I get asked this question all the time “Andrew, where do you get all these things to post?” Usually I just tell them I read a lot on the web and leave it at that. Today, I am going to give you some of my secret sauce: I follow a ton of newsletters and blogs and this is how I have so much content to share. Literally, I have a list sitting in Notational Velocity (nvAlt, for those who care) of hundreds of links that I have yet to catch up to. Really, when you get to having so many newsletters and blogs, you aren’t keeping up, so much as staying afloat curating the curated content. There is something that can be said about this curation of curation, but I think I am going to reserve that for a later post (and put that in a NV note as well).
Anyway, below are my top 10 newsletters that focus on web design, web development, UX, UI, and general topics that encompass that which is the Web in which I work in. Fair warning: you may find after subscribing to several that they repeat content between each other; this isn’t too surprising once you think about the viral effect that the web and social media brings to articles. Also, I should note that these are in no particular order:
I will have to admit, Web Design Weekly was my first web-related newsletter. It offers a great survey of web-design-related links split between articles, tools, resources, inspiration, and major headlines of the past week. They also offer a link or two at the bottom of some web oddities or funny sites to give you a bit of a smile or “Huh, interesting” moment for the day. The newsletter design is simple, straight-forward, and quick to skim as each link has a one or two sentence intro that you can get a feel for the link before diving it. Like many others, there is a Job section where companies can advertise one or two jobs each week and all the content of the email can be found on their site; in the WDW case, it is on their blog.
This newsletter follows a very similar format to WDW but focuses almost solely on responsive design (surprise, right?). Articles cover everything from legacy testing to point-counterpoint articles about best practices and the tools cover plugins, tutorials, and presentations from recent conferences. Responsive Design Weekly also has a great interview series that break up the normal weekly newsletters and offer great insights to how people like Dan Mall, Brad Frost, and others think about responsive web design and what kinds of challenges we should all be thinking about. This should be your go to if you are deep in the RWD atmosphere.
Need I really say more? They offer a newsletter that is packed with a range of current and past articles that touch on tips, techniques, and theory that we wrestle with everyday. If you work on the web in almost any capacity, you should be reading their newsletter. Disclaimer: Their newsletters tend to be quite long, as do their articles, but it is almost always well worth your time; I enjoy reading them on Sunday’s if I have time after breakfast/brunch.
Kadavy is a super smart web denizen who has written things like “Design for Hackers” which gives developers a great overview and grasp on design principles to help understand why they get those crazy layouts. He doesn’t have a direct newsletter, but rather runs them several times a year as a kind of “course” that you read from regarding things like design theory. Each newsletter series is generally capped at several hundred readers so that there is a more likely chance you can interact with him and grasp the concepts better. Stay on the lookout for his next newsletter.
Speaking of courses, Hack/Design is probably the best overall design/theory/development course I have encountered online. Each week a new person curates a “lesson” of multiple articles, tools, and exercises for you to complete and up your design game. I’ll admit that it isn’t a newsletter, but the format is pretty close and they always offer the best lessons in everything from UX to color theory. Best part is: it’s free! If anything, Hack/Design is a great resource for jack-of-all-trades like me to stay current and knowledgable about a wide breadth of the web.
If you haven’t heard of Sacha Greif before, you should. He is easily one of m favorite writers on the web and is quite knowledgable and willing to interact if you have questions. His newsletter focuses on design, the business of the web, and success stories and is served up on Sundays for you. One of the more unique things about this newsletter is that like Web Tools Weekly, you can submit questions/tips for him to discuss and he will even make entire newsletters devoted to just answering user questions. They are also generally very quick reads and don’t make you drag along forever with unnecessary details or pictures.
I think by now you should be getting the gist of these: the name tells you what you’re getting, which is rare nowadays. CSS Weekly is a great resource of articles, tutorials, and CSS theory crafting that leaves me both feeling inspired and in awe of all the things that it can do (and the amazing things others pull of using it). CSS Weekly is also nice because it does not focus on merely one thing (only RWD, only SASS, only BEM, etc.) and makes sure to showcase articles that cover the wide range of CSS possibilities. And, since it’s not tool based, you get a much deeper range of articles rather than just a few for each section. Front-end person? Then subscribe yesterday.
If you know me, then you know I love Tympanus’ Codrops blog. Granted, they don’t have a newsletter per-se, so I just made an IFTTT recipe that shoots me an email whenever they make a new post. This is great because I can keep track of not only their weekly Collection series, but also keep up with their great line of demos and cool new web tricks. The Collection series is what really hooked me initially because they do a collective post of awesome from around the web that was posted or found in the last week. Usually there is a good mix of tools, inspiration, code, and theory but sometimes it can be more tools or code heavy. Overall, they are a great way to stay current with the web while touching on most aspects of the process.
Last but not is Web Designer Depot. This one I have a love-hate relationship with because it shows some really great icons, themes, and tools, but at the same time can come off as overly commercial as they do want you to buy things from their network. So far, it has seemed rather balanced in their network versus others, but I reserve the right to just unsubscribe. Generally this newsletter focuses on the visual aspect of the web and is much heavier on assets than theory and tools. It is a good resource if you are looking for something different to spice up your visual palette without being bogged down in things like code or thoughtcraft.
Maybe, if there are some requests, I could be willing to share the blogs I follow…