2019 Wrapped

And a year has passed. 2019 has been quite a journey for me. I have switched to become a full-time in-house product and UI/UX designer. The depth of work and design process that I delivered was totally different. The city that I’m living in, Hong Kong, also faced tremendous suppression in the fight for justice and democracy. I’m grateful for what I have learned and become over the past year, and I hope that I can continue to reflect my journey.

Blog

This is my second year anniversary of my website went live. I have written more blog drafts but many of them were not published. Mostly viewed article is still the Gatsby Multiple Post Types tutorial, I have rewritten it again for Gatsby v2. More practical and instructive articles instead opinionated piece seems to be more SEO friendly and attract organic traffic.

Looking over this year's work, this website has updated to Gatsby v2 and all content types (Blog, Work, Photo) were switched to MDX after pouring great amount of time and effort. I'm expecting to clean up some styles and components next year.

Photo

A project that I have been working on before the end of the year, is migrating my photo portfolio.

I was greatly inspired by Paul Stamatiou’s website, takin each journey as a set of photos and records in life.

I was using Cargo Collective for a few years, but the ultimate goal is to put everything on my website as well. I could be wrong this time as the process of creating new sets have become dull and less intuitive, I have to rename each photo file instead of the previous drag-and-drop uploader. I’m also worried about the Git size and build time. But there’s more headless CMS coming to support static site generator, I expect to switch when they have proper MDX support.

Currently I simply use Gatsby Image and direct upload of all portfolio content to simplify the development work. MDX customized component allows me to manipulate photo grid layout easily and I use react-medium-zoom plugin to create a full-size Zoom In effect.

Best of 2019

Here are some of my favorite app and products of 2019.

Braun Watchface Screensaver by Sam Soffes (Mac) - this has immediately become my default Mac screensaver. I bought a Braun wrist watch few years back online, but it stopped running every other week, so this would be a good reminder of Braun’s practical design.

Figma (Web) - Figma has become my favourite tool at work in 2019. Not only did they deliver new features quickly, catching up with other UI and prototyping tools. Figma Plugins are simply the biggest launch ever enabling new ways that designers / developers to get involved in making the tool better. I wrote an article explaining how plugins speed up design workflow. Read it here.

Bear (MacOS, iOS) - While I think 2019 has been a year of exploring new tools, I have been going over trying out Notion, Microsoft Todo and other productivity tools. 2020 should be a year of establishing system.

Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results.

Atomic Habit by James Clear

I’m sticking with Evernote and Bear right now, yet I feel Google Sheets has been the most powerful yet underrated one in tracking, providing insights and with customisation. Writing more on this matter later.

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020.