketer: the marketing director or coordinator who’s in charge of selling the product or feature to the public;
Cost manager: the financial lead who keeps track of the budget and projections;
Customer service lead: the person who knows the target audience and their pains best.

At the end of the sprint, this team should come up with: 

Answers to the core questions they started the process with;
A robust set of findings, including storyboards, user flows and journey maps, notes, etc;
A prototype;
A report that details findings from user testing;
Validation of the hypothesis and prototype;
A plan for implementation or a decision to return to the drawing board. 

Because it’s such a strict system, there’s little leeway for flexibility here. But if followed to a T, sprints are expected to produce amazing results.

What Are the Benefits of Design Sprints? 

Are you wondering what the big deal is? After all, you probably already have a web design workflow that works well and that clients have been pleased with the results of, right? 

There are a number of reasons why design teams are willing to dedicate five days to a design sprint: 

You save time and money since you test a solution with prototypes rather than create a full product or feature. 
You reduce the chance of failure as you only pursue problems with viable solutions that are then validated by users.
It allows for greater innovation as you have a team of contributors working towards the same goal as opposed to working on their portions in isolation.
Real users get their hands on the prototype and can provide valuable data not just for this product, but for the brand as a whole as well as for future concepts.
Because the team is fully involved and accountable to the sprint, they feel more invested in the product and motivated to go above and beyond in developing the perfect solution.
It’s easier to get approval from decision-makers as they’re involved in the sprint.

All in all, a design sprint enables teams to more confidently build digital solutions that both clients and users are happy about in the end. That said, a design sprint isn’t a cure-all for web designers and agencies. 

Why a Design Sprint Might Not Be a Good Idea

Okay, so you’ve seen all of the good that the structure and five-day commitment can do for you. But does that mean a design sprint is right for your next project? 

Here are some things that might keep this seemingly flawless system from producing positive results: 

1. You Have No Data To Start With

A design sprint cannot start on an assumption or a complete shot in the dark. It’s a huge commitment that you and your team are going to make, and it’s not one that you want to gamble with on a hunch. 

2. You Already Know The Answer To The Problem

The whole point of a design sprint is to systematically define a problem, hypothesize a solution, and then test the validity of it. But if you already know the answer to the problem, there’s no reason to waste your time with this problem-solving process.

3. The Problem is Too Small/Big

In this case, size matters very much. Five days might seem like enough time to tackle any problem — especially if you’re not working on anything else that week — but it can lead to major waste or exceeded scope if you don’t plot the timeline accordingly. 

4. You Don’t Have Enough Team Members

Since design sprints need to have between four and eight team members to work, it’s not feasible for solo freelance designers or small design teams to run design sprints. You’ll especially feel that pressure when it comes time to recruit test users and analyze the results.

5. It’s Costly

Unless you work for a bustling design agency that can afford to take that many people off of active projects for a week, the design sprint process will be too costly. You might be able to produce amazing results for that one click, but that’s an entire week without other paid work getting done.

6. It’s Too Difficult To Commit To

Let’s say you’re in a position to do design sprints. Is everyone on your team fully committed to the five-day process or is it going to be a struggle to get everyone in the same room and off of their mobile devices (which aren’t allowed)? This especially goes for the top-level executive who calls the final shot, but whose life is usually full of conflicting commitments and distractions. 

7. There Are Too Many Decision-Makers

The problem with bringing together so many talented people from different areas of the company is the matter of hierarchy. If they’re used to being the decision-maker when it comes to things like marketing and finance, who’s to say they’re going to enter this new process and be okay relinquishing that role to the ultimate decision-maker? Unless you have a facilitator who’s confident enough to wrangle all the egos and keep order, this could be a big problem. 


As a designer, you take a lot of pride in your work, which is why the idea of adopting a process that promises positive results is appealing. 

The only thing is, design sprints weren’t really built for freelancers or small businesses. They were built for large agencies that have the time, money, and resources to commit to such a huge undertaking. That’s not to say you can’t adopt the best practices used within the process now or start working towards integrating design sprints into your business. But design sprints aren’t a magic bullet, and they don’t scale well.



