Finding Time To Stay Current


When you’re heads down working on an ongoing project (or series of projects), weeks and months can slip by in a flash. Sometimes even years with bigger projects. And since technology changes rapidly every three to six months it can seem like an eternity in internet time.

So how can you stay current when you barely have time to gulp down lunch at your desk? Some companies provide training, but many do not. Budget and resource constraints prevent them from offering these perks. If you’re a “UX team of one”, you may find yourself on the short end of the training stick.

At my last agency job we had the same problem. Everyone was so wrapped up in the endlessly urgent “project du jour” that skill rot was a real risk. It was one of the big reasons I left that job to start my own consultancy.

While it was hard to find time to level up, it wasn’t impossible. In Tim Ferriss’ great book “The Four Hour Workweek”, he advises that it’s better to catch up when necessary vs. constantly trying to keep up. I agree.

Online courses are great, but sometimes you just need a quick “digital snack” to give you a quick tip or useful idea in the moment. In that spirit, here’s a list of eight awesome websites I visit frequently to help me stay aware of what’s happening on the interwebs and in the design community in general. Check them out when you can sneak in a quick break here and there.

Digital Snacking Menu

The Next Web – If you can only pick one, this is the site to visit for the latest and greatest in tech.

User Testing’s Blog – This is a great resource for a pure UX perspective and current industry insights.

User Interface Engineering – Jared Spool’s UIE content is unmatched, especially his All You Can Learn Library. If you have a specific question or problem the answer is probably here.

Boxes And Arrows – Christina Wodtke’s wonderful Boxes and Arrows continues to provide powerful, relevant essays on UX best practices.

A List Apart – If you’re not reading A List Apart, you should be. Some of the best brains in the design field are writing for them, plus they are always looking for contributors. Why not you?

Specky Boy – Specky Boy is geared more toward helping small agency owners and freelancers, but it has great articles and useful freebies for designers and developers.

UX Design Weekly – A wonderfully curated collection of useful UX/UI content published every Monday by Kenny Chen.

UX Pin ebooks – I included this one for extra credit. UX Pin’s comprehensive ebook library is more of a digital meal than a snack, but it is regularly updated with excellent content by current UX/UI thought leaders and influencers. You’ll have to part with your email address to access it but it’s worth it.

Over To You

How do you stay up to date? What other methods do you find useful to help you keep your skills sharp? What other sites do you find useful? Let me know in the comments.

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