#144

📝 A quick note about line-height

[ROBIN]: I read Marcin Wichary’s latest post all about how Figma is changing how it handles line-height — his team has been thinking about ways in which to resolve some of the particularly odd disagreements between browsers and typesetting tools, and how they’ve often treated text boxes differently across these platforms. The entire article is lovely and worth every moment of your time, but it was this bit that I think is relevant for this newsletter, where Marcin writes:

The history of web design can be seen as a set of tensions between designers wanting things to be positioned with utmost precision, and the web pushing back on some of that control. One of the unexpected casualties of that push and pull was line height. The early web didn’t allow for easy vertical centering of text — cue literal decades of jokes about aligning a text to an icon next to it being the hardest problem in computer science — but line height provided a quick workaround for a situation much more common in user interface design than in the world of print.

I love this idea of the push and pull of web design and also that we’ve (up until very recently) depended almost entirely on hacks to design pages and perform basic typesetting. I wonder where else we’re doing things like this today — perhaps using something like line-height to align text with an icon? — and what else we need to resolve these things.

I can only really think of two final pieces in the web layout puzzle for me that are still missing: subgrid and container queries.


🔗 From the Blog

Interviewing for a technical position doesn’t have to be scary

Jacob Schatz has a ton of experience interviewing folks thanks to his role at GitLab, and he has jotted down some interviewing advice for both the interviewer and the interviewee of a technical position. I really liked this bit where Jacob talks about trivia questions:

As the interview progresses, I’ll be able to tell if I can hit the harder questions. Harder questions are not there to disqualify people, but to qualify people. If you get to my hard questions it means you have a ton of experience and knowledge under your belt. It’s really important to know that I must ask trivia questions in some form but I don’t qualify candidates based on trivia questions. It’s about figuring the depth of your JavaScript knowledge and programming in general.

It seems like a lot of folks have been thinking about interviewing lately, as Harry Roberts has just collected some tips for technical interviews. Two questions that he brings up that are super important to figure out while you’re interviewing: “what might my average day look like?“ and “why is this position available?” I think Harry makes a great point that those questions are super hard to figure out during the interview and so much easy to come into the interview having prepared to answer them.

But it’s important to remember that you’re interviewing the company as a good place to work for just as much as they’re interviewing you for the position.


Have you heard about Parcel and how it can be used as a bundler for your React app?

Well this is what Kingsley Silas explores in his latest post on Parcel:

You may already be familiar with webpack for asset management on projects. However, there’s another cool tool out there called Parcel, which is comparable to webpack in that it helps with hassle-free asset bundling. Where Parcel really shines is that it requires zero configuration to get up and running, where other bundlers often require writing a ton code just to get started. Plus, Parcel is super fast when it runs because it utilizes multicore processing where others work off of complex and heavy transforms.


Who Are Design Systems For?

Chris looks at a lot of examples to figure out if design systems are for the public or for the company. Some of these design systems are a public collection of components that anyone can pick up and play with but a great many others aren’t. Take Salesforce’s Lightning Design System where it has a public website and you can see the components but you get the sense that these tools are only for the folks at Salesforce.

Chris writes:

My parting advice is actually to the makers of public design systems: clearly identify who this design system is for and what they are able to do with it.

I think there’s another important note to make here is that some of these systems are very effective hiring tools as well. A big ol’ fancy design system is a way to communicate that teams are organized and deeply care about front-end development and design – and this in turn will attract even more designers and UI engineers to the cause.


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