Featured image via Unsplash.


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How to Check Browser Compatibility via Command Lines

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Building a website traditionally involves a variety of technologies which may work across all major browsers, some of them partially, or none at all. Web developers these days would always refer to…

Visit for full content.

Smashing TV Interviews: The Mozilla View Source Line-Up

Original Source:

Smashing TV Interviews: The Mozilla View Source Line-Up

Smashing TV Interviews: The Mozilla View Source Line-Up

Rachel Andrew


Smashing TV has been working with our friends over at Mozilla to bring you content from their upcoming View Source conference in Amsterdam. We’re really excited about the event that they are putting together.

Here on Smashing Magazine, we often feature articles that explain a little bit about how web technologies are created. I’m a CSS Working Group member, and I enjoy sharing the things that we’ve been discussing in our meetings, such as my post on “Designing An Aspect Ratio Unit For CSS”. Earlier this year, we published an article by Amy Dickens, “Web Standards: The What, The Why, And The How” in which Amy explained what we mean by web standards and how standards groups work. We’ve also shared with you how browser vendors such as Mozilla are making web platform features easier for us to use in our work, such as this post by Chen Hui Jing, “Debugging CSS Grid Layouts With Firefox Grid Inspector”.

If you enjoy articles like these, then you will love View Source, and the chance to spend two days with people who are involved with specifying the web, and implementing it in our browsers. It’s a very special View Source because friends from Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and the W3C are joining Mozilla to bring the best of the web to developers and designers this year. I’ll be there too, wearing my CSS Working Group hat, as part of a discussion corner on how CSS gets into browsers.

Our own Vitaly Friedman has been interviewing some of the speakers from the upcoming event, and you can watch the first of those interviews now.

Enjoy this conversation with Kenji Baheux, a Product Manager at Google, working on Chrome/Web Platform, about the web in different parts of the world, differences between usage of the web, and what we need to be aware of when expanding to an unfamiliar market in India or Southeast Asia.

Mozilla’s View Source Amsterdam event is happening on Monday and Tuesday, Sept 30th and October 1st at Theater Amsterdam. Get your tickets here. You can save 25% with the code Smashing_VS, or use a direct link to check out. I look forward to meeting you there!

An Interview With Kenji Baheux

Vitaly: Hello and welcome to one of those interviews on view source speakers, live sessions with a few behind-the-scenes about the speakers and the sessions and the talks and the interesting topics. And I’m very happy and honored to have Kenji Baheux with us today, from Google, currently living in Tokyo, Japan. How’re you doing today, Kenji?

Kenji Baheux: I’m doing pretty good, thank you.

Vitaly: Fantastic. I have questions. You know, I always do, I have too many questions I believe, but I’m really curious because you know, I know that you’ve spent quite a bit of time and you know, the session you’re going to present today, you’re going to present that in view source which is all about multicultural web thing, right? It’s like the web beyond the scope of what we’re used to, and very often when we think about designing a building for the web, we’re thinking about designing and building for our web. You know, for wonderful screens and wonderful devices and wonderful connections and powerful devices, and all of that. But when we think about designing for Indonesia, when you think about designing for Southeast Asia or India or kind of all places where we’re are not familiar with, we have stereotypes, right? We tend to believe slow devices, unreliable connections, bad screens, you know, horrible, horrible conditions. Almost the opposite of what we’re used to, is it the true web outside of the comfortable bubble that we live in? Tell us.

Kenji Baheux: So, unfortunately, there is some truth to that, and the interesting thing is that the market in India and Indonesia they have like a common aspect, but there are differences — especially around connectivity, for instance. It used to be the case that connectivity in India was very expensive, and so people like wanted to save like data and so they, you know, they didn’t want to use the web too much. For instance, today, it has become a lot more affordable and so people are not concerned too much about data consumption. It is still true that maybe in the newer kind of like user segment, it might still be quite expensive, but it’s getting better quite fast. So I think like in term of like data usage, it’s not so much a concern anymore, but at the same time like 4G is available over there, but if you look at the speed and the like readability of the collection, it’s more kind of like a 3G connection than a 4G connection.

Kenji Baheux: And so you need to be careful about like your assumption about, “Oh, 4G is affordable and therefore the connectivity is going to be the same than what I experience in my own country.” Like there are some stats but like, for instance, I think India is actually at the bottom in terms of speed for 4G and it’s about a 10x slower than what it should be compared to like the top one, for instance. So there is some nuance there and also because there are a lot of users in India depending on the time of the day, the speed will like fluctuate and also sometimes like depending on the bandwidth the [inaudible] will keep up.

Kenji Baheux: And so you might lose connection. You might be on the go. There are a lot of dot points, like not enough antennas and things like that. So you need to be careful about speed and also like this idea that not always on connectivity is not always what user experience is over there. And if you contrast that with Indonesia, Indonesia is doing a bit better in terms of speed, like 4G over there is more kind of like 4G, and there are some reasons to that. The country is much smaller, urbanization is much higher, and so it does help, right? The user, they can reach out in Indonesia tend to have better infrastructure. So that’s one aspect. You mentioned also the devices, so on that, like it’s still very true that the devices tend to be on the lower end of the spectrum. And so like iPhone for instance, are a very tiny market share mostly because those devices are too expensive. And so most of the people can’t afford like high-premium devices.

Kenji Baheux: It used to be the case also that the memory that devices have was very low and this has become better, but it doesn’t mean that the device is cracked, right. I think the OEMs understood what the user cares about. Like does it have a great camera, does it have enough RAM, what about the storage? But then they want to keep the price low and so they are going to find ways to make the device cheap, right? And so it means like slow CPU, slow storage, and things like that. So you need to be careful about the connectivity, but also how much JavaScript you send because it’s going to make your page go slow, right?

Vitaly: It’s, you know, you spend quite a bit of time thinking about performance and also now because you’re working at the Chrome team and you kind of want to work on the instant loading team — if I’m correct, right? It means for me, personally, it means that you have very different challenges at times as well because probably now living in Japan or living in Indonesia kind of have to really look into the types of devices people are using, the habits that they have, the cultural ways of how the web is different. You know, if you look into Africa, for example, I’m sure as you probably know, of course, many people that Africa will be using kind of totally bypassing credit cards altogether, sending money by SMS and having a different kind of web applications, right? So that makes me think as well, when it comes to performance, obviously we want to make things fast and all that, would you say that progressive web apps as a model has become or is becoming more and more established just because it’s kind of an easier way in to get to better performance in India, in Southeast Asian, and so on?

Kenji Baheux: Yeah, we’ve seen a trend of success with PWA in those markets, for the reasons that I’ve outlined, right? If you build a PWA right, it’s going to minimize the amount of data that you fetch, right? You can use the storage and API to make sure that you don’t over-fetch. You can also deliver a very fast-like experience by showing at least a bit of like a piece of UX and then fetching the new content, right? You can minimize the amount of content you need to fetch in order to show the letters like data. So it’s, I think it’s a great fit. It does help a lot of like partners over there.

Vitaly: Many companies that they kind of work with and some of my colleagues are working with, they have a very difficult time moving kind of exploring new markets, moving their architecture, their application, the the way they built up their app or the website really on these markets kind of trying to gather that market share. And it’s very often not very clear why is that? Is it just because the architecture that we’re used to with this mountain of JavaScript that we are pushing with, you know, the Western World that say it’s just totally unacceptable for Southeast Asia? And again, I don’t know, China’s a difficult story anyway, and India. So in many ways, many of these companies see as one of the paths to get to those markets is just built something entirely different. So when you see, if you see, let’s say somebody who had maybe watching this session later trying to get through those markets, would you recommend to adapt the existing architecture, try to kind of make it work for those markets, or would you say it’s better to start from scratch and use something like an assistant ecosystem that’s already there?

Kenji Baheux: Yeah, I think it’s usually better to start from scratch because you might be tempted to try to keep around different features because maybe you’ve seen them doing well in your market and so you, you think those will be like super important to have. And so it’s going to be hard to make some trade off. And so it might be better to start from scratch and like really find, okay, what are the keys— what is the goal of this product? What are we trying to achieve? And keep it to the essential and start from there and see if you really like your product too, it’s bare minimum, like how fast can it float on the connectivity that you can find in markets like that? Like, try to get a low-end device, it’s not too hard to get something that could feel relevant for the market that you are trying to target and just play with it.

Kenji Baheux: I think trying to create a product on your desktop computer or even looking at it like on an iPhone or like a high-end Android device is not going to give you a good idea of like what your experience is going to be. And so you need to really like put yourself in the the shoes of your customers and really like confirm for yourself that what you have is going to work. So yeah, start from something very simple like the bare minimum that your product is about, and see how far you can take it from there.

Vitaly:It’s interesting to also be talking about people, but also… most of the time when we have these conversations about performance, we think about devices. You know, when you start thinking about internationalization and localization and all those things that are actually just going to those markets, I start wondering about the habits of people. Maybe they use the web very differently. So this is exactly what you’re saying, right? We need to do some research to understand how people are used to certain things. What would work? Maybe a feature you spent two years on here in Germany somewhere is just not going to work at all in India, right? So because, I mean, I just have to ask you because I’m so curious, it’s maybe not on the technical side, but I’m just curious. So if you compare the web, how people use the web, but say in the Western World, and again, let’s say in Japan where you spent the last 20 years, I believe, how is it different? I mean, I’m sure that there are certain things that are just, just totally confusing for somebody who experiences, let’s say, the way people are using the web in Japan coming from very different culture, did you have any kind of cultural shocks or anything of that kind or do you see things differently?

Kenji Baheux: That’s an interesting one. I think one of the most surprising thing for me when I arrived in Japan, like 20 years ago, was the fact that the website were like very visual, to the point of like being very noisy. Like from a European viewpoint, it’s kind of like, oh, this is way too much in your face. Like, there was so much going on on that page, how can you even understand how to use it? But actually this is what like most users are actually here, like when it comes to user experience, they want to know more upfront about the product, and so you end up with this like long page detailing all the things about why this project is like the most amazing thing in the world. And then at the bottom of it, there is like finally a way to purchase that product, so that’s one typical user experience that I’ve seen a couple of times already.

Kenji Baheux: So yeah, so that’s very visual: Trying to put as much information upfront about what the product is about. So that’s for Japan. And then for countries like Indonesia and India, especially in India, there are a lot of difficulties around language. As you probably know, India has a lot of official languages and so you really need to understand which users you are trying to reach. Because if you don’t have the content in their language, it’s going to be very hard for them to understand how to use the website, and so on. For most, it’s the first time that they are getting online and there are still a lot like new users getting online every day, and so they don’t have any like notion of like what a tab is like background tab, all of these things that we take for granted, like a lot of users actually that’s the first time that they are online, and so it’s very hard for them to just know about the things we take for granted. And so be very careful about making sure that your product is like self-explaining, and that there is nothing that people need to know in advance, for instance.

Vitaly: I’m also wondering, very often when we’re building products or when we’re designing products, we tend to think that we are building this technology that’s almost neutral, but in the end, whenever we’re building something, we always reflect our identity somehow in the little snippets of JavaScript and CSS we’re writing, and so I think that, in many ways, as designers and developers, we also have certain stereotypes when it comes to designing for those markets or kind of adapting for those markets. So what do you see, I mean, I mentioned one of them in the very beginning, like everything is slow, everything is horrible, totally unreliable and all of that — what do you see maybe as other common misconceptions or myths surrounding global web from people who are designing and building in a Western World Web?

Kenji Baheux: Yeah, that’s an interesting one. I think one particular aspect is the local players tend to be much more successful for various reasons, but one of them is that, especially in Indonesia, they know that the population is very young in general, and so they opt for a more casual tone which is something that I guess most websites in the US and EU don’t tend to do a lot. And so if you’re in e-commerce, you might be tempted to be very serious because you want to present yourself as the company that people can trust, but it might actually be the [inaudible] to your brand image if you go to a market like Indonesia where people want to have a more fun experience maybe.

Vitaly: Right, and also if you look forward into how things are evolving or how they’ve changed, I mean, you’ve seen tremendous change on the web over the last 20 years, I’m sure, but I’m wondering also when we look forward, let’s say five years from now, and look into connectivity, it seems like there is this gap that we used to have. It’s kind of bridging, we have pretty much stable connectivity that’s coming, at least worldwide, it’s still a long way to go, but it’s, you know, it’s coming. How do you see the web — the World Wide Web as we intended it to be from the very first place — evolving? Will we breach all these gaps between the Western world and non-Western world, at least in terms of the web? Or are there going to be significant cultural differences still?

Kenji Baheux: Obviously, eventually, things will get in a similar place in terms of conductivity and, like, maybe even like devices. But I think it’s going to take a while because as I said, there is still a lot of like new users getting online for the first time, and for them it’s like the price of data and devices are getting in the affordable realm, and you see, especially in markets like India for instance, there is still a lot of like feature phone and it’s not the like the old-side feature phone. It’s kind of like a more fully-fledged feature phone. I believe that KaiOS is getting a lot of attraction — people should be aware of that brand. Go check it online, google for KaiOS devices, and you will see that it’s actually bringing the modern web into a feature phone from factor.

Kenji Baheux: And so the idea is that the lowest end of the smartphone is still too expensive for a lot of users, and so by bringing something that people can use and get connected to on a feature phone from factor, like carriers can lower the price points where a lot more users can get online. So I think this is still going to be the case for a long time, and so having to be mindful about low-end devices and slow connectivity because as more people get online, the infrastructure should keep up but it’s going to be very hard. All of these programs are still going to be a thing for a long time, I think.

Vitaly: When I was in Indonesia, by the way, I was surprised about one thing because it’s the first time when I experienced it, and it was the fact that I would go online and we’d get a SIM card and then there would be a Facebook Internet and everything else. Essentially, whenever I go through the gates of Facebook and I try to, you know, going to click on the links and all that, it’s free. But then as long as I want to type in anything else in my URL bar, I have to pay. So this is where I actually got to be hit almost by the role that net neutrality has and how it’s actually not respected really in those countries where you have to pay more for access in certain parts of the web. In terms of net neutrality, how do you see things there? Because I’ve only been to Indonesia where it happened to me. Is that a common thing that we have a Facebook Internet in many places around the world?

Kenji Baheux: So I believe this is part of something that was called Facebook Basics. I don’t know if it’s still the same name, but I’ve seen different countries where you can get online for free but you only have access to a few websites. And I’m just guessing that it’s a deal between those websites and the carrier. The stats that we have indicate that it only gets, like, a lot of people would just move away from that very soon, like quickly because as they get to hear from their friends and family about all the different things that they are able to do, they quickly realize that what they have is like very limited. And so as the purchasing power like grows, they do like pay a few additional like quota, not maybe for the full month, and eventually at some point they will be able to do so, but there is an appetite for getting beyond this like few websites sites that are available for free.

Vitaly: Yeah. And then maybe the final one, Kenji, and I will let you go, and free… So, if you look forward, let’s say in a few years from now, and maybe if you look back into that interview when I asked that question, what would you like to see changed in the next two years? Is there anything on the web that you desperately want to fix or something that kind of bothers you for quite a bit of time where you are spending all your time and efforts and you know, you’re in the nighttime when you can’t sleep, and just to solve that thing… If you had to, if you could solve just one thing for good on the web, what would it be?

Kenji Baheux: That’s a tough one. I feel that the web in general is still, like, we say that web is like very low friction and it is in a sense because everything is just like one link away. And so, and also there’s like no new install phase, it’s very safe and secure, right? But at the same time, on mobile, a lot of time it’s very frustrating because you have to wait and the pages load very slowly, the UX is not always great… So I hope that the work we do will eventually get us in a place where the web feels like instant, seamless, and delightful. And I’m wondering if there is something that is missing, which is some of the, like the native apps are on, you know, like do provide a better user experience cause I feel they have the incentive to do so to like things like ratings and reviews, right? There is a way to know where you are falling off the path, like what is wrong about my app? How can I fix it? And also you have the incentive to do it because there is like rankings and people can see what other people think about your app, and so I’m wondering if there is something on the web that is missing there where we could get more signals from users and help the web get better based on that, and so I would like to, to get some feedback on that and what people think about this idea.

Vitaly: Oh, that sounds exciting. So I guess that maybe that’s something you’ll bring up in your session on October 1st at View Source in Amsterdam, and I can’t wait to hear more insights about the web in different parts of the world because the web is much bigger than just us sitting here in fancy offices in front of wonderful displays. Alright, Kenji, thank you so much for being with us today, and thanks to everyone for watching as well. I’m looking forward to the next one and I’m looking forward to seeing you in Amsterdam.

Vitaly: Thank you, Kenji. Bye!

Kenji Baheux: Thank you, bye!

Watch the Smashing YouTube and Smashing Vimeo channels for more interviews with the View Source speakers.

Smashing Editorial
(vf, mc, il)

Creating Authentic Human Connections Within A Remote Team

Original Source:

Creating Authentic Human Connections Within A Remote Team

Creating Authentic Human Connections Within A Remote Team

Randy Tolentino


On any given day, walk into your local coffee shop and you’ll likely see someone situated at a table, staring into a computer screen. Without knowing any details, one thing’s for sure, it’s obvious they’re ‘at work’. Many of us have been there at some point in our careers—all we need is a power outlet, internet access, and we’re good to go.

As a software developer for a global company, I have the benefit of collaborating with people from all over the world. Here, from the IBM Design Studio in Austin, Texas, approximately 4,500 miles and at least a fifteen-hour flight separate myself from the nearest developers on our product team. If we consider the furthest members, try 18 hours away by plane, literally on the other side of the planet.

In this current role, I’m a part of a multi-site team where most of the technical people are based out of two primary locations: Cork, Ireland and Kassel, Germany. On this product team, I happen to be the only satellite developer based in Austin, although I do have the benefit of sitting alongside our design team.

Scenarios like these are common nowadays. In 2018, Owl Labs found that 56% of the participating companies in their study adopted or allowed for some form of remote arrangement for its employees. While this organizational approach has revolutionized the way we perform our job functions, it’s also paved the way for new patterns to emerge in the way we interact with each other across the distance.

A map of the world showing main locations where our teams are based out of

Our product dev team is spread across the globe. (Large preview)

Connecting With People

I’ve always found that the most fascinating aspect of a distributed team is its people. The ‘diversity of people’, in itself, deserves emphasis. In my view, this mix of skills, knowledge, and perspectives make up the heart of the experience. Being able to integrate with people from various backgrounds is eye-opening. Hearing different accents, discovering new ways to look at problems, and learning about world cultures all within the normal flow of the day is simply refreshing.

At the same time, one of the biggest hurdles for those on remote teams is forming a relationship with your colleagues, that genuine human connection. In a 2018 study by And Co and Remote Year, 30% of the respondents reported lack of community as the number one factor impacting their happiness at work, understandably so. Having virtual colleagues makes it easy to fall into the trap of thinking ‘we all have individual assignments, we only need to interact when our work crosses paths, and all we’re here to do is deliver’.

It’s just not enough.

Throughout my career, almost every project I’ve worked on involved others that were remote in some capacity. In this context, I’ve learned plenty about what it takes to build meaningful partnerships with people across varying distances and multiple time zones. My hope is that the following list of suggestions and ideas can help others out there who are navigating through the challenge of building actual human connections with their teammates.

People, Not Resources
Building A Continuous Improvement Culture
Reading Emotions Across The Distance
A Little Extra Effort Can Bridge The Gap
Staying Thankful At The Core

1. People, Not Resources

Problem: Sometimes, remote team members can be mistakenly reduced or perceived as ‘contributors only’. In some cases, people are actually referred to as ‘resources’, literally.

About a year ago, I was on a kick-off call for a project where the client was headquartered in another city. At one point during the virtual meeting, I politely asked one of the client-stakeholders about credentials and ownership of a third-party app that they used. It was a fair question, I was simply gathering requirements. But his response towards me was belittling and unprofessional, making it seem as if I were questioning his knowledge or authority. From then on, it’s been a personal goal of mine to always acknowledge remote colleagues as people, not just resources.

At the very minimum, great collaborations are comprised of individuals who respect and care about one another on a holistic level. Sure, we collectively share the same objectives, but we’re also more than just workers. The very idea of ‘having a genuine connection with people you work with’, is a proven motivator for many when it comes to job satisfaction. It makes sense because as human beings, we have an innate need to connect with one another—this is especially true on remote teams.

These are some ways to remind us that people are the foundation of your team:

Proactively introduce yourself to as many teammates as possible.
Learn about each other, share cultures, stories, and professional backgrounds.
Be mindful of your audible and legible tone (on calls and chats), keep it friendly and respectful.

2. Building A Continuous Improvement Culture

Problem: As remote team members, we can find ourselves stranded on an island if we don’t ask for help sooner than later.

Oftentimes, we make the mistake of believing that in order to bring value to the team, we must know everything (all the time). This ‘rugged individualist’ mentality is a one-way ticket to imposter syndrome. The next thing you know, a significant amount of time passes, your progress remains stagnant, and by the time someone extends a hand you’re already underwater. Remember, no one knows everything, and more importantly, teams thrive off of collaboration. We learn together.

The best functioning teams that I’ve been on all had a healthy continuous learning culture. On these teams, failure is okay, especially when our mistakes are transformed into learning opportunities. When working on a remote team, instead of running or hiding from our mistakes, I personally recommend that we fail in “public”. This lets the team know that you hired a human, one who’ll run into stumbling blocks and will inevitably produce errors. By doing so, this gives others the opportunity to either offer assistance, or learn.

A GitHub pull request including a comment seeking for help and clarity

Asking for help and admitting mistakes allow you to improve your craft. (Large preview)

You can contribute to the team’s improvement culture in the following ways:

Leverage public channels to show when you’re stuck, this allows the group to help or point you in the right direction.
Share what you’ve learned in public channels, retrospectives, or through documentation.
Spend time listening and scanning for ways to help others.
When you do help your team, remind them that everyone asks for help and how you are all on this journey together.

3. Reading Emotions Across The Distance

Problem: Understanding someone’s emotional state is already difficult when you’re in the same office. When it comes to communicating online, getting a good read on someone’s tone, feelings, or intent, becomes even more challenging.

In person, it’s relatively easier to exercise soft-skills because you’re in the same physical space as your colleagues. From laughter to frustration, there’s an advantage we gain from being co-located when it comes to interpreting how someone is feeling. We can gauge these emotions based off of vocal inflections, facial expressions, and gestures.

However, when we’re far from teammates, we have to be more creative when trying to convey or pick-up on these sentiments. When I breakdown how I communicate with my team throughout the day, about 90% of it occurs in chats; the remaining 10% is split between in conference calls, email, and any other tool that allows for commenting. In each of these modes, we have to clearly convey not only what we say, but what we mean and how we feel.

A conversation in Slack showing how emoji helps convey feelings

Using the appropriate emoji can allow others to have a better grasp of how you might feel. (Large preview)

We can improve our team’s collective ability to read and convey emotions in the following ways:

Video calls provide a visual and audible opportunity to pick up on our expressions; turn on the camera and smile at each other.
Instead of just focusing on business objectives, develop the habit of paying particular attention to tone and feelings when communicating with your team.
Use the appropriate emoji to supplement your thoughts or reactions; these fun and effective special characters can help to surface your feelings.

4. A Little Extra Effort Can Bridge The Gap

Problem: The physical mileage between team members and multiple time-zones can cause a strain in our effort to connect with our colleagues.

With Germany being 7 hours ahead and Ireland being 6, I am constantly reminded how the time difference is an issue. On most occasions, when I have questions or run into some sort of blocker anytime after lunch, all of our dev team is offline.

If I worked the typical 9-to-5 schedule, I’d only have about 3 to 4 hours of an overlap with my remote team. It took me a few weeks to fully realize how much the time difference was a factor, but once I did, I decided to flex my schedule.

When I learned that our Ireland team had daily standups at 10:30 AM, (4:30 AM our time), I asked to be invited to those meetings. Most people might think: that’s way too early! But, for a couple of weeks, I joined their call and found it to be incredibly helpful from an alignment and tracking perspective. More importantly, the team understood that I was here to be as helpful as possible and was willing to sacrifice my own conveniences for the sake of the team.

While we can’t do much about the distance, there are a few strategies to potentially improving the overlap:

Find creative ways to extend yourself for the interest of the team; these gestures show good faith and the willingness to make things better for the group.
Be equally accommodating towards others and reciprocate the flexibility your colleagues show towards one another.
Take the most advantage of the overlapping time, ask critical questions, and ensure no one is blocked from making progress.

5. Staying Thankful At The Core

Problem: In our work, we spend almost every minute of every day focusing our attention on solving some sort of problem.

Deeply embedded into my personal culture is an appreciation mindset; practicing gratitude allows me to maintain a fairly good mood throughout the day. I regularly think about how blessed I am to work in the tech industry, helping to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems. I can never take this for granted. Being able to listen to my favorite hip hop playlists, writing code all day, and having access to learning from a wealth of individuals, this is a dream come true. This thankful mentality stays with me no matter what and it’s something I aim to emit when interacting with my team.

It’s not always easy though. In the tech industry, we spend nearly every minute of the day, using our skills and creativity to find our way out of a problem. Sometimes we’re focused on business problems, maybe we’re solving a user pain point, or maybe we’re managing an internal team issue. This repetition, over time, this can take a toll on us, and we could forget why we even chose to do this.

Keeping a positive attitude can help lift team morale and has been known to make you a better collaborator. Even though you may be far from your teammates, your attitude comes through in your work and communications. Here are some pointers to keep in mind when showing appreciation towards your team:

Use company tools to acknowledge a teammate.
Ask teammates how they’d like to be recognized, and thank them accordingly.
Relay positive feedback to a colleague’s lead or manager.

A thank you note using the digital recognition tool at IBM

At IBM, we use the Recognition platform to acknowledge our peers. (Large preview)

Remember To Be Human

You see them on various social media platforms, posts or photos of a team retreat where employees step away from their projects for a few days to focus on team-building. Some organizations intentionally design these events into their annual schedules; it’s an excellent way to bridge the gaps and facilitate bonding. Many teams return home from these retreats and experience improved alignment and productivity.

For other organizations, having the ability to meet face-to-face with your remote counterparts isn’t an option. In these cases, we have to make the best of our circumstances by depending on our soft-skills and creativity to help form the alliances we need. I’m confident that by caring for one another as people first, we collectively become better at what we do.

Behind every @username, profile picture, and direct message is a person, one who probably cries and rejoices for the same reasons you might. As technology continues to influence new social behaviors that shape the way we work, it’s important to remember that phenomenal teams are composed of individuals who understand each other and care for one another.

People make products, it’s not the other way around. No matter how far the distance between you and your teammates, I encourage you to make a conscious effort to connect with one another, invest in long-lasting friendships, and last but not least, remember to be human.


Smashing Editorial
(ra, il